Showing posts from 2015

The Capstone - Forming A Specialized Collection of Wilding Issue Plate Blocks

Overview of the History of Plate Block Collecting Plate block collecting used to be popular among philatelists who wanted to obtain a copy of each major printing of a stamp produced in a long running definitive series. Obtaining the corner block, or centre block containing the plate number and inscription "proved" that the stamp came from a different printing. Also, since records were generally kept of when the different plates were put to press, a specialist could assign different printings to a specific date. It used to be extremely popular among collectors in the 1950's and 1960's. On Canadian sheets, the layout of a printing sheet was usually between 200 to 600 subjects arranged into 4 or 6 smaller sheets for distribution to the post offices. Usually, the inscriptions were placed on the outer corners of the larger sheets. This meant that for any given post office sheet, you would only get one corner. If you collected all four corners of a plate, they

The Scarcity Of Superb Stamps In The Modern Period

It is a well known fact that the early stamps of Canada are very scarce in superb mint or superb used condition. Indeed collectors over the last several years have been very willing to pay increasing prices for superb examples of otherwise common stamps. The premiums have been nothing short of astonishing: 1. A 1c green Admiral from 1914-22 in superb NH mint condition can sell for as much as $300 today. Back in 1990 I hardly ever saw a stamp like this sell for more than $20. 2. A $5 Jubilee from 1897 in VFNH condition used to sell for around $1,000 or so. In recent years, a stamp like this has sold for as much as $10,000 at auction. However, all of this attention  to quality drops off abruptly at 1947, with most dealers and collectors paying very little attention to grade. Most modern issues are regarded as being so common that few people seem to care about seeking them out in superb grades. Perhaps this is due to the perception that such stamps are easily found. I have just fi

The Dull Fluorescent Papers On The Wilding Issue 1954-1967

As with the gums on this issue the paper is another attribute that has received a lot less attention than it should. Unitrade had started listing fluorescent papers on this issue many years ago, and so most collectors with more than a passing interest in Canadian stamps are aware that this issue comes on fluorescent paper. However, what has not received very much attention are the papers that the catalogue refers to as plain or dull. Unitrade gives the impression that there is but a single type of plain paper. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Close examination will reveal that in addition to six different paper textures, there are also eight different types of dull paper that each appear different under ultraviolet light as follows: Paper Textures: 1. Horizontal wove paper showing strong ribbing on both the front and back of the stamps. 2. Horizontal ribbed paper showing ribbing on the front only. 3. Horizontal ribbed paper showing ribbing only on the back. 4. H

The Gum On The Wilding Issues Collectible Differences or Random Variations?

The study of gum on Canadian stamps is a subject that has received very little detailed study, except with regard to the authentication of whether the gum found on a particular stamp is original or not. Very little attention has been paid to studying the characteristics of stamp gum to see if there are patterns that enable philatelists to accurately place or date particular printings of long-running definitive stamps. I am not sure why this is. Perhaps it may be due to a long held perception that the characteristics are too difficult to describe reliably in a way that a philatelist reading the description can recognize and correctly identify in his or her stamps. Perhaps it is due to a perception that there is too much random variation in the appearance of gum on individual stamps and that therefore the differences are not collectible as it would be impractical to form a "complete" collection of all the types. I will contend after handling over 1,200 mint stamps, coils, boo

Plate Flaws, Re-Entries, Offsets, Foldovers and Cracked Plates On The Wilding Issue 1954-1967

This post will deal with some of the errors and oddities that are found on this issue. I will say that overall this was a very well printed issue that seems to have suffered from few mishaps. However, with patience and careful examination of the stamps, there are interesting oddities to be found. Foldover Errors and Pre-Print Paper Creases  The above freak is the result of a crease in the stamp paper that occurred before printing. The design was printed over the creased paper, which then left an unprinted void when the crease was opened out.  The Damaged E Variety This variety is really more of a deformity of the "E"in the left "EIIR"of some of the 2c, 4c and 5c coil stamps. It is a constant variety that can be found in complete rolls of the coil stamps. So in a sense it is the most common of all the varieties in this post. I do not know what the cause is, but it is likely some aspect of the coil production and the same thing that was resp

The Position Dots On The Plate Blocks of The Wilding Issue 1954-1967

This is a topic that only became apparent as I worked on many hundreds of plate blocks, but has turned out to be one of the mysteries of plate blocks printed in the modern period. Several years ago, I noticed that many lower right blocks and many lower left blocks contained a coloured dot in the lower selvage. I do not know what the significance of these dots are, but it seemed as though every issue from 1935 onward printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company has these dots only on the two lower positions.  The above scan shows the position of the dot on the lower right position under the "C" of "Canadian". The scan below shows the position of the dot below the period of "Limited.".  It would be easy to assume that all the blocks have these dots in the same position, but then I came across the blocks from the high numbered plates on the vertical wove paper, and this is what I found: On these blocks, we can see that inste

Shade Varieties Of The 4c Wilding Issue -1954-1963

The 4c violet in this issue rivals the 5c in terms of its complexity. The shades range from rosy violet and milky violet on the one hand through to deep purple violet, to deep blackish violet on the other hand. The progression is so gradual though that it is easy to see a large group of 4c stamps and think that they are all more or less the same. However, as with all the stamps of this series, patient and careful examination will reward you with many variations that are actually quite obvious when youn see them. The shade varieties that I have found are as follows: On plates 1-12n, the booklet panes and coil stamps: 1. Deep violet 2. Violet 3. Deep bright violet 4. Deep milky violet 5. Milky violet 6. Bluish violet 7. Bright violet 8. Bluish milky violet 9. Purple violet 10. Dull  violet On plates 15-19: 1. Bluish violet 2. Violet 3. Dull violet 4. Deep violet 5. Light violet 6. Milky violet 7. Rosy violet 8. Deep rosy violet 9. Blackish violet

Shade Varieties Of The 2c Green and 3c Carmine Rose Wilding Issue 1954-1963

The next two stamps in this series have fewer shades than the others. However, there are a few that are very distinct: On the 2c value the following shades are found: 1. Bright green 2. Green 3. Light dull green (usually on the high plates 11-20 and the cello-paqs.) 4. Dull green (usually on the high plates 11-20 and the cello paqs.) 5. Deep green (usually on the low plates 1-9) On the 3c value: 1. Carmine 2. Carmine rose 3. Deep carmine On this value, the carmine rose shade is almost a bright cerise. It seems to be found usually on the earlier printings. The later printings and tagged stamps seem to mostly be either carmine or deep carmine.

Shade Varieties Of The 1c Brown Wilding Issue - 1954-1963

As promised, I have a clear afternoon on this Boxing Day to sit and write some posts summarizing some of my additional observations that have come from working with over 1,200 items from this series over the past month. It is no exaggeration to say that this issue really is the modern equivalent of the "Admiral Issue". But the wonderful thing for collectors is that this set is both much more affordable, and it is possible to form a complete collection of all the plate blocks. It may even be possible to acquire a complete collection of plate sheets. I can say with reasonable confidence that such a feat is no longer possible on the Admirals, given that over 200 different plates were used to print each of the low values in that issue. However, it is possible to master this series without having to be a millionaire to do it. However, from what I can see after working on this issue for a month, I can see that doing so rigorously, with proper statistically valid paper and sh

Shade Varieties On the 5c Wilding Stamp of 1954-1962

As promised, I am augmenting my posts on the Wilding Issue with a series of additional posts to cover off some of the detail that has become apparent to me while I was listing the plate blocks of this issue. I'm going to start with the shade varieties of the 5c blue as this is the value that I have just been working on, so the shades are all fresh in my mind. As I have written in previous posts, this value was printed from no fewer than 19 plates, although plate 14 cannot be positively identified because the inscriptions were trimmed off all sheets. This variety of printings has produced no fewer than 22 identifiable shade varieties of blue or ultramarine. Some of these are very subtle, but some are not at all, as shown in the picture below: How anyone can think that the two blocks on the left are the same colour is beyond me. These differences are every bit as significant as what we are used to seeing on the popular Admiral series of 1911-1928. There may even be more shades

Additional Posts for The 1954-1967 Wilding Issue

After working extensively with the plate blocks of this issue, I feel that it is necessary to write some additional in-depth posts about this issue before moving on to the next definitive issue. In the next three weeks or so, I will start to write posts on the following topics: 1. Shade varieties on the 1c violet brown 2. Shade varieties on the 2c green 3. Shade varieties on the 4c violet 4. Shade varieties on the 5c blue 5. Position dots on the plate blocks 6. The gum on the Wilding issues - collectible varieties versus random variations. 7. The Dull Fluorescent Papers. 8. The scarcity of superb stamps in modern Canadian philately. 9. Forming a specialized collection of plate blocks of the Wilding Issue. 10. The existence of cracked plates on the Wilding Issue. 11. Constant plate varieties on the booklet covers. Watch this space starting after Christmas for these posts. In the meantime, if you would like to see the plate blocks I have listed so far, click on the followi

The Plate Block Post For The Wilding Issue Continues To Be Updated

I am still working on listing the plate blocks of the 4c, 5c, 6c, 10c, 15c, 20c and 25c stamps from this issue. This week I hope to finish the listings for the 4c plate blocks. I have been updating my post dealing with the plate blocks of this issue, specifically for the printing order numbers found on the lower left positions: I am now up to plate 5 of the 4c value and I still have some 15 plates of this value and 19 plates of the 5c to go in addition to the high values. So please be sure to check this post regularly for updates. 

Listings for the 1954-1967 Wilding Issue Taking Much Longer Than Expected And Some Other Observations About This Issue

I had promised an update today or an overview post of the 1963-1967 Cameo Issue. Unfortunately, the Wilding Issue is taking much longer to get through than I thought. As of today, I expect to complete the 3c value and as the 2c value took a full week to get through, I think this set will take me another 3 weeks to complete - so probably around Christmas. In the meantime, I will post any new observations that come to light as I continue to list the stamps and plate blocks of this issue. In particular, I am updating my post dealing with the plate blocks of this issue as I examine more and more blocks and new printing order numbers become known. Be sure to go back and re-read this if this topic interests you. One comment that I can definitely make at this point is that the paper differences that I have written about are becoming more and more pronounced as I examine more and more blocks. Also, I am finding that many plate positions have characteristics with regard to paper texture and

Brief Hiatus in Posts and No Longer Posting to Groups on a Daily Basis

I have come to the end of my detailed posts on the Wilding definitive issue of 1954-1967. However, I am way, way behind on my listings of this issue in my E-bay store. So while I could write about a completely different topic, I have decided that it would be best if I completed the listings of the material for this issue in my e-bay store. If you are intrigued about these issues having ready my posts on the topic and wish to view the stamps that I have for sale, the link to my store is: I expect that listing all the material that I have for this issue will take me at least a full week. Once I have completed it and I am ready to start working on the next definitive issue, which is the 1963-1967 Cameo Issue, then I can start to write posts again about that issue. So if you have read all my posts, I would encourage you to check back here aroun

Understanding and Studying Paper Fluorescence on Modern Stamps

Overview Probably no topic causes more confusion for collectors than the study of paper fluorescence. Many feel that there is too much subjectivity involved in evaluating and studying paper fluorescence and there is a tremendous amount of inconsistency among the stamps listed in Unitrade. Indeed many of the stamps listed are described as having the same degree of fluorescence, but appear completely different under the UV lamp. This makes positive identification of single stamps next to impossible for those unfamiliar with the papers, unless the varieties are unmistakably obvious. This post will attempt to explain why this confusion arises and break the topic down into more manageable components, so that you will be able to see that the study of paper fluorescence is not impossibly complex. The Cause of Confusion and Basic Grades of Fluorescence The subject of paper fluorescence is confusing because many of the papers used contain fibres in varying densities that react differe

Modern Versus Classic Philately - Just As Interesting If You Know What To Look At

I have now completed two series of posts that describe all aspects of two relatively modern Canadian definitive issues, that have until very recently been thought to contain relatively little to interest a specialist: The Karsh Issue of 1953-1967 and the Wilding Issue of 1954-1967. When I was a boy, there were almost no detailed catalogue listings of either issue, and even today, the Karsh Issue has almost no listed varieties. However, as my posts demonstrate, these two issues are hardly straightforward, and have much to keep a devoted specialist busy for an entire lifetime. So why, after such a long time, are these issues still largely neglected? There are several reasons, but I think the main one is that there is a strong bias in the hobby to dismiss any variety that is not either very obvious, or from the classic period as being little more than random variation. Indeed, within the professional circles of philately, there is a strong bias against the serious study and collect

Postal History and Postal Stationery of the Wilding Issue 1954-1967

This will be my last post on the 1954-67 Wilding Issue. In this post I will talk about the collecting of postal history including first day covers and postal stationery. As we will see this is yet again a field that contains ample scope to keep you busy for quite some time. Postal History 15c airmail cover to Germany with 1c-4c plus 1959 St Lawrence Seaway commemorative paying the first class airmail rate.  25c domestic forwarded registered letter with a complete booklet pane of 5 of the 5c blue paying 5c postage, plus the 20c registration fee. The collecting of covers to various destinations, paying various rates offers many different opportunities for specialization, which are basically as follows: 1. Collecting by postage rate 2. Collecting by destination 3. Collecting unintentional first day covers 4. Collecting covers addressed to significant individuals 5. Collecting covers that document significant historical events 6. Collecting business advertising co