The Dated Die Issue of 1935-1938 Part Two

Today's post picks up where the last post left off, and will look at the remaining aspects of this iconic definitive issue.

Plate Flaws and Re-entries

Plate Flaws

Unitrade lists all of the known constant plate flaws on this issue, of which there are eight as follows:

  • The "mole on forehead" on the 2c Brown from position 21 of the upper left pane of plate 2.
  • The "birdcage" variety on the 10c mountie, from position 48 of the upper left pane of plate 1,
  • The "broken leg" on the 10c mountie, from position 48.
  • The "narrow 1" on the 1c green coil stamp. This occurs periodically through the roll.
  • The "damaged 2" on the 2c brown coil stamp. This occurs periodically through the roll. 
  • The "moulting wing" on the 6c Daedalus airmail, from position 14 of the lower right pane of plate 1.
  • The "Air"die flaw on the 6c Daedalus airmail, from position 10 of the lower left pane of plate 1.
  • The "dot in right 2" on the 20c special delivery issue. No position has as yet been specified for this variety.
Given that most proof sheets have been thoroughly examined by specialists over the years, it is unlikely, that any additional constant varieties will be discovered. However, re-entries are another matter. Though there are not many listed now, most were discovered only recently, so there may well be others. 

The Mole on Forehead on the 2c Brown

Image result for canada #218i

The above scan shows an example of this flaw, which consists of a heavy dot of colour at the King's left temple. So the name by which this variety is known is somewhat misleading, since you will not find it if you are looking in the middle of the forehead.

The Birdcage Flaw on the 10c Mountie

Image result for Canada 1935 dated die issue birdcage variety

This was not listed until just a few years ago, and if you aren't paying close attention, is a very easy variety to overlook. It consists of a very thin arc of colour just above the back end of the horse, just behind the saddle. While not nearly as rare or valuable as the broken leg, it is still a very desirable variety, listing for $500 in very fine mint condition.

The Broken Leg on the Mountie

Image result for 10c Mountie broken leg variety

This is the most famous plate flaw on this issue, and come to think of it, next to the famed "shilling mark" on the Silver Jubilee Issue, it is the most spectacular of the plate flaws on Canadian stamps. It is visible on the lower stamp in the above pair, where the mountie's leg appears to be broken. It occurs on position 48 of the panes other than the upper left pane, where the birdcage flaw occurs. 

The Narrow "1" Variety

Image result for canada #228ii

At first this variety is difficult to spot, but once you know what to look for, it is not difficult. In the production of coils by the CBN, there are places along the roll where the rotary printing plates have completed a revolution. Where this occurs, there tends to be a slight smudging or blurring of the printing, and often a lightening of the ink. You can see this on the left side of the second stamp from the left in the above strip. On this and several of the definitive issues that follow this, this particular position, in addition to what I have described, will also show a constant variety of some kind. On the 1c, there is a slight narrowing of the left "1", which is most pronounced in the middle of the "1". It should be fairly obvious on the second stamp from the left in the above strip. However, I always start by looking for the general blurriness on the left side of the stamp. If I see that, then I know that I am likely dealing with a narrow 1 variety.

The Damaged 2 Variety

Image result for canada #229ii

Like the "narrow 1", this variety is generally accompanied by a general blurriness on the left side of the stamp. The annoying thing is that there is no illustration in Unitrade to guide you as to what to look for on the "2" that is affected. I used to think that the damage was on the bottom serif, but it turns out that it is actually a dot of colour in the middle of the "2", at its narrowest point, that has the effect of breaking it up into 2 sections - very, very easy to overlook if you don't know what to look for. Again, it is the left "2" that is affected, which will help you focus if you are sorting a large quantity of used coils of this value. 

The Moulting Wing

Image result for canada #C5ii

This is another variety that can be very difficult to spot. On the above block it is on the lower left stamp. Look at the white area on the left wing, closest to the right side, just above the left leg. If you look closely, you will see a thick arc of colour running almost parallel to the leg and crossing the white area. You can see it very clearly on the lower left stamp, but not on the other three stamps in the block. This is the "moulting wing" variety, and it is one of the most famous varieties on this issue.

The "Air" Die Flaw on the Daedalus Airmail

Image result for canada #C5iv

This is a fairly obvious variety and consists of a shilling-mark like stroke just to the left of "Air". It is the only variety of its kind listed on this issue. However, I know that other varieties of this type exist on other values. Once back in 1990, when I worked for Weeda Stamps Ltd., we sold a 50c Parliament Buildings that had a large triangular die flaw to the right of "Canada". It was really quite spectacular, and yet I have never seen it listed, or another one since. 

Dot in Right 2

This variety is probably the most subtle and easy to overlook. It is not very clear in the above scan, but if you look in the space between the top end of the right "2" and where it slopes diagonally upwards, you will just be able to make out a small dot of colour in the space. To the best of my knowledge, this variety has not as yet been plated, so it may not be constant. However, there are enough of them around that it very likely is not a random variety. 


Image result for canada #226i

The most famous re-entry on this issue, and the only one that was listed until very recently, was the major re-entry on the 50c, which shows very clear doubling under and above "Canada". It is shown in the scan above, and occurred on position 25 of the lower right pane of plate 1. It is highly sought after by re-entry collectors as well of specialists of this issue alike.

However, over the years specialists like Ralph Trimble have discovered others, which have now made their way into Unitrade:

  • 'RCMP" doubled on the 10c Mountie, along with the left vertical framelines. 
  • The left scroll near the left maple leaf doubled on the 13c violet, along with many of the horizontal shading lines extending past the left vertical frameline. 
  • The left side of the 20c olive green doubled, including "postes". This occurs on position 35 of the upper right pane of plate 1. 
  • The left side of the 50c doubled. 

Precancels and Cancellations


There are a large number of precancels to be found on this issue. The above scan shows one generic style that endured into the 1970's and was not town-specific. Another very common style consists of 2 pairs of bars as shown, with the middle pair being replaced by a numeric inscription, which corresponded to a specific city of town. The total number of styles reported to exist on each value is as follows:

  • 1c green - 84 styles.
  • 2c brown - 31 styles.
  • 3c dark carmine - 8 styles.
  • 5c blue - 2 styles.
  • 1c green coil - 1 style.
Of course, the styles can exist inverted, badly slanted, doubled, doubled with one inverted, etc. A full, detailed listing of these can be found in a specialized catalogue like Walburn's Catalogue of Canadian precancels. However, the precancels can form a fairly extensive and challenging aspect to this issue, especially if you look for them in mint condition.

Other Cancels

The large size of the high values makes them ideal for the collecting of circular date town cancellations. CDS's had started to gain popularity in the 1890's, but their use has become more and more widespread with each subsequent issue, as more and more small post offices were established throughout the country. By the time one reaches the 1930's, the number of post offices numbers in the thousands for each of the major provinces, giving you plenty of scope with this issue. 

The 1c, 2c and 3c values are more difficult to find with CDS cancels, I find, as most of these were used on local mail and postcards, which tended to receive either the wavy line or slogan based machine cancels. The 5c-8c values are probably the most difficult, as I see a lot of these with roller and smudge cancels. The 10c & 13c are the easiest, as these were usually on registered mail or bulk receipts and these usually were cancelled with CDS's. The values 20c and above are again more difficult, as we find a lot of roller and smudge cancels. With an issue quantity of only 818,000, a collection of superb used $1 Champlains with small town CDS cancels, in period up to June 15, 1938, would be a real joy to behold, and at $9-$15 per stamp, is not going to break the bank by any means. 

First Day Covers and Postal History

A wide variety of first day covers can be collected for this issue, with the differences being in the different cachets, which were produced by private cachet makers during the period. Some of these are quite scarce and highly desirable, but most can be had for a very reasonable price. Only the 50c and $1 are more expensive, and even then $250 is the most expensive you will find for this issue.

The postal history itself can be approached in many different ways:
  • A wide variety of advertising covers, corner card covers and hotel covers can be collected for the printed matter and local domestic rates. Alternatively, you could focus on obtaining covers from small town post offices, that are either closed now, or those that opened or closed during the life of the issue. 
  • The higher values can be sought on high-value local, special delivery or registered frankings, or on bulk mailing receipts. 
  • You could focus on exotic foreign destination covers, including airmail covers. Airmail is still relatively in its infancy during this issue, so there are a number of first flight covers that can also be collected. 
  • You could also look at dogsled covers from the far north, as these are quite collectible, though many are philatelically inspired. 
Postal Stationery

Generally speaking the postal stationery available during the life of this issue continued to follow the Medallion inspired design of 1932. However there were a few new items to appear during this period, whose designs were similar to the low values, though not exactly the same.

  • There was a 1c green wrapper with a front face portrait of King George V. The design is kind of a hybrid of all the preceding issues, borrowing elements from each one. 
  • There are 5 basic types of postcards with the front face design as detailed below.
  • There are 5 basic types of sideface design postcards as detailed below.
Postcards Featuring the Full Face Portrait

There are four basic types of cards in this design:
  • One with no inscription at all - just the stamp impression. 
  • One that bears "Canada/Business Reply Card" in two lines at the top left.
  • One that bears "Canada Post Card" at the top centre of the card.
  • One that bears a bilingual "Canada/Post Card" at top centre. 

The second type above is found in two different sizes on a 1/2c blue card: one in which the second line measures 42 mm with no period at the end, and another where the line measures 39 mm with a period. There also exists a 1c green + 1/2c blue reply card where the 1c portion is the third type above, but the 1/2c reply portion is this type. 

1c green and 2c brown cards can be found in each of the first, third and fourth types above. 

Finally, there exists a 1c green + 1c green reply card that can be found in two types:
  • One where the message portion is the third type above, but the reply portion has "Canada Post Card /(Reply) in two lines.
  • One where the message portion is the fourth type above, but the reply portion has "Canada/Reply Post Card-Carte Postale Reponse" in two lines. 
Post Cards Featuring the Side Portrait

The types of cards to be found with this portrait mirrors the other design almost exactly, with a few exceptions:

  • The 1/2c blue card exists in a type similar to the second type above, except that "Carte Reponse D' Affaires" appears on another line below the other two lines. 
  • The 1c green cards in the third type above can be found on mimeograph stock, as well as on mimeograph stock and rouletted. Mimeograph stock is a very thick, porous stock that was made for use in mimeograph machines, which were designed to mass produce cards with a generic message. 
  • The 1c green cards with no inscription can be found precanceled, with the plain bars style, as shown on the 2c brown stamp that was illustrated earlier in the section dealing with precancels. 
  • The 1c green + 1/2c blue reply card exists in a second type, where the message portion is the fourth type above and the 1/2c blue reply portion is like the additional type just described above, with "Carte Reponse D'Affaires".
There are obviously several different angles you can approach collecting these from. The basic mint and used cards are mostly not that expensive, though a few of the used ones will set you back close to $100 each - if you can find them! However, you can expand a collection of these significantly by:

  • Looking for a used card from each major provincial city, i.e. Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Fredericton, Saint John, Charlottetown, Halifax, Whitehorse and Yellowknife. The last two of these will prove to be close to impossible and could have you searching for years. 
  • Looking for uprated cards. These were only designed to be used locally, but occasionally you can find them used to foreign destinations by adding additional stamps. You could form a collection of these arranged by destinations, rates or both. 
OHMS Perfins

This is the first issue on which the more common 4-hole OHMS perfin appeared, although the scarce 5-hole perfin can also be found on all values as well. Unlike the 5-hole perfin, which is practically non-existent, the 4-hole perfins can all be found mint, and can also likely be found in plate blocks too, though I would expect them to be quite scarce. So with this issue, in addition to the ability to seek out eight different orientations of the OHMS perfin on each type, you can also seek out shades, paper and gum varieties, as well as plate blocks. With the 5-hole perfin, do not forget the "missing pin on s" variety that exists on all values, and in all orientations as well. All of this will combine to make this a very challenging aspect to this issue.

My understanding is that all 13 stamps can be found the 5-hole type, and the 5 hole type with the missing pin on S variety. In addition, on the 4-hole type can be found only on the 6c airmail, 10c, 13c, 20c, 20c special delivery, and the 50c. So there are at least 32 basic stamps, which can become as many as 256, if all 8 orientations exist for each one.

All of these stamps are very scarce. The minimum Unitrade price is $25 for a used copy of the 1c with 5-hole perfin in fine condition. The most expensive is $400 for a VF used copy of the $1 Champlain with 5-hole perfin.

As with all the OHMS perfins, very great care must be taken when purchasing them, as many have been extensively forged from cheap used stamps. Kennith Pugh has published a reference work titled "Reference Manual of BNA Fakes, Forgeries & Counterfeits, Series I - release 5". In this he details the characteristics of the genuine perfins and contrasts them with some of the better known fakes out there. It is an invaluable guide to have if you are thinking of buying these from someone other than a reputable dealer.

Imperforate Varieties

All values of this issue exist in imperforate pairs, and are all very scarce, with around 150 pairs of each being known. Despite this immense scarcity, the prices listed in Unitrade are very reasonable. The number of pairs known of each are:

  • 1c green - 150 pairs.
  • 2c brown - 150 pairs.
  • 3c dark carmine - 150 pairs.
  • 4c orange yellow - 150 pairs.
  • 5c blue - 150 pairs
  • 8c deep orange - 150 pairs.
  • 10c carmine rose - 150 pairs.
  • 13c violet - 150 pairs.
  • 20c olive green - 150 pairs.
  • 50c dull violet - 150 pairs. 
  • $1 blue - 150 pairs. 
  • 6c airmail - 125 pairs. 
  • 20c special delivery - 75 pairs. 

In addition to the above imperforate pairs, the 5c blue exists as a horizontal pair, imperforate vertically. Only 150 pairs of this variety are known. All the high values from the 10c to $1 exist in an imperforate gutter blocks of 8. These are all rare, and worth between $2,500 and $3,750 depending on whether or not they are hinged or never hinged. Unitrade notes that there are probably fewer than 6 complete sets of these gutter blocks in existence, so their price in Unitrade is actually quite modest. Finally, the 6c airmail exists in an imperforate gutter block of 4, and again, this is very rare and expensive, with just 10 known.

All of the basic stamps of this set from the 1c to the $1 exist in imperforate plate blocks. The low values are collected in blocks of 8, while the high values are collected in blocks of 6. The low values are valued at $2,500 per block, while the high values are valued at $2,000 block.

Proof Material

The BNA Proofs website lists no fewer than 75 proof items, which can be summarized as follows:
  • 1 typographed essay in red of the 1c instead of the issued green colour.
  • 5 hand painted essays of the 3c, 5c, 10c and $1 in various colours.
  • 16 photographic essays in black of the 3c, 8c and all high values.
  • 2 progressive essays on card of the 50c, both in black. 
  • 1 essay of the central vignette of the 20c special delivery issue in black. 
  • 36 large die proofs, generally in the issued colours.
  • 2 small die proofs on card of the 6c airmail in issued colours.
  • 2 progressive proofs of the 6c airmail and 13c in the issued colour. 
  • 5 trial colour proofs on India paper, in various colours of the 20c, 50c and $1.
  • 1 stamp sized die proof of the 50c on card in violet.
  • 3 stamp sized die proofs on India paper of the 50c, 6c airmail and the 20c special delivery, in issued colours.
  • 1 plate proof of the 20c special delivery on India paper. 
You can read more detail about the various proofs, by visiting the following links:

These items are generally in the $1,000-$4,000 price range, so to acquire them all will take a lifetime, and very deep pockets.

For some reason, the website does not list the basic plate proofs, which first became available at the American Bank Note Company Archive sale, which was held by Christie's in 1990. Singles of these are printed on India paper, which is then mounted onto card. Their value generally varies between $100 for the low values and $200 for the high values. The number known of each is:

  • 1c green - 800 proofs.
  • 2c brown - 800 proofs.
  • 3c dark carmine - 800 proofs. 
  • 4c orange-yellow - 800 proofs. 
  • 5c blue - 800 proofs. 
  • 8c deep orange - 800 proofs. 
  • 10c carmine rose - 400 proofs.
  • 13c violet - 400 proofs.
  • 20c olive green - 400 proofs.
  • 50c dull violet - 400 proofs.
  • $1 deep blue - 400 proofs.
  • 20c special delivery - 198 proofs. 
Unitrade does not list proofs for the 6c airmail, which I feel must be a mistake, as surely these must exist. The 20c special delivery proofs were in a full sheet of 100 divided into 2 panes by a gutter, and a part sheet of 98. Out of this arrangement, 20 gutter pairs were saved, and still exist today. Two complete printer's sheets of each value were offered at the Christie's sale. These sheets were each divided into four panes separated by horizontal and vertical gutters. Out of these sheets, the cross gutter blocks, consisting of four blocks of 4, separated by the gutters were cut. There are two complete sets of these in existence, and they are the rarest and most expensive items in modern Canadian philately, being worth more than $25,000-$30,000. 


This issue is the first one to feature a printed on the gummed side error. It is found on the 3c carmine, and about 200 are known according to Unitrade. It also notes that most known examples are off centre.

This concludes my discussion of this beautiful and challenging issue. I love it because it offers you the opportuity to collect at both ends of the rarity spectrum. You can patiently search out the limited number of very rare items, and save for them, but at the same time you can still plug away very cheaply at the cancels for example. There are still possibilities of new discoveries as well - especially in the areas of re-entries, plate flaws, precancels and the OHMS perfins. Then as if that wasn't enough, there is the postal history, which I don't think has been really seriously tackled by very many collectors as of yet. 


  1. I'm very glad to have found your superb blog.

    My Unitrade is out of date, and the birdcage isn't shown. Can you please advise the cv for used?

    1. Thanks very much. Unitrade lists the birdcage at $250 for fine used and $375 for very fine.


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