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Monday, October 31, 2016

The Second Postage Due Issue of 1930-1933


Today's post will deal with a very highly neglected, but very beautiful group of stamps: the second postage due issue of 1930-1932. The postage dues in general are a very neglected field, probably because of the fact that they are located far in the back of most peoples albums.  As we shall see, the five basic designs that were in use between 1906 and 1982, when postage due stamps were in use, provide an excellent basis for a challenging specialized collection that is off the beaten path.

This issue is very similar to the first issue and displays an impressive range in shades for all five values in the set. Some of the values like the 1c and 2c were produced in vast numbers, while others like the 5c and 10c were produced in surprisingly low numbers. In addition to shades, there are at least two different kinds of paper and at least four different kinds of gum. Today's post will look at these in detail.

This issue was printed by the British American Bank Note Company (BABN). I believe they were printed in sheets of 400 which were then cut into panes of 100.

The Stamps and Quantities Issued

1c deep dull reddish lilac.
Issued 1930.
Replaced May 5, 1934.
5,334,000 issued.

2c deep dull reddish lilac.
Issued 1930.
Replaced December 20, 1933.
10,758,000 issued.

4c deep dull reddish lilac.
Issued 1930.
Replaced December 12, 1933.
2,443,000 issued. 

5c deep dull reddish lilac.
Issued 1930.
Not replaced. Reissued in 1948 when rates warranted.
523,000 issued.

10c deep lilac.
Issued 1930.
Replaced December 20, 1933.
309,000 issued. 

As you can see, the numbers issued were very, very low compared to other stamps at the time, and some scarce stamps such as the 5c are highly undervalued given that they are scarcer than the 50c Bluenose or the dollar values of the Scroll and Arch issues. 

Points of Interest

There are fewer directions to take a collection of this issue in, since there are no coils, no booklets, only 1 plate for each stamp and no OHMS issues. However, as we shall see, there is still plenty of scope for a specialized collection:

1. Shade varieties.
2. Paper and gum varieties.
3. Plate blocks.
4. Imperforate varieties.
5. Proof material
6. Postal history, cancellations and used multiples

I will now discuss each of these in further detail. 

Shade Varieties

Unitrade lists two basic shades of each value in the set: dark violet and dull violet. It values both shades equally on every value. I find their nomenclature a bit misleading, as there are very few stamps I have seen that would match either the dark violet or dull violet swatches on the Stanley Gibbons Stamp Colour Key. Instead, most of the shades on this issue are shades of lilac and shades of plum. What Unitrade calls dark violet is actually deep lilac and the "dull violet" is really either deep dull reddish lilac, or deep dull plum. The scans below show the various shades that you might run across on these stamps. 

On the left we have deep dull reddish lilac, while on the right is deep dull violet. As you can hopefully see, the stamp on the right is distinctly bluish compared to the one on the left. The stamp on the left is Unitrade #J6i, while the right stamp is #J6. But if you hadn't seen both these stamps together, you could easily make the mistake of classifying the stamp on the right as J6i and not J6. 

On the left we have deep lilac and on the right, blackish lilac. These are both very similar shades, but are not quite the same and they in turn are similar to the deep dull violet above. 

On the left we have deep bluish lilac, while on the right is deep dull plum. If you compare the deep bluish lilac with the deep dull violet, deep lilac and blackish lilac, you will see a lighter, more bluish, milkier shade. The deep dull plum is very similar to the deep dull reddish lilac, but again it is redder and lighter. 

This is deep reddish violet. Once again, it is both bluer and milkier than the other colours shown above. 

Paper and Gum Varieties


The mesh of the paper is not very obvious on these stamps, which makes it difficult to notice that all the values actually exist on both horizontal wove papers and vertical wove papers. I do not know which combinations of shade and gum varieties are found with each, and this, I feel would be an excellent candidate for a detailed study. The best way to correctly identify the papers is to very gently and carefully bend the stamp between two fingers and see which direction the paper bends most easily:

  • Vertical wove paper will bend easily from side to side, 
  • Horizontal wove paper will bend most easily from top to bottom. 

The gum shows the usual range of variation that we see on the stamps of this period. In terms of colour we find everything from light cream to dark brownish yellow. In terms of evenness of application, we find most gum is evenly applied, though there is a type that shows a distinct mottled appearance. Finally in terms of sheen, we see gum that gives a satin sheen, gum that has a semi-gloss sheen and gum that shows a glossy sheen. I believe that all of these variations are fully collectible as they indicate variations in either the chemical makeup of the gum, or the method by which it was applied. The scans below show some of the various types:

Light cream with a satin sheen.

Yellowish cream with semi-gloss sheen.

Mottled deep cream with satin sheen.

Brownish yellow with satin sheen.

 Deep yellowish cream with satin sheen.

The difference between brownish yellow and deep yellowish cream can be quite subtle, but one can find gum that is even darker than the brownish yellow above. 

Generally speaking the light cream gum and yellowish cream gum with satin sheen dates from the 1930-31 period, while the brownish yellows and mottled creams date from the 1932-33 period. The yellowish cream and deep yellowish cream gums tend to be from the 1933-34 period as a general rule. My conclusion is based on matching these gum types to those found on the commemoratives issued from 1932-34 and the early printings of the Arch Issue stamps that were not issued past 1931. 

Plate Blocks

Unlike other issues where the plate blocks are collected as corner blocks, this issue is very different. The sheets contained no inscriptions whatsoever, except for a reversed "1" in the top margin between columns 5 and 6. On the 5c, this number is found on both the top and bottom margins. Only one plate was used for every value, so this means that there was only one possible block of 4 per sheet of 100. On the 5c, every one of the four panes of 100 would have a block, but on the other values, these blocks occur only on the top two panes. This makes them very scarce, as the maximum number that could have existed at the time of printing was thus:

  • 1c - (5,334,000/400) x 2 = 26,670 blocks
  • 2c - (10,758,000/400) x 2 = 53,790 blocks
  • 4c - (2,443,000/400) x 2 = 12,215 blocks
  • 5c - (523,000/400) x 4 = 5,230 blocks
  • 10c - (309,000/400) x 2 = 1,545 blocks
Of course the number of blocks actually surviving after the panes were split up by postal clerks must be very small, perhaps as little as 5% of the above quantities. And bear in mind that includes blocks that are poorly centered or with gum problems. I would imagine that the number of VFNH blocks in existence is probably 1-2% of the above quantities, or even less, which explains why they are so expensive in Unitrade. In fact, they may be quite undervalued when one considers their true scarcity. 

Imperforate Varieties

There were no imperforate pairs produced of any value of this issue. The only imperforate variety known occurs on the 10c, where one sheet was discovered with no horizontal perforations. As Unitrade notes, the vertical perforations were positioned at a slight diagonal angle, resulting in the majority of extant pairs being badly off-centre. The worst of these is still worth approximately $750 according to Unitrade, while the best pairs are worth $5,000. 

Proof Material

In terms of proofs, the BNA Proofs website lists two stamp sized die proofs of each value, or 10 die proofs in all. One proof of each value exists in violet, initialled "PJV" and dated "Janu 3 1930" and one proof of each value exists in black. They are all very rare, with three reported examples of each one. Generally, the violet proofs sell for $2,000 each at auction, while the black proofs are valued at $1,000 each. Of course, these amounts are approximations of what they last brought at auction. In reality, you may find yourself paying much more than these amounts when they come up for sale again. However, the number of proof items is very manageable over a lifetime of patient searching. 

Postal History, Cancellations and Used Multiples

The 5c and 10c stamps had no specific domestic single usage, as a single use would have to correspond to a 2.5c and 5c deficiency in postage respectively, since the deficiency was always assessed at double the amount. So the only way these are found used is usually in multiples, or in conjunction with other values. Collecting all values on cover can be quite challenging, through postcards can often be found with them. Generally speaking:

  • The 1c value can be found on redirected local first class letters to a non-local address, or on undeliverable third class mail. 
  • The 2c value would generally be found on shortpaid letters or postcards, where the deficiency was 1c. So given the re-introduction of the war tax in 1931, we would expect to see many of these on covers from late 1931 or 1932, where the old rates were still paid instead of the new ones. 
  • The 4c would be found on local first class letters where no postage was paid at all. 
Cancellations are tricky on these, as most postage due stamps were cancelled with crayon or pencil markings. The prices in Unitrade for used stamps do not do them justice at all, nor do they reflect the true scarcity of in-period CDS town cancels. If you look at the used prices in Stanley Gibbons for these, they are much higher. Collecting CDS used examples of these stamps and any used multiples you can lay your hands on is likely to prove over the long term to have been an excellent investment. 

This concludes my discussion of this issue. We have a good selection of these stamps in our store, which you can view by accessing the following link:

My next post will deal with the third postage due issue from 1933-1935. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Medallion Issue of 1932-1935 Part 2

Today's post will look at the remaining aspects of the Medallion Issue of stamps that appeared between 1932 and 1935.

 Imperforate pairs

Canada 4c-8c
All of the stamps of this issue exist in imperforate pairs, like the one shown above. They are all extremely scarce, with only 150 being produced of the low values, 100 of the 13c and 75 of the 20c. In fact, these numbers are lower than the issues that pre-date this and are much more expensive. For this reason, I believe that they will prove to have been a very smart investment to any collector with the foresight to acquire them now, while they are less than $1,000 per pair. In fact, lightly hinged pairs of the low values can be had for as little as $350, which is a pittance for anything this scarce. The 3c value can be found in both dies 1 and 2, with the die 2 being found only as a flat plate printing, and being the rarest and most valuable of all the imperforate pairs. It currently lists in Unitrade at $3,750 in VFNH condition. 

Proof material

The quantity of proofs known for this issue is much lower than for other issues, and the proofs themselves are more expensive, being valued in the $2,000 range for most pieces. Some of the lithographed essays can be purchased for much less - $300-$600 - that is, if you can find them at auction. The BNA Proofs website lists 17 different items, and you can see the full descriptions by accessing the following link:

Generally speaking the proof material can be broken down into three main categories:

1. Photographic essays in black and red of the 1 cent value.
2. Lithographed proofs of the 1c and 2c designs in black for use in production of the postcards. 
3. Stamp sized die proofs in the issued colours, many of which are dated. 

What is interesting about the 3c proofs is that the dates on them show that die 1 was approved a full 7 months before die 2. However in the sequence of plates used, the first two are die 1, while the last 10 are die 2. 

First day covers

This is the first Canadian definitive issue for which the first day covers are very affordable. Most are quite plain, with either no cachet, or very simple cachets as shown on the 4c cover above. However, it is possible to form and interesting and varied collection of these, for not much more than $20-$50 per cover, as compared to several hundred dollars per cover for the Arch issue. 

Postal history and cancellations

Image result for medallion issue covers

Image result for medallion issue covers

Although the most ornate advertising covers made their appearance in the late Victorian period, there are some very visually appealing covers available to collect during this period. My favourites are those from hotels such as the one shown below. These hotels often had very attractive pre-printed stationery showing engraved vignettes of the hotel and in clean condition, they make a very attractive display indeed. The best part about both these types of covers is that they can still be found in large cover lots and can be bought individually for much, much less than comparable covers from the earlier period. The Art-Deco style is of course much more modern, but it is becoming ever more popular with the passage of time. So now may just be the time to acquire the better and more attractive items, as they are unlikely to remain as inexpensive as they currently are.


The 1c, 2c 3c and 5c values of this set are all known pre-cancelled. The only coil stamp known precancelled is the 1c dark green, and it is only found with one style: the three sets of parallel horizontal bars. The 5c is also only known with one style. However, the 1c can be found with 70 different styles, the 2c can be found with 29 styles and the 3c can be found with up to 7 styles. It should be pointed out that this does not mean that there are only 70 types of precancels of the 1c. In fact there are many hundreds, as one style may have been customized for different Canadian cities, so that there may be dozens or hundreds of different precancels that for just one style. Furthermore, many of the precancels are known doubled, tripled, inverted etc. The Walburn specialized catalogue of Canadian precanels gives a complete listing of all the different known types of precancels that can be found on the stamps of this issue.

Coil stamps and spacing varieties

The coil stamps of this issue are some of the scarcest issued in the modern era. There are relatively few listed varieties, with the line pairs being the only listed variants, which are listed on each of the three values at a slight premium over the price of a regular pair. The above scan shows an example of a line pair of the 1c value. There was often a jump in the spacing at the line, so that I believe it i possible to also collect jump strips or jump pairs as well. I have not seen any significant variation in the spacing of the stamp impressions. However, given that nearly all of the coil stamps printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company (CBN) exist with narrow and wide spacing varieties, it is reasonable to believe that such varieties exist on these coil stamps as well, even though they were printed by a completely different firm. 

Unitrade lists start and end strips for these, but notes that they are scarce and only lists them as strips of 4, being 2 stamps plus 2 tabs. However, it should be possible to find complete strips with all 10 start ad end tabs. They are quite expensive, being worth a minimum of $100 - 4 times the price of the basic stamps contained in them. 

OHMS Perfins

Image result for Medallion issue OHMS perfins

This issue is the second last one to be found with the five hole OHMS perfin shown above. The term 5-hole refers to the number of holes in the vertical bars of the H. All eight values can be found so perforated and like all the other 5-hole OHMS issues, they are expensive, with a basic VF used set costing upwards of $1,200. 

As I have stated in previous posts, the pattern shown above should theoretically exist in up to eight different orientations:

  • Upright, reading from left to right (shown above)
  • Upright, reading from right to left.
  • Inverted, reading from left to right.
  • Inverted, reading from right to left. 
  • Sideways pointing left, reading from top to bottom.
  • Sideways pointing left, reading from bottom to top.
  • Sideways pointing right, reading from top to bottom.
  • Sideways pointing right, reading from bottom to top. 
I do not know whether every single one of the 8 different values exist with all 8 orientations. However, it would be a very rewarding and challenging exercise to seek out all 64 possible stamps in the best available condition (8 stamps in 8 different positions)

Postal stationery

Image result for medallion issue postal stationery

There is a fairly decent range of postal stationery for this issue, through it is not as extensive as the earlier Arch Issue. Unitrade gives a very simplified listing of the envelopes, special order envelopes, post bands, wrappers, and post cards. However, it is possible to find variations in the shades of the inks used to print the items, as well as errors in the makeup of the envelopes that are not listed. Webb's specialized catalogue of Canadian postal stationery provides a comprehensive listing of all known and documented varieties of postal stationery from this issue. 

The basic varieties of postal stationery can be summarized as follows:

  • 1c green, 2c brown and 3c red envelopes exist in #10 and #8 sizes. 
  • 1c green, 2c brown and 3c red special order envelopes also exist, with the 1c envelopes existing precancelled. 
  • 1c green post bands and wrappers exist on both grey kraft paper and regular kraft paper as shown above. 
  • 1/2c blue, 1c green and 2c brown postcards exist, and can be found with up to three different inscriptions. The 1c green postcards can be found on mimeographed stock and rouletted as well. 
  • 1c green + 1/2c blue and 1c green + 1c green reply cards exist, each with two different sets of inscriptions. 
A worthy challenge for the specialist of this issue is to try to find a commercially used example of each of the above, from each major Canadian city, used in the proper period. It will likely prove to be a lot more challenging than you might think. 

This concludes my discussion of this issue. My next posts will look at the two postage due issues that appeared between 1930 and 1935. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Medallion Issue of 1932-1935 Part 1

The next two posts will deal with what in my opinion is one of the most overlooked of all the definitive sets: the Medallion Issue of 1932-1935. I must admit that in my early youth, I did not care much for the art-deco bas-relief designs. However, they have become far more attractive to me with the passage of time. I do think that one factor that has resulted in the series being less popular is the relatively small number of stamps in it. For some reason, the decision was made not to replace any of the high values of the previous Arch Issue, and only to reissue the Old Quebec Citadel design in the new denomination of 13c when the local registered rate increased from 12c to 13c. The result was a definitive set that consisted of only 8 basic stamps - 6 low values from 1c to 8c, the 13c Old Quebec Citadel, and the 20c special delivery stamp reissued with "Cents" replacing "Twenty Cents" in the value inscription. However, what can be a weakness to some, can also be seen as a strength, as the relative lack of high values can make this a more affordable set to collect if your budget is more limited. Of course, you may be of the view that the true complete set includes any printings of the 20c, 50c and $1 from the previous set that were made while these stamps were current.

As we will see, there are many, many directions in which a collection of this set can be taken, and quite a good proportion of the collectible material from this set is quite scarce. This was the last set to be printed by the British American Bank Note Company (BABN) before losing the contract to the Canadian Bank Note Company in 1935. Consequently, the stamps suffer from the same problems in regards to perforations and centering that the other BABN issues do. The 1c-3c stamps were printed using Stickney Rotary Presses, but the remaining values were all printed using flat printing plates. The designs were based on a sculpture of King George V by Edgar Bertam Mackennal, who was a very active designer of the stamps of Great Britain at the time.

The Stamps Designs, Formats and Quantities Issued

Canada 195 USED 1932 King George V Medallion Issue 1

1c Dark green King George V
Issued December 1, 1932
Replaced June 1, 1935
527,450,000 sheet stamps
1,021,152 booklet stamps
13,573,000 coil stamps

2c Dark brown King George V
Issued December 1, 1932
Replaced June 1, 1935
514,300,000 sheet stamps
1,359,408 booklet stamps
19,265,000 coil stamps

3c Deep red King George V
Issued December 1, 1932
Replaced June 1, 1935
1,162,700,000 sheet stamps
21,781,168 booklet stamps
28,310,000 coil stamps


4c Ochre King George V
Issued December 1, 1932
Replaced June 1, 1935
7,017,000 sheet stamps

5c Dark blue King George V
Issued December 1, 1932
Replaced June 1, 1935
54,500,000 sheet stamps


8c Red orange King George V
Issued December 1, 1932
Replaced June 1, 1935
4,465,000 sheet stamps

13c dull violet Old Quebec Citadel
Issued December 1, 1932
Replaced June 1, 1935
5,017,000 sheet stamps

20c brownish vermilion 
Issued December 24, 1932
Replaced June 1, 1935
600,000 stamps
Points of Interest

A specialist who wants to focus on this issue can take it in several different directions, by concentrating on one or more of the following aspects:

1. Shade varieties
2. Paper and gum varieties
3. Plate blocks, positional multiples and full sheets
4. Plate flaws, re-entries and retouches
5. Booklet panes and complete booklets
6. Die types
7. Imperforate pairs
8. Proof material
9. First day covers
10. Postal history and cancellations
11. Precancels
12. Coil stamps and spacing varieties
13. OHMS Perfins
14. Postal stationery

Today's post will over the first 6 of these, and next week's post will cover the last 6. 

Shade Varieties

Although this issue does not have a large number of shade varieties in comparison to many of Canada's earlier issues, there are still enough varieties out there to form the basis for an interesting collection, especially when those shades are paired either with the plate blocks, paper & gum varieties, or both. Below is a list of some of the shades I have encountered on the stamps I have handled over the years:

  • 1c myrtle green
  • 1c deep myrtle green
  • 1c deep dull green
  • 2c blackish brown
  • 2c dark yellow brown
  • 2c deep yellowish sepia
  • 3c deep scarlet vermilion
  • 3c scarlet
  • 3c bright scarlet
  • 3c deep scarlet
  • 4c bright brown ochre (ochre with a hint of brown)
  • 4c bright ochre brown (brown with a hint of ochre)
  • 4c ochre yellow
  • 4c orangy ochre
  • 4c light yellow brown
  • 5c deep steel blue
  • 5c steel blue
  • 5c deep Prussian blue
  • 5c indigo
  • 5c dull indigo
  • 5c dull steel blue
  • 5c dull Prussian blue
  • 8c deep red orange
  • 8c red orange
  • 8c reddish orange
  • 8c orange red
  • 8c deep orange red
  • 8c bright red orange
  • 13c deep dull reddish lilac
  • 13c deep dull violet
  • 13c deep dull lilac
  • 13c deep lilac
  • 13c deep reddish violet
  • 13c deep dull reddish violet
  • 20c brownish vermilion
  • 20c deep Indian red
  • 20c deep brownish vermilion
  • 20c very deep brownish orange vermilion
  • 20c dull scarlet
  • 20c light brown red
  • 20c brown red
Although some of these variations are subtle, they are readily apparent when placed next to one another. collecting in blocks of four will allow you to see the differences quite readily. 

Paper and Gum Varieties

This issue was released during the period in which the gum used by the BABN underwent considerable changes. The variations depend on whether the stamps were printed from flat plates, or rotary plates. Unitrade notes that the 1c is printed using both flat plates and rotary plates. However, it has been brought to my attention by Julian Goldberg, a Toronto philatelist, that this is incorrect. Apparently all the stamps printed using rotary plates are perforated 11.25 x 11, whereas the flat plate printings are all perf. 11 x 11 exactly. Mr. Goldberg has established this through extensive research into both the perforations and the Stickney Rotary Press technology that the BABN adopted from the Bureau of Engraving & Printing in the USA that devised the technology. The 1c so called flat plate stamp is perforated 11.25 x 11, and the design dimensions are consistent with the stamp being printed using the rotary method. Mr. Goldberg is of the opinion that it is actually a rotary press printing made on pre-gummed paper, as opposed to the other rotary press printed stamps which are wet printings. Mr. Goldberg calls this stamp the "Avro Arrow of Canadian stamps", referring of course to the ill-fated aircraft that was scrapped by the Diefenbaker government due to political pressure from the US. He thinks that the BABN improved the technology and modified it to work with pre-gummed paper, but that the Bureau of Engraving and Printing may not have been happy with these modifications, which may have been the reason why the 2c and 3c stamps are extremely rare thus. I had thought they did not, but apparently some plate blocks were found that were printed using the dry method. The 1c however, is the only one of these three values that is not a rarity when printed by the dry method.

The papers vary in thickness as well, with the rotary press printings being on thicker paper than the flat plate printings. The paper for both the flat plate printings and the rotary press printings can be found with mesh that is either not readily visible, or with clearly visible vertical mesh. 

Rotary Press Printings

The gum on the rotary printings is usually creamy off-white in colour, but what varies is the degree of sheen to the gum, as well as the presence or absence of dark vertical streaks running through the gum. These can either be very dark and prominent on the stamps, or can be almost invisible. 

Flat Plat Printings

The early printings from December 1932 and very early 1933 have very dark coffee coloured gum, which often appears quite mottled. It can either be quite shiny as well, or have a less shiny satin sheen. Moving into 1933, it becomes more yellowish, less brownish and not mottled, being clear and usually quite shiny, though printings from later in 1933 have gum that has more of a satin sheen. On the 1934 printings the gum is cream coloured and has a satin sheen, being completely different from the earlier gum. Some philatelists who are unfamiliar with the gum differences on this issue, often make the mistake of thinking that their stamps are damaged, when they are perfectly sound. 

All the 1c, 4c, 5c, 8c and 13c stamps that I have examined seem to show the full range of gum types, as one would expect. 

Plate Blocks, Positional Multiples and Full Sheets

Although not as extensive as the Arch Issue, a good number of plates were used to print the stamps of this issue, so that a large number of plate blocks can be collected. In addition, most if not all values of this issue probably still exist in full sheets, though these must be getting scarcer by the year, as they get broken up to harvest the well centered NH singles. All of the blocks exist in 4 positions (except the lower positions of the 4c, 5c, 8c and 13c which are blank, so blocks from different plates are indistinguishable), and the following plates were used to print the various stamps of this issue:

  • 1c green - 6 plates were used for the printings made by the rotary process.
  • 1c green - 3 plates were used for the flat plate printings.
  • 2c black brown - 3 plates were used. 
  • 3c deep red - 2 plates were used for the die 1 rotary press printings.
  • 3c deep red - 10 plates were used for the die 2 rotary press printings.
  • 4c ochre - 2 plates were used.
  • 5c dark blue - 2 plates were used.
  • 8c red orange - 2 plates were used.
  • 13c dull violet - 2 plates were used.
  • 20c brownish vermilion - 1 plate was used in upper positions only.

Ignoring the possible shade, paper and gum varieties, there are thus 130 different plate blocks. Most blocks from this issue are worth quite a bit more than the price of the corresponding single stamps. This is true regardless of whether the blocks are fine, or very fine, hinged or never hinged. 

Plate Flaws, Re-Entries and Retouches

There are two major plate varieties listed in Unitrade, both of which occur on the 5c:

  • The major re-entry, which involves doubling of the letters in Canada and some details of the crown at upper right, and
  • The so called "blue nose" re-entry in which a shift of the horizontal shading lines resulted in a doubling of the horizontal shading lines on the King's nose. 
Both of these re-entries are described and illustrated by Ralph Trimble in his Re-Entries website. The major re-entry is from position 10 of the upper left pane of plate 1, whereas the blue nose re-entry is from position 79 of the upper left pane of plate 2. You can access Mr. Trimble's website via the following link:

Both of these re-entries were retouched to correct them. However, some of the doubling is still present, and it is this detail that enables us to identify them. According to him there are no other re-entries reported on the stamps of this issue. I find it hard to believe that there aren't any more on the other values. I believe that there must be other plate flaws, re-entries and the like - they just have to be discovered and properly documented.  

If you look at the 20c stamp illustrated above, you can see a slash - like flaw passing through the lower right "20". It is flaws like this that need to be studied further to determine their significance. 

Booklet Panes and Complete Booklets


The 1c, 2c and 3c values of this series were all issued in booklet format. The two formats encountered are shown above:

  • Panes of 4 with two labels, which form a very wide margin tab, 
  • Panes of six with a narrow selvage tab. 
All of these were printed using the flat plate method, so many of the paper and gum varieties should exist on these as well. 

The Panes of 4 Plus 2 Labels

These were all issued on September 19, 1933, almost eleven months after the issue first appeared. The 1c and 2c panes are scarcer than the 3c panes, as they were only issued in one particular 25c booklet that contained one pane of each value. 125,000 such booklets were issued in English, and 40,292 were issued in French, so that only 165,292 panes were issued for the 1c and 2c. Both these booklet panes can be found with either completely blank tabs, or tabs that show a portion of the plate inscription for "Plate" or "No. 1". 

The 3c was also issued in a second 25c booklet that contained two panes of 4. The 216,000 French booklets that were issued, were released earlier than the English booklets on August 22, 1933. 2,424,000 English booklets were issued on November 13, 1933. Since these each contained 2 panes, the total number of 3c panes issued was 5,445,292 (165,292 + (216,000 x 2) + (2,424,000 x 2)). The 3c panes can be found with the same tab inscriptions as the 1c panes, but also a third variety showing a partial inscription "No. 2". 

The Panes of 6

These were issued only for the 1c and 2c values, with both coming from completely different booklets. 

The 1c panes came from booklets containing 4 panes of 6, and were issued on different dates, depending on whether the booklets were English or French. 27,087 English booklets were issued on December 28, 1933, while 15,461 French booklets were issued on March 26, 1934. The 1c panes can be found with either "Plate" or "No. 2" inscriptions in the tabs. 

The 2c panes came from booklets containing 2 panes of 6, and were issued on September 7, 1933. 103,000 English booklets and 10,284 French booklets were issued. These can also be found with either "Plate", "No. 1", and "No. 2" in the tabs. 

Collecting the actual booklets themselves opens up additional possibilities because there are two different types of booklet covers for each of the basic booklets. Like the Arch issue before, the booklet covers were generally printed in a colour resembling that of the stamps inside, with  a black coat of arms on the front. The type differences lie in the inscription on the cover:

  • Type 1 booklets have a "Post Office" or "Les Mandats" inscription, 
  • Type 2 booklets have a "Register" or "Recommendez" inscription. 

Then, any of those booklets can be found with either "Plate", "No. 1" or "No. 2" on the tab of one or more booklet panes inside. Unitrade does not parse this out, listing these on one line. But given that each booklet contains between 2 and 4 panes, the number of possible pane combinations is very large:

  • The booklet containing 4 panes of the 1c: 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 x 2 x 2 = 328 different booklets.
  • The booklet containing 2 panes of the 2c: 4 x 4 x 2 x 2 = 64 different booklets.
  • The booklet containing 2 panes of the 3c: (4 x 4 x 2 x 2) - 16 = 48 different booklets.
The reason why so many possibilities exist is that each pane in the booklet can either be blank or contain an inscription. Only 48 possible booklets exist for the booklet containing 2 panes of the 3c, as the type 1 booklets with tabs that are inscribed are not known in French. These booklets are all very expensive, due to their considerable scarcity. They all list in Unitrade in the $170-$1,200 range. Given that there could be as many as 440 different possible booklets to collect, getting them all, if they even exist, would be a lifetime endeavour. 

Die Types

There is one well documented instance of two dies types on this issue, which comes upon the 3c value. Basically, the first two plates, which were die 1, had the top point of the 3's even with the white horizontal line above the word "cents". It seems curious to me that there wouldn't have been similar die type differences on the other values as well. It would be an interesting exercise to examine a large lot of used 1c and 2c stamps to see if any similar differences could be discovered. 

This concludes my first post about this fascinating issue. Next week I will cover the remaining aspects. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Our Store Is Having a 25% off Sale!!


In preparing for our move to New Brunswick, we have decided that the time has come to offer a large portion of our classic stamps to collectors at significantly reduced prices.  Until November 17, 2016 all our mint hinged stamps and a few of our used and NH stamps will be offered at 25% off our regular prices.

This means that a stamp that lists for $100 in Unitrade, is now priced for between $45 and $75 depending on the exact grade. Also, at the present time we are not required to charge HST on our sales. This will soon change, but for now Canadian buyers have an opportunity to acquire some very desirable stamps at substantial savings from what most dealers will charge, after HST is factored in.

Also remember that we only charge once for shipping, no matter how many stamps you buy. So if you live in Canada, you pay a flat 85 cents, and anywhere else a flat $2.

The store link to all our listings is given below:

Happy hunting!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The 1932-1934 Commemorative Issues - Part 2

My apologies to those of you who were checking the blog and expecting to see a post on October 10. I returned from my honeymoon in NYC on the 9th and it has been pretty crazy around here ever since. So without further delay, I will discuss the remaining aspects of these issues that were not covered in my first post.

Proof Material

There is a surprising amount of proof and essay material in existence for these issues. The BNA Proofs website does an excellent job of listing, describing and pricing 31 different pieces. Most are very affordable, being in the $200-$900 range. However, the die proofs are expensive, being over $1,000 each. There is a surprisingly large number of items for the 3c Jacques Cartier Issue, comprising 15 of the 24 items. The link to the BNA proofs website is:

The existing proof material is quite scarce, with just 1-6 examples reported of each item. The full range of essays and proofs can be summarized as follows:
  • Large die proofs in issued colours of all stamps except the Royal William stamp and the Ottawa Conference Issues.
  • Stamp sized die proofs in issued colours of all stamps. 
  • Trial colour die proof of the UPU Congress Issue in black.
  • Trial colour die proof of the Royal William Issue in brown. 
  • 2 different essays in black of the UPU Congress Issue.
  • 3 different vignette essays of the Royal William, all in blue. 
  • 12 different essays of the 3c Jacques Cartier issue, all in black. 

OHMS Perfins

The OHMS perfins are, in my opinion, one of the most challenging and overlooked aspects of modern Canadian philately. While I see plenty of overprinted OHMS material, and plenty of the 4-hole perfins, I have rarely come across the 5-hole type that was in use before 1935. This material is so scarce in general, that Unitrade does not even list it in mint condition.

Unitrade lists all of the commemorative stamps with the 5-hole type OHMS perfin, and a basic set of the most common types in fine condition will likely cost over $1,000. However, as I stated before in other posts dealing with other issues, the perfin can be found in up to eight different orientations as follows:
  • Upright, reading from left to right
  • Upright, reading from right to left.
  • Inverted, reading from left to right.
  • Inverted, reading from right to left. 
  • Sideways pointing left, reading from top to bottom.
  • Sideways pointing left, reading from bottom to top.
  • Sideways pointing right, reading from top to bottom.
  • Sideways pointing right, reading from bottom to top. 
I do not know whether all commemorative issues from 1932-34 can be found with all 8 orientations, but it would be a tremendously rewarding challenge to try and find them all. In addition, a "missing pin in S" variety could also potentially be found in each orientation, making a total of 16 potentially different types. With 10 basic stamps, that translates into up to 160 different stamps! Given that the average catalogue price is over $100 each, obtaining them all could be a very challenging pursuit indeed. 

One word of caution here, and any time I discuss the perforated official stamps: always buy from a reputable source that is prepared to either obtain certificates of authenticity, or otherwise stand behind what they sell. These stamps can be very easily faked by altering genuine, unperforated stamps, which are relatively cheap by comparison. There were specific dies used to produce the perfin and a careful study of known genuine examples, to understand the correct size, shape and spacing of the holes can pay huge dividends in helping you avoid being taken. 

Postal History

The limited number of stamps in the series and their short period of use makes this an ideal issue in which to collect the postal history. Generally, the 3c stamps will be found either on local covers, or in conjunction with a 10c definitive, or the 10c Loyalists stamp to pay the 13c local registered rate. The 2c New Brunswick stamp is often found used on cover in multiples, rather than singles, as singles would only be good to pay the local letter rate within the cities, or the postcard rate. The 5c UPU Issue and Royal William issues would have been used singly to pay the non-UK foreign rate. Finally the Regina Grain Exhibition stamp would have been used on either heavier foreign letters, as a special delivery stamp, on bulk mailing receipts or on registered letters that had more than the normal amount of insurance coverage. More interesting uses would be:
  • Registered special delivery covers using both the 20c and 10c stamps, or multiples of the other stamps.
  • Overweight or registered foreign letters using only these stamps.
  • Foreign airmail covers using only these stamps. 
Of course, you could open up the field considerably by accepting covers that use a combination of these stamps and the definitives of the medallion issue. There is almost no limit to the ways in which you could organize a collection of covers of these issues, but some ideas include:
  • By rate, and then by destination.
  • For local covers, by cancellation - i.e. point of origin.
  • By destination for foreign covers.
  • By value and destination. 
Although many people store their covers in plastic sleeves in boxes, I prefer to use black Vario pages as I find they display covers very well and can be integrated in with your stamps. The 1-pocket pages work very well for legal sized covers, while the smaller ones fit very nicely in the 2-pocket pages. 

First Day Covers

This is the first period in which First Day Covers, are not very, very expensive. They are not cheap, but at $15-75 they are very much within the reach of the average collector. By 1932, First day covers were very popular, so there should be a reasonably wide range of cachets that can be found. Again, there is more than one way to organize a collection of FDC's. However some suggestions include:
  • Either by issue, and city for covers with no cachet.
  • By cachet, and then by issue for the cacheted covers. 
The only issue you are likely to encounter in collecting these is freshness, or lack thereof. Many of the envelopes manufactured during this period utilized adhesives that tend to bleed through the envelope and brown with age, resulting in overs that are less than fresh.

In addition to FDC's, many of these issues can also be found on First Flight airmail covers as well as Dogsled covers. These are an extensive, specialized field in their own right, with these covers generally being collected by route, as well as the cachet that is generally found on the envelope. 


The size of these stamps means that they generally caught most of the cancels that were applied to them. Consequently, it is possible to form collections of CDS cancels. My suggestion in this regard is to worry less about centering and more about the clarity of the cancellation. You could aim for a simple cross-section collection, in which you attempt to obtain 1 of each stamp cancelled in each province. This will be fairly easy until you get to Prince Edward Island, Yukon and Northwest Territories, when it will be more challenging. This would become a relatively modest collection of 100 stamps. Alternatively, you could try to obtain as many different CDS cancels from all, or a selection of the 10 provinces and territories. Given that many provinces had over 5,000 post offices, it could take you a lifetime to seek them all out. If you settle on obtaining 2,000 different cancels per stamp, then you are looking at seeking out 20,000 used stamps. These stamps catalogue from $1-$10 each, so over time, you will form a fairly valuable collection.

Bringing it All Together - Scoping Out A Specialized Collection

If you decided to specialize in these issues, your lifetime budget for an in-depth collection could look something like this:

1. Mint plate blocks - all VFNH - Unitrade $10,188
2. Imperf pairs - all VFNH - Unitrade - $11,390
3. Gutter multiples of the 3c Cartier vartieties - all VFNH - Unitrade $2,150
4. Proof material - all items listed - $39,900 - likely higher as bidding on these items is often fierce.
5. OHMS Perfins - assuming all 160 possible positions - $2,780 x 16 = $44,480.
6. First day covers - assuming 5 different cachets of each - $1,850.
7. Covers - assuming 20 different of each stamp at $25 each - $5,000.
8. Cancels - assuming 2,000 different of each, all VF - $164,000

Total catalogue value of the above is a staggering $278,958! Without the used stamps, it is still $114,958 - much more than I bet you would ever have thought possible for such an innocuous group of 10 stamps. You probably wouldn't have to pay $164,000 for the used stamps, as you could acquire some in bulk lots. However, bulk used lots with nice VF stamps from this period do not come up very often at all, so you will still have to obtain most singles at retail and will have to pay a fairly high percentage of Unitrade if you want VF.

This illustrates very nicely how most collectors vastly underestimste the cost involved in forming an in-depth specialized collection of an issue of stamps. We are talking here about a period which many now dismiss as "modern". Indeed, this material is often relegated to the last heading in most auction catalogues all too often titled "1927 to Modern". However, it is still quite expensive if you want to go beyond the basic stamps. Over a 35 year period, $278K translates into roughly $8,000 per year, which is a hefty amount for most of us to spend on our hobbies. As we shall see, this trend does not really stop until we get well into Queen Elizabeth's reign, and even then any issue always has rarities associated with it that make a specialized collection expensive.

This concludes my discussion of the 1932-34 Commemorative issues. My next post will look at one of my favourite definitive issues: the 1932-35 Medallion Issue.