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The Gum and Chalk Surfacing Found on the 1972-1978 Caricature Issue of Canada

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This week I examine the last two physical characteristics of these stamps before I get into the most significant topic of this issue, which of course is the paper varieties. The two characteristics that I discuss this week are the gum found on the stamps, as well as the chalk-surfacing found on the mid values and BABN printings of the $1.
The 10c value through $1 landscape designs are found with three different types of chalk surfacing on the paper. Two of them are very distinct and easy to distinguish, while the third looks very similar to the second. The picture below shows the first two of these types:




The first printings of the 10c through 50c that were released in 1972 show distinct vertical ribbing on the surface, as shown in the picture. It is thought that the ribbed coating was experimental and intended to see whether or not is was required in order for the ink to properly adhere. The stamp on the bottom shows the smooth chalk surfacing that replaced the ribbed coating. This…

The Tagging on the 1972-1978 Caricature Issue of Canada

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This week I cover the aspect of the tagging on these stamps. A lot has been written in the catalogues such as Unitrade over the last 30 years about the tagging on these stamps, that did not used to receive any attention at all: namely the distinction between the OP-2 and OP-4 variations of Ottawa tagging, as well as the 3 mm and 4 mm variations. However, there are other qualities to the tagging that are worthy of attention by the diligent specialist as well. This week's post discusses two of these in depth:
1. The intensity of the tagging, as it appears under normal light, and 2. The different methods that were used to apply the tagging to the stamps.
In the case of the low value stamps printed by Canadian Bank Note Company, there are notable differences in the appearance of the tagging on the stamps. Some stamps have tagging that is very light, being barely visible under normal lighting conditions, while others have moderate tagging that is clearly visible. Some stamps also hav…

The Perforations on the 1972-1978 Caricature Issue of Canada

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This week, my detailed blog post about this issue looks at the perforations in detail. In addition to the basic differences in measurement, all of which are listed in the catalogues there were some difficulties encountered by the CBN as this was the first time that they had used comb machines to perforate stamps. In addition, there are many instances with the sheets and the plate blocks where you can see double strikes of the comb perforator, which give some clues as to how the panes were laid out in the overall print layout. Some examples of the types of things covered in my detailed post are shown below:

Here this block shows selvage at the sides that is fully perforated through, while that at the top and bottom of the sheet shows only a single extension hole. This suggests that the panes were laid out horizontally in the print run.

On this pair you can see a clear difference in the appearance of the vertical perforations on the bottom half of the bottom stamp in the strip. This ma…

The Shade Variations on the 1972-1978 Caricature Issue of Canada

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This week's detailed post about this issue explores a topic that has surprisingly received little to no attention in even the most specialized catalogues: the shade varieties. It is surprising because all but two of the stamps in this series exhibit at least two and up to 4 or 5 different subtle variations in the shades of the inks that were used to print the stamps. What makes the shade variations especially interesting to me, is the fact that many are associated only with certain printings, and certain time periods within the life of the issue, and consequently, it does not appear that they are merely just random varieties that have no significance.

In terms of colours, the orange inks seem to exhibit the most variation, followed by the blue inks. However, as I said above, all but two of the denominations exhibit at least 2 variations in shade, with the 4c Mackenzie King and the $2 Quebec being the only stamps for which I was not able to find any significant variation in the st…

The Type Differences and Constant Varieties on the 1972-1978 Caricature Issue Part Two

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This week, I wanted to do a short post about the varieties found on the low value stamps. Although Unitrade does list a few constant varieties on the 8c Queen, and a few varieties on the booklet stamps, most of the flyspeck varieties that can be found are not listed.
Generally, the kinds of varieties that you can find on these stamps fall into one of the following categories:
1. Hairlines that run vertically through the design. These usually run all the way through the design from top to bottom and one stamp can often have several. I have found them on the 2c and 6c most often, but I suspect that they exist on all the stamps.
2. Stray dots and smudged blobs that appear either in the background, or on or around the portrait. These are what pretty well all the listed varieties are.
3. Broken, damaged, or missing design elements. The broken Tiara, damaged 1, missing 1 are some of the better known ones on the booklet stamps. However, the sheet stamps can be found with damaged letterin…

The Type Differences and Constant Varieties on the 1972-1978 Caricature Issue Part One

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In this week's detailed blog post, I tackled two topics that relate to the stamps from the 10c Forests to the $1 Vancouver:

1. The type differences listed in Unitrade.
2. The constant varieties listed in Unitrade and other varieties that can be found.

Most collectors who are relatively experienced with Canadian philately are aware that the 10c Forests, 15c Mountain Sheep, 25c Polar Bears and 50c Seashore exist printed in two types for the first perforation, being 12.5 x 12, and just the second type for the later perf. 13.3. However, what collectors may not be fully aware of is that there is also evidence to suggest that different screens displaying different levels of coarseness were used to print these stamps as well. I illustrate several examples for each value that show that generally, the photogravure printing started off coarse, with very clearly identifiable screening dots, and then later becomes very fine, with the inking appearing to be more or less solid. None of these d…

The 1972-1978 Caricature and Landscape Issue

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This week I begin a long series of posts that explores, in depth, my favourite definitive issue: the 1972-1978 Caricature Issue of Canada. This issue followed on the heels of the extremely popular 1967-1973 Centennial issue. Because of how popular the Centennial issue was, many collectors did not pay a lot of attention to this series, with the result that a lot of what are now known to be very scarce printings were overlooked and used for postage. This has resulted in the series being quite challenging to collect. It offers a specialist nearly everything they could want in a stamp series, including:
Shade varieties.Design type differences.Constant plate varieties.Perforation differences.Tagging differences.Paper fluorescence varieties.Other paper varieties, such as thickness, texture and coating.Line and comb perforations, as well as perforated an imperforate selvage.Interesting postal historyMultiple plates and printings of the same stamps done by 2 different printing firms.  The det…

The Commemorative Issues of 1972 - Part Two

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This week's post, my first of the New Year, is the last one that will deal with commemorative issues for a while, as next week I will begin my foray into the complicated 1972-78 Caricature Issue, which I expect will be a very popular series with my readers.

This post deals with just three issues: the Earth Sciences Issue, the Christmas Issue and the Cornelius Krieghoff Issue. Collectors will already be familiar with the fact that there is the Ottawa and Winnipeg tagging on the Christmas issue, and the five constant varieties on the Krieghoff issue. However, as the detailed post on my website illustrates, these three issues are much more complicated than you Unitrade would lead you to believe.

For starters, there are the paper varieties. Each issue was printed on paper having different physical characteristics, in terms of thickness, colour, texture and weave direction. The usual range of fluorescence on the front and back of stamps are found. making for a lot of collectible varie…