The Commemorative Issues of 1952-1954
The first of these issues, the Red Cross Conference issue, which was released on July 26, 1952, was the first stamp of Canada to be produced from a printing technique other than engraving. It was produced from a combination of engraving and lithography. Another first, was that this period featured the first commemorative issue to be issued in booklet form. This issue was the 5c beaver from the 1954 Wildlife Issue, that was released on April 1, 1954.
Despite there being no listed varieties in Unitrade, patience and close attention will reveal that there are some really good shades to be found, paper varieties, booklet varieties as well as a wide range of possibilities for collecting plate blocks, re-entries, covers, first day covers and town cancellations. This post will look at all of these aspects in detail. The wonderful thing about these stamps is that none of them are expensive to collect, with mint examples often being obtainable in bulk for face value, or at retail for a dollar or less per stamp. In used condition, you can still find these issues in bundles of 100 for 25c or so per bundle. These issues haven't received very much attention from collectors at all over the years, so I wouldn't be surprised if a disciplined and careful study of them turns up some interesting varieties beyond what I mention here.
The stamps were designed by three designers, one of which I have introduced in several of my last posts, and two of which are completely new to the Canadian postage stamp scene:
- Herman Herbert Schwartz designed the 1952 Red Cross Issue, and the Prime Ministers issues of 1952 and 1954.
- John Alexander Crosby designed the 2c polar bear stamp from the 1953 Wildlife Issue.
- Emmanuel Otto Hahn designed the remaining wildlife stamps and the 1953 Coronation issue.
The Stamp Designs, Issue Dates and Quantities
- Shade varieties and aniline inks.
- Paper varieties.
- Plate blocks.
- Booklets and booklet panes.
- Proof material.
- First Day Covers.
- Postal History and cancellations.
The blue of the 5c Mackenzie Bowell stamp varies mainly in terms of its brightness. The stamp in the middle is the bright aniline blue, which is much more distinct looking in real life compared to the stamps on either side of it.
One type of ink that we encounter for the first time since the turn of the century on Canadian stamps is aniline ink. The aniline ink seems to occur almost exclusively on the blue inks and it is quite uncommon. Aniline ink can be identified by two characteristics:
1. The colour on the surface of the stamp appears very diffuse, as if it were bleeding into all of the paper fibres.
2. The colour is usually clearly visible from the back of the stamp.
- Some papers give a dead, non-fluorescent violet, or light violet reaction.
- Some papers give a yellowish-cream, ivory, dull fluorescent appearance under UV.
- Some papers give a greyish or greyish white dull fluorescent appearance under UV.
- Finally, some papers give a bluish white dull fluorescent appearance under UV.
- 1952 Red Cross Conference - 2 plates.
- 1952 3c John Abbott - 2 plates.
- 1952 4c Alexander Mackenzie - 2 plates.
- 1953 2c plar bear - 2 plates.
- 1953 3c moose - 2 plates.
- 1953 4c bighorn sheep - 2 plates.
- 1953 Coronation - 4 plates.
- 1954 4c walrus - 2 plates.
- 1954 5c beaver - 2 plates.
- 1954 4c Sir John Thompson - 2 plates.
- 1954 5c Mackenzie Bowell - 2 plates.
Here we have an example of what Harris refers to as a type Mi back cover. If you look at the lower left corner of the text panel, you will see two parallel diagonal rows of dots running from the top left to the bottom right.
Type Mii Back Cover
Unitrade lists the common, inexpensive first day covers for these issues at $3 or so apiece. That is generally for the common Artcraft or Rosecraft cachets. However, many collectors would be surprised to learn that there were a small number of cachet makers operating at this time who produced very beautiful hand painted cachets like the Dyer cachet shown above. This one is currently featured in the April 26, 2017 Auction of R. Maresch & Son in Toronto. They have placed a $750 estimate on this cover. I don't think it will necessarily realize $750, but I would be surprised if it goes for less than $200. These types of cachets were very scarce because of how labour intensive it was to paint them. Collecting these presents a real challenge - not one to shy away from at all.
Then there are the less common printed cachets from the many cachet makers of the day such as:
- Ken Boll
- Van Dahl
and many, many more.
- Local letter rate (3c and 4c after April 1, 1954)
- Forwarded letter rate (4c and 5c after April 1, 1954)
- Printed matter rate (2c)