The Natural Resources Definitives of 1950-1956
Today's post will be much shorter than in the past several weeks and will look at the high value definitive stamps that began to replace the designs of the 1946 Peace Issue, starting with the 50c in 1950. They are interesting stamps because they technically occupy both the end of King George VI's reign, as well as the very beginning of Queen Elizabeth II's reign. So they really ought to be included in your collection if you are a specialist of either reign. Although they do not display quite the same range of paper, shade and gum varieties as the earlier Peace Issue, there are still some worthwhile varieties that can be collected. I will illustrate most of them here, though there is one very dull, cold shade of ultramarine on the $1 fisheries that I do not currently have an example of.
This set is probably not complicated enough on its own to make a lifetime collection, though there is still a decent amount of proof material, which will prove ellusive to a specialist. Also, since these are higher value stamps, you could challenge yourself to build postal history and cancellation collections of the two highest values: the 50c and $1. So there is still plenty of scope for someone wishing to specialize. Of course, they also make a logical addition to a specialized collection of the Postes Postage and Karsh Issues as well.
The designers of these issues were varied and we are introduced to a new name in stamp design, that featured prominently in the 1950's and 1960's: Allan Pollock, who went on to design the 25c chemical industry stamp of 1956 and the Export $1 of 1963. Herman Herbert Schwartz, whom many of you are already familiar with designed the 50c oil wells stamp, and was involved in the design of the 10c fur resources stamp, along with the National Film Board. Fairbairn Art Studios cooperated with the Federal Department of Fisheries in designing the new $1 definitive stamp, featuring the fishing industry. These issues mark the first time that non-career designers were heavily involved in the design of Canadian Postage stamps.
The 50c Oil Wells design was engraved by the well established engraver, Silas Robert Allen, who had been responsible for the beautiful 12c-20c designs of the 1928-1929 Scroll Issue, and many others in the intervening years. The 20c Newsprint Industry stamp was engraved by Joseph Keller. I'm not sure who engraved the 10c and $1 designs, but these look very similar in style to the 20c. The Canadian Bank Note Company printed all the stamps in sheets of 200 that were divided into four smaller post office panes of 50 stamps each.
These issues are the first to exist only with either OHMS or G overprints, for the government officials, and not perforated OHMS. However, private perfins continued to be made and these are still highly elusive and collectible.
The Stamp Designs, Issue Dates and Quantities
- 10c furs - plates 1 &2 - 8 blocks.
- 20c Forestry products - plates 1 & 2 - 8 blocks.
- 50c oil wells - plate 1 - 4 blocks.
- $1 fishing resources - plate 1 - 4 blocks.
- 50c oil wells - OHMS overprint - plate 1 - 4 blocks.
- 10c furs - G overprint - plates 1 & 2 - 8 blocks.
- 20c forestry products - G overprint - plates 1 & 2 - 8 blocks.
- $1 fishing resources - G overprint - plate 1 - 4 blocks.
- 10c furs plate 1 - #753 with numerals widely spaced.
- 20c forestry products plate 2 - #1114 with numerals widely spaced.
- 50c oil wells plate 1 - #538 with closely spaced numerals.
1. The ink of the originals should be shiny and jet black. Dull ink is very likely to have come from a fake.
2. The left vertical bar of the "M" is much thinner than the right bar. On the forgeries the left and right bars often appear thick.
3. The action of overprinting the original stamps often left a light imprint of the overprint in the gum, so that you can just make out the overprint from the gummed side of genuine stamps. This will not be the case on the forgeries, which will be flat on the gummed side, with no sign of the overprint. However, this by itself is not a fail-safe test, as I have seen genuine stamps where no imprint of the overprint is visible in the gum. So to be certain, you really have to be familiar with the appearance of the genuine overprint:
- The entire overprint, from the left side of the "O" to the end of the right period, should be 12 mm long.
- The "O" should be thinner at the top and bottom than it is on the sides.
- The two vertical bars of the "H" should be the same thickness.
- The left vertical bar of the "M" should be noticeably thinner than the right vertical bar.
- The "S" should be noticeably thinner at the top and bottom.
- The letters should be just under 2 mm high.
- 2 different photographic die essays, one in grey and one in brown grey.
- 1 metal tintype plate.
- 1 small progressive proof with no background in black.
- 1 large unhardened die proof on India paper in grey.
- 1 small die proof on India paper in grey.
- 1 large trial colour proof on India paper in grey-green.
- 2 small trial colour proofs on India paper, one in grey-green and the other in light brown.