The 1937 Long Coronation Issue of Newfoundland


Today's post will explore a set that is completely unique to all of British Commonwealth philately: a commemorative issue, whose size and whose designs are almost entirely based on those of a contemporary definitive issue. Newfoundland issued  the 1937 Omnibus Coronation designs, just like every other crown colony in the Empire. But then it was decided that in addition to these, another commemorative set was to be issued, which would feature the designs of the current Resources definitive issue. The result was what collectors today know as the Long Coronation Issue. It consisted of eleven stamps ranging from the 1c to 48c, similar to the Resources definitive issue. In addition, with only three exceptions, being the 1c, 3c and 7c, the remaining 8 denominations were almost exactly the same as the corresponding definitives, with a portrait of King George VI added at the right (or left in the case of the 8c) and an inscription with the date of the Coronation added at the top.

Although this was issued as a commemorative set, there is some evidence that it may have been used as a definitive set during the period from 1937 until the Waterlow printings of the Resources issue were issued in 1941-1942.

For the collector interested in perforation varieties, this set is a fantastic choice because at least four different perforations are found on all eleven values, and there are several more to be found on several values as well. Some of these are very scarce and easily overlooked if you are not paying very close attention and using an accurate instanta gauge.  Most of these are not too expensive, but two of them are expensive, and one, the comb perforation of the 14c black, is one of the rarest stamps of Newfoundland and in all of King George VI philately.

All eleven values were issued on the day of the coronation, which was May 12, 1937. They were printed by Perkins Bacon on horizontal wove paper, with the Newfoundland Coat of Arms watermark, as was used in the Resources Issue. I have never seen a complete sheet from this issue, but according to Ralph Trimble, they were issued in sheets of 100. I am interested to know what the issue quantities were, and would greatly appreciate any information in this regard.

The Stamp Designs

1c grey black - codfish and King George VI

3c orange-brown - map of Newfoundland and King George VI

7c ultramarine - caribou and King George VI

8c brownish scarlet - Corner Brook paper mills & King George VI

10c brownish black - salmon leaping falls & King George VI

14c black - Newfoundland Dog & King George VI

15c bright brown purple - Northern Seal & King George VI

20c deep bright green - Cape Race & King George VI

24c Prussian blue - loading iron ore at Bell Island & King George VI

25c slate - sealing fleet & King George VI

48c deep purple - "leaving for the banks" & King George VI

Points of Interest

There are several aspects of this issue which lend themselves out to more specialized collecting, including:

1. Perforation varieties.
2. Shade variations.
3. Paper and gum variations.
5. Die type differences.
6. Watermark varieties.
7. Plate flaws.
8. Re-entries and retouches.
9. Imperforate pairs and partially imperforate varieties.
10. Double prints.
11. Proof material
12. Covers, first day covers and cancels.

I will now discuss each of these in further detail throughout the rest of this post. 

Perforation Varieties

Line perf. 13.8 - listed in Unitrade as 13.7.

Line perf. 14.25 - listed in Unitrade as 14.1.

Comb perf. 13.3 x 13.2, though often 13.4 or 13.3.

There were at least ten perforating heads used to perforate the stamps of this issue:

  1. Line perf. 13.8.
  2. Line perf. 13.9.
  3. Line perf. 14.
  4. Line perf. 14.1.
  5. Line perf. 14.2.
  6. Line perf. 14.25.
  7. Line perf. 14.4
  8. Comb perf. 13.5.
  9. Comb perf. 13.4.
  10. Comb perf. 13.3.
Unitrade lists two line perfs under the basic Unitrade number, and then lists one comb perf under the sub-varieties. According to them, the two common line perforations are 13.7 and 14.1. However, my examination of over 500 mint stamps from this set reveals this to be incorrect. I have not found a single stamp measuring either 13.7 or 14.1.  85-90% of the mint stamps that I examined measured either 13.8 or 14.25. 13.9 was also encountered frequently, though it seems to be much less common on the low values than on the high values. As far as Unitrade values go on the 3c, 8c, 10c and 20c, there is either no premium associated with the comb perf., or it is a very modest premium. This makes very little sense on the 8c & 10c, which are still much scarcer in the comb perf, than their line perforated counterparts. However, on all the other values of the set, the comb perf. is worth much more than the more common line perf., with the 14c black having a Unitrade value of $20,000, making it one of Newfoundland's most valuable stamps. 

First day covers can be found with all the basic perforations, which provides evidence that they were all issued at the same time.  As stated in my earlier posts, you can generally identify the line perfs. very easily by looking at the corners of the stamps and seeing that the perforations are irregular, whereas the comb perforated stamps have corner perforations that are uniform in all four corners, and will line up with one another perfectly on all four sides when placed on top of one another. 

13.8, 13.9 and 14.25 are the three line measurements that I have found that seem to occur on both sides of the stamp. The other five perforating heads have only been found in compound line perforations that exist in several different combinations, as follows:

  • 13.8 x 13.9: found on the 1c, 3c die 1, die 2, 7c, 8c, 10c, 14c, 15c, 20c, 24c, 25c and 48c
  • 13.9 x 13.8: found on the 10c, and 24c.
  • 13.8 x 14: found on the 1c, 7c, 8c, 10c, 14c, 20c, 24c, and 25c.
  • 13.9 x 14: found on the 1c, 7c, 8c, 10c, 14c, 15c, 24c, and 48c.
  • 13.9 x 14.1: found on the 7c,  and 14c.
  • 14.2 x 14.25: found on the 1c, 8c, and 48c.
  • 14.1 x 14.25: found on the 14c.
  • 13.9 x 14.2: found on the 15c,.
  • 14.25 x 14.2: found on the 24c and 48c
  • 14.24 x 14.4: found on the 24c.
There may be others, but the above is what I found after examining some 500 mint stamps of this issue. My examination reveals that all of these compound line perforations are very scarce, with all of them comprising perhaps 10% or so of all line perforated examples. 

The comb perforation appears to vary as well. I have found the following measurements on various values:

  • 13.5: found on the 10c.
  • 13.4: found on the 3c die 1, die 2, 8c, 10c, 15c, 20c, and 24c.
  • 13.3: found on the 3c die 1, and 10c.
  • 13.3 x 13.4: found on the 3c die 1, 3c die 2, 8c, and 10c.
  • 13.4 x 13.3: found on the 3c die 1, die 2, 10c, and 20c.
  • 13.5 x 13.4: found on the 20c,
Once again, I have not found any comb perforations measuring 13.3 x 13.2 as Unitrade lists. In terms of scarcity, the common ones seem to be 13.4, 13.3 x 13.4 and 13.4 x 13.3. The others are all scarcer. 

At this point it is vital for me to point out that these differences, although small, are not insignificant. You can take many issues for Canada or any other country where the perforation is known to be a certain number, obtain, thousands, or tens of thousands of copies, measure them and find no differences at all. To find consistent differences in the measurement of the perforations on these issues indicates that Perkins Bacon utilized several perforating machines to perforate the completed sheets and this is what gives rise to the different measurements. What further lends legitimacy to these varieties is the fact that they are to be found on all the issues that were printed by Perkins Bacon during this period, including the 1931 airmails and the 1933 Labrador airmails. 

However, in order to find them and not overlook them in your own collecting, it is essential for you to practice using an Instanta perforation gauge and get used to measuring to 1/10th of a hole. It is a lot more difficult than it may first seem because most of us are not used to measuring to this degree of accuracy - usually we are measuring 12.5 versus 13.5, or 12.5 versus 14, which is such a huge difference that we can often be quite sloppy in the use of the gauge, and still get the right measurement. However, when you are measuring to this degree of accuracy, two things are absolutely critical to obtaining an accurate measurement:

  1. The guide-line of the gauge, which is the leftmost vertical line must intersect a top and a bottom perforation tooth in exactly the middle of those teeth., and, 
  2. All other vertical lines of the gauge must intersect a perforation tooth in exactly the middle of that tooth.
Usually, when your measurement is off by 0.1, or 0.2, it will, it first glance, appear as if your gauge lines intersect a tooth in the middle, but then when you look very closely you will see that for 1 or 2 of the teeth, the lines are not exactly in the middle of the tooth. Also, if your guide-line is not straight, then your interpretation of the measurements will be slightly off also. Thus measuring the perforations accurately on this issue requires patience and plenty of practice. But after a while you will get the hang of it. 

I have identified 20 different perforations on this issue including the three basic ones. If all 11 values exist with all 20 different perfs, then you could easily collect over 200 different stamps. That is before you consider any shade or paper varieties.

Why so many? And why have they been overlooked for almost 80 years? With respect to the first question, I have a plausible theory, and it has to do with the circumstances around which this set was produced. When King George VI's brother Edward VIII ascended the throne in January 1936, the plan was to hold the Coronation on May 12, 1937.  However, Edward abdicated on December 11, 1936, just about six months in advance of that date. You would think that when George VI took over, that his Coronation would be postponed until say March or April 1938. However, such was not the case. It was decided to go ahead with the original date, which only gave all parties 6 months to prepare for the event. The Crown Agents had decided to issue an omnibus set for the Coronation, and it is easy for collectors to forget what an incredible feat it was to have a new set, designed, engraved, printed for every colony and distributed to every colony in time for the actual Coronation. Remember that all of this had to be coordinated when there were no computers, no internet, no fax machines and so on. So what this meant was that all of the printing companies that had regular contracts with the Crown Agents - Waterlow, De La Rue and Bradbury Wilkinson, were working flat out on omnibus common design.

Now the government of Newfoundland had decided to have Perkins Bacon prepare this issue as an additional contribution to the celebratory efforts. Once again, Perkins would have had very little time to prepare this issue, and in all likelihood they found that while three or four different perforating machines was almost sufficient to enable them to keep up with the demand and fill the order they had received from the Postmaster General, it wasn't quite sufficient. They had to employ other machines to perforate some of the printed sheets. While the calibration of these machines was very similar, it was not quite the same, which is why we see some of these very scarce compound line perforations. That's my theory on how there were so many perforations.

Why have they been overlooked? I believe that the reason is that very few collectors are accustomed to measuring perforations with a greater degree of accuracy than the nearest quarter perf. When you are only measuring to the nearest quarter or the nearest half, then you can have a crooked perf gauge and you will still get the right measurement. You don't have to line everything up perfectly. However, when you want to distinguish between 13.8 and 13.9, you have to be extremely careful with the gauge, and it is my belief that this is not something that collectors are accustomed to. So they simply didn't notice that there were additional varieties beyond 13.8, 14.25 and 13.4 comb.

So which perfs are common, and which are scarce? I can give a tentative answer by value, based on what I have examined to date:

Common Perforations

1c: 13.8 and 14.25.
3c: all the comb perfs, but especially 13.4, line 13.8 and line 14.25.
7c: 13.8 and 14.25.
8c: 13.9, 14.25 and comb 13.4.
10c: 13.8, 14.25, 13.9, and comb 13.4.
14c: 14.25, 13.8, and 13.9.
15c: 13.8, 13.9, 14.25 and comb 13.4.
20c: 13.9, 13.8, 14.25 and comb 13.4 & 13.4 x 13.3.
24c: 13.8 and 14.25.
25c: 13.8, 14.25 and 13.9.
48c: 13.8, 13.9 and 14.25.

Scarce to Rare Perforations Other Than the 7c and 14c Comb Perforations

1c: 13.9, 13.8 x 13.9, 13.8 x 14, 13.9 x 14, 14.2x 14.25 and any comb perf.
3c: 13.9 and 13.8 x 13.9.
7c: 13.9 x 14, 13.8 x 14, 13.9, 13.8 x 13.9, and 13.9 x 14.1.
8c: 13.8, 14.2 x 14.25, 13.8 x 13.9, 13.9 x 14, and comb 13.3 x 13.4.
10c: 13.9 x 14, 13.8 x 14, 13.8 x 13.9, 13.9 x 13.8, and all the comb perfs except 13.4.
14c: 14.2 x 14.25, 14.1 x 14.25, 13.9 x 14.1, 13.9 x 14, 13.8 x 13.9, and 13.8 x 14.
15c: 13.8 x 13.9, 13.9 x 14.2, 13.9 x 14, and any comb perf. other than 13.4.
20c: 13.8 x 13.9, 13.8 x 14 and comb 13.5 x 13.4.
24c: 14.25 x 14.4, 13.9, 13.8 x 13.9, 13.8 x 14, 13.9 x 13.8 and any comb perf.
25c: 13.8 x 14, 13.8 x 13.9, and any comb perf.
48c: 14.25 x 14.4, 13.8 x 14, 14.2 x 14.25, 13.9 x 14, 13.8 x 13.9 and any comb perf.

Shade Variations

Although Unitrade does not list any shades on these stamp, I would contend that you can find shade varieties on all values, except possibly on the 14c. The varieties on some values are more subtle than others, with the 8c and 10c being the most subtle, while the 7c and 25c probably show the most noticeable variation. I am not aware of the full range of shades that exist for each perforation, but will list what I have in my stock:

  • 1c grey black.
  • 1c black.
  • 3c Indian red .
  • 3c deep Indian red.
  • 3c deep orange brown.
  • 3c deep bright orange brown.
  • 7c dull ultramarine.
  • 7c deep ultramarine.
  • 7c Royal blue.
  • 7c dull Royal blue.
  • 8c brownish scarlet.
  • 8c deep brownish scarlet.
  • 8c pale brownish scarlet.
  • 8c brownish vermilion.
  • 8c deep red.
  • 10c brownish black.
  • 10c agate.
  • 10c olive black.
  • 14c black.
  • 15c bright brown purple.
  • 15c light brown purple.
  • 15c brown purple.
  • 20c deep bright green.
  • 20c deep green.
  • 20c deep bronze green.
  • 20c deep olive green.
  • 24c deep turquoise blue.
  • 24c Prussian blue.
  • 24c dull Prussian blue.
  • 24c deep bright Prussian blue.
  • 25c slate-grey.
  • 25c bluish slate.
  • 25c grey-black.
  • 25c grey.
  • 48c deep purple.
  • 48c maroon.
  • 48c deep plum.
  • 48c deep maroon.
  • 48c plum.
  • 48c brownish plum.
As you can see, this is quite the list. There would seem to be between 2 and 5 different shades of most values, so that even if there are only 34 different stamps in terms of perforations, that list can probably be at least tripled to over 100 stamps, and possibly many more than that if the compound line perforations exist. 

Now, how noticeable are these shade differences? Most are quite subtle and will not show up as readily in scans as they do in real life. However, I will attempt to illustrate some of these by overlaping the stamps in question, which should make the differences more apparent:

Let's start with the 3c:

On the left we have the Indian red, followed by the deep Indian red, the deep orange brown and then the deep, bright orange brown. The difference between the Indian red and the other three shades is very easy to see, but with the others you have to look more closely. A good place to look here is the shading lines on the map of Quebec. There you should be able to see the differences between the three stamps more readily. 

Now let's take a look at the 7c:

Moving from left to right we have the dull ultramarine, the deep ultramarine, the Royal blue and the dull Royal blue. The Royal blue is quite distinct from the other three, and even more so in the flesh. It is a brighter, richer colour than the deep ultramarine. With the other three shades you have to look carefully. If you do this you will see that the stamp on the left is paler and duller than the stamp to its right, which in turn, is ever so slightly duller than the Royal blue. The dull Royal blue lacks the bright tone of the ultramarine shades and is also quite distinct. 

Now, for the 8c:

From left to right we have brownish scarlet, pale brownish scarlet, brownish vermilion and deep red. The difference between the deep red and the other three shades is obvious in that the there is no brownish cast to the deep red, whereas the other three stamps all contain a hint of brown. For the other three, I find it useful to focus on the shading in the top left corner in distinguishing the other three shades. If you do this, you can see that the middle stamp is paler and brighter, containing less brown, while the stamp on the left contains more red than the third stamp from the left, which is less deep red and more deep red-orange, hence vermilion, rather than scarlet. 

Here is a very deep shade of the brownish scarlet that I came across in the large lot that I studied this week, shown next to the dullest version of the deep red, which shows just how striking the shade differences can be:

Now, let's look at the 10c:

This is perhaps the most difficult one to see accurately in the scan. On the left we have the brownish black, then the agate, and finally the olive black. The scan makes it look though, as if the stamp on the left is more greenish than the one on the right, when the opposite is the case in real life. The agate is a slightly lighter colour that is an almost perfect blend of the other two colours.

Now, let's take a look at the 15c:

From left to right we have, bright brown-purple, light brown-purple and brown-purple. The light brown-purple is fairly easy to distinguish, but the other two don't show as being that different in the scan, although they are noticeably different in the flesh.

The 20c shades are extremely subtle, and I doubt they are going to show up at all in the scan:

On the left we have deep green, then deep bright green, deep bronze green and deep olive green. If you look at the shading in the sky, you should be able to see that the second stamp from the left is clearly brighter than the one on the left. Beyond that, it is difficult to see much of a difference between the other three shades. The deep bronze green contains a little black, and a very tiny hint of olive, whereas the deep olive green contains the tiniest hint of olive, without the hint of black. However, these differences are extremely minute, and you could probably ignore them and just include the first two shades in a specialized collection.

Here is another scan showing the two most extreme differences:

I don't know about you, but the difference between these two colours is pretty striking to me!

On the next two values the differences are a bit more stark for at least 2 of the shades. Let's start with the 24c:

On the left we have the deep turquoise blue, the Prussian blue, the deep dull Prussian blue, and deep bright Prussian blue. Once again, three of these shades look almost the same in the scan, with only the deep dull Prussian blue really standing out. The difference between the deep turquoise blue and the deep bright Prussian blue is that the deep turquoise blue is just a touch duller. The Prussian blue is both deeper and duller than the deep bright Prussian blue, and is deeper than the deep turquoise blue. 

Here, once again, are the two most extreme shades on this stamp:

How can these possibly be considered to be the same stamp?

Now for the 25c

Here we have from left to right, the slate grey, the bluish slate, the grey-black and the grey. The bluish slate is the easiest one to pick out here, and for the other three, I would look at the shading around the numerals "25". If you look carefully, you can see a definite slate-grey colour to the stamp on the left, while the second stamp from the right lacks the bluish undertone that slate typically has, as does the stamp on the right. The stamp on the right is clearly lighter than the stamp second from right, hence the grey-black, grey distinction in the shade names. 

The most striking difference though is between the bluish slate and the grey, as shown below:

Again, it is difficult to see how any catalogue could fail to distinguish between these two very obviously different colours.

And last, but by no means least, we have the 48c, which exhibits more shades than any other value:

From left to right we have deep purple, maroon, deep plum, deep maroon, plum and brownish plum. The maroon, deep maroon and brownish plum are all clearly different from the other three stamps, and the difference can be most readily seen in the shading on the left frame as well as the bank at the left. The maroon contains a definite brownish cast, with the deep maroon being slightly deeper, and the brownish plum having just a bit more plum than brown. The deep plum and plum shades contain a bit of black compared to the deep purple, and you should be able to see it, if you carefully compare the areas I referred to above on the first, third and fifth stamps from the left. You could argue that the maroon, deep maroon and brownish plum are so similar as to be the same shade, and could advance a similar argument for the deep purple and the plum shades. However, the deep plum is sufficiently distinct from the others, that I believe at a minimum, there are three collectible shades here. 

Paper And Gum Variations

The paper used on this issue is, from what I can see, always a horizontal wove, but I have seen some variation in the degree to which  the horizontal mesh is visible when stamps are viewed from the back side without the aid or watermark fluid or backlighting. On most stamps, there will be no obvious mesh visible. However, on some stamps, you will see a fine horizontal mesh that is very clearly visible from the back. In  my opinion, this difference is significant enough to constitute a collectible variety on its own. 

In terms of gum, the overwhelming majority have a thick, cream coloured gum that has a semi-gloss sheen. Occasionally this gum can be found with a slightly more matte sheen or a very crackly appearance. I do not yet know if those differences represent actual different gums that were used in the production of this issue, or if they are caused by climate or differences in the way the stamps have been stored over the years. So including these differences in your collection has to be a matter of personal preference, I think. 

Die Type Differences

There is only one known die type difference, on the 3c stamp, which would have been the most heavily printed stamp at the time. The difference between the two dies lies in the presence or absence of shading lines on the bridge of the King's nose, as well as the overall quality of the impression. 

The differences are shown in the following 2 scans:

Here we have die 1. If you look at the overall printing impression of the King's face, you will see that it is quite fine, with the shading lines being light and distinct. There are no horizontal shading lines on the bridge of the King's nose. 

Here is die 2. There are more shading lines on the King's face, which gives it a more coarse appearance compared to die 1. The bridge of the nose is fully shaded. 

I am not aware of any other die type differences on this set, though a detailed study of the other values may reveal some other ones. 

Watermark Varieties

The Newfoundland Coat of Arms watermark was used on the stamps of this issue, and its normal position is upright, with the antlers of the caribou facing to the right, as seen from the back of the stamp. As was the case with other issues using this watermark, not all stamps in a sheet have an impression of the watermark. Therefore, it is possible to collect pairs showing one stamp with watermark, and one without. Unitrade lists these for all values except for the 1c, 25c and 48c, thought I would expect that all of the values should exist thus. It could be that these three values have simply not been found in such a state. Of course, unwatermarked stamps, taken from the sheets, should, in my opinion, be every bit as collectible as the pairs. 

In addition to these varieties, inverted, reversed and inverted and reversed watermarks can be found, although it can be difficult to tell sometimes whether the watermark is reversed or not because many stamps only show part of it. A full study would be needed, examining many hundreds or thousands of stamps to identify all of the varieties that exist. However, I have encountered the following:

  • 1c grey black, perf. 14.1 with watermark reversed.
  • 3c deep bright orange brown, die 2, perf. 13.3 x 13.2 with reversed watermark.
  • 10c brownish black, perf. 13.3x 13.2 with watermark inverted and reversed - this is listed in Gibbons.

Plate Flaws

There are quite a few constant plate flaws on this issue, the most famous of which is the "fish hook" variety on the 1c. It is actually not really a flaw, but a hidden guide mark that was not burnished off the plate prior to printing. The other flaws have been discovered in recent years, mainly by King George VI enthusiasts:

  • The cigar stub variety on the 3c, which occurs on position 9.
  • The male dog variety on the 14c, which has not been plated as yet.
  • The extra smokestack variety on the 20c, which occurs on position 55.
These varieties as well as the fish hook on the 1c, are illustrated below:

This variety occurs on position 23. If you look closely at the open mouth of the fish, you can see a heavy line protruding from it, which intersects a vertical line in the middle of the mouth forming a cross. If you go back to the large scan of the 1c shown at the beginning of this post, you will see that there is no such cross on the normal stamp. 

Image result for 1937 long coronation issue cigar stub variety

This variety appears as a heavy dot of colour on the King's lip.

Image result for 1937 long coronation issue male dog variety

This image is a bit blurry, but this variety shows up as a white area on the underside of the dog, which resembles a penis. Ordinarily this entire area is solid black. 

Image result for 1937 long coronation issue cigar stub variety

This variety shows as a weak vertical line protruding from the roof of the second house from the left on the cape. 

These are the known constant varieties that have been documented over the years. However, there could be others that are just waiting to be discovered by the observant philatelist, who also possesses the patience to seek them out. 

Re-Entries And Retouches

There are a large number of re-entries known on this issue, and Ralph Trimble has done a fantastic job of illustrating them on his website. Unitrade also lists most of them, though there are some that it does not price. Mr. Trimble also points out the existence of several slip prints on this issue, which are not re-entries and are much more common, and goes on to explain what the differences are. I will provide a quick summary of the re-entries listed on each value, as well as the links to the relevant pages on Mr. Trimble's fantastic website.

1c Codfish

Unitrade does not list any re-entries, though it does list a re-touch, which consists of an extra vertical frameline just inside of the right internal frameline. Trimble illustrates this re-touch, but he also shows a re-entry as well:

  • Minor re-entry in which the inner and outer framelines of the lower right corner show distinct doubling. 
You can access his webpage here:

3c Map of Newfoundland

Unitrade lists three re-entries on this stamp, all of which occur on die 1:
  • Position 35, in which the words "Corner Brook" and "Labrador" are both doubled, as well as several letters of the word "Postage" and the right "3".
  • Position 84 in which both "3"'s and the words "Three Cents" show traces of doubling.
  • Position 98 in which both "3"'s show traces of doubling.
None of these are priced in Unitrade, but I would expect them to be worth $30-$40 each, just like the re-entries that are priced on this issue. 

Trimble illustrates, these three re-entries, but also lists many others, some of which have been plated, and others which have not:

  • Die 2, position 34, which shows some marks in the "N" of "Newfoundland" as well as some doubling of the "E" of postage. 
  • Die 1, position unknown, which shows doubling in the lower right corner.
  • Die 1, position unknown, which shows the entire right frameline doubled.
  • Die 1, position unknown, which shows doubling of the outer frameline above "wfound" and the upper right outer and inner framelines.
  • Die 1, position unknown, which shows doubling of the upper left horizontal frameline.
  • Die 1, position unknown which shows a misplaced entry through the "R" of "Corner".
You can view all those re-entries here:

7c Caribou

Unitrade lists two major re-entries and two minor ones on this stamp, and prices them all between $25-$45 depending on grade:

  • Position 38, which shows doubling of the portrait medallion along the right side, the right tree trunk, and the lower right "7".
  • Position 23, which shows similar doubling of the medallion, but also the upper right corner.
  • Position 59, which shows doubling of the complete inner frameline at right, and part of the outer frameline, the tree trunk at right and the lower right "7".
  • Position 21, which shows doubling of the outer right frameline in the middle. Trimble also illustrates a weaker version of this re-entry from position 22.
You can view all of these re-entries here:

14c Newfoundland Dog

Unitrade lists no fewer than 5 re-entries on this stamp, all of them major, and all of them valued at between $25-$40, depending on grade:

  • Position 40, which shows doubling of "Newfoundland Dog" and the "WF" of "Newfoundland".
  • Position 20, which shows doubling of the letters "Ndlan", & "12th May 1937", as well as the left side of the portrait medallion, and the inner horizontal line above the N of "Cents".
  • Position 30, which is almost the same as position 20, but for a heavy frameline below "cents".
  • Position 50, which shows doubling of "Dland of Newfoundland Dog", "WF of Newfoundland", and "12th May".
  • Position 10, which shows doubling of "12th May".
Trimble illustrates all of these re-entries, and you can view them here:

24c Loading Ore at Bell Island

Unitrade lists, but does not price one re-entry from position 61. This re-entry shows doubling of both the inner and outer framelines at the right. Trimble illustrates it on his website, which you can view here:

25c Sealing Fleet

Unitrade lists, but does not price two re-entries on this stamp:

  • Position 97, which shows doubling of the left side of the design, including the upper left frameline, the "N" of "Newfoundland", the "2" of "25", and the lower left frameline. 
  • Position 40, which is similar to position 97, but not as strong.
Trimble illustrates these two as well as one from position 96, which is quite weak, and appears to show only slight doubling of the lower left frame.

You can view these re-entries here:

48c Leaving for the Banks

Unitrade lists, but does price two re-entries on this stamp:

  • Position 60, which shows doubling of the right side, including the upper edge of the medallion, extensions of horizontal lines into the inner frame, doubling of the right frameline and smudging of the left inner frameline. 
  • Position 65, which shows slight doubling of the outer frameline at right. 
Trimble has examined a full sheet of 100 of this stamp and notes that these are the only two re-entries that he has seen. He illustrates both of them here:

Finding all of these re-entries in positional blocks, or used, or used on cover would be quite a challenge, I would think.

Imperforate Pairs And Partially Imperforate Varieties

Image result for Newfoundland imperforate pair

A number of imperforate and partial imperforate varieties are known, on this issue, all of which are moderately expensive:

Imperforate Pairs:

  • 3c Indian red die 2.
  • 8c brownish scarlet.
  • 14c black.
  • 25c slate
  • 48c deep purple

Vertical Pairs Imperforate Between Stamps:

  • 3c Indian red die 1, or die 2.
  • 8c brownish scarlet 
  • 15c brown-purple
  • 20c deep bright green
  • 24c deep turquoise blue
  • 48c deep purple

Horizontal Pairs Imperforate Vertically:

  • 3c Indian red die 1 or die 2 (imperf between only)
  • 3c Indian red die 1.
  • 8c brownish scarlet.

Double Prints

The 10c value is known with a double impression. Unfortunately I do not have a scan to illustrate it, but from the relatively modest catalogue value of $300 in Unitrade, and from my observations of how heavily inked this stamp usually is, I would suspect that this is really a very spectacular slip-print as opposed to a true double impression. 

Proof Material

The BNA Proofs website lists no fewer than 76 proof items from this issue. They are all in the $200-$1,000 price range, and they don't come up for sale all that often. So you could spend the better part of a lifetime trying to form a complete collection of these items. They can be summarized as follows:

  • 3 essays of the King's Head in blue
  • 20 progressive die proofs, all in issued colours except one of the 15c, which is printed in blue-green.
  • 21 large die proofs in issued colours.
  • 9 large trial colour proofs, all in black, except one of the 15c, which is printed in olive green.
  • 11 Plate proofs in black.
  • 12 Plate proofs, all in issued colours.
You can access the full listing, which contains links to scans of several of the items here:

Covers, First Day Covers And Cancels

Image result for Newfoundland long coronation cover

The final aspect to a comprehensive collection of this issue is of course the postal history. Used stamps with small village and town cancellations outside of St. John's are hard to come by, and attempting to collect as many of them as possible on this issue would be a fun challenge. It would be very satisfying to try and put together a listing of all the known postmarks on these stamps.

First day covers containing the entire set, like the one shown above, are not particularly rare, but you can collect them according to where they are postmarked, or which perforations are represented by the stamps on the cover. What I have not seen are first day covers of the single stamps in the set, though I am reasonably confident that there must be many out there to collect, with a variety of different cachets.

Another challenging area are commercial covers franked with stamps paying the correct rates to foreign destinations. The most common covers will be to the US, Canada and the UK, but airmail covers to far flung destinations in South America, Asia and Africa must be quite scarce, and very desirable. I would suspect that covers like these will prove to be far more expensive than the modest prices in Unitrade, which seem to be in the $10-$20 range, and do not, in my opinion reflect the scarcity of this material.

This concludes my discussion of this fascinating commemorative issue. I have a fairly good selection of the different perforations and shades in my E-bay store, which you can access, if you wish, by clicking the following link:

Next week, I will circle back and look at the 1937 Coronation and 1939 Royal Visit Issue of Canada.


  1. Very interesting the results of your extended research into this issue. One question I have is do certain shades seem to be tied to specific perforation varieties, that is are some of the rarer perf varieties only found on specific shades of a certain value. That might give a start to trying to work out a bit of a printing chronology for this issue (especially if plate info was available in terms of margin imprints etc). Still a good start to what could be a real "terra nova" of philatelic research!

  2. Thanks Gene. I don't know if any of the shades are tied to specific perforations. I rather suspect that many could potentially exist with all of them, as I think that what likely happened is that Perkins Bacon started printing the issue in 1937 early, leading up to May and in those first few months used the three main perforating machines to do the work. Then as May began to get closer and closer they realized that three perforating machines were not going to get the job done and then they pulled out the stops and brought more machines in to finish perforating the sheets that were printed. With respect to the wide range of shades, it certainly looks like they are the result of several batches of ink that likely came about as the order numbers from the Newfoundland PO were revised upwards and additional printings were ordered to meet the demand.

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