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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Mufti & Pictorial Issue of 1937-1942 Part 2

Today's post covers the remaining aspects of this handsome first definitive issue of the King George VI period. 

Booklet Panes and Complete Booklets

Basic Format and Layout





It is with this issue that the collecting of booklets gets really, really interesting. The reason is that a dotted cover design replaced the plain cover designs of the previous issue. Both the front and back covers exist in up to 11 different die types that differ only in terms of the dot pattern. Peter Harris, a dealer in the UK published a detailed study in which he identified the different cover dies that exist on both the English and French booklet covers. As you might expect, the number of potential combinations of front and back covers that exist for each basic booklet is quite high. Another complicating factor, is the width of the staple that was used to fasten the booklet together. This was also the first issue to include pages in the booklets containing information about postage rates. These are called rate pages, and the variations in them introduce yet another level of complexity to the collection of Canadian booklets. 

The appearance of the booklet panes and layout is the same for these stamps, as the previous issue, with each value being issued in  pane of 4, plus 2 blank labels, and a pane of 6 stamps. Examples of these two formats are shown in the scan above.

There were two basic formats for the cover designs. The first is shown below, and consists of the Canadian coat of arms surrounded by inscriptions, against a dotted pattern. The second is the same, except without the inscriptions.


Front cover in French


Front cover in English



The plain cover with no inscriptions, in English.

These front covers came with two different widths of text: 57 mm and 63 mm, so that there are really three basic types of booklet:

  • Those that have a front cover with the arms & inscriptions where the text is 57 mm wide.
  • Those that have a front cover with the arms & inscriptions where the text is 63 mm wide.
  • Those that have a front cover with the arms and "Canada Postage" or "Postes Canada" only.


Typically, the colour of the cover corresponded loosely with the colour of the stamps in the booklet, with the exception of the combination booklets, whose covers were blue, purple or turquoise. The back covers featured a boxed message like this:




Then the booklets themselves contained several pages bearing messages, including what is called a "rate page". Booklets containing more than one page also contained wax coated tissue interleaf pages, whose function was to prevent the panes from sticking to one another. The scans below show examples of these types of pages:


A typical rate page. This one is from the 1942-49 War Issue.


A typical printed interleaf page containing a boxed message on each side.


The printed portion of the back cover. The inside front cover often contained a message as well.


A wax coated tissue interleaf page.

There were four basic types of booklets issued, all of which sold for 25 cents:


  • 1c green booklet containing 24 1c green stamps in 4 panes of 6.
  • 2c brown booklet containing 12 2c brown stamps in 2 panes of 6.
  • 3c carmine booklet containing 8 3c carmine stamps in 2 panes of 4.
  • Combination booklet containing 4 of each 1c, 2c & 3c, in pane pane of 4 each.
Each of these booklets was issued with the different types of cover, in both English and French versions, and with various rate pages. In addition to this, there were the different dotted cover dies that exist for both the front and back covers. In order to avoid confusion, I will start by listing the booklets that were issued by basic cover type, and then I will discuss the die type variations that are listed in Harris's book.

Booklets With Plain Cover Containing Only  Arms and "Canada Post"

There was one of each of the four basic types of booklets issued with this cover type, and two of the combination booklets:

  • One containing a rate page, and
  • One with no rate page.
So if you include both English and French covers, there are 10 different basic booklets.

Booklets With Arms & Inscription Text 57 mm wide

All of the four basic types of booklet were issued with this cover. However, this time there were three main variations for each one:

  • One type of booklet contained no rate page.
  • One type of booklet contained a rate page showing the 6c airmail rate.
  • A third type of booklet contained a rate page that was defaced by a large red "X"
In the case of the 1c booklets with rate page and with "X" on the rate page, there is another variation concerning the staple width. The most common width is 17 mm, while a scarcer 12 mm staple can also be found. In the case of the combination booklet, the booklets without rate page, as well as those with the 6c airmail rate page, can be found with both blue and turquoise covers. In addition, it is also possible to find the booklets containing the 6c rate page with a purple cover as well. The combination booklets with the red "X" on the rate page are only known with blue covers, however. 

This in this type there are 34 basic booklets, when English and French covers are considered.

Booklets With Arms & Inscription Text 63 mm wide


These are much scarcer than the other booklets, and this scarcity is reflected in the Unitrade catalogue price.

Four booklets were issued in this format, one of each basic type, for a total of 8 different basic booklets, once the English and French covers are considered.

Thus without taking the dotted cover dies into consideration, and without considering paper, gum and shade differences on the stamps themselves, there are 52 different booklets to collect.

Dotted Cover Die Variations


The above scan is an excerpt from Peter Harris's book titled: "Canadian Stamp Booklets: Dotted Cover Dies 1935-1955". I do not wish to plagarise his work, so I will only provide a synopsis of it here.

The degree of complexity associated with the booklets of this issue is mitigated by the fact that:


  • There is only a single die type of the plain front cover, and
  • There is only a single die type of the back covers.
This all of the variation in the covers of these booklets is confined to the inscribed front covers. As you can see from the above excerpt, the difference between these cover dies lies in the number of dots that are enclosed by the "P" of "Postage", and the pattern that is formed by those dots. The number of different types of dies that exist can be summarized as follows:

  • English covers with 57 mm text: 2 different for each type of booklet, i.e. 2 of the 1c green, 2 of the 2c brown, 2 of the 3c carmine and finally 2 of the combination booklets.
  • French covers with 57 mm text: 2 different for each booklet type as above.
  • English covers with 63 mm text: 1 die for each type of booklet.
  • French covers with 63 mm text: 1 die for each type of booklet.
Thus, for the 63 mm covers, the dotted die types do not add any additional complexity, and the number of basic, collectible booklets remains at 8 booklets. However, because there are now 2 different front cover dies for every single 57 mm booklet, of which there were 34 basic types, there are really 68 different basic booklets of the 57 mm front cover, bringing the total number of different collectible booklets for this issue from 52 to 86 booklets.

I haven't handled enough booklet panes of this issue to confirm whether or not they exist on the full range of paper and gum types that I have outlined in my last post. However, I have seen at least two or three different paper and gum combinations for each pane, so the number of potentially collectible booklets is at least three times greater than just the different cover & rate page combinations that I have discussed here. Thus, if you wanted to get this detailed, you could potentially expand the scope of a specialized collection of booklets to several hundred booklets. 

Proof Material

 

The original essays for this issue featured not King George VI, but his brother, King Edward VIII, as shown by the above scan at left. However, Edward VIII abdicated before this issue could be completed. So the bulk of production took place after George VI took over from his brother. 

The BNA proofs website lists no fewer than 77 proof items from this issue, which can be summarized as follows:

  • 5 essays of the King Edward VIII design, four of which are in black, and one of which is rose red as shown above. 
  • 20 Large die proofs in the issued colours. 
  • 15 stamp sized die proofs in issued colours, with file numbers noted. 
  • 2 photographic essays of the 3c and 6c in black.
  • 7 progressive proofs in various colours of the 3c, 20c and $1.
  • 1 progressive proof of the frame of the 6c airmail in green.
  • 8 trial colour proofs of the 3c, 6c airmail, 20c, 50c and $1. 
  • 2 essays in black for the 1c postal stationery design.
  • 17 die proofs in black for the 1c, 2c and 3c postal stationery designs. 
You can read more about the various proof items, as well as viewing scanned images of them by visiting the following links:





Like the previous issue, the website does not mention the plate proofs that were offered at the American Bank Note Company archive sale in 1990. There were no plate proofs of either the 13c blue or the 10c green special delivery. Two complete printer's sheets of the 6c airmail, 10c, 20c, 50c and $1 were offered at the sale, as were two printer's sheets of 100 of the 20c special delivery. These have all been cut up as follows:


  • Plate blocks - 2 of each corner - valued at $6,250 per set of 5 blocks.
  • Cross-gutter blocks of 16 - 4 sets valued at $15,000 per set.
  • Gutter blocks of 8 - 8 sets valued at $8,000 per set. 
  • Blocks of 4 at $3,200 per set.
  • Pairs at $1,600 per set, not including the 20c special delivery or $2,300 including it.
  • Singles at $800 per set, not including the 20c special delivery.
I do not know how many sets of blocks, pairs and singles were made. After the sheets were cut-up into the plate blocks, cross gutter blocks and gutter blocks, there are 208 remaining proofs, which could have been split into any combination of blocks, singles and pairs. Also, any blocks or pairs that were originally produced from these sheets could have been split up further since. 

The 6c airmail was not split into cross gutter blocks of 16, so these blocks will not include this value. However, they were split into both gutter blocks of 8 and gutter blocks of 4. The 20c special delivery sheet consisted of two sheets of 100 that were divided by a vertical gutter, into two panes of 50. These sheets were cut up into gutter pairs first, so that there were 20 gutter pairs produced, and then the remaining 160 proofs were split into pairs. 


Postal Stationery

Image result for Canada King George VI Postal Stationery

The postal stationery of the King George VI period featured a single universal design as shown above, even though there were three distinctly different definitive issues in use during George VI's reign. Despite this, it is fairly easy to distinguish between those items belonging to this issue from those of the other two issues. The colours of the stamp impressions generally correspond to the colour of the stamps in the actual definitive issue. Where the same colour was used in all three issues, as is the case of the 1c green for instance, the dies will often incorporate dates that enable the items of each issue to be distinguished. Generally speaking, the dies for the above design that were used prior to 1943 share the following characteristics:


  • "19" and "38" appear in each of the lower corners, though these dates can be difficult to see sometimes.
  • There is a large coloured dot inside the A of "postage".
  • The veins of the leaves are full, extending all the way to the borders of the leaf. 
The postal stationery items available for this issue included:

  • Stamped envelopes
  • Postcards
  • Private order envelopes
  • Post bands
  • Wrappers
I will now outline the specific items that were issued for each major category of item above. 

Stamped Envelopes

Two sizes of envelope, #8 (165 mm x 92 mm) and #10 (241 mm x 105 mm) were issued for each of the 1c blue green, 1c yelow green, 2c brown, 3c carmine and 3c purple. There is considerable variation in the shades of the brown and purple envelopes. I am not certain, but I believe that the purple envelopes were actually issued in 1943, when the change in postage rates made it necessary to change the colour of the 3c stamp from carmine to rose violet. 

In addition to the basic types of envelopes, it is possible to find the following varieties on one or more of the issued envelopes:

  • Albino impressions.
  • Stamp impression on the inside of the envelope instead of the outside.
  • Stamp impression in the wrong place on the envelope. 
  • Double or multiple stamp impressions.
  • Complete extra stamp impressions.
  • Offset impressions either on the front, or the inside of the envelope.
  • Double envelope 
Post Cards

There were four basic types of postcard issued during this period:

  • 1c green
  • 1c green + 1c green reply card.
  • 2c light brown
  • 2c black brown
Each type of card was issued with different inscriptions, as well as some cards being issued on the thick porous, mimeograph stock, and some of these being found rouletted. It is these last types of cards that are particularly rare. Finally, the 1c cards can be found precancelled with the basic style of three pairs of horizontal bars.

For the non-reply cards, three basic types of exist:

  • No inscription
  • Inscribed "Canada Post Card" at top centre.
  • Bilingual inscription "Canada/Business Reply Card" in 2 lines at top left. 
The following cards were issued for the first type:
  • 1c green, which can also be found preancelled and with the stamp on both sides of the card.
  • 2c light brown, which can also be found with half the stamp impression only. 
  • 2c black brown, which also exists on mimeograph stock and rouletted on mimeograph stock. 
The following cards were issued for the second type:

  • 1c green, typographed. This can also be found on mimeograph stock.
  • 1c green offset printing, which can be found with the heading either 83 mm long, or 81.5 mm long. This type also exists rouletted on mimeograph stock. 
  • 2c light brown.
Finally, the following cards were issued for the third type:

  • 1c green, typographed. This exists rouletted on mimeograph stock.
  • 2c light brown.
On the reply cards, there are two types:

  • Message portion inscribed "Canada Post Card" as a above, and the reply portion inscribed "Canada Post Card (Reply)" in 2 lines.
  • Message portion inscribed "Canada/Business Reply Card" in 2 lines at top left, as above, and the reply portion inscribed "Canada/Reply Post Card - Carte Postale Reponse".
These were only issued for the 1c green + 1c green card, but both types of inscription can be found in both black and green, making for a total of four collectible cards. 


Private Order Envelopes

There were also private order envelopes produced of each basic value: 1c, 2c and 3c, which differ either in terms of the paper stock used, the size of the envelope, or the pre-printed text that is on the envelope. Finally, election envelopes were produced of the 3c red. There are many, many different types of these.

Post Bands

These were only issued for the 1c green design and are also known precancelled. 

Wrappers

These were issued for the 1c green design and exist on two different kinds of kraft paper, brown kraft and green kraft. 

So, as you can see, the postal stationery encompasses quite a large number of items. You can collect one mint and one used example of each, or you can expand the scope in a number of ways:

  • Go for all the different errors you can find.
  • Look for differences in the pre-printed text other than those detailed above.
  • Collect shade varieties for the stamp impressions.
  • Collect different cancels or town usages for each type.
  • Collect up-rated items that were used for non-domestic use by adding additional stamps.

First Day Covers and Postal History

Like the previous issue, there are a wide array of first day covers that can be collected, with many different cachets being collectible. Unitrade does not list FDC's of either the booklet panes or the coil stamps, through I believe that at least some must exist. 

The postal history of this issue can be approached from several different angles:

  • A wide variety of advertising covers, corner card covers and hotel covers can be collected for the printed matter and local domestic rates. Alterntively, 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. 
  • A number of new airmail routes were inaugurated during the life of this issue, and many first flight airmail covers were carried on each of them, and are quite collectible. 
  • This issue covers the first three years of the Second World War, and consequently, there are a large number of censored covers that can be collected. 

OHMS Perfins

Like the previous issue, this series can be found with both the 4-hole and 5-hole OHMS perfins. Once again, the 4-hole type can be found mint, and quite likely in plate blocks as well. Both types of perfin of course exist with up to eight different orientations:

  • Upright reading from left to right.
  • Upright, reading from right to left.
  • Inverted reading from left to right.
  • Inverted reading from right to left.
  • Sideways pointing left and reading up. 
  • Sideways pointing left and reading down.
  • Sideways pointing right and reading up. 
  • Sideways pointing right and reading down.
In addition to these, there are also double perfins, and other such errors to collect as well.

All of the basic stamps from this set, and the 3c coil are known with the 5-hole type, though I do not know whether or not all of them can be found with all eight orientations. Also, the "missing pin in "S" variety should exist for all the 5-hole types as well, possibly in all 8 orientations.  All of the basic stamps except for the 20c special delivery, and the 2c and 3c coil stamps are known with 4-hole type. The $1 aniline ink printing is only known with the 4-hole type. The 10c dark green special delivery is known with two different types of 4-hole perfins:


  • Type 1: narrow "O" and an extended seventh pin from the top of the "S".
  • Type 2: wide "O". The extended pin is found on 3 of the 10 dies used for this type.
The coil stamps and the 10c on 20c special delivery are all rare and expensive, with either of the perfin types. 

Errors and Freaks

Although errors and freaks exist for any Canadian issue, this is really the first issue for which I have regularly come across misperfs, ink smears and pre-print creases. None of this material is listed in Unitrade, but it makes a collection more interesting.

This concludes my discussion of this amazing issue. My next post will look at the first two commemorative issues from George VI's reign: the 1937 Coronation Issue, and the 1939 Royal Visit Issue. 

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