The scope is very limited for the 1937 Coronation, although there are quite a few proof items for it that are more challenging, and one can always seek out better frankings on cover. However, it is the 1939 Royal Visit issue that affords real scope and challenge for the specialist. The main attraction of this issue lies in the plate blocks. This was the very first bicoloured engraved issue to be produced, and it is in fact one of the only such issues prior to the introduction of multi-colour printing in the late 1960's. Consequently, two separate plates were employed to print each stamp in the set: one for the frame, and the other for the vignette. The result is a surprisingly large number of different plate blocks, some of which are very rare.
Both issues were printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company. The 1937 Coronation issue was printed in sheets of 200, which were then guillotined into 4 panes of 50. I have not seen full sheets of the 1939 Royal Visit Issue, but I suspect that the sheet and pane sizes are the same.
The Stamp Designs, Issue Dates and Quantities
1937 Coronation Issue
1939 Royal Visit Issue
Despite being commemorative issues that were in use for a relatively short period of time, there are still many ways in which you can form a specialized collection of this issue:
- Shade varieties exist for all stamps.
- Paper and gum varieties exist with a large range of variation.
- Plate blocks there are 176 possible plate blocks, though some have yet to be reported.
- Re-entries exist on at least the 2c Royal Visit, and possibly other stamps.
- Colour shifts on the 1939 Royal Visit Issue.
- Imperforate Varieties exist for all stamps and are rare.
- Proof material.
- OHMS perfins exist for all stamps and are scarce to rare.
- First Day Covers, postal history and cancels.
I do not currently have any obvious shade variations in my stock to show you now, but I do know that there are definitely some which you can collect. The basic colour is actually carmine-red, and so you can find examples that contain a bit more red than carmine, and others that have bit more carmine than red, as well as variations in intensity.
1939 Royal Visit Issue
1c Green & Black
On this stamp the basic frame colour is deep green. It can be found in a soft, hue containing a hint of grey as shown in the stamp on the left. Alternatively it can be found in a deep bright hue as well, as on the right stamp. The black centres, may also vary, though I haven't really noticed any significant shades on this stamp.
2c Brown & Black
All the 1937 Coronation stamps that I have seen are printed on a creamy wove paper, that has a smooth front surface and light horizontal ribbing being visible from the gummed side. This paper is found on many stamps of the 1935 Dated Die Issue, which suggests that it may have been the paper used for the 1937 printings of that set. However, it is possible that other papers, such as the soft wove with vertical mesh, and the crisp wove with no mesh - both papers found on the subsequent Mufti Issue, may indeed exist on this issue. A thorough study of papers would have to be undertaken to establish, with certainty, the full range of papers that exists on this issue.
The 1939 Royal Visit issue seems to be found mostly on the soft wove with vertical mesh, which is often seen on the Mufti Issue. I have also seen a crisp wove that shows no mesh as well. I have not found the horizontal ribbed paper that was used on the 1937 Coronation Issue however. The colour of the paper on the surface seems to vary from a cream paper, to a paper that has a slightly greyish tint. This might result from the black ink residue left on the printing plates after the plates were wiped. I'm not certain, and one way to resolve this might me to study full sheets and see if the surface colouration is even throughout the sheet, including the selvage. If it is, it does suggest that it is the actual colour of the paper and is not discolouration caused by ink.
Gum Varieties - 1937 Coronation Issue
Gum Varieties - 1939 Royal Visit
- Smooth cream gum with a satin sheen
- Smooth mottled yellowish cream gum with a satin sheen.
- Streaky yellowish cream gum with a satin sheen.
- Smooth yellowish cream with a semi-gloss sheen.
- Smooth mottled yellowish cream with a semi-gloss sheen.
- All known positions of the 1c plate 1-3, which are so far only UL, UR and LL.
- All known positions of the 1c plate 1-4, which are so far only UL, LL and LR.
- All known positions of the 1c plate 2-3, which are so far only UL, LL, LR.
- All known positions of the 1c plate 2-4, which are so far only UL, UR or LL.
- Plate 5-1 of the 3c which has never been seen, and likely does not exist.
- All known positions of plate 5-3 of the 3c, which so far are only the UL and LL positions.
- 1c - 18 plates: 1-1 to 1-4; 2-1 to 2-4; 3-1 to 3-4; 4-1 to 4-4 and 5-1 & 5-2. All positions exist for all except the rare plates mentioned above. Here there are 68 different blocks to collect without considering any of the paper, shade or gum varieties that I discussed above.
- 2c - 6 plates: 1-1 to 1-2; 2-1 to 2-2 and 3-1 to 3-2. All positions exist for a total of 24 basic blocks. Why so few plates were used compared to the 1c, which had almost the same issue quantity is a bit of a mystery.
- 3c - 19 confirmed plates: 1-1 to 1-4; 2-1 to 2-4; 3-1 to 3-4, 4-1 to 4-4; 5-2 to 5-4. All positions exist for all except the rare plates mentioned above. Here there are 74 different blocks to collect without considering any of the paper, shade or gum varieties that I discussed above.
- Two dots in the lower selvage, of the lower right block of the 2c War Memorial, one being the frame colour and the other being black, and confirming that they came from each plate used. The black dot is under the "N" of "Canadian" in the inscription, while the brown dot is under the "E" of "Note".
There is only one documented re-entry on the 1939 Royal Visit Issue, and no documented re-entries on the 1937 Coronation issue. The one known re-entry occurs on the 2c War Memorial stamp and consists of some faint doubling of the horizontal steps of the memorial. Unitrade states that this re-entry comes from position 17 of the lower left pane of plate 2-2. However Ralph Trimble, the preeminent re-entry specialist says that there are many positions which exist with this re-entry, although he does not specify which ones. You can see a nice, high resolution image of this re-entry by clicking this link:
and scrolling almost to the bottom of the page.
My instinct, given the sheer quantity of stamps printed, is to suggest that there must surely be more re-entries on these issues. However, it is entirely possible that there isn't. Why? Well the main reason might be that instead of re-working worn plates, the CBN simply decided to make new ones. That would certainly account for the unusually large number of plates used. If that were the case, then there will indeed be few to no re-entries. However, these stamps are very inexpensive, and it would certainly be a fun exercise to go through several thousand mint or used examples searching for that elusive, undiscovered re-entry.
Colour Shifts On The 1939 Royal Visit Issue
All four of these stamps exist imperforate, and are generally collected as pairs. A very limited number of imperforate plate blocks also exist. These items are all very challenging and represent an aspect to a specialized collection that will keep you searching for a lifetime. The numbers of pairs and plate blocks that are reported are as follows:
- 3c Coronation - 75 pairs.
- 1c Royal Visit - 100 pairs.
- 2c Royal Visit - 100 pairs.
- 3c Royal Visit - 100 pairs.
- 3c Coronation - 3 blocks. Unitrade specifies neither the plates nor the positions.
- 1c Royal Visit - plate 1-1 LR; plate 2-1 LL & UR; and plate 4-2 UL.
- 2c Royal Visit - plate 1-2 LL; plate 2-2 UR, LR and LL.
- 3c Royal Visit - plate 2-1 UL; plate 2-2 LL; plate 2-3 LR and plate 4-3 LL.
- 3 essays with photographic vignettes of the three Royal Visit issues.
- 7 large die proofs in issued colours of just the frames.
- 3 trial colour proofs on India paper in black.
- 1 large die proof of the 1937 Coronation issue on India paper
- 2 trial colour proofs of the 1937 Coronation issue on India paper.
- 1 small die proof of the 1937 Coronation issue on India paper.
These issues are some of the few to exist with both the 5-hole and 4-hole types. Both types exist in up to eight different orientations as follows:
- Upright, reading from left to right.
- Upright, reading from right to left.
- Sideways, reading upwards.
- Sideways, reading downwards.
- Inverted, reading from left to right.
- Inverted, reading from right to left.
First Day Covers and Postal History