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Monday, July 25, 2016

No Posts This Week

I thought I had better let our readers know that we are not going to be doing any new posts this week because we are busy counting inventory for our fiscal year end, and I expect this to take all of this week.

We will return next Monday with a post about the 1928-1929 Scroll Issue. In the meantime, we encourage those of you who are new to the blog, to take a look at some of the older posts. Specifically, you will find many detailed posts on such issues as:

  • Large and Small Queens
  • The 1954-62 Wilding Issue
  • The 1953-62 Karsh Issue
  • The 1911-27 Admiral Issue
Enjoy, and we will be back next week. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Historical Issue of 1927


Today's post will deal with the second commemorative issue of 1927 that was released on the same day as the previous set, the 60th Anniversary of Confederation Issue. Collectors call it the Historical Issue because it depicts historical figures only and includes three of the fathers of confederation who are never seen again on any Canadian stamp. The issue was actually intended to be released originally in 1926 when it was printed, but for some strange reason, the Post Office Department decided to hold it back and release it on the same day as the Confederation Issue, June 29, 1927.

The points of interest with this issue are much the same as the Confederation issue, but not quite as extensive. Consequently for an area of specialization, this issue will often be collected with the confederation issue. 

One thing that I forgot to cover in my post about the Confederation issue are the paper and gum differences, which although subtle are collectible I believe. I will cover them briefly here, as this issue shares many of the same characteristics as the Confederation issue. 

The Stamp Designs and Issue Quantities

5c purple - Thomas D'Arcy McGee    12c green Laurier & MacDonald
            20,349,000 issued                           5,273,000 issued

20c carmine La Fontaine and Baldwin
               7,632,000 issued

Paper and Gum Differences

In common with the later dry printings of the Admiral Issue, both this and the Confederation Issue can be found with two different types of paper:

1. A white opaque wove measuring 0.004"-0.005" thick that shows no visible vertical or horizontal mesh. The gum on this paper tends to be a thicker cream gum that is quite shiny and streaky in its appearance. 

2. A white paper that shows a very fine vertical mesh on the back. The gum on this paper is also cream in colour, but instead of being shiny and streaky, it is smooth, and satin in its sheen.

I have not done a comprehensive study to identify which values can be found with which types of paper and gum, but I would expect that all values of both sets could probably exist on both types. The following scans illustrate the differences:

Here we see the thick opaque paper that has cream gum that shows clear streaks. 

The paper shown here does not show obvious mesh - you have to look hard to find it in places, but the paper is clearly thinner and more translucent compared to the paper above. The gum is also different, being completely smooth. 


In handling many, many examples of these stamps over the years, I have noticed that all three of the stamps exhibit shade varieties. Again, these are probably best collected in blocks to highlight the differences. I have come across the following shades, as named in the Stanley Gibbons Stamp Colour Key:

  • 5c blackish purple
  • 5c deep dull purple
  • 5c deep rose lilac
  • 12c deep green
  • 12c deep bright green
  • 12c deep yellowish green
  • 20c carmine red
  • 20c brownish carmine red
There may well be one or two other shades that I have not identified, but the above list should give a pretty good representation of what exists. 

Plate Flaws

I am aware that like the previous issue, the stamps of this issue can be found with plate flaws, though I have not seen any. Many of these were identified by Hans Rieche in one of his long out-of-print handbooks. 

Plate Blocks

There were two plates used to print each value: A1 and A2. On the 5c, the inscriptions appear on the upper right and upper left corners of the sheet. So for this value, there are four collectible positions. The 12c had the imprints in the top centre of the sheet, so that there are only two collectible plate blocks for this value. Finally, the 20c had the imprints in the top centre and upper right corner of the sheet, so that again, there are four collectible positions of this value. The upper left blocks of the 5c are typically collected as blocks of 10, while the upper rights are blocks of 8. On the other values, they are usually collected as blocks of 6, except for the upper right positions of the 20c, which are collected as blocks of 4. 

Proof Material

Those considering specialization and looking for a challenge will be pleased to know that this issue has no fewer than 24 known proof items. They are all a bit more expensive on average than similar items from the Confederation Issue, ranging from $200-$4,000 each. So you could spend a log time trying to locate all of them, and expect to face competition on the auction room floor. The BNA Proofs website whose link is provided below, has an excellent listing of all the known items, with the known quantities

To summarize, the known proof material consists of:

  • 2 different progressive proofs of the 5c. 
  • 10 different die proofs of all values in issued colours. 
  • 5 different essays of the 12c in green and black, one of which has the value as 10c.
  • 7 different trial colour proofs, all in black, except for one 20c in brown-carmine.

Imperforate and Part Perforate Varietes

Like the Confederation Issue, all values of this issue exist:

  • completely imperforate all around as shown above;
  • in horizontal pairs that are imperforate vertically;
  • in vertical pairs that are imperforate horizontally;

The number of pairs that are estimated to exist of each value are 250 pairs. 

Postal History

These stamps were technically replaced by the Scroll Issue, so they are a fairly short lived issue. The official periods of use for each value would be:

  • 5c - June 29, 1927 to December 12, 1928. 
  • 12c - June 29, 1927 to January 8, 1929.
  • 20c - June 29, 1927 to January 8, 1929.
The 5c could in theory have been used singly to pay the 5c new airmail rate, which took effect on August 24, 1928, as the 5c Airmail stamp did not appear until September 21, 1928, and the 5c Scroll did not appear until December of that year. However, this stamp is much more commonly found in large used multiples, which suggests they were used in multiples to pay registration and special delivery fees. 

The 12c was designed for use on local registered letters, which is indeed how it will usually be found when on cover. The 20c was designed for parcel use of for special delivery use, however it is unusual to find single usages of this value on cover. A worthy challenge is to look for more expensive multiple weight registered covers to locales outside Europe, like Asia and South America. 

First day covers are scarce for this issue and highly desirable, listing in Unitrade for a minimum of $150 per cover. 

5-Hole OHMS Perfins

All three values can be found with the 5-hole OHMS perfin. As with the Confederation Issue, it may be possible to find up to 8 different orientations of the perfin as well as double perforated varieties. These are all very scarce stamps, so great care has to be taken to watch for forged perfins. Mint examples are almost non-existent as well, so again, if you see a mint example being offered for sale, exercise great care and learn the die characteristics of the genuine 5-hole perfin by looking at a cheaper known genuine stamp like a low value Arch issue from 1930-1931. 

This concludes my post about this beautiful commemorative issue. To view the stamps that I have for sale from this issue, click on the following link:

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The 60th Anniversary Of Confederation Issue of 1927


This neat little commemorative set was issued on June 29, 1927, the same day as the Historical Issue. It is one of those sets that most collectors buy for their albums and never think much about. Indeed, Unitrade contains really just one page of listings and so it seems to be a set that does not afford much opportunity for specialization. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, there are several points of interest around which a specialized collection could be formed as we shall see. These include:

  • Shade variations on all values except possibly the 12c, as I have not seen any shade variations on that value. 
  • Differences in both the thickness of the paper and visibility of mesh. 
  • Some plate flaws can be found, though these are scarce. 
  • The era of First Day Covers is generally recognized to have begun with this issue, and so it is possible to look for different cachets. 
  • Most of the stamps take CDS cancels beautifully, so a cancel collection would be very challenging and attractive. 
  • All of the stamps were printed from at least 2 plates, with the 1c being printed from 6 plates and the 2c green being printed from 14 plates! Collecting plate blocks of all known plates would be a real challenge, especially for VFNH. 
  • Imperforate pairs exist for all values.
  • A large range of proofs exist as well. While these are not cheap, they are much more affordable than any proof material that came before this issue, with most items being in the $300-$3,000 range. 
  • All values exist in both vertical pairs imperforate horizontally and horizontal pairs imperforate vertically. Plate blocks like this exist for the 20c special delivery stamp, E3. 
  • Lots of interesting and scarce covers can be sought, some franked with just these stamps, and others with combinations of this issue and the Scroll Issue. 
  • The era or airmail starts with this issue, and this issue is often found on first flight covers as well as semi-official airmail covers. 
  • The 1c orange can be found with 4 styles of precancel.
  • Two stamps exist imperf between the stamp and right margin: the 3c, and 12c, while the 20c exists from the top margin imperf. between the stamp and the margin. 
  • All values exist with up to 8 different types of 5-hole OHMS perforation. They are all very scarce. 
When you combine all of the above factors and form a specialized collection you can still spend a lot of money, but over time. In my opinion, this is an ideal issue for someone who cannot afford to pay more than $300-$500 for a single item, or that much per month, or per quarter. Even though some proofs will cost $3,000 or so, a collector with a modest budget could save up for that over a reasonable period, like a year. The used stamps are inexpensive enough that a collector of modest means could occupy themselves with the cancels while waiting for the better items to come along. 

The stamps were all designed by Herman Herbert Swartz. Edwin H. Gunn engraved all the designs except for the 3c, which was engraved by Harold Osborn. The printer was the Canadian Bank Note Company. 

The Stamp Designs and Issue Quantities


    1c orange Sir John A Macdonald      2c green Fathers of Confederation
              148,034,000 issued                           333,757,000 issued   


 3c carmine-red  Parliament buildings                  5c purple Wilfred Laurier
                 15,431,000 issued                                       26,627,000 issued


12c bright indigo map of Canada     20c red orange - allegory of transport
            7,492,000 issued                                   671,400 issued

As you can see, the issue quantity for the 20c value is relatively low. This is also a difficult stamp to find well centered and NH, so in my opinion it is a highly under-rated stamp, especially in very fine used condition. Surprisingly though, even the common stamps like the 2c are very difficult to find very fine NH with nice margins. From my experience, the 5c and the 12c are the easiest stamps to find VFNH, followed by 1c and 3c, and then finally the 2c and 20c, which are the toughest by far. The average centering for this issue is fine and given that the stamps were printed in sheets of 100 and line perforated,very fine plate blocks in which all stamps are well centered and NH are very scarce and worth quite a bit more than the corresponding number of VFNH stamps. 


Although subtle, there are several shades that I have found on the stamps of this issue. The largest variation seems to be on the 1c, though I have generally found at least two shades of every value except for the 12c:

  • 1c reddish orange
  • 1c deep reddish orange
  • 1c pale reddish orange
  • 1c dull red orange
  • 1c deep orange
  • 1c orange
  • 2c deep green
  • 2c deep dull yellowish green
  • 2c dull yellowish green
  • 3c deep carmine red
  • 3c brownish carmine red
  • 3c carmine red
  • 5c deep slate lilac
  • 5c deep dull purple
  • 5c dull purple
  • 12c bright indigo
  • 20c orange-red 
  • 20c deep bright orange-red
  • 20c deep dull orange red
These shade variations are probably best collected as blocks of four, as they will be much more obvious that way. However, even singles will probably be sufficient if they are mounted next to one another on a page. 

Plate Flaws

Unitrade does not currently list any constant plate flaws on any of the values. I am not sure if this is because none exist, or whether it is because no one has done a comprehensive study of existing sheets to identify them. I will say that plate flaws on this issue are scarce, largely because the plates used to print these stamps were very durable and were only in use a short time. Hans Reiche some years ago had published a small handbook in which he detailed plate flaws found on this and other issues of the 1930's. Unfortunately I do not have a list of these flaws, but can say that I have seen the following ones:

  • 1c - large vertical crack appearing above Sir John A Macdonald's head. 
  • 3c - large dot on the roof of the parliament buildings, resembling a hole. 

While these flaws may not be constant, I think they are still interesting and can be fun to look for. 

Plate Blocks

Many plate blocks can be collected of this issue. Generally speaking there is only one position for each plate at the top of the sheet, though on the 2c, there are left (L) and right (R) positions. The size of the block is generally determined by the size of the inscription, with the 3c block above being 4 stamps and many others being either 6 or 8 stamps. The 20c comes in two positions: upper left and lower left:

  • 1c comes in plates A1 through A6. All are blocks of 8.
  • 2c comes in 19 plates: A1, 2, 3L, 3R, 4, 5, 6, 7L, 7R, 8L, 8R, 9, 10, 11L, 11R, 12, 13, 14. 15. most are blocks of 6, though 8R, 9, and 11L are blocks of 4.
  • 3c comes in plates A1 through A3. A1 is a block of 4, while the others are blocks of 6. 
  • 5c comes in plates A1-A3 and all are blocks of 8. 
  • 12c comes in A1 and A2 and are blocks of 6. 
  • 20c comes in plate 1 UL and LL and are blocks of 6.
So the above list makes a basic collection of 36 blocks. If you collect the above shade variations, it can be expanded far beyond that number, though not so much that it becomes unmanageable. 

Proof Material

The BNA Proofs website lists no fewer than 36 different proof items as follows:

  • 7 essays consisting of the central portraits of the 1c and 5c all in black;
  • 12 die proofs in various sizes of all values in issued colours;
  • 12 trial colour proofs. With two exceptions these are all black. One example of the 3c is known in olive green, while the 1c is known in yellow. Generally they are either large size or stamp sized;
  • 5 with specimen overprint - one of each value. The 1c is yellow, while the others are all issued colours. 
According to the website, there are only between 1 and 5 known examples of each item, so at $300-$3,000 each, they are quite inexpensive, given their scarcity. 

The full listing can be found at this link:

Imperforate Varieties and Part Perforate Varieties

There were 500 examples of each of the following varieties issued for each value:

  • Imperforate completely.
  • Imperforate horizintally.
  • Imperforate vertically.
So there are at most only 250 pairs of each of these varieties in existence, making them modern day rarities. They only list between $140-$240 each depending on grade, making them one of the best bargains of the early modern era in my opinion. 

Postal History

A wide variety of covers can be collected bearing either the stamps of this issue, or this issue in combination with either the Scroll Issue, or the Historical Issue. The first Scroll Issue stamps appear on October 17, 1928 and the set appears between that date and January 8, 1929. So technically, the period of use for this issue is between the following dates:

  • 1c - June 29, 1927 to October 29, 1928;
  • 2c - June 29, 1927 to October 17, 1928;
  • 3c - June 29, 1927 to December 12, 1928;
  • 5c - June 29, 1927 to December 12, 1928
  • 12c -  June 29, 1927 to January 8, 1929;
  • 20c - June 29, 1927 to September 2, 1930.
The 1c will generally be found on unsealed printed matter, or in pairs on local letters and postcards. The 2c will be very common and found on local letters or postcards. The 3c value was issued to pay the Empire letter rate to the UK and for local letters weighing more than 1 ounce. and so it will generally be found used singly on those types of letters. The 5c would generally be found either in combination with the 3c to pay the non-UK letter rate of 8c, or it will be found in larger multiples on parcels or bulk mailing receipts, or in pairs or blocks to pay either the registration or special delivery fees. Finally the 12c value was issued to pay the registration plus postage on a local letter, so most of the covers found with this stamp will be single usages. 

5-Hole OHMS Perfins

All values of this issue, except for the 20c special delivery exist with 5-hole OHMS perfin. There are up to 8 different positions:

  • upright 
  • upright reversed
  • inverted
  • inverted reversed
  • sideways right
  • sideways right reversed
  • sideways left 
  • sideways left reversed
I do not know which combinations exist for each value. Roy Wrigley published a small paperback catalogue of these issues back in the 1980's and it should still be possible to find a copy either on e-bay or with the specialized dealers of philatelic literature like Phil Banser. 

That brings me to the end of my post about this issue. Hopefully you can see that this issue provides plenty of scope for a specialized collection, especially when combined with the next issue, the Historical issue, which will be the subject of my next post. If you want to look through the many listings of this issue in my e-bay store, please click on the following link:

Friday, July 8, 2016

The War Tax Stamps of 1915-1918

Image result for canadian war tax stampsImage result for canadian war tax stamps       

This is my last detailed post on the ever-popular Admiral Issue of 1911-1928. Today's post will deal with the War Tax stamps that were first issued in 1915. In that year, as a measure to finance involvement in World War I, a 1c war tax was levied on all lettermail, increasing the current postage rates. Initially, it was decided to issue separate postage stamps for the actual war tax itself and then later for the war tax and the postage. Finally, in 1918, these stamps were discontinued and the 3c brown was issued to cover both the basic postage and the war tax, without any mention of the said tax.

There were three basic issues for the war tax stamps:

1. The first issue shown at the left had the words "war tax" in white letters in two lines across the design. There were two denominations issued for this design: a 1c dark green and a 2c carmine-red. The only stamp intended to be used for postage was the 1c, with the 2c being intended for use on cheques as a revenue stamp. Generally the only way that the 2c will be found postally used is if it was simply used as a 2c postage stamp. The idea when these were issued was that the postage was supposed to be paid with one stamp, while the war tax was to be paid with another.

2. The second issue shown in the centre had three of the values of the set overprinted with the words "war tax" diagonally. The stamps overprinted were the 5c blue, 20c olive green and 50c black. Eventually, the words "Inland Revenue" were added to the overprint. The overprint on the 5c and 20c was black, while the overprint on the 50c was red. This issue was entirely intended for revenue use, so postally used examples are very scarce.

3. The third issue shown on the right was issued in 1916 to replace the first issue. The idea with these was that they would cover both the postage and the war tax on one stamp. They were issued in only one denomination 2c + 1c and were issued first in carmine and later in brown.

Collecting Possibilities

The First Issue

The first issue is relatively straightforward, with no booklet stamps and no coils. There were also no known imperforates. Both stamps exist with type B lathework at the bottom of the sheets. Despite being relatively simple, there are some good shades of the 1c and 2c to interest the specialist and these shades an be very useful to someone studying the 1c and 2c admirals, as they provide a good reference source for the 1915-1918 inks. The green tends to be a blue green and a dark myrtle green, while the 2c shades are deep rose red, deep scarlet vermilion and carmine vermilion as well as deep rose-carmine. Unitrade lists only two shades of the 2c: carmine and rose-carmine. The 2c exits with two styles of precancel as well. In addition to the shades, and the precancels, one can also collect the different plate blocks. I do not know exactly how many plates were used for this issue, but I would expect that there would be anywhere from 5-10 different plates based on the amount of time that they were in use and on the number that would have been printed.

The Second Issue

Image result for canadian war tax stampsImage result for canadian war tax stamps

Unitrade only lists the two different overprint types on the three values of this issue and no other varieties. However, I believe that one can probably find at least two shades of each value and possibly more. Of course, one can also collect these stamps in plate blocks, which will be very expensive as these are scarce stamps in their own right. The stamps are very rarely seen on cover and are scarce in postally used condition, so an excellent challenge will be to collect as many different cancels on these as possible.

The Third Issue

The third issue is where the bulk of this issue lies. There were three basic sheet stamps issued as well as two basic coil stamps perforated 8 vertically. In addition to this, all the stamps exist with the usual large range of shades, which is particularly pronounced in the case of the 2c carmine, as well as two different due types. The difference between them lies in what appears under the large "T":

  • On die 1, there is a short white line under the "T".
  • On die 2, there is a short white line to half way under the "T", a diagonal line and 5 small dots under the rest of the "T". 
The sheet stamps that were issued are:

  • The 2c + 1c carmine, die 1, perf. 12. 
  • The 2c + 1c  carmine, die 2, perf. 12 - this is the scarce variety. 
  • The 2c + 1c brown, die 2, perf. 12
  • The 2c +1c brown, die 1, perf. 12 - this is the scarce variety. 
  • The 2c +1c carmine die 1, perf. 12 x 8
All of these exist in several shades. Unitrade does list two shades of the die 1 carmine stamp: carmine and rose-red, and lists two shades of the die 2 brown stamp: brown and yellow brown. In practice, there are many more shades than this and collecting them all can form the basis for a very deep specialized collection, since they can be extended to plate blocks for all values.

Both of the basic stamps exist with precancels: 2 styles with the carmine stamp and 11 styles for the brown stamp. The 2c brown exists with several imperforate and partially imperforate varieties, all of which are scarce, and all of which were issued without gum:

  • Imperforate pairs of die 1 and die 2,
  • Horizontal pairs imperforate vertically exist of both the brown and yellow brown shades, these are only found in the die 1.
  • Vertical pairs imperforate horizontally exist for the die 1. 
No other Admiral stamp has this many imperforate varieties. 

The 2c + 1c brown stamp also exists with three different types of lathework: A, B and B-inverted. In addition to the basic types, type A can be found with plate numbers under the lathework, while both types can be found with double lathework. 

The coil stamps were issued for both colours and once again, several shades can be found. The carmine stamp comes only in die 1 and is scarce in mint condition, while the brown stamp comes in both dies 1 and 2, with die 1 being the scarce type. Strips and pairs can be collected that have both dies 1 and 2 se-tenant. All of the coils can be collected in paste-up pairs and strips of 4. 

One final word of caution about the 2c + 1c carmine coil: these can be faked by trimming the top and bottom margins of the less expensive MR5, the perf. 12 x 8 sheet stamp. Examine the top and bottom edges carefully - they should be perfectly straight. If they appear crooked or trimmed, avoid them. Similarly, they can be off centre from top to bottom, but the combined width of the margins should be at least 2 mm. If you come across a stamp with less than 2 mm of combined top and bottom margin, it may be a trimmed example of MR5. 

This concludes my post about the Admiral issue. I hope you have found this series of posts useful. I will now turn my attention to the issues of the 1927-1936 period. As I have stated in an earlier post, I consider this to be a highly neglected field of Canadian philately that affords many possibilities to the creative specialist. On Monday next week, I will start with the 1927 60th Anniversary of Confederation Issue. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, July 4, 2016

The 1926 Surcharges, Issued Imperforates and Part Perforate Coil Stamps of the 1911-1927 Admiral Issue

Today's post will be my second last detailed post on the Admiral Issue. This post will look at three aspects of this issue that appeared toward the end of it's life:

  • The issued imperforate stamps of 1924;
  • The part-perforate coil stamps of 1924;
  • The provisional surcharges of 1926.
The Issued Imperforate Stamps of 1924

Image result for imperforate admiral stamps

The three current low values were issued in imperforate form between October 6, 1923 and January 23, 1924. They were only available through the philatelic agency and were not sold through post offices - a fact that suggests that they were completely philatelic in nature and were not really intended to be used commercially. Indeed, most used examples that one comes across were used on first flight covers in the 1928-1935 period. Finding pairs used in period is quite a challenge. More than one plate was used to print each value, so a specialist may wish to obtain plate numbered examples from each plate:

  • 1c yellow - 50,000 stamps printed from plates 179 and 180;
  • 2c green - 50,000 stamps printed from plates 188 and 189;
  • 3c carmine - 100,000 stamps printed from plates 126-131.
It is surprising to see that no fewer than 6 plates were used to produce only 100,000 stamps for the 3 value. All of the imperforates were printed using the wet process, which was being phased out at this point. So there are no wet-dry printing differences to collect with these. There are no significant shade variations that I am aware of on the 2c or 3c, but that is not to say that some could not be found on the 3c, with patience, especially given the number of different plates used. 

The 3c value can be collected in R-Gauge and pyramid guide blocks as discussed in a previous post, which adds some challenge and all the values can be collected as either plate strips of 4 or blocks of 8. They are less expensive than one would expect, given their issue quantity, but I suspect that this has to do with their high survival rate, given that they were philatelic in nature. A total of 10 blocks are possible for the whole issue, so this can still add up to a fair amount of money. 

I think the most challenging and exciting way to collect these would be to see how many commercially used pairs and blocks you can find canceled in 1924 or certainly before 1927, in addition to collecting the blocks and lathework pieces. Then of course there are covers to seek out. The Unitrade catalogue prices only pairs on cover, but in most cases, pairs would not be paying the correct postage rates, aand would thus be philatelic. It is these items that Unitrade is pricing when it values covers. I would expect that commercial covers that just happen to use pairs or larger multiples to pay the proper oversize or registered rates would be worth a lot more than the basic catalogue prices, on account of their scarcity. 

The Part Perforate Coil Stamps

Image result for part perforate admiral coil stamps

Like the imperforate issues above, these were only sold through the philatelic agency. The post office simply took sheets of coil stamps and left them in sheet form, unguillotined. There were two printings of the 1c and 2c values and only one of the 3c. The second printing of the 1c and 2c was printed by the dry method and these are relatively common and found in nearly every Canadian collection.  Only 50,000 of each of these second printings were issued, but like the imperforates, they must have had a very high survival rate. The first printings on the other hand were by the wet method, and these are some of the scarcest stamps of the modern period, with only 2,200 of each value being issued. In fact, the first printings exist as gutter blocks of 4 and these are worth well over $60,000 in VFNH condition. They are always sold as a set and according to the Unitrade catalogue, there are only 7-10 sets in existence, making these some of the rarest items of the issue, along with the imperforate tete-beche booklet panes discussed in an earlier post. 

Great care has to be taken in buying the first printings as many fakes have been made by adding vertical perforations to the issued imperforates above, which were also printed by the wet method. It is therefore recommended that you either insist on a certificate when buying these, or you can check the perforations by lining up a known genuine perf. 8 vertical coil with the perforated edge of these and seeing if the perforations at least line up properly. If they do, then you have some assurance that they are genuine. 

My comments about the scarcity of commercially used examples that I made for the imperforates applies to these stamps also. Most that one sees were used on first flight covers as well and seeking out pairs or blocks with nice, CDS cancels dated in period (i.e. before 1926) is a worthy challenge. 

The 1926 Surcharges

   Image result for 1926 Admiral Surcharges

In 1926, the 1c War Tax that applied to all mail was abolished, which resulted in a rate reduction on domestic mail from 3c to 2c. There was thus a very large run of demand for the 2c stamp and supplies were very quickly used up. It was therefore decided that existing stocks of the 3c value would be overprinted "2 cents". 

There were two types of overprint issued. The first one, shown on the right had the surcharge in one line. It was issued on October 12, 1926. It can be found on both die 1 and die II stamps, through nearly all the stamps you will ever see are die 1. The die 1 stamps were printed from plates 115 through 117, while the die 2's came from plates 162-163. All told 50,000 stamps were issued with this overprint, which was not a large number at all. It is a relatively scarce stamp - in my opinion it is scarcer than the other two preceding issues, which were produced in  the same quantity. This overprint was printed by the King's Printers and was abandoned due to the quality of the overprinting, which was thought to be poor, as the overprints often had broken letters. 

The second overprint shown to the left was issued on October 16, 1926 and was issued in more than double the quantity (103,600). It was printed from plates 115-117, so it is only found with die 1. This overprinting was done by the Canadian Bank Note Company, but the end result was much the same as the first surcharge. 

In addition to collecting plate blocks and commercially used examples, there are a number of errors in the form of slanted, shifted, double, and triple surcharges. Examples of the double and triple surcharges of the second type are shown below:

 Image result for 1926 Admiral Surcharges              Image result for 1926 Admiral Surcharges

The first type is only known double, while the second type is known both doubled and tripled, and also doubled, with one inverted. No single inverted surcharges are known however. Both types are known badly slanted or shifted. Both types can also be collected as pyramid guide blocks also, through interestingly, no R-guage blocks are known. Finally, an essay pair is known of the first type that has both large and small overprint fonts. Most of these varieties are expensive, being valued at several hundreds of dollars each, or in the low thousands. This is not bad though given how scarce they are. 

This issue also includes two giant rarities:

  • A unique first day cover with a block of 8 of the first type in the rare die 2. This is valued at $12,500 in Unitrade.
  • A plate block of 6 on first day cover of the second type. These are not unique, but are very scarce and valued at $2,250. 
Again, my comments about commercial use apply to these as well. Care has to be taken when buying these also, as forgeries abound, particularly on used stamps, as the temptation to take a near worthless used 3c stamp and turn it into a stamp worth at least $20 is very high. One factor to pay close attention to is the ink. The genuine overprint ink is jet black and has a shine to it. It did not adhere well to the carmine ink, so broken letters are common. The lines of the overprints are clean and sharp also. So with this in mind things to watch for, which may indicate forged overprints are as follows:

  • Letters that have a bled appearance, or are otherwise fuzzy and not sharp. 
  • Letters that are not jet back in colour.
  • Ink that has a dull or flat appearance.
  • Overprints whose font does not match a known genuine example. 
That brings us to the end of this post. I currently have a good selection of these issues in my e-bay store. If you would like to view what I have for sale, you may do so by clicking on the links below: