The designer of the series was, once again, Herman Herbert Schwartz. The stamps were engraved by four different engravers as follows:
- The 8c was engraved by Warrell Hauck.
- The 7c, 10c, 10c secial delivery, 17c, 20c and $1 were engraved by Silas Robert Allen.
- The 14c was engraved by Arthur C Vogel.
- The 50c was engraved by Joseph Keller.
This was the second issue to feature airmail special delivery stamps. However, their use was not continued after this issue. I gather that this was likely because they proved to be none too popular with the public. Given the very large proportion of stamps surviving in mint condition, I believe that to be a correct assessment.
This is the first issue which exits perforated OHMS, as well as overprinted with both the O.H.M.S overprint, and the "G" overprint that replaced it. The 50c with O.H.M.S overprint is a valuable stamp, and this overprint has been widely faked. Many of the other values used with the various overprints have been faked also, so great care must be taken when purchasing these.
Starting with this issue things become a lot less complicated, in every way:
- The number of different papers drops quite significantly to just 2 or three different varieties.
- The number of gum varieties also drops to just 2 or three different as well.
- Generally no more than 2 plates were used to print most stamps.
- Shade varieties
- Paper and gum varieties
- Die type differences
- Plate blocks
- Booklets and booklet panes
- OHMS Perfins, overprints and G overprints
- Proof material
- First day covers and postal history.
8c Red Brown
10c Olive Green
This colour is an olive green that varies in terms of the amount of brown that is contained in the colour. If you look at the third and fourth stamps from the left, you will be able to see the difference. The third stamp from the left is the standard olive green, whereas the stamp immediately to its right contains quite a bit more brown, being closer to a brown olive.
14c Black Brown
50c Deep Bluish Green
$1 Deep Claret
7c Prussian Blue
Unitrade simply refers to this as blue, which is not accurate, as there are a large number of shades, most of which contain either a hint of green, or a hint of grey. The above scan shows some of the many shades that can be found. On the very left, is a deep Prussian blue, that contains a definite hint of green. Then there is a deep bright blue, which you can see on the second stamp from the left, and the second stamp from the right. Finally, the steel blue, which is a deep dull blue containing a hint of grey can be seen in the middle stamp, and the stamp on the right.
17c Bright Ultramarine
This shade also exhibits quite a bit of variation, from a very bright ultramarine, as seen on the right stamp, to a deep dull ultramarine, as seen on the left stamp.
The paper and gum varieties are less obvious on this issue than on previous issues. However, there are still some distinct paper and gum types, which definitely warrant inclusion in any specialized collection of this issue. I have encountered at least the following:
- Streaky brownish cream gum, with a semi-gloss sheen, on thick vertical cream wove paper, showing no mesh, and no ribbing on either the front, or the back. This is shown on the left stamp in the first scan above.
- Smooth cream gum with a satin sheen, on thinner, crisp, vertical wove paper, showing no mesh, and no ribbing on either the front or the back. This is shown on the middle stamp of the first scan above.
- Smooth brownish cream gum with a semi-gloss sheen, on thick vertical cream wove paper, showing no mesh and no ribbing, on either the front, or the back.
- Smooth cream gum with a semi-gloss sheen on thick vertical cream wove, which shows no mesh, but does show very distinct horizontal ribbing on the gummed side. This is shown on the right stamp in the second scan above.
- Smooth cream gum with a semi-gloss sheen on thick vertical cream wove, which shows no mesh, but does show very light horizontal ribbing on the gummed side. This is shown on the left stamp in the second scan above. It is very similar to the above paper, differing only in the strength of the ribbing.
- Smooth white gum with a semi-gloss sheen on thick vertical cream wove, which shows no mesh, but does show very light horizontal ribbing on the gummed side. This is shown on the centre stamp in the second scan above. It is very similar to the above paper, except that it is white instead of cream coloured.
- Smooth cream gum with a semi-gloss sheen, on thinner, crisp, vertical wove paper, showing no mesh, and no ribbing on either the front or the back. This is shown on the third scan above.
- Streaky cream gum with a satin sheen on thick vertical wove paper showing no mesh, but showing distinct horizontal ribbing on the gum side. This is shown on the fourth scan above.
- A mottled. smooth yellowish cream gum that looks almost like it was sponged on to the paper. It has a satin sheen and is usually found on crisp vertical wove paper that shows no mesh or ribbing. I have only seen this gum on the 17c airmail special delivery stamp (usually the revised die) and the 10c special delivery stamp. It is shown in the fifth scan above.
- A smooth deep cream gum with a semi-gloss sheen on thick vertical wove paper that shows no mesh, but clear horizontal ribbing on the face. The 7c airmail with the G overprint that is shown below is an example of this paper. If you look in the selvage on this scan, you can just make out the horizontal ribbing.
Die Type Differences
On the 17c airmail special delivery stamp two different die types can be found:
- The incorrect circumflex accent above the second "E" of "Expres".
- The corrected grave accent above the second "E" of "Expres".
These two types are shows on the scans below:
Initially when the stamp was released on September 16, 1946, the accent that was above the second "E" of "Express" was a circumflex, as shown in the first scan above. It was quickly brought to the attention of the authorities that this was not the correct accent to use on this word, and that a grave accent should have been used instead. The die was corrected to show a grave accent, and the stamp was re-issued on December 3, 1946 with the correct accent, as shown in the second scan. Because this was a correction of an error, there were very few first day covers produced, so that first day covers are very scarce and valuable. Also, the number of stamps issued in the corrected die is exactly three times as many in the incorrect die. Surprisingly, the Unitrade values of both stamps are very similar, for both used and mint. In reality, most stamps you will come across, will be mint. Finding nice used examples cancelled in-period, before 1949 can be quite challenging. Finally, the two scans above also show quite nicely the difference in shades between the bright ultramarine of the first printings, and the deep dull ultramarine of the later printing.
- 8c red-brown - 2 plates, 8 blocks.
- 10c olive green - 2 plates, 8 blocks.
- 14c black brown - 1 plate, 4 blocks.
- 20c greenish slate - 2 plates, 8 blocks.
- 50c deep bluish green - 1 plate, 4 blocks.
- $1 deep claret - 1 plate, 4 blocks.
- 7c Prussian blue -2 plates, 8 blocks.
- 17c bright ultramarine - 1 plate, 4 blocks.
- 17c deep dull ultramarine - 1 plate, 4 blocks.
- 10c deep dull green - 1 plate, 4 blocks.
- 8c 4-hole OHMS perfin - 2 plates, 2 types, 16 blocks.
- 10c 4-hole OHMS perfin - 2 plates, 2 types, 16 blocks.
- 14c 4-hole OHMS perfin - 1 plate, 2 types, 8 blocks.
- 20c 4-hole OHMS perfin - 2 plates, 2 types, 16 blocks.
- 50c 4-hole OHMS perfin - 1 plate, 2 types, 8 blocks.
- $1 4-hole OHMS perfin - 1 plate, 2 types, 8 blocks.
- 7c airmail 4-hole OHMS perfin - 2 plates, 2 types, 16 blocks.
- 17c airmail special delivery 4-hole OHMS perfin - 1 plate, 2 dies, 2 types, 16 blocks
- 10c special delivery 4-hole OHMS perfin - 1 plate, 2 types, 8 blocks
- 10c OHMS overprint - 2 plates, 2 no period varieties, 10 blocks.
- 14c OHMS overprint - 1 plate, 1 no period variety, 5 blocks.
- 20c OHMS overprint - 2 plates, 2 no period varieties, 10 blocks.
- 50c OHMS overprint - 1 plate, 4 blocks.
- $1 OHMS overprint - 1 plate, 1 no period variety, 5 blocks.
- 7c airmail OHMS overprint - 2 plates, 2 no period varieties, 1 re-entry, 11 blocks.
- 10c special delivery OHMS overprint - 1 plate, 4 blocks.
- 10c G overprint - 2 plates, 8 blocks.
- 14c G overprint - 1 plate, 4 blocks.
- 20c G overprint - 2 plates, 8 blocks.
- 50c G overprint - 1 plate, 4 blocks.
- $1 G overprint - 1 plate, 4 blocks.
- 7c airmail - G overprint - 2 plates, 8 blocks.
- 10c special delivery G overprint - 1 plate, 4 blocks.
- 10c olive green plate 2 - 892-B.
- 14c black brown plate 1- 892-C
- 17c ultramarine plate 1 - 892-H
- The 8c to be 892-A
- The 20c to be 892-D
- The 50c to be 892-E
- The $1 to be 892-F
- The 7c airmail to be 892-G
- The 10c special delivery to be 892-I
The only stamp from this series to be issued in booklet form was the 7c Canada Goose Airmail, which appeared along with the 1c, 2c, 3c and 4c War Issue stamps in a special Christmas gift booklet that was released in 1947. The 7c airmail stamp was printed in panes of 4 stamps for inclusion in this booklet. There may be some variation in the shades, paper and gum.
There is only one documented re-entry in this issue, though I feel that more must exist, given the very large quantity of stamps that were printed between 1946 and 1951, and the relatively low number of plates. The one documented re-entry occurs on the 7c airmail, and consists of doubling of the right outer frameline. It occurs on 5 positions of the upper right pane of plate 2: positions 14, 19, 24, 29 and 34. All of these appear slightly different, and on positions 14 and 19, the left frameline shows some doubling as well.
Curiously, Ralph Trimble, the renowned re-entry expert, does not illustrate this re-entry on his website. I am not sure why this is, given how well known it is among collectors.
OHMS Perfins, OHMS Overprints and G Overprints
- The first type, which was used until 1946, has a narrow "O", which can be difficult to identify if you are not familiar with these. However, this type can be positively identified by looking at the seventh hole from the top of the "S" and noting where it is in relation to the first and sixth holes. The first and sixth holes are aligned vertically. However, the seventh pin is not quite vertically aligned with these two pins, being just slightly off to the right of them.
- The second type, which was in use between 1942 and 1949 occurs on seven of the 10 dies used during this period. It is characterized by a wider "O", but also by the fact that the seventh hole of the "S" does line up vertically with the first and sixth holes.
- The third type is really a subset of the second type above, and was used for three of the 10 dies used from 1942-1949. It is the same as the first type, except that the "O" is wide, like the second type.
- Upright, reading from left to right.
- Upright reading from right to left.
- Inverted, reading from left to right,
- Inverted, reading from right to left (illustrated above)
- Sideways, with the OH on the right reading upwards.
- Sideways, with the OH on the right reading downwards.
- Sideways, with the OH on the left reading upwards.
- Sideways, with the OH on the left reading downwards.
- The ink used for the overprint is a jet black that has a very slight sheen when the overprint is viewed at an angle to the light.
- It often, but not always leaves a slight impression in the gum of mint examples.
- The top and bottom of the "O" is narrower than the sides and the left vertical upstroke of the "M" is narrower than the right vertical upstroke.
- The overprint is 15 mm long, from the left side of the "O" to the right of the last period.
- The letters of the overprint are 2 1/4 mm high.
The G overprint was introduced in 1950 to replace the O.H.M.S overprint as part of the ongoing efforts to make stamp inscriptions bilingual. Like the O.H.M.S. overprint, the G overprint is found on the 10c, 14c, 20c, $1 and 7c airmail. But unlike the O.H.M.S. overprint, there is no G overprint on the 50c, as that stamp had already been replaced by the 50c oil wells stamp when this overprint was introduced. The genuine overprint, like the OHMS overprint uses similar ink, and often leaves an impression in the gum. The font is very distinct, and is known to collectors as the Casson font. Its distinguishing characteristic is that the top and bottom of the G are narrower than the sides, and there is a full horizontal cross stroke, as well as a barbed serif at the top of the G where it is open. The other characteristics are that the height and width are both 4 mm.
Both overprints have been extensively forged, especially on used stamps which are abundant and inexpensive. The early, contemporary forgeries that one often encounters were by a fellow named Andre Frodel. They are usually made in a dull black ink and the letters are either the wrong proportions, of they lack the features described here. In recent years, fakers have been forging these overprints on the less expensive values using mint sheets or plate blocks. They have done this with laser printing. The easiest way to detect these again is that the sizes will be off and the ink will appear different.
Forged Versus Genuine OHMS Overprints
The scan below illustrates just how good some of the forged overprints can be. One of the stamps has the genuine overprint, while one has the forged overprint. Can you tell which is which?
The material that exists can be summarized as follows:
- 8 large hardened die proofs in issued colours.
- 1 stamp sized die proof in issued colours (17c airmail special delivery).
- 1 large die proof on India paper in issued colour (7c airmail).
- 1 progressive proof of the frame used on all values in green.
- 4 progressive proofs of designs without value tablets in various colours.
- 3 trial colour proofs in various colours
You can view the material in more detail by accessing the following links:
The last aspect I would like to touch on for this issue, is the postal history. These are all higher value stamps, so the vast majority of the covers that you will find them used on will be:
- Foreign registered covers.
- Foreign airmail covers.
- Local registered and overweight registered covers.
- Bulk mailing receipts