Today's post comes after a period of considerable anticipation by some of our readers who have been eagerly awaiting the start of the King George VI period. In this post we will explore some aspects of the 1937-42 Mufti and Pictorial Issue. The issue gets its name from the fact that the low values are the only stamps, other than the 1949-52 Postes Postage Issue, in which King George VI appears in civilian dress, rather than being in uniform. The Pictorial portion of the issue continues the tradition began by the Scroll issue, ten years earlier, of showing scenes from various regions of Canada.
For some unknown reason, Unitrade splits this issue up into two separate issues, which makes little sense to me, as it is very clear that they are the same general issue. One possibility might be that the stamps were all issued on different dates, with the higher values not appearing until more than a year after the low values.
Again, Herman Herbert Schwartz was the designer of these beautiful stamps. The low value designs were engraved by William Ford. The 6c airmail was engraved by two gentlemen: Arthur Vogel, who engraved the vignette, and William Maple, who engraved the frame. While I am not completely certain, it would seem that these two gentlemen were responsible for engraving the other high value stamps as well. Like the previous issue, the low values were printed in sheets of 400 stamps that were guillotined into four post office panes of 100, while the high values were printed in sheets of 200 that were guillotined into 4 post office panes of 50.
The low value stamps were issued between April 1, 1937 and June 18, 1937, while the high values were issued between June 15, 1938 and November 15, 1938. The special delivery stamps appeared between June 15, 1938 and April 1, 1939.
The Stamp Designs, Issue Dates and Quantities
King George VI.
Issued: April 1, 1937 (sheet stamps), April 14, 1937 (booklets) & June 15, 1937 (coils).
Replaced: July 1, 1942 (sheet stamps), September 14, 1942 (booklets) & February 9, 1943 (coils).
1,394,000,000 sheet stamps.
16,072,472 booklet stamps.
23,022,000 coil stamps.
King George VI.
Issued: May 10, 1937.
Replaced: July 1, 1942.
14,035,000 sheet stamps.
This issue provides, much much greater scope for the specialist than the previous Dated Die issue does:
- Shade varieties
- Paper and gum varieties
- Plate blocks
- Plate flaws and re-entries
- Imperforate varieties
- Coil stamps
- Booklet panes and complete booklets
- Proof material
- Postal stationery
- First day covers and postal history
- OHMS perfins
- Errors and Freaks
The three main shades of blue that I have encountered are steel blue, which contains just a hint of grey, Prussian blue, which contains just a hint of green, and a pure, bright dark blue, which contains neither. In the above scan, the stamp on the left, and the third stamp from the left are both shades of Prussian blue, containing a bit of green to the blue. The second stamp from the left is a deep steel blue that contains no green, but instead a bit of grey. Finally the stamp on the right is a deep bright green that is neither greenish, nor greyish.
In the above scan, the first three stamps from the left are what Unitrade would call carmine, while the two at right are carmine-rose. However, if you look very closely, you can see that there is quite a bit of variation in both the main two shade groupings. Looking at the carmine group, we can see that the stamp at the left is the brightest and least bluish of the three, and it becomes progressively darker as we move right. The fourth stamp from the left is the bright carmine rose, in which the rose just dominates the shade, whereas the stamp at the extreme right contains more carmine.
Unitrade refers to this colour as violet, but in reality, it is more of a deep lilac. The colour varies from a blackish lilac on the later printings to a deep aniline rose lilac on the first 1938 printings. The stamp on the extreme right is the deep aniline rose lilac from the 1938 printing. The second and fourth stamps from the left are both deep rose lilac in the regular ink. The stamp on the left is the blackish purple, while the third stamp from the left is deep dull violet. It is difficult to see these differences here, but they are more apparent in the flesh.
The scan below shows what the aniline ink looks like from the back on the gum side:
- Thick, very soft white wove paper that shows neither any ribbing or any distinct mesh pattern. This paper is found on the 1938 printings, most notably on the $1 aniline ink.
- Thin, crisp white wove paper that is smooth, and shows no distinct mesh pattern, nor any ribbing.
- Thin, crisp white wove paper that is smooth, and shows fine vertical or horizontal mesh, but only when held up to a strong light source.
- White wove paper that shows a clear vertical mesh, but no ribbing.
- White wove paper that shows a very fine horizontal mesh when held up to the light. This paper was used for some printings of the coil stamps.
- White vertical wove paper that exhibits a very light vertical ribbing. This paper was used to print some of the coil stamps as well as the 10c in the bright carmine-rose shade.
- White ribbed horizontal wove paper.
- A thicker, horizontal wove paper that often shows very light horizontal ribbing on the gum side, but is smooth on the printed side. There is no mesh visible, but when held up to the light, the strong horizontal weave can be seen.
- White gum with a very finely crackly surface and a semi-gloss sheen. This was used in combination with the thick, soft white wove paper. This is shown on the right stamp in the first scan above.
- Cream gum with a very finely crackly surface and a semi-gloss sheen. This was used in combination with the thick, soft white wove paper. It is shown on the left stamp in the first scan above.
- Cream gum with a finely crackly surface and a satin sheen. This was used on the thin, crisp wove paper showing horizontal mesh when held up to a strong light.
- Deep cream gum with a very finely crackly surface and a semi-gloss sheen. This was used in combination with the thick, soft white wove paper. It is shown on the middle stamp in the first scan above. It is also found on the horizontal ribbed paper.
- Cream gum with a very finely crackly surface and a very glossy sheen. It is generally found on a medium white wove paper that shows a fine vertical mesh when held up to the light.
- Cream gum with a satin sheen. Generally found on thin, crisp, white wove paper, that shows very clear vertical mesh, even when not held up to the light.
- Brownish yellow gum with a satin sheen. Often found on the crisp, translucent wove paper with horizontal ribbing. An example can be seen in the seventh scan above.
- Deep yellowish cream gum with a semi-gloss sheen. This is often found on the horizontal wove paper, with light ribbing on the gum. An example of this is shown in the fifth scan above.
- Deep cream gum, similar to the deep yellowish cream above, lighter in colour. An example of this type is shown on the sixth scan above.
- Brownish cream gum with a satin sheen. This is often found on the horizontal ribbed paper, or the vertical ribbed paper. The third scan above shows an example of this gum.
- Yellowish cream gum with a glossy sheen.
- Slightly streaky brownish gum with a semi-gloss sheen. I have seen this on the soft, horizontal wove paper with fine mesh, on the 10c, or soft vertical wove on the other values. This type is shown in the second scan above.
- Deeper brown gum with a semi-gloss sheen. This is often found on the thicker, softer wove papers that show mesh when held up to the light. The fourth scan above shows this type.
As you can see from the above scans, the style and size of the plate inscription was different for the low values and the high value stamps. The low values were simply inscribed "Canadian Bank Note Co. Ottawa No.1" in smaller, Times Roman font. The high values had the same basic inscription in slightly larger type, but also had a much smaller bilingual inscription describing the subject matter of the stamps. On the airmail stamp shown above, it simply says "Mackenzie River Northwest Territories".
Many of these blocks can be found with cutting guidelines one or both selvage margins. Both scans above show cutting guidelines on the upper selvage margins.
The number of plates used, and blocks that can be collected can be summarized as follows:
- 1c green - 11 plates, 4 positions - 44 blocks
- 2c brown - 14 plates, 4 positions plus centre positions on plates 9&10 - 60 blocks.
- 3c carmine red - 23 plates, 4 positions plus centre positions on plates 12 & 13 - 96 blocks.
- 4c yellow orange - 1 plate, 4 positions - 4 blocks.
- 5c steel blue - 3 plates, 4 positions - 12 blocks.
- 8c orange - 1 plate, 4 positions - 4 blocks.
- 10c carmine - 2 plates, 4 positions, 2 major shades - 16 blocks.
- 13c steel blue - 1 plate, 4 positions - 4 blocks.
- 20c red brown - 2 plates, 4 positions - 8 blocks.
- 50c deep green - 1 plate, 4 positions - 4 blocks.
- $1 blackish purple - 1 plate, 4 positions, aniline & regular - 8 blocks.
- 6c steel blue - 1 plate, 4 positions - 4 blocks.
- 10c dark green - 1 plate, 4 positions - 4 blocks.
- 10c on 20c - 1 plate, 4 positions - 4 blocks.
- 20c deep carmine red - 1 plate, 4 positions - 4 blocks.
- 1c green - plate 3 UL, plate 7 LL and plate 8 LL or LR.
- 2c brown - plate 5 UL & UR.
- 3c carmine red - plate 2 UR.
- 5c steel blue - plate 2 LL.
I haven't seen enough plate blocks to say identify all the configurations of dots that can be found in the selvage tabs, or which positions these are to be found in. The 6c airmail block above shows that at least for the upper right position, 1 dot can be found in the selvage directly across from the lower right stamp.
Order Numbers on Lower Left Positions
I haven't examined very many plate blocks of this issue at all, so I can only provide a few numbers here. However, I will update this list as I come across more numbers:
- 10c: plate 1 - 1132.
- 20c: plate 1 - 1134.
Although not listed in Unitrade, all values of this issue can be collected as arrow guide blocks. Arrows were placed in the sheet margins between the panes to indicate where they were to be guillotined apart. Normally the guillotine would split the arrow, so that it wouldn't be visible on sheets, but occasionally, it was out of alignment, and in these instances, the arrow guide marking is visible in the margins, and is highly collectible.
The scan below shows an example of the 10c memorial chamber in an upper left block showing the guide arrow:
- The crease on the collar
- The nick in ear
The Broken "1" in the 10c on 20c Surcharge
Unitrade lists a broken "0" in the right surcharge of the 10c on 20c special delivery stamp, but there is also a broken "1" on the left surcharge. The scan below shows an example of it on the lower left stamp in the block:
Flaw in Last "A" of Canada
Here is an interesting flaw that I found on a mint example of the 4c:
Smudge Above "ES" of Postes
Here is another, probably non-constant flaw that I found on another 4c:
- 1c green - 100 pairs, 2 plate blocks.
- 2c brown - 100 pairs, 2 plate blocks.
- 3c carmine red - 150 pairs, 2 plate blocks.
- 4c yellow orange - 100 pairs, 2 plate blocks.
- 5c blue - 100 pairs, 2 plate blocks.
- 8c orange - 100 pairs, 2 plate blocks.
- 10c carmine - 75 pairs or each major shade, 3 plate blocks
- 13c steel blue - 75 pairs, 3 plate blocks.
- 20c red brown - 75 pairs, 3 plate blocks.
- 50c deep green - 75 pairs, 3 plate blocks.
- $1 blackish purple - 75 pairs, 3 plate blocks & 1 plate block that is imperf. horizontally.
- 6c steel blue airmail - likely 75 pairs & 3 plate blocks, but quantity unknown for sure.
- 10c dark green special delivery - 75 pairs & likely 3 plate blocks, though not sure.
- 20c carmine red special delivery - 75 pairs & likely 3 plate blocks, though not sure.
- Jump strips exist for all three values.
- Wide and narrow spacing strips can be found for all values. The normal spacing between stamp impression varies between 3.75 mm and 4.25 mm. Narrow spacing will be less than 3.75 mm, and wide spacing will be more than 4.25 mm.
- Cutting guideline strips can also be found, though these are rare.
- Repair paste-up pairs or strips can be found for all three values.
- Start and end strips of 4, plus 10 blank tabs exist for all three values.
- Soft white wove paper with white gum that has a semi-gloss sheen.
- Horizontal wove paper, with deep yellowish cream gum and a semi-gloss sheen.
- Horizontal wove paper, with brownish cream gum and a satin sheen.
- Vertical wove paper, with cream gum and light vertical ribbing.
- 1c deep bright green.
- 1c deep green.
- 2c reddish brown.
- 2c deep brown.
- 3c deep rose red.
- 3c dark rose red (contains some black whereas deep rose red does not).
- 3c carmine-red.
- 3c dull carmine-red.