The Commemorative Issues From 1958-1962
During this period we begin to see the dominance of bi-colour printing over monocolour, with 15 of the 25 issues being bicoloured. This period also features one of Canada's rarest stamps: the famous Inverted Seaway, of which a mere 400 were printed. This occurred when two full sheets were accidentally fed into the presses on the second run upside down, resulting in the famous inverted centre. It was overlooked by quality control inspection due to the very symmetrical nature of the design.
There were a few notable aspects of production that differed from previous periods as well. During this period we see the appearance of an intermediate sized stamp that is about half way between the larger, horizontal format commemoratives and the smaller stamps. It's vertical counterpart appeared with the 1957 Royal Visit issue, but the same dimensions in a horizontal format did not appear until 1958. It would prove to be a popular size for a stamp, remaining in general use until the end of 1967, when stamp sizes were changed from Imperial measurements to metric sizes. This period also saw several changes in the paper and gum used to produce the stamps, with ribbed, thick vertical wove paper giving way to a softer, horizontal wove paper that would come to dominate Canadian stamp production throughout most of the 1960's. Finally, the Canadian Bank Note Company added a new perforator to its roster of equipment during this period. This perforator had a gauge of 11.85, which was different from the 11.95 gauge that had been standard up to this point. Consequently, it is possible to find these issues with different perforations for those who are so inclined. It is during this period also that plate blocks were briefly discontinued in 1958, and when the use of order numbers was discontinued as well.
All of the issues were printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company, as before, with the smaller size and the intermediate sized stamps being printed in sheets of 400 that were divided into four post office panes of 100, up until 1962. The larger, horizontal format commemoratives were printed in sheets of 200 that were divided into four post office panes of 50. Starting in 1962, the CBN began to print the larger stamps in six panes of 50, for a total sheet size of 300. Thus, the outer four panes would contain the plate blocks, while the inner 2 panes would have very narrow, blank selvage, once the panes were cut apart.
Silas Robert Allen, the venerable engraver employed by the CBN who had figured so prominently in Canadian stamp production since the late 1920's has now been replaced by Yves Baril, who engraved many of the vignettes and both John and Gordon Mash, who engraved many of the inscriptions. Two more names make their appearance during this period into the group of engravers who worked for the Canadian Bank Note Company: Donald J Mitchell, who engraved several of the issues, and Allan Alexander Carswell, who engraved the portrait of Lord Selkirk on the 1962 Red River Settlement Issue.
This period also saw the a diverse group of of stamp designers who designed several issues, and some of whom went on to design many more of Canada's stamps. Allan Pollock, whose first stamp was the 1953 Textile Industry definitive features quite prominently during this period, as does Harvey Thomas Prosser, who went on to design many of the stamps from the 1960's. Herman Herbert Schwartz and Emmanuel Otto Hahn have left the stamp designing scene at this point, having presumably retired. Other designers who were involved in more than one stamp design included:
- Gerald Mathew Trottier
- Ephrum Phillip Weiss
- Helen Roberta Fitzgerald
- Bernard James Reddie
Like the previous issues, it is my opinion that these have been quite neglected by philatelists, who feel that they offer little of interest to the specialist. Again, I would disagree. The perforation changes offer up a very fertile field for further study, and although the first reported fluorescent papers do not appear until 1962, I believe that it may be possible that some of the earlier issues exist with this type of paper as well. Colour shifts that are other than trival are another aspect that I believe could be of interest, as multi-colour printing was in its infancy, and the shifts could potentially tell the story about some of the trials and tribulations that the CBN experienced in producing multi-colour stamps with perfectly aligned designs. As with the prior period, aniline inks can be found with many of the blue inks as well, and these are challenging to find. This period does also feature some good shades that can be found on most of the stamps up to the end of 1959. After that, there are very few shade varieties that I have come across with the 1961 Arthur Meighen stamp being really the only one I can think of, and even then the variation of the blue on this stamp is quite subtle.
Of course, with the inclusion of the inverted seaway, a specialist can challenge himself or herself with the acquisition of a mint single, a used single, a cover, or all three of these items. Also, this is the first period that we begin to see major errors cropping up regularly, and there are several other than just the Inverted Seaway that are very challenging to find, or unique, as far as anyone knows. Add in the proof material from this period, which is exceedingly rare, and you can easily form a collection that can take a lifetime to assemble.
The Stamp Designs, Quantities, Dates of Issue, Designers and Engravers
The points of interest for these stamps is much the same as for the previous commemorative issues:
- Shade varieties
- Paper and gum varieties
- Perforation varieties
- Plate blocks
- Re-entries and plate flaws
- Colour shifts
- Proof material
- First Day Covers and postal history, including cancellations.
- The Inverted Seaway and other errors.
Here the bistre colour does not show, much if any variation, but the red shows quite a bit of variation, with the stamp on the left having a carmine-red refinery, whereas the right stamp shows the refinery printed in a colour much closer to scarlet.
The basic colour for the blue of this issue is deep ultramarine, which is shown on the right hand stamp. That's the most common shade. However, you can find a deep violet blue that is quite scarce, and shown on the stamp in the middle. The stamp on the left is the aniline ink, which is a very bright and deep ultramarine. Again, this ink is much scarcer than the regular ultramarine, and I would expect that a mint example would be worth $20-$40 depending on condition, and used would be $5-$10. This is quite a lot more than the 10-25 cents that the regular stamps are usually worth.
- 1958 Free Press Issue.
- 1958 Geophysical year.
- 1958 BC Centennial.
If you look very carefully at the scan, you can clearly see the horizontal ribbing, but the gum looks much smoother, and not quite as yellowish. This paper and gum was used on most of the issues of this period, including:
- 1958 La Verendrye (shown).
- 1958 Founding of Quebec.
- 1958 First Elected Assembly.
- 1959 50th Anniversary of First Flight in Canada.
- 1959 Royal Visit.
- 1959 St. Lawrence Seaway.
- 1959 Plains of Abraham.
- 1961 Northern Development.
- 1961 Emily Pauline Johnson.
- 1961 Arthur Meighen.
- 1961 Resources for Tomorrow
- 1958 Health issue.
- 1958 Petroleum industry.
- 1959 Country women issue.
- 1962 Education issue.
- 1962 Jean Talon issue.
- 1960 Battle of Long Sault.
- 1961 Colombo plan.
- 1962 Red River Settlement.
- 1962 Victoria Centenary.
- 1962 Trans Canada Highway.
The sixth paper type is the visibly horizontally ribbed vertical wove paper that was so predominant during the 1950's. This paper has a clearly ribbed surface, both on the front, and on the back. The gum is much less yellowish than the gum of the 1950's and it is generally smooth, with either a satin or a semi-gloss sheen. The scan below shows the appearance of this paper from the front:
- 1960 Girl Guides.
- 1961 Emily Pauline Johnson.
- 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.
I have measured some of the perforations on some of these issues, though I have yet to check others. So this section will be updated, as I study these issues in more detail. However, the following perforation measurements are what I have found so far:
- 1959 Royal Visit: 11.85 x 11.85, which is strange because this shouldn't exist before 1962.
- 1961 Emily Pauline Johnson: 11.95 x 11.95; 11.85 x 11.95 and 11.85 x 11.85.
- 1961 Colombo Plan: 11.85 x 11.95.
- 1961 Resources for Tomorrow: 11.95 x 11.95; 11.95 x 11.85; and 11.85 x 11.95.
- 1962 Red River Settlement: 11.95 x 11.95.
- 1962 Jean Talon: 11.85 x 11.95.
- 1962 Victoria Centenary: 11.85 x 11.95; 11.85 x 11.85; 11.95 x 11.85 and 11.95 x 11.95.
- On the upper left block, the dot appears to the left of the sixth stamp.
- On the upper right, the dot is to the right of the tenth stamp.
- On the lower left block, the dot is to the left of the 41st stamp.
- On the lower right, the dot is to the right of the 45th stamp.
Careful examination of a number of the stamps in my stock has turned up a number of plate flaws. I do not know whether these are constant or not, and further study would be required to esablish their nature. However, regardless of whether they are random or constant, they are still an interesting aspect to these issues, largely because they don't occur on very many stamps. The print quality of these issues was generally very high, so you usually have to look through quite a large quantity of stamps to find even a minor design flaw. However, if you are patient enough, your patience is usually rewarded.
The scans below show some of the flaws that I have encountered on these issues so far:
- On the left stamp, there is a small boomerang shaped mark protruding out from the right of the "1" of "1960".
- On the right stamp there is a small diagonal line between the "U" of "guides" and the "9" of "1910".
Here the shift is in the vertical placement of the Indians fighting in the background. If you look at the left stamp inside the open part of the "C" of Canada, and the lower part of the "5", and you will see that:
- The spear held by the Indian on the left does not extend into the open part of the "C" of "Canada".
- The top of the bistre-brown part of the design on the right ends in the middle of the open space at the bottom of the "5".
- The spear held by the Indian on the left protrudes well into the open part of the "C" of "Canada".
- The bistre brown portion of the vigette on the right almost completely fills the open space at the bottom of the "5".
- 1 photographic proof in black and white of the 1958 Geophysical Year issue.
- 1 small and 1 large essay of the vignette of the 1959 Royal Visit issue printed in black on India paper, as shown above.
- 1 large essay of the vignette of the 1959 Royal Visit issue, printed in blue on wove paper.
- 1 large essay of the vignette of the 1959 Royal Visit issue, printed in red on wove paper.
To access the scanned images of an item, hover your mouse over the white rectangles on the side of the screen and you will see that the rectangle is a clickable link that will take you through to the image of the particular item in question.
In theory there should be a lot more material in existence. Because the engraving was done by Yves Baril and Donald J Mitchell, or Yves Baril and John Mash, or Gordon Mash, there should exist separate die proofs of just the vignette, or just the lettering. There would also very likely exist sketches of the same design elements. This should all exist in addition to the essays of the completed designs and die proofs of the completed designs.
First Day Covers
- Ken Boll
- C. George
- CPO Replacement
- Overseas Mailer
- Meter Digest
- White Rose
- National Geographic
- Kolor Kover
- The actual stamps affixed to the cover, and
- The cancellation.
- A cover containing a single stamp,
- A cover containing a pair,
- A cover with each plate block position, and
- Sometimes a cover with a block of four.
- 1 cover with a single.
- 1 covers with a pair
- 4 covers with plate blocks
- 1 covers with a block of 4
The Inverted Seaway and Other Errors
- On the education issue, the error comes in an upper right field stock block on which the paper in the upper right corner got folded over during the printing of the black portion of the design. The result is a stamp that has the complete brown background, but is missing most of the inscriptions at the top and right, as well as the head and shoulders of the students.
- On the Jean Talon issue, the error occurred again on an upper right field stock pair. Here, the upper right corner of the stamp folded over during printing, so that when it is opened out, the face value and "POS" of the "Postes" inscription on the right side are completely missing.