Showing posts from May, 2016

Sorting the Small Queens - Some Initial Insights

Now that I have just completed my initial sort of some 2,000 1c, and 3c Small Queens, I thought it would be good to share some of my initial insights about their characteristics. In doing this I have decided to focus on the perforations only for now and later, after my other shipment of 3,500 stamps arrives, I will look at paper and shade. So what I have done is use my Instanta perforation gauge to check all 2,000 or so stamps that were present in this lot. Under a heading for each perforation measurement that I have found, I will note my general observations about: papers cancellations shades plate characteristics, i.e. whether the stamps have strong or weak impressions etc.  how the perforation group compares to the others A big and important question in the minds of specialists has to be whether of not the different perforation  measurements resulted from different perforators that were used concurrently during the life of the issue, versus those perforators being used in

Revisiting The Small Queens

About two months ago now I bought a three stockbook lot of used Small Queens. The lot consisted of a stockbook each of the half cent, 1c and 3c. I had bought them because my stock in this area is weak and I find that I can not generally keep them in stock when I do have them as they are extremely popular with collectors. I consider myself a fairly knowledgeable philatelist, but this issue has always troubled me, as it does most collectors. The number one question most collectors have is: how can I tell if it is Montreal or Ottawa? This has become important due largely to the fact that the standard postage stamp catalogues list both Montreal and Ottawa printings, with the prices assigned to the Montreals, being as much as 10 times higher than Ottawas. This concern among collectors has been addressed by a plethora of articles purporting to provide an algorithm to enable collectors to sort through their stamps and identify them with 90% certainty. The problem is, most of the time when y

The Issues of 1927-1952 A Highly Neglected Period of Canadian Philately

Before I move on with more posts about the Admiral Issue, I wanted to talk a little bit today about the material issued between 1927 and 1952, as I have for the past month, been organizing my stock of this period and getting it ready for sale. What has struck me the most as I have worked on this material, is just how much variation there is to interest a specialist, and how most of this detail has been ignored by the standard stamp catalogues. This is a pity because to look at the catalogue listings, one can easily come to the conclusion that the issues are straightforward, and that there is little to interest a specialist. Consequently, I believe that very little has been done with this material compared to the popular Large Queens, Small Queens and Admirals. I'm not sure why this is the case and by the time you have finished reading this post, I hope you will agree with me that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I suspect that there is a perception among philatelists tha

Paper and Gum Types on The 1911-1928 Admiral Issue

At last, I return to my detailed posts about the popular Admiral series of 1911-1928. This far I have talked about the difference between wet and dry printings, as well as covering all the major shade varieties to be found on each issue. However, the next major topic that I have only alluded to in my posts about shades, and one that has not received much attention by Unitrade, is the topic of paper and gum. Those who have been collecting this issue long enough and have a keen eye for detail, will eventually notice certain patterns to the characteristics of the paper and gum types that run across the life of this issue. Once you become familiar with these, it will be much easier to distinguish the various printings and shades of the stamps that you have in your collection. The papers and gum types fall into two distinct groups depending on whether the stamp is a wet printing or a dry printing. For the papers, the main characteristics that I will discuss are the thickness, measu

Stamp Values Over The Years - An Interesting Revelation

The conventional wisdom in the hobby that I have always heard growing up is that if you want your stamps to increase in value you should buy the highest value stamps you can since rare stamps will always increase in value, while cheap stamps will always be inexpensive. About 20 years ago, I predicted that superb mint examples of the low values up to the mid 1930's would increase by much greater amounts than the high value stamps would. My reasoning was rooted in simple economics: there are more collectors who can afford them and all collectors need them to complete their sets. So a collector who has already bought superb examples of the expensive stamps and needs the inexpensive ones, must compete with a larger body of collectors who could not afford the high values, but who can afford the low values. With a limited supply, this could only result in prices increasing. This has come true in a big way. Earlier this month I had a chance to purchase: A 1983 Lyman's Canadian

The Shade Varieties Of The Large Queen Issue of 1868-1897

I had thought that my last post had addressed the request of one of my readers, but I had misunderstood his request. He wanted to know about the shade varieties of the Large Queen Issue, as well as perforations and papers for the purposes of doing an album layout. So I will write a post today about the shades, papers and perforation varieties on this issue before I return to my next post about the Admiral Issue of 1911-1928. Overview This is quite a complicated issue despite the fact that most of the values were only in use for a few years. The 15c value by exception was never replaced by any subsequent issue in Queen Victoria's reign, so that a very large number of printings were made, resulting in an extremely wide range of shades. Gerald Firth, who was the premier student of this stamp, wrote an entire book on it, which I do not have. So I cannot give you a full list of every single existing shade of this stamp. However, I can give you a group that is fairly representative o