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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Shades Of The 3c Carmine Admiral Stamp 1923-1928

Overview

This stamp is perhaps the simplest of the Admiral issues in terms of shades, with Unitrade listing only two shades of the sheet stamps: carmine and rose-carmine, and just carmine for the coil stamps.

However, in reality, there are quite a large number of extremely subtle shades, none of which, in my opinion are carmine, as we shall see. The closest this stamp comes to carmine in my opinion is a carmine-red shade. These subtle shades may be difficult to differentiate in the scans, but I think if you look at the scans long enough, you will begin to see the differences.

I do not, at the moment, have an example of Unitrade's rose-carmine shade, but will add an example when one becomes available.

I will start with the sheet stamps, then will show the 1926 surcharges, the imperforates, and then will conclude with the coils. I will show you the different shades and then cross reference them to the Stanley Gibbons Colour Key.

The Sheet Stamp Carmine Shades


The above stamp is the carmine-red shade. You can see a distinct bluish undertone to the colour, which is characteristic of all carmine shades. This is also the die 2 printing. 




Here we have from left to right:

  • Deep red - there is no bluish undertone to this shade, nor is there an orangy tone. 
  • Very deep rose red - similar to the deep rose red swatch, but deeper. 
  • Very dark rose red - similar to the very deep rose red, but here there is a hint of black added to the colour, which is absent from the second stamp. 
  • Deep rose red - very close to the deep rose-red swatch. You can see that this is similar to the second shade, but deeper and without the hint of black that is in the third shade. 



Here we have from left to right:


  • Scarlet - this has an orangy tone compared to the shades in the first group above. 
  • Deep dull rose red - this is close to the deep rose red swatch, but is deeper and duller. 
  • Very dark rose red - similar to the third stamp in the first group above. See the hint of black in this shade?
  • Very deep rose red - similar to the second stamp in the first group above. 
So the main shades on this stamp would seem to be:

  • Scarlets - those reds containing a hint of orange
  • Deep reds - neither orangy or bluish
  • Deep rose-reds
  • Dark rose reds that contain a hint of black
  • Carmine-reds - those reds with a bluish undertone. 

Now, let's take a look at the imperforate issue of 1924:



All of these are the same shade: deep rose red. I do not know if the imperforate issue is found in any of the other shades, but will include examples, as I come across them. 

Now, lets take a look at the 1926 surcharges that were made from left over stocks of the sheet stamps:



Here we have from left to right:

  • Deep rose red
  • Scarlet
  • Light carmine red - similar to the carmine red, but lighter, containing white. 
  • Carmine-red



Here we have from left to right:

  • Very dark rose red
  • Deep rose red
So it appears that both types of surcharge exist in the deep rose red shade. However, I have only seen the other shades on one type of surcharge. Whether they all exist in each of the shades illustrated thus far, will be a matter for further study, and I will certainly include examples of other shades as I acquire them. 

Now, finally let us conclude with the coil stamps perforated 8 vertically - the only format in which this stamp was issued as a coil stamp:


From left to right we have:

  • Deep rose red
  • Carmine-red
Again, I do not know if the coil stamps are found in the dark rose red, the scarlet shades or the deep red shades. This is a fairly scarce coil issue, so finding examples in different shades is difficult at any rate. However, I will keep my eyes open for examples in the other shades. 

In conclusion, this stamp illustrates quite nicely how nothing in Canadian philately is quite as straightforward as first appears to be the case. 

As of today, I will have all of my regular Admiral stamps listed. At the moment everything except the imperforates, war tax stamps and 1926 surcharges are listed - over 900 stamps in all. If you want to browse them, then please click on the following link:


My next post will deal with the complicated 4c and 7c shades - the olive bistre and yellow ochre shades. In my experience this is a group of shades that causes more confusion for collectors than possibly any other in the series. 




Friday, March 25, 2016

The Shades Of The 3c Brown Admiral Stamp And The 2+1c War Tax Stamp 1916-1918

Overview

Unitrade's treatment of shades on this stamp is practically non-existent, with only three shades being listed for the sheet stamps: brown, yellow-brown and dark brown. For the coil stamps and the War Tax stamps there are only two listed shades: brown and yellow brown. In reality this stamp has at least as many shades as most other stamps in the set, and although there is some overlap, the shades found on the War Tax stamp, which was issued over a year earlier, are completely different from those found on the regular issue postage stamps. In addition, as we shall see, the Unitrade listed brown shade on the wet printings, is different from the shade found on the dry printings, even though Unitrade calls both "brown"

Yellow-brown is another shade name bandied about quite a lot in Canadian philately and while these browns do contain a hint of yellow, many do not match the yellow-brown swatch in the Gibbons Colour Key. This issue is no exception, with no stamp matching the yellow-brown swatch in the Gibbons' colour key, exactly, though some of the coils do come close, being much deeper. However, all of the stamps that are correctly assigned to this shade will appear yellowish compared to the other shade groups. 

As with all my other posts on shades, I will illustrate each shade group as it is named in Unitrade and then cross reference to the corresponding swatch on the Stanley Gibbons Colour Key. 

The Brown Group

Wet Printings



The above three stamps are all examples of what Unitrade calls brown. In terms of the Gibbons Colour Key, we have from left to right:

  • Deep brown
  • Deep brown, but just a bit deeper
  • Deep brown, but with a hint of yellow
So Unitrade's brown for the sheet stamps is really varying shades of deep brown. 

Booklet Pane of 4 Plus 2 Labels


The booklet panes are only described in Unitrade as "brown". However, you should be able to see that the colour of the pane shown here is both lighter and redder than the brown shades in the first group above. This is actually closest to the light brown swatch on the Gibbons Colour Key. 

Dry Printings



These three stamps are also classified as brown by Unitrade. While they are very close to the shades in the first group, you will notice, if you compare the two carefully that these shades are both paler and duller than those in the wet printing group. 

In terms of the Gibbons Colour Key, we have from left to right:

  • Deep yellowish brown - deep brown, but yellowish.
  • Deep dull brown - deep brown, but duller
  • Deep brown
Again these stamps are all varying degrees of deep brown. 

Coil Stamps Perforated 8 Vertically


The above coils are all examples of Unitrade's brown. This coil is only printed by the wet method, which is an aid to identifying fake coils made by cutting dry printing examples. Unitrade does list a yellow brown, but unfortunately I do not have an example of the yellow brown coil in stock at the moment. However, I will add one when one becomes available. 

In terms of the Gibbons Colour Key, we have from left to right:

  • Deep dull brown - closest to deep brown, but duller.
  • Deep brown
  • Deep brown - a bit brighter than the deep brown above
Once again, these are all varying degrees of deep brown. 

The Yellow Brown Group

Wet Printings


This is an example of the Unitrade yellow brown. It actually is more of an umber brown than a yellow brown. However, as you can see, it is quite distinct. In terms of the Gibbons Colour Key, this is closest the deep brown swatch, but is much duller.

The Dark Brown Group

Wet Printings



Unitrade only lists the dark brown shade in the wet printings. I believe that all the above are examples of this shade group. The top stamps do all have some yellow to them, but I do not believe that they are quite what Unitrade meant, when they say "yellow-brown" because they are too common, and the yellow brown shade in Unitrade is a premium shade. 

In terms of the Gibbons Colour Key, we have from left to right:

  • Deep bistre brown - closest to bistre-brown, but deeper.
  • Very deep yellow brown - closest to yellow-brown, but much, much deeper.
  • Very deep bistre-brown - deeper than the above deep bistre-brown.
  • Sepia brown

Coil Stamps Perforated 12 Horizontally



This coil is only listed in Unitrade as brown, when in actual fact this is one of the deepest brown shades you will encounter. I have not seen any significant variation in shade on this stamp, with all the coil stamps that I have handled, looking very much like the one above. In terms of Gibbons'  Colour Key, this one is closest to the deep brown swatch, but is slightly deeper. So I call this one very deep brown. 


The War Tax Stamps

Sheet Stamps



Unitrade only lists the sheet stamps as either brown or yellow brown. As you can see from the above scan there is a range of shades on this stamp that is quite a bit wider than the regular issue sheet stamp, with shades that are not only paler, but which incorporate an element of bistre to the brown as well. There is some clear overlap, with some shades being very similar to the yellow brown and deep brown groups above however. 

In terms of the Gibbons Colour Key we have from left to right on each row:

  • Light dull brown - closest to dull brown but lighter.
  • Yellowish bistre-brown - closest to bistre-brown but yellowish. 
  • Deep bistre brown - closest to bistre-brown but deeper.
  • Deep yellowish brown - closest to deep brown, but yellowish.
  • Yellowish sepia - closest to sepia, but yellowish
  • Yellowish sepia - a second example
A collector sorting the above by Unitrade would probably call the first two stamps yellow brown and classify everything else as brown. However, this would not be consistent with the sheet stamp classification above. If you were being consistent with the sheet stamps, then only the yellowish sepia would come close to the yellow brown group above. The others are all closest to the dark brown group, except for the first two shades which are entirely in their own league. 

Coil Stamps



Again, Unitrade only lists brown for die 2 examples, of which the first two coils above are, and both brown and yellow brown for die 1. The stamp on the extreme right is die 1 and is an example of the Unitrade named yellow brown, while the first die 2 stamp is closer to the dark brown group and the second one closest to the brown group. 

In terms of the Gibbons Colour Key we have from left to right:

  • Deep bistre-brown - closest to bistre brown, but deeper.
  • Bright bistre-brown - closest to bistre brown but brighter
  • Deep yellow brown - closest to yellow-brown, but deeper.

Conclusion

While Unitrade's treatment of the sheet stamps and coil stamps would seem to be pretty good in terms of the number of listed shades, it would seem that the listings for the War Tax stamps need work and should be expanded. In addition, the shade name "yellow brown" should probably be renamed to something closer to what the shades actually are. Unitrade's brown shade should probably be changed to "deep brown". Finally the dark brown shade name should probably be changed to sepia brown or very dark yellow brown to distinguish it from the deep brown. 




Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Shades Of The 2c Green Admiral Stamp 1922-1928

Overview

This stamp, which replaced the 2c green in 1922 is tricky because of the fact that many of the listed shade groups are very similar to one another, and classifying individual stamps can be very tricky. Like the 2c carmine before it, most of the listed shade groups do not carry any real premium in price, so many collectors do not bother trying to identify them. However, identifying these shades can aid in identifying fake coils as well as spotting better varieties at a glance, like the rare wet printing of the part-perforate 8 vertical coil.

Unitrade lists three major shade groups for the sheet stamps: yellow green, green and deep green. All three of these, except for the deep green are listed for both the wet printings and the dry printings. As we shall see though, there are very slight differences between the shades for each printing, so I will show them both here. As with my previous posts, I will show you the Unitrade group as it is named for each shade and then I will cross reference the shade groups to the Stanley Gibbons Colour key.

For the booklet panes of 6 and 4 plus 2 labels, Unitrade only calls them yellow green. However, in reality, the panes of four are found in the same range of shades as all the other wet printings, while the panes of 6 come in all shades as well, since these panes were printed using both wet and dry methods. Unfortunately I only have one pane of 4 plus 2 labels to illustrate in this post for now, though I will add some panes of 6 as I come across them.

The only coil stamps that are found on this stamp are those perforated 8 vertically, and the scarce perf. 12 horizontal, which is very widely faked. Interestingly, Unitrade calls all of the coils perforated 8 vertically green, while those perforated 12 horizontally are classified as yellow green. Thus, there is some internal inconsistency in Unitrade's nomenclature  as the wet printing coils are found in both yellow green and green for both perforations, while the dry printings are generally only found in the same shades as the dry printings of the sheet stamps. The part perforate coils are found in deep green for the wet printings - a fact that can enable you to spot them from a front scan, while the dry printings are found in the same shades as the common green or yellow green of the sheet stamps.

One of the difficulties with the Unitrade shade names is that there is no stamp that is a true yellow green as we shall see. The yellow green is yellowish relative to the other shades, but it is not yellow green when compared to the Gibbons Colour Key.

Yellow Green Group

Wet Printings


The above three stamps are from what Unitrade calls yellow green. Interestingly, this shade group is actually the closest thing to Gibbon's true green shade that there is. There is some slight variation between these three stamps, but generally all the same shade group.



The above booklet pane is also closest to the Gibbons' green colour swatch, so it is the same shade as the Unitrade named yellow-green sheet stamps above. Consequently, Unitrade's naming of the shade as yellow-green is internally consistent with its naming of the shade on the sheet stamps.

Dry Printings


The above three stamps are all examples of the yellow-green dry printing as named in Unitrade. This shade, if you compare it to the above group, is less rich and flatter in appearance, but it is definitely yellowish compared to the green shades, though some comparison is often necessary. In terms of the Gibbons Colour Key, these are all closest to the dull yellowish green swatch if that swatch were made slightly deeper.

Green Group

Wet Printings



These shades are close to the yellow green shades above for the wet printings, but they are a little less yellowish. In terms of the Gibbons Colour Key, these stamps are closest to the Myrtle green swatch.

Dry Printings



These three stamps are all examples of the green shades of the dry printing. They are also closest to the green swatch on the Gibbons' colour key.

Deep Green Group

Wet Printings



These two stamps are examples of the deep green on the thin paper, while the scan below shows the same shade on the normal paper.




As you can see, there is very little variation between these colours. In terms of the Gibbons Colour Key, Unitrade is bang on, with this colour being closest to the deep green swatch for the two top stamps, while the bottom stamp shown here is closest to the Myrtle green swatch if it were deeper.

Comparing the Shades

Wet Printings



From left to right we have:


  • Unitrade's yellow green, which is Gibbons' green.
  • Unitrade's deep green, which is the same for Gibbons.
  • Unitrade's green, which is Myrtle green in Gibbons.
Dry Printings



On the left we have:

  • Unitrade's green, which is the same in Gibbons.
  • Unitrade's yellow green, which in Gibbons is deep dull yellowish green.
The difference between these two is subtle, but if you look closely you should be able to see that the shade on the right is yellowish compared to the one on the left. 

The Coil Stamps

Perforated 8 Vertically


The top stamp is a wet printing in Gibbons'green shade, which by now, we know corresponds to Unitrade's yellow-green, while these coils are only listed as green in Unitrade. The left coil pair is a dry printing in Gibbons' green, while the one on the right is Gibbons'deep dull yellowish green. 

Perforated 12 Horizontally


The above four stamps are all genuine examples of this scarce coil. All of them have the required characteristic, which is a small nick in the outer frameline just to the left of the outermost maple leaf at left. I will cover this in more detail when I post about the coil stamps. However, suffice to say at this point that the die used to prepare this coil had this characteristic, so all of the printed stamps should as well. The shade, as you can see, is identical across all four stamps and it is the same shade as the yellow green group, that is to say Gibbons' green shade. 

In addition, this coil was only printed using the wet method. So if you see dry printings, they are sheet stamps or booklet stamps that have been trimmed. Also the stamps above all have fairly substantial side margins of at least 3 mm between the sides. So copies that have margins smaller than 2 mm combined are very suspect. Finally, if the example you have is not the above shade, chances are it may be a fake. 

That concludes my discussion of the shades on this stamp. Stay tuned for the 3c brown and 2+1c war tax stamp on Friday. In the meantime, if you would like to see the 2c Admirals I have for sale at the moment, then please click on the link below:

Friday, March 18, 2016

Shades Of The 2c Carmine Admiral Stamp of 1911-1922

Overview

Of all the stamps in the 1911-1928 Admiral Issue, this stamp is the most complicated in terms of the number of shades that can be found. Unitrade makes some attempt to list the broader shade groups. However, as with all carmine or dark red stamps issued before and during World War I from just about any country you care to name, there are a tremendous number of shades. The main reason why there are so many has to do with the fact that the Commonwealth countries relied on Germany for their supply of red dies. When the war broke out in 1914, these supplies were interrupted and the printers were forced to improvise and find alternate sources of dyes. It was this improvisation that led to the largest range of shade varieties in philatelic history.

Unitrade uses the general colour name, "carmine" very loosely to describe just about all the dark red stamps that Canada has issued over the years. However, in actual fact, there are very few stamps that are actually truly carmine on the Stanley Gibbons colour key. Many so called carmine stamps are actually very dark rose-reds or dark scarlets, as they lack the bluish undertone that true carmine colour usually has.

Unitrade treats the shade naming differently for the sheet stamps, coils and War Tax stamps, which complicates the picture considerably for someone trying to make sense of all these shades, especially when they have very few stamps to work with.

This post will attempt to show you what the various major shades of this stamp look like. In doing this I will show you scans of what I believe corresponds to each Unitrade named shade group and then I will cross-reference to the names in the Stanley Gibbons colour key. Unfortunately I do not have examples of some of the shades. However, I will start by showing what I do have, and will update this post regularly as my stock of these stamps continues to grow and I have more material to illustrate.

I will look first at the sheet stamps and booklet stamps, then at the coil stamps and finally, the War Tax Stamps.

Interestingly, Unitrade assigns very little premium to any of the shade differences, with their very scarce "Pink" shade being the notable exception. I think that this likely reflects the fact that little has been done to study the relative scarcity of the different shades. I'm sure there must be scarce and rare shades not listed in Unitrade besides the so called "pink". This would be an excellent and potentially rewarding research project for an ambitious philatelist looking to break ground in this area.

Despite the fact that there are not great premiums attached to most of the shades, identifying them correctly will help protect you from being fooled by fakery. Many of the coil stamps, particularly the perforated 8 horizontal issue have been widely faked by trimming and re-perforating cheap used stamps and mint booklet singles from the more common printings. To a lesser extent we see this on the other coil formats as well. Many of these fakes can be exposed for what they are merely by the fact that they are printed in a shade that does not correspond with the known shades of the genuine stamps.

The Sheet Stamps and Booklet Stamps

Sheet Stamps

Unitrade lists 8 basic shade groups for the sheet stamps as follows:
  • Carmine - 1911
  • Pink - 1911-1912
  • Rose carmine - 1914
  • Deep rose-red - 1912-1913
  • Dark carmine - 1920
  • Orange red - 1915
  • Deep red - 1923-1925
  • Red - 1917-1918
I believe that the dates given in Unitrade for the deep red must be incorrect because the 2c green, which replaced this stamp had already appeared in April 1922. So unless this was an emergency printing to cover a shortage of 2c greens, I think the correct dates are probably 1921-1922. Another notable observation is the discontinuity of dates: there is no group listed for 1916, 1919 and 1921-22. I assume that this is because the main carmine shade is intended as a "catch-all"for any shade not specifically falling into one of the listed sub-groups. 

The Carmine Group

I don't actually have a sheet stamp to show you for this group. However, I do illustrate two complete booklet panes under the booklet stamps heading which are the same basic shades as the sheet stamps. 

The Pink Group



The above stamp is an example of the so called Pink shade. It is very distinct - so much so that it is unmistakable. On the Gibbons Colour Key, this is closest to the rose-carmine swatch if it were made paler. It is similar to the stamp below, but the key distinguishing characteristic is how much paler it is. This is from the very earliest printings.

The Rose Carmine Group



The above stamp is an example of the rose-carmine shade group. On the Gibbons key it is closest to the rose-red swatch. This shade is also from the very earliest printings. 

The Deep Rose Red Group




The above three stamps are examples of what Unitrade calls the deep rose-red shades. The stamp on the left is closest to the bright rose-red swatch on the Gibbons colour key. The next two stamps are closest to the rosine swatch on the Gibbons Key. 

The Dark Carmine Group


The above two stamps are examples of what I believe Unitrade calls the dark carmine group. The stamp on the left may actually be closer to what Unitrade calls carmine, but the stamp on the right for sure is in this group. The stamp on the left is closest to Gibbons' deep rose red swatch if that swatch were made slightly brighter. The stamp on the right is closest to the carmine-red swatch.

The Orange Red and Deep Red Groups

These are two of the groups for which I do not currently have an example of the shade from the sheet stamps. I will add images here in the future when I acquire one for stock. 

The Red Group




The above stamp is an example of what I believe falls into Unitrade's red group. It is closest to Gibbon's rosine swatch if that swatch were made a lot brighter. 

The Booklet Stamps

The booklets were issued throughout the life of this stamp, so one would expect the same range of shades. However, this is not the case in practice. The common printings of these were the normal sized wet printings measuring 17.75 mm x 21.5 mm, on vertical wove paper, usually showing some fine or coarse mesh clearly on the back. Unitrade describes this only as carmine.  The more expensive booklets were the squat printings measuring 18 mm x 21 mm on vertical wove, or 17.7 mm x 21.5 mm on horizontal wove paper. These were the earlier printings from before 1915, and are generally found in the early shades. 

The scans below show two booklet panes from the common printing that Unitrade classsifies as Carmine:



The pane on the left side is clearly a brighter shade than the one on the right. It also contains a hint of orange to the red. It is closest to Gibbons' scarlet colour swatch. The pane on the right is closest to Gibbons's deep rose red swatch.

The Coil Stamps

The 2c carmine is found in all three of the issued coil formats: perforated 8 horizontally, perforated 8 vertically and perforated 12 horizontally. In addition, there was also the experimental coil issues of 1915. I will now look at each issue individually.

Perforated 8 Horizontally

This format was experimental and appeared in 1913. It was relatively short lived, so that most genuine examples will be closest to the true carmine or rose carmine in shade. Unitrade lists this stamp only as "carmine".




The stamp above is a genuine used example of the perforated 8 horizontal coil. It is closest to the rose-red swatch on Gibbons' colour key. It is therefore, almost identical to the sheet stamp above that was classified by Unitrade as rose-carmine. The way that you can tell this is a genuine coil is by the breaks in the outer vertical line of the right numeral box.

Nearly all fakes of this coil will be the wrong shade, being a deep bright rose-red, rosine, or scarlet shade. Most of the genuine stamps will have some bluish undertone, as does this one above.


Perforated 8 Vertically

This issue format was the longest lived and covered the entire span of time during which the 2c stamp was available in this general colour. It follows therefore, that there should be more or less the same range of shades on this stamp as the sheet stamps, or at least very close to the same range of shades. Despite this, Unitrade lists only two shades: carmine and rose red.

Carmine Coils


All of the stamps and coil pairs shown in the scan above correspond to what I believe Unitrade classifies as Carmine. In terms of the Gibbons colour key, moving from left to right, we have:


  • Deep dull rose red - a duller version of the deep rose-red swatch.
  • Deep rose red.
  • Bright rosine - a brighter version of the rosine swatch.
  • Deep bright rose-red - a very deep version of the bright rose-red swatch. 
These shades are all similar to those of the sheet stamps that belong to Unitrade's deep rose-red group. Yet Unitrade calls these carmine. 

Rose-Carmine Coils



The above stamps and coil pair all fall into what I believe Unitrade considers as rose-red. In terms of Gibbons's colour key swatches, moving from left to right we have:

  • Pale carmine red - a paler version of the carmine-red swatch.
  • Rose-red - again similar to the perf. 8 horizontal coil above and the sheet stamp that Unitrade classifies as rose-carmine. 
  • Bright rose red - This coil is actually a fake, or a genuine coil that had a straignt edge at the left side. In any event, the left perforation holes do not line up with those on the right, indicating that they were added later. 
Again, though there is quite a bit of variation in this group, and in addition, these shades do not match the deep rose red group for the sheet stamps above. Instead, they are closer to what Unitrade calls rose-carmine on the sheet stamps and yet Unitrade does not list a rose-carmine shade for this coil.

Perforated 12 Horizontally

This format again was experimental. It first appeared in 1915 and was all but gone by 1920. Unitrade lists two shades for this issue: carmine and rose carmine. However, the shades of this issue are completely different from the perf. 8 horizontal coils, and yet Unitrade gives them the same shade name.

Carmine Coils



These two stamps are consistent with Unitrade's carmine booklet stamps. In term's of Gibbons' colour key we have from left to right:
  • Scarlet
  • Deep bright rose-red
Rose-Carmine coils



This coil pair is closest to what Unitrade calls rose-carmine, through hopefully now you can clearly see that it is not rose-carmine. In actual fact, it is closest to the bright rose-red swatch on Gibbons' colour key.

The Experimental Coil Stamps

Unfortunately I do not have any examples of these to illustrate here. However, I would note that as they appeared in 1915, during the First World War

The War Tax Stamps

The war tax stamps fall into two basic groups:

1. The 2c stamps that incorporated the actual words "War Tax"into the design. These were issued on April 15, 1915 and were in use until their replacment by the next issue below.

2. The stamps incorporating a "T" flanked by a "1" on the left and a "c" on the right. These first appeared in January 1916.

For the first issue, Unitrade lists two shades:
  • Carmine
  • Rose-carmine
Carmine Shades



The three stamps shown above are all examples of what Unitrade refers to as the carmine shade. Only the last one on the right is consistent with the so called "carmine" of the booklet stamps. In terms of Stanley Gibbons Colour Key swatches we have from left to right:

  • Deep dull rose red - a duller version of the deep rose red swatch. 
  • Carmine vermilion
  • Scarlet
These are all pretty close to the same basic colour, and it may be difficult to see the differences in the scan above. However, the differences are pretty apparent when the stamps are examined and compared in the flesh. 

Rose Carmine Shades



These three stamps are all examples of what I believe Unitrade classifies as rose-carmine. However, as you can see these are in no way similar to other shades that Unitrade also calls rose-carmine. In terms of the Stanley Gibbons Colour Key swatches, we have from left to right:


  • Deep, bright carmine-rose - much deeper and brighter than the carmine-rose swatch. 
  • Rosine
  • Bright rosine - just a touch brighter than the rosine shade above. 
These stamps all lack the bluish undertone that rose-carmine would have. Rose carmine is predominantly carmine with a touch of rose, whereas these are predominantly rose, with a touch of carmine or vermilion.  


For the second issue, Unitrade lists four basic shade groups:
  • Carmine, in both dies 1 and 2, the coil and the perf 12 x 8 stamp.
  • Rose-red in die 1 .
  • Bright rose red in the perf. 12 x 8 stamp.
  • Rose carmine on the die 1 coil stamp.
Carmine Shades




This stamp is an example of what Unitrade calls the carmine shade of this stamp. On Gibbons' Colour Key, it is closest to deep bright rose-red. 



Here we have the 12 x 8 provisional issue and the coil stamp in the Die 1. Both of these are described by Unitrade as being carmine. In terms of Gibbons' Colour Key, the colours of these two stamps from left to right are:

  • Scarlet
  • Deep bright rose-red
Rose-Red Shades



The above two stamps are both examples of shades that Unitrade considers to be rose-red. In actual fact, they are, according to the Gibbons Colour Key:
  • Bright rosine - a much brighter version of the rosine swatch.
  • Deep carmine rose - a much deeper version of the carmine rose swatch. 
The bright rosine is getting close to one of the shades that on the sheet stamps would fall into the orange-red group. But the true orange red shades contain a bit more orange than this shade. 


Recap and Conclusion

So here you have my initial attempt to shed light on these confusing shades. I am certain that my conclusions will evolve as I examine and acquire more stamps. Hopefully, what you will be able to see from this post is that Unitrade has not been consistent in their use of colour terminology as quite often the same name is used to describe shades that are really quite different.

The key observations to take away from all this are these:

  • Unitrade's carmine shades almost always lack the bluish undertone that is required for a colour to truly be called carmine. Usually these shades are some variant of scarlet, deep bright rose red, or carmine vermilion. 
  • Unitrade's rose carmine shows the most variation and the most inconsistency. It can vary from rose red and pale carmine-red on the one extreme, to bright rose-red, bright carmine rose, rosine, deep bright rose red and bright rosine on the other. Rosine can be thought of as a bright scarlet that contains an equal amount of rose. Scarlet in turn is a deep red that contains an almost equal amount of orange, so that it looks neither red, nor orange. 
  • Unitrade's red, at least on the sheet stamps is closest to a pale version of rosine. 
  • Despite what the Unitrade catalogue prices may say, the majority of the mint wet printing stamps on the market today are from after World War I, with the pre-war and wartime printings being much, much scarcer. This is consistent with what I have shown you here, with most of the mint stamps being some variation of scarlet or deep, bright rose red. The true rose-red shades are quite scarce and I believe, should warrant a significant premium on the coil stamps as well as the sheet stamps. 






Monday, March 14, 2016

Shades Of The 1c Yellow Admiral Stamp 1922-1928

Overview

Of all the stamps in the series, this one is probably the most difficult to identify in individual stamps due largely in part to how similar the shades seem to be. Of course, once you become fully familiar with them it should be much easier for you to identify individual stamps, or to sort through large piles of used stamps.

There are three basic shade families:


  • Yellow-orange, which are common
  • Orange-yellow, which are also common, and
  • Lemon yellow, which are scarce.
All of these shade groups are found on both the sheet stamps and in the coils, though the specific shades found will depend on whether you are dealing with a dry printing or wet printing. The booklet panes of 4 seem to be found mostly in the lemon-yellow shade group, whereas the panes of 6 tend to hail from the yellow-orange or orange-yellow shade families. 

So this becomes the starting point for identification: to determine to which basic shade group your stamp belongs. Once you have classified the stamp thus, you can then determine which sub-shade your stamp actually is within each grouping. 

I have seen various terms used in different catalogues over the years to describe these shades. Older Canadian catalogues prior to Unitrade and Stanley Gibbons use the term "chrome yellow". Unitrade now uses:
  • Orange-yellow for the most common shade, 
  • Lemon yellow for the scarce wet printing shades,
  • Yellow for the orange-yellow wet printing shades,
  • Pale yellow for the orange-yellow dry printing shades. 
I find their treatment somewhat lacking in two respects:

1. While they list all the main  shades of the sheet stamps, they only list two shades for the coil stamps: orange-yellow and yellow, even though the coils exhibit more or less the same range of shade variation as the sheet stamps. Their treatment of the booklet stamps is even worse, with yellow being the only listed shade. Finally, the part perforate coil stamps are described as yellow, which is not fully consistent with the main listings of the coils, as these stamps were really just the coils before being guillotined into strips. Therefore it follows that the shades of these stamps should be the same as the coils themselves. 

2. They don't seem to recognize the existence of yellow-orange as one of the predominant shade groups, or the fact that there is a difference between yellow-orange and orange-yellow. The yellow -orange is a predominately orange stamp that contains a hint of yellow. In contrast, the orange-yellow is a predominantly yellow stamp that contains a hint of orange. 

This post will look at the shades in detail for:

  • The sheet stamps printed by the wet method, i.e. the wet printings
  • The sheet stamps printed by the dry method, i.e. the dry printings
  • The coil stamps printed by the wet method and, 
  • The coil stamps printed by the dry method.
Sheet Stamps Printed by the Wet Method


The first three stamps on the left are all from what Unitrade calls the orange-yellow group, even though when you look at the scan you can clearly see that the first and third stamps are predominantly orange, while the second stamp is predominantly yellow. The fourth and last stamp are from the lemon-yellow group, while the fifth stamp is orange-yellow from what Unitrade calls the yellow group. 

In terms of Gibbons colour key names:

  • The first stamp is closest to the yellow-orange swatch if that swatch were made slightly paler than it is. So pale orange-yellow it is. 
  • The second stamp is closest to the orange-yellow swatch if that swatch were to be made brighter than is it. So this colour is bright orange-yellow. 
  • The third stamp is almost a dead match for the orange-yellow colour swatch. This is without a doubt, the most common shade of the wet printing stamps and the one that you will see most of the time. 
  • The fourth stamp is closest to the lemon swatch if that swatch had orange added to it. So I call this shade orange-lemon. 
  • The fifth stamp is closest to the orange-yellow swatch on the key, but contains a bit more lemon than the second stamp. 
  • The last stamp is a slightly brighter and paler orange-lemon compared to the fourth stamp. However, both would be considered lemon-yellow by the Unitrade classification. 
The tricky part of sorting these shades is separating the Unitrade's lemon-yellow from Unitrade's yellow. The distinction is important because the lemon yellow lists for twice as much as the yellow in VF mint, and two and a half times the price for fine. The key difference lies in assessing whether the overall shade appears yellow or not. The orange-yellow, while still a yellow shade, has a very strong hint of orange, as you can clearly see in the scan above. In contrast, if you look at the orange-lemon shades just on their own, they look mostly yellow, and that is the key to identifying them. 


Sheet Stamps Printed by the Dry Method


Here we have three stamps from what Unitrade refers to as orange-yellow, which is actually right on point. The fourth stamp is from Unitrade's yellow group, which is odd, as it has a very orangy appearance, while the last stamp is from Unitrade's pale yellow group.

Here the distinction is also important because the yellow and pale yellow groups both catalogue quite a bit more than the common orange-yellow shade. Identifying the yellow group is made easier by the fact that all the yellows and some pale yellows are die 1, while the both the orange-yellows and most pale yellows are die 2. 

In terms of the Gibbons colour key swatches:

  • The first stamp is closest to the orange-yellow swatch. 
  • The second stamp is similar to the first, but is a touch duller. So I call this the dull orange-yellow.
  • The third stamp is also orange-yellow, but is paler than either of the first two shades. So I call this one the pale orange-yellow. 
  • The fourth stamp is closest to the yellow-orange swatch, but is brighter. It is the only shade which, on its own, appears to be a shade of orange, rather than a shade of yellow. Thus I call this bright-yellow orange. 
  • The fifth stamp is orange-yellow and paler, but it is a bit deeper than the shade of the third stamp. However, I still call this one pale orange-yellow. This stamp is a die 1 dry printing, and is basically the same shade as the pale yellow of the die 2 dry printing, which is one of the reasons why the pale yellow in die 2, as listed in Unitrade can be a bit tricky to identify. 
The difficulty with the die 2 dry printing sheet stamps is that there is often very little difference in practice between the orange-yellow, as listed in Unitrade and the pale yellow. You really need to have comparison examples on hand to be able to tell them apart. 


Coil Stamps Printed by the Wet Method



It is curious, but the only listed shade in Unitrade for the wet printing coil is yellow. However, as you can see from the scan above, there are at least two shades. The most commonly seen are shades of yellow-orange, where the orange predominates as it does in the first two stamps here. However, it is possible to find examples which are predominantly yellow as well as in the pair shown on the right. 

In terms of Gibbons colour key swatches:

  • The first stamp is closest to yellow-orange, but is both a bit paler and duller. So the pale dull yellow-orange. 
  • The first coil pair is closest to yellow-orange, but is slightly paler. So I call this one pale yellow-orange. 
  • The second coil pair is an almost exact cross between the yellow and lemon swatches on the colour key, so I call it lemon yellow.
The lemon yellow is much, much scarcer than the yellow-orange and is unmistakable once you see it. It is very similar to the common shades of the dry printing, so the key to spotting it is to look at your wet printings for a stamp that on its own looks yellow. 



Coil Stamps Printed by the Dry Method


Far and away the vast majority of the coil stamps are dry printings. Unitrade lists only one shade, orange-yellow, and is found in both dies 1 and 2, with the die 1 stamps being worth almost three times as much as the more common die 2's. 

As you can see from the above scan, there is a lot of uniformity in the colour, with all the stamps above being shades of yellow, all containing a hint of orange. 

In terms of the Stanley Gibbons colour key swatches:

  • The first coil pair is closest to the orange-yellow swatch, if that swatch were a bit paler. So pale orange-yellow it is.
  • The first stamp is closest to the orange-yellow swatch, but is a both brighter and paler, so I call this the pale bright orange-yellow.
  • The second stamp is closest to orange yellow and is both brighter and paler again than the coil pair on the left, with this stamp being just a touch paler than the first stamp to the left of it. However, I do not consider it enough of a difference to call it by a different name, so it is also pale bright orange-yellow. 
  • The second coil pair is closest to orange-yellow on the swatch. 
The part perforate coils commonly collected in vertical pairs or blocks are almost always die 2 dry printings, as the die 1 wet printings are very rare. The die 2 dry printings will most likely be in the above range of shades. I have never actually seen the die 1 wet printing of this, but I would expect that it will be the same as either the pale yellow-orange or pale dull yellow-orange of the wet printings above. 

There you have it - the shades of the 1c yellow Admiral issue. If you would like to see the 1c yellow Admiral stamps that I have listed, please click on the link below. Right now I have all the sheet stamps listed, with the coils to follow in the next week or so:


Later this week, my next post will look at the 2c carmine. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Shades Of The 1c Green Admiral Stamp of 1911-1922

Overview

The 1c admiral stamp was issued in both sheet form and in three different coil perforations, as well as in booklet panes. In addition to the regular issue, a War Tax stamp was also issued in 1915, which incorporated the words "War Tax" right into the design. Unitrade lists six different shades of the sheet stamps, three of the perf. 8 vertical coil, and two of the perf. 12 horizontal coil. There are no shades listed on the War Tax Issue.

Unitrade's treatment of the shades is confusing for several reasons. The first is that they are not internally consistent between the sheet stamps, the coils, the booklets and the War Tax stamps. Each issue format appears to have been studied in complete isolation of all the others, instead of being studied together.  Secondly, colloquial names have been used to describe the colours rather than a standard colour key like the Stanley Gibbons Colour Key.

What I will attempt to do in this post is to clear some of the confusion by showing you what I believe each major shade looks like. The only shade I do not have to show you right now is the grey green. I will add an example of this in a subsequent update when one becomes available. I will also cross reference the Unitrade names to Stanley Gibbons colour key names.

My basis for judging which shades are which in Unitrade is based mostly on my observation of the dates listed next to each shade group and an understanding that when Unitrade lists and prices a shade, what they are really doing is pricing a group of printings according to their relative scarcity. This means that other factors, like the paper, and the gum become just as important to correctly classifying the stamps in Unitrade as the actual colour. Another implication of this is that there is a range of shades within each of the listed groups. So I believe a collector, however well intentioned is incorrect in asserting that each listed shade is only one exact shade. You often hear a collector saying something to the effect of "yes that is a definitely bluish green, but its NOT the blue green" or something similar.

The Sheet Stamps

Unitrade lists the following six shade groups:


  • Dark green
  • Blue green, 1911-1913
  • Deep blue green, 1913-1914
  • Yellow green, 1915-1919
  • Dark yellow green, 1920
  • Grey green, no date given
Dark Green shades



Unitrade indicates that this shade group is the original 1911 release, but I think that in reality, this shade group is meant to catch all the dark greens that are neither bluish, yellowish or greyish. So in a sense, it is a bit of a catch all group. One factor that I have considered in my allocation of stamps to this group is to consider the shades found on the War Tax stamp, and I would note that they generally match the shades in this group, and Unitrade describes the War Tax stamps as being simply "green". 

In terms of Gibbons colour key classifications:

  • The stamps on the left and in the centre match the deep green colour swatch most closely. 
  • The stamp on the right matches the myrtle green swatch most closely. This shade is the one most often seen on the War Tax stamps. 

The war tax stamps are described as being "green", but as we shall see from the scan below, nearly all of these stamps fall into the same dark green shade group:




  • The left stamp is closest to the deep green swatch. 
  • The second and fourth stamps are closest to the myrtle green swatch. 
  • The third stamp is closest to the myrtle green swatch if it were darker, so deep myrtle green. 

Blue Green Shades



Unitrade notes that this shade group covers the period 1911-1913, two characteristics to look for are the paper and gum, which should be consistent with stamps printed during this period. Generally you should look for soft wove paper that shows either fine or coarse vertical mesh, and gum that is yellowish and clear, so that the mesh still shows. It should also be relatively shiny. If you are looking to find an actual match to the blue green swatch on Gibbons colour key, you are out of luck, as I have yet to see a truly blue green 1c admiral stamp:

  • The left hand stamp is closest to what the dull blue green swatch would be if it were darker - so deep dull bluish green. 
  • The right hand stamp is closest to the deep dull green swatch.
Several printings of the booklet stamps with the squat printing, so Unitrade numbers 104ais, 104aiis, 104aiiis, 104aivs and 104avs fall into this shade group as well as the deep blue green group below. 

Deep Blue Green Shades



Unitrade notes that this shade group covers the period from 1913 to 1914. Again, I would look for the same paper and gum characteristics as for the above blue green group.  By now the gum becomes a bit less shiny, being more of a satin sheen, but it is still clear, and the paper still tends to show the vertical mesh. Basically these are the darkest possible greens of the series, with the booklet stamps showing a bit of grey in the green.

In terms of Gibbons colour key swatches:

  • The stamp on the left is closest to the dull blue green swatch if it were made very, very dark. In other words very deep dull blue green.
  • The stamp in the centre is closest to the bottle green swatch. The gum on this stamp is a clear creamy colour with a satin sheen. 
  • The stamp on the right is closest to the deep grey-green swatch. 

Yellow Green Shades



Unitrade notes that this shade group covers the period from 1915 to 1919 - the entire wartime period. Therefore, the paper and gum characteristics should be consistent with the wartime and early post-war printings. The gum becomes shiny or satin, takes on more of a creamy colour and the paper mesh is not so visible as before. However, some stamps still do show a fine vertical mesh. Generally, these colours are actually closest to just plain green on the Gibbons colour key. 

The regular, late printing booklet stamps, Unitrade number 104as and the pane 104a, which Unitrade describes as yellow green falls into this group. 


Dark Yellow Green Shades



Unitrade notes that this shade group is from 1920. Actually, I think it covers the period from 1920 until the colour was changed to orange yellow in 1922. The paper and gum should thus be consistent with other stamps of this period, which is to say that the gum is usually a shiny, smooth yellowish cream that sometimes has the appearance of having been "sponged on". Usually, but not always, the stamps will show no visible mesh. Sometimes there will be some stamps that have a fine vertical mesh that can be seen.

In terms of Gibbons colour key swatches:


  • The left and centre stamps are closest to the yellowish green swatch if it were made darker, i.e. dark yellowish green. 
  • The right hand stamp is closest to the dull yellowish green swatch if it were made darker
The Coil Stamps Perforated 8 Horizontally


This coil issue came out in 1913 and was experimental. So genuine examples of this coil stamp should be either in the blue green or deep blue green groups. The strip of three shown above is printed in a deep dull blue green. In other words it is closest to the dull blue green swatch, but is deeper. 

The Coil Stamps Perforated 8 Vertically

This coil issue spanned the entire period from 1911 through to 1922, so the main shade groups should all be represented. Unitrade refers simply to green, blue green and yellow green. The following scans show examples from each group:



The coil pair on the left is closest to dull green on the Gibbons colour key, while the one on the right is closest to deep green on the key.




These are the first printings of these coils. Both the left coil pair and single are closest to dull bluish green if it were deeper. 


These are among the last printings of these coils and the shade is almost identical to the deep yellowish green in the dark yellow green group above for the sheet stamps. 


The Coil Stamps Perforated 12 Horizontally

This coil issue was also experimental, as it only covered the period from 1915 to 1924. Unitrade lists both dark green and blue green shades for this coil, and neither shade corresponds to those shades described as either dark green or blue green in the other listings as we shall see. 


The left coil is closest to deep green on the Gibbons key and is the only true deep green in the series. The stamp on the right is what Unitrade calls "blue green" and is actually closest to the bottle green swatch on the Gibbons colour key, but is slightly lighter. 

This concludes my discussion of the 1c green shades. On Monday, I will deal with the 1c orange yellow, which is a much more difficult stamp as the shade differences are so subtle. I hope my scanner will co-operate with me and show the differences clearly. 

Have a good weekend everyone!

If you want to view the 1c green Admirals that I have for sale in my store right now, please do click on the following link:

http://stores.ebay.ca/Pristine-Canadian-Stamps/1c-green-/_i.html?_fsub=5230649013&_sid=1009259433&_trksid=p4634.c0.m322