The Commemorative Issues of 1971 - Part One

In this week's post I explore the first six commemorative issues of 1971, which comprised 10 stamps, including the "Maple Leaf in Four Seasons" which was issued over the course of the year, at the beginning of each season. 

As I note in my detailed post, 1971 was a significant year in three respects, the main one of which os that this is the first time that PVA gum is introduced to replace dextrine gum.  As we will see next week, this replacement is not completed until 1972, with two of the Christmas stamps having the old dextrine gum. 1971 was, therefore a year in which experimentation was undertaken by the printing companies to find a gum that was optimal for use. In addition to the so called "spotty white gum" that is found on a few of the stamps from this year, there were also gums with a distinctly dull sheen, which I refer to here as eggshell, and I have even discovered a small number of stamps with what appears to be almost completely invisible gum. This is not listed anywhere and I was unaware of its existence until I discovered it almost two years ago. So, there are still discoveries to be made within this material. 

The usual ranges of paper fluorescence exist on these stamps, and I illustrate them all in my post, but what makes these stamps different from their predecessors is that the fluorescence is often different on the back and front of the stamps, due to the chalk surfacing, which was now almost universally adopted on these stamps. So, there are potentially many more paper varieties that can be collected than was the case previously as for most issues, all combinations of front and back fluorescence can be found. 

In addition to paper fluorescence, there continues to be a wide variety of papers used to print the stamps that differ in terms of thickness, colour, weave direction and surface coating. Most issues are found on 1 or two different types of paper. 

There are a fair number of shade varieties, despite the fact that all stamps from this group are multicoloured, and there are also a good number of constant plate flaws, most all of which I have been able to illustrate in my post. There are also a number of major errors, two of which I have been able to illustrate in this post. 

This is the first year that Canada post official first day covers are issued, starting with the Maple Leaf in Four seasons issue. As I explain in my post, these covers, in addition to the private cachets, can be collected in a considerable amount of depth. Finally, some interesting and challenging opportunities exist to collect covers for higher value rates where the postage is paid using a combination of 6c and 7c stamps. I illustrate one very interesting surface mail cover at the end of the post, that at first appears to be a standard airmail cover, but is not, with the postage rate being the only way to definitively identify it for what it is. 

For the detailed post, containing extensive illustrations, please access my website by the following link:


  1. Merry Christmas,
    You are so interesting! I don't believe I've truly read through anything like that before. So wonderful to discover another person with a few unique thoughts on this issue. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This website is something that is required on the internet, someone with a bit of originality! If you want to read welcome speech for christmas program at church you have to see the link
    Thank you,

  2. Hi,
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