The Commemorative Issues of 1955-1957
During this period we see the re-appearance of bi-coloured commemorative stamps, with the 1955 World Boy Scout Jamboree Issue and the 1956 Fire Prevention Issue. Also, the very first se-tenant designs appear - a trend that continues to this day, and dominates the face of Canadian stamp production. Se-tenant simply refers to two or more different stamp designs printed together on the same sheet, and it first appears during this period the the 1957 Recreation Sports Issue. The layout of the designs within the sheets is such that it is possible to collect 21 different se-tenant combinations of designs, with there being up to three identical pairs of each of the 5c skiing and 5c fishing stamps possible in each pane. My understanding is that four complete panes of 50 have to be broken up to obtain all 21 possible combinations of stamps for this issue. Needless to say collectors at the time very excitedly tried to collect as many combinations as they could, because they had never seen se-tenant designs before.
All of the issues were printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company, as before, with the smaller size stamps, including the 1957 Royal Visit Issue being printed in sheets of 400 that were divided into four post office panes of 100. The larger, horizontal format commemoratives were printed in sheets of 200 that were divided into four post office panes of 50.
Silas Robert Allen, the venerable engraver employed by the CBN continues to be heavily involved in the production of these issues, but we see, for the first time during this period, the introduction of two new names of engravers, who will become iconic throughout the 1960's" Yves Baril and John Mash. Yves was a master engraver, who would usually engrave the entire design of a stamp or background, whereas John Mash specialized in engraving the inscriptions of many of the stamps issued throughout the 1960's.
This period also saw the most diverse group of stamp designers ever. Up until this point, most Canadian stamps were designed by 1 or 2 individuals, which during the past several years had been Herman Herbert Schwartz and most recently Emanuel Otto Hahn. However, during this period, the designs were often a team effort, and no fewer than 10 individuals involved. Laurence Hyde becomes a prominent name that replaces Herman Herbert Schwartz however.
Like the previous issues, it is my opinion that these have been quite neglected by philatelists, who feel that they offer nothing of interest to the specialist. I would beg to differ though. While it is true that this period generally precedes the use of fluorescent papers, there were some noticeable changes to the stamp papers used during this period, with the heavily ribbed fibrous wove paper, giving way to a much smoother paper. Also, the very first use of the vertical ribbed paper, which was used throughout the 1960's first appears during this period on the 1955 Scout Jamboree Issue. Also, the gum employed underwent some changes going from the very thick, shiny yellowish gum to a less yellow, more grainy, matte gum on the issues starting in 1957. These differences and a good understanding of them will prove to be invaluable to any collector hoping to properly identify the printings of the Wilding Definitives that were made during this period as plate blocks were eliminated for a short period during this time. There are also a fantastic range of shades on the blue stamps, and to a lesser extent the purple stamps, as well as aniline inks being found on some of the blue stamps. Of course, First Day Covers, commercial registered and airmail covers, as well as small town cancellations are all rich fields that offer collectors who are on a limited budget a wide range of possibilities. Finally, those collectors with access to more financial resources and who wish to challenge themselves can always pursue the proof material from this period, which is all very rare and very expensive.
The Stamp Designs, Quantities, Dates of Issue, Designers and Engravers
Points of Interest
The points of interest for these stamps is much the same as for the previous commemorative issues:
- Shade varieties
- Paper and gum varieties
- Perforation varieties
- Plate blocks
- Re-entries and plate flaws
- Colour shifts
- Proof material
- First Day Covers
- Some papers give a dead, non-fluorescent violet, or light violet reaction.
- Some papers give a yellowish-cream, ivory, dull fluorescent appearance under UV.
- Some papers give a greyish or greyish white dull fluorescent appearance under UV.
- Finally, some papers give a bluish white dull fluorescent appearance under UV.
- 4c Musk Ox - 2 plates.
- 5c Whooping Cranes - 2 plates.
- 5c ICAO - 1 plate.
- 5c Alberta and Saskatchewan - 2 plates.
- 5c Scout Jamboree - 2 plates.
- 4c Richard Bennett - 2 plates.
- 5c Sir Charles Tupper - 2 plates.
- 5c Hockey - 1 plate.
- 4c Caribou - 2 plates.
- 5c Mountain Goat - 2 plates.
- 5c Fire prevention - 1 plate.
- 5c Recreational sports - 2 plates
- 5c Loon - 1 plate
- 5c David Thompson - 1 plate.
- 5c UPU Congress - 2 plates.
- 15c UPU Congress - 1 plate.
- 5c Mining - 1 plate.
- 5c Royal Visit - 2 plates.
- 5c ICAO plate 1 - 847, numbers wide apart and dash to the left of "No."
- 5c Scout Jamboree, plate 2-1 - 772, numbers wide apart, no dash before "No.".
- 5c Charles Tupper, plate 2 - 853, numbers wide apart, no dash before "No."
- 5c Loon plate 1 - 1113, numbers wide apart, no dash before "No."
- 15c UPU Congress plate 1 - 1146, numbers wide apart, no dash before "No."
- 5c Royal Visit plate 2 - 1268, numbers 126 are closely spaced while the 6 & 8 are widely spaced. Again, there is no dash before "No."
The stamp on the left is the normal stamp, where the flames are nowhere near the "5". On the right, we have a fairly significant shift of the vermilion, resulting in the flames just touching the bottom of the "5". On the 1955 Scout Jamboree issue, significant shifts have the Scouting Emblem appearing on either of the two globes rather than in the middle of the design between the two globes.
- 1 artist's pencil sketch, and 1 artist's drawing of the 5c UPU Issue.
- 2 small hand-drawn essays of the 5c UPU issue, one on white paper and the other on yellow paper.
- 1 small die proof of the 5c UPU issue on white paper.
- 1 pencil sketch of the 15c UPU issue.
- 3 preliminary sketches of the 15c UPU issue: one as 3c, one as 5c and one as 15c.
- 1 advanced sketch of the 15c UPU, but as a 5c stamp.
- 2 complete drawings of the 15c UPU - one as a 3c stamp and one as a 5c stamp.
- 2 photographic proofs of the complete design, one signed by the artist.
- 3 proofs of the vignette of the 1957 Royal Visit issue on India paper, one having the die number.
- 1 large proof of the vignette of the 1957 Royal Visit Issue on glazed paper.
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First Day Covers
- Ken Boll
- C. George
- Maple Leaf
- Meter Digest
- Rob Pristas
- CPO Replacement
- Philatelic Supply
- Junior III
- The actual stamps affixed to the cover, and
- The cancellation.
- A cover containing a single stamp,
- A cover containing a pair,
- A cover with each plate block position, and
- Sometimes a cover with a block of four, and
- In the case of a set, a combination cover containing one of each stamp.
- 2 covers with singles.
- 2 covers with pairs
- 16 covers with plate blocks
- 2 covers with blocks of 4
- 1 combination cover.