Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Integral Booklets of the 1967-1973 Centennial Issue Part 1

Today, I start to examine the integral booklets that were produced for this issue. They are called "integral" because the booklet covers were a single piece of cardstock, which was folded, and the booklet panes were glued onto the cover using the tab of the pane, rather than being either stapled or stitched. They were also significant as they were the very first time that se-tenant combinations of different designs and denominations were to appear in the same booklet pane. The printing technology required to accomplish this was in the hands of the British American Bank Note Company (BABNC) rather than the CBN. So the introduction of these booklets marks a unique period in Canadian stamp production in which two different printing firms collaborated to produce a Canadian stamp issue. Prior to this, every issue of Canadian stamps was printed by one firm or another, but never two firms at the same time. These booklets are also interesting in the sense that they are the first booklets to feature panes that are comb perforated, rather than line perforated, and also the first to include panes printed with PVA, rather than dextrine gum.

It should be mentioned that the CBN did eventually acquire this technology too and used it to produce a single integral booklet: the OPAL booklet, which was issued in October 1970.

As I explained in last week's post, there is a large amount of scope to cover with these booklets, as the total number of basic integral booklets issued during the life of this issue was 16. I have decided to break it down into three parts:

  • The perf. 10 integral booklets which were printed by the BABNC and issued between January 1968 and May 1970.
  • The perf. 12.5 x 12 integral booklets which were printed by the BABNC and issued between December 1970 and August 1971, as well as the OPAL booklet.
  • The booklets containing the 8c parliament, which were issued between December 1971 and August 1972, due to their immense complexity.
This week's post will cover the first of these: the integral booklets containing the perf. 10 panes. McCann, in his catalogue insists that the perforation is actually 9.9, which is probably correct, although difficult to verify as my Instanta gauge is difficult to use reliably for measurements below about 10-10.5. 

There were a total of 7 booklets issued that contained panes that were perforated 10. Three of these sold for 25c, two for $1 and two for $1.50. It thus makes logical sense to discuss them according to their overall denomination, and then to get into the details for each booklet. Many of the specific facts for numbers issued are taken from the McCann booklet catalogue, as well as some information about the collectible varieties. 

In addition to the paper fluorescence varieties that can be collected for the panes themselves, there are differences in the fluorescence of the covers as well as differences in the appearance of the letterings that were stamped onto the cover stock. This is an area that I do not believe has received much, if any serious attention, though I wound bet that such attention would turn up worthy varieties for most, if not all of these booklets. There are also a handful of constant plate varieties which can be collected for most of these booklets. 

The covers of these booklets were printed with a large rectangular counting mark on every 50th cover. 

The 25c Booklets

The 4c + 1c Booklet of 10

These three booklets replaced the stapled booklets which had been issued in 1967. The first of these was issued in September 1968, and contained a pane of 10 stamps consisting of 5 1c stamps and 5 4c stamps. This was rather clever, because by issuing it this way, the user had 4c stamps for the local letter rate, and could always add a 1c stamp to make up the forwarded rate of 5c. A total of 1,464,000 booklets were issued. One drawback though was that one could wind up using all the 4c stamps and be left with a partial booklet of 1c stamps, which by themselves would be of little use.  An example of this booklet and the contents is shown below:

The front and back covers, which are perforated in the middle and folded down the perforations. Note the three dot marking in the centre of the spine that extends onto both the front and back cover. This is NOT a counting mark, though many who are unfamilar with these booklets can make the mistake of thinking that this is a counting mark. 

Here is the full pane of 10 with the 1c stamps on the left, and the 4c stamps on the right. As far as I know, no cutting errors have as yet been discovered where the 1c stamps are on the right. But in theory they could exist. The inside of the cover has a was coating to prevent the gummed side of the pane from sticking to the cover. Note the small rectangular marks at the top of the booklet in the tab. These cutting guildelines should be found on all booklets.

These panes are found on dead paper that is generally either a deep violet, or deep brown under UV light. They are also found on dull paper, and on dull paper with low and medium fluorescent fibres. They can be found with a guide-line between the top two stamps on the left side (1/1 and 2/1), and with a round corner on the second stamp from the top on the left side (2/1). Of course, both these varieties can be found on all of the three main types of paper on which these booklets are found. 

The back covers show both fine lettering and coarser lettering. As we shall see, these differences are found on all of these booklets, which suggests that the finer print is from the earlier printings before the type wore and that the coarser print is from the later printings. 

The 6c + 1c Booklet

In October 1968, the second of these booklets was issued and corresponded with the postage rate increase for the forwarded rate from 5c to 6c and the elimination of the local rate. It contained a pane of 5 stamps plus label. The pane included 4 of the 6c orange and 1 of the 1c brown, arranged in a 2 x 3 format, with the very first "stamp" being a printed label. The slogan on the label was always the same - a bilingual "Avoid Loss Use Postal Money Orders". A total of 21,604,000 booklets were issued.  The 1c was clearly only included here in order to make the total face value of the pane equal to 25c. In reality there would have been many people walking around holding booklets that were empty except for a single 1c stamp, which seems kind of silly. An example of this booklet is shown below:

The front cover, showing the unboxed design that was introduced with this booklet.

The actual pane and inside covers of this booklet. Note the brown cutting guidelines at the top. Again, the inside of the cover was was coated. No cutting errors have as yet been reported, so the label is always on the left side. Several shades of the 6c orange can be found from a dull reddish orange to a bright orange, and this pane can be found printed in the fluorescent orange ink and fluorescent red ink.

This booklet is a favourite of many Centennial specialists, due to the fact that a number of varieties are possible with it. For starters, the panes can be found printed on dead paper, dull paper, low fluorescent paper with fluorescent fibres, and hibrite paper. The pane can be found with whole or partial numbers printed on the tab, and it can also be found ribber stamped "Cancelled" on a part pane. Of course, all of these tab varieties and ink varieties can be found on any of the four main papers listed, making for a large number of collectible booklets. 

This is not listed or discussed in any of the catalogues that I have seen, but there are variations in the card stock used for the covers and there are variations in the appearance of the lettering. In terms of the card stock, while all of the covers I have seen are dull fluorescent and generally a greyish colour under UV, there are slight differences in the texture ans appearance of the card stock itself. I have come across three different types of card stock:

  • A cream coloured stock, which shows very fine horizontal striations across the cover, that resembles ribbing. 
  • A smooth cream coloured stock that shows fine vertical dimples throughout the stock.
  • A rough textured cream coloured stock that shows no ribbing. 
Examples of each type of card stock are shown in the scans below:

The ribbed card stock. Look toward the top of the booklet cover to see the fine horizontal striations running across the cover. The third type of card stock with the rough surface looks identical to this except for the ribbing.

The smooth, dimpled stock. Notice that the surface texture is smooth, but punctuated by fine dimples that fall into a vertical pattern. 

Looking back at the first 25c booklet, consisting of the 4c+1c, all the overs that I looked at were of the first type. This suggests that the card stock was changed part way into the production of these booklets, and that the ribbed stock gave way to the rough stock with no ribbing, and then finally to the dimpled stock.

Like the other booklets, this booklet also exists with the coarsely and finely printed covers:

The fine print appears and the top and the coarser print on the bottom.

Finally, various plate flaws can be found on these covers. Usually these consists of dots or blobs where there shouldn't be any. The example below shows a dot to the right of the "25c" box, on the front cover:

The 6c Booklet

Perhaps due to the redundancy of the 1c stamp that was included in the last booklet, it was decided, when the 6c black was issued, to dispense with the pane of 5 plus label, and to simply produce a pane of 4, 6c stamps and sell the booklet for 25c. This was the first time since 1955 that a booklet sold at a slight premium over the face value of the stamps contained in it. This booklet contained 4 stamps printed in the die 2, and was issued in May 1970. A total of 15,840,000 booklets were issued. 

The cover and contents of this booklet are shown below:

The front cover. Note that the style of the letters is slightly different, and there is no "4x6c" on the cover, but just a single "25c" value panel.

The inside pane of 4. Like the other booklets, the inside covers are wax coated. Note the rectangular cutting guidelines at the top of the tab. So far, these panes are only known printed on dull paper that appears greyish under UV, with very fine vertical ribbing. This booklet does exist with partial numbers on the tab, and these are very scarce. 

The $1 Booklets

The 4c Booklet

These two booklets were issued to replace the cello-paqs, which had been an issue format that had been in use since 1961. Thus, the post office department had no way of knowing how these booklets would be received by the public. The first of these, issued in January 1968, contained a pane of 25, 4c stamps. The pane was actually laid out in a 3 x 9 format, with the first two "stamps" being labels with printed slogans.  The slogans are always the same, and are bilingual, with English on top:

  • Moving? Ask for free change of address cards?
  • Avoid loss - use postal money orders.

A total of 645,000 booklets were issued, which is very low compared to the other booklets, and may reflect the fact that the post office department did not know how these booklets would be received. These booklets were very handy for customers who only wanted to send local letters or postcards, but would not be of much use to those wanting to mail forwarded letters, as they would have to have had a supply of 1c stamps handy to make up the 5c rate. An example of this booklet, and the pane inside it is shown below:

The front and back cover, showing the same boxed design as the first 25c booklet. As best I can determine, all of the covers that I have seen on this booklet are printed on the ribbed card stock. 

The pane of 25 stamps plus tab. Note how there are no markings on the tab and the labels are always on the left. Robin Harris notes in his blog that a cutting error was found by Doug Karns in which the labels appear on the right, rather than the left. The panes can be found on dead paper as well as on dead or dull paper with a sparse concentration of fluorescent fibres visible in the paper. 

In addition to the paper varieties on the panes, the covers can be found both with the fine print and coarse print, as with the other booklets. There is also a cover type in which a dot appears above the word "An". These varieties are shown below:

The fine print is shown on the left, and the bolder, coarser print is shown on the right in this side-by-side scan of two booklets.

No dot above "An"

Dot above "An"

The 5c Booklet

In August of 1968, a booklet containing 20 of the 5c was issued to allow those wanting to mail a quantity of forwarded letters, an ample supply of stamps. The pane of 20 was printed in a long 2 x 10 format. Thus a person could buy one of each booklet and have all the stamps they needed to send 20 local letters or postcards, and 20 forwarded letters, without having any leftover stamps. A total of 1,724,000 booklets were issued. An example of that booklet, and the pane inside is shown below:

The front and back cover showing the boxed design that was in use until late 1968. All of the covers that I have examined are printed on the ribbed stock. 

The pane of 20 stamps. Again, note how there are no markings on the tab. 

The panes can be found on dead paper, dull paper and dull paper with low fluorescent fibres. In addition, booklets can be found with partial numbers on the tab. There are two constant varieties that can be found on the panes of this booklet. One is the broken necklace, which I have discussed in an earlier post, and which generally occurs on the second stamp in the top row. Sometimes I have found it on other stamps as well. The other variety is the "extended line from the lobster trap". This is a very common ink drag flaw that occurs on some booklets. I do not currently have an example of this variety that I can show here, but will add one when I can. The broken necklace is shown again below:

The normal, complete necklace is shown on the left, while the broken necklace appears on the right. 

All of these varieties in theory, including the numbers on tab could be found with all three paper types, although McCann only lists the panes with numbers on tab as occurring with the three paper types and not with either plate variety. 

The covers exist in a variety of different shades of blue, as well as with the coarse and fine print. Finally, covers can be found with breaks in the boxed frame. Examples of all these varieties are shown below:

Dark blue and paler blue, due to under-inking.

Coarse print on the left and finer print on the right. 

Frame break at the top left. 

The $1.50 Booklets

These booklets were produced to replace the $1 booklets when the postage rates increased from 5c to 6c for all domestic destinations. The booklet format of 25 had proven popular with the public and somehow $1.50 for a booklet seemed like a better price point than $1.20 for a pane of 20, not to mention that it would be easier to account for in the P.O. records. These panes were thus printed in panes of 27, for which the first two stamps were actually labels with slogans. The slogans were the same bilingual ones used on the 4c booklet, except that they appear in the opposite order. The panes were the same 3 x 9 format as had been used on the $1 booklet containing 25, 4 cent stamps. The first of these was issued in December 1968 and contained 25 of the 6c orange. The second was issued in January 1970, and contained 25 of the 6c black die 1. 

An example of the 6c orange booklet is shown below:

The front and back covers showing the new unboxed design. Note the large rectangular counting mark across the spine. This is what the counting mark on these booklets should look like. It needn't be found in this exact location - it can be found anywhere along the spine of the affected booklet. All the covers that I have seen for this booklet are on either the ribbed stock, or the rough, unribbed stock. I have only seen the coarser print on this booklet so far, but I think the fine print must exist as well. 

The pane of 25. These panes can be found on dead paper, dead paper with low fluorescent fibres, on low fluorescent paper with fluorescent fibres, and finally on high fluorescent paper. The second stamp from the bottom on the left side (9/1) can be found with a mole on the lip or nose. A total of 2,660,000 booklets were issued. 

An example of the 6c black booklet is shown below:

The front and back cover. All of the covers I have seen on this booklet are either the rough unribbed stock, or they are the dimpled stock. I have only seen the coarser print on this booklet so far, but I think the fine print must exist as well. 

The pane of 25. A total of 4,070,000 booklets were issued. These panes can be found on four different types of paper: dull paper, low fluorescent paper, low fluorescent paper with fluorescent fibres, medium fluorescent paper and hibrite paper. In addition, these panes can be found with vertical scratches across the sixth row of stamps. These exist in up to 12 different patterns of vertical strokes, which have been identified by the Centennial study group, but are to difficult to describe here. I do not have any examples to illustrate here, but I will add images of them as I acquire them. 

These booklets contain two of the rarest and most sought after varieties in this issue:

  • The cutting error on the orange booklet in which the two labels are separated by a stamp, instead of being located adjacent to one another on the left side of the pane. This variety lists in Unitrade for $5,000. 
  • The hibrite paper on the 6c black pane, which lists in Unitrade for $4,500. 
This concludes my discussion of the perf. 10 vertical booklets. Next week, I will examine the OPAL booklet printed by CBN and the perf. 12.5 x 12 booklets, except for those containing the 8c. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Stapled Booklets and Cello-Paqs of the 1967-1973 Centennial Issue

Today's post will be the first of four posts that will explore the alternative issue formats in which the stamps of this issue were available, other than the basic sheet stamps. For decades the stamps of Canada have been available in booklets and in coil form, and this issue was no exception. In addition, starting with the 1954 Wilding Issue, some of the stamps were available in large panes of 25 or 20, that were sold sealed in large cellophane packages. The 4c and 5c stamps of this issue were also issued in this form until the end of 1967, when this format of issuing stamps was abandoned in favour of larger integral booklets.

Today's post will examine the two stapled booklets that were issued in 1967, and which were replaced, by integral booklets that were printed by the BABN, starting in 1968, and continuing for the remainder of the life of this issue.

The Stapled Booklets

For this issue, two stapled booklets were issued on February 8, 1967, both of which sold for 25c. One contained 1c and 4c stamps (BK54)  while the other contained 5c stamps only (BK55). 24,093,000 of BK54 were issued, while the number of BK 55 that were issued was 14,002,000.

The Basic Formats and Contents

The 1c+4c booklets each contained 2 panes of 5 stamps, plus a printed label, and each of the panes was separated by a glassine interleaf page, which was intended to prevent the stamps from sticking together. Further interleaf pages were placed after the last pane, in order to prevent the stamps from sticking to the cover as well. McCann does note that the combination booklet, BK 54, can be found without any interleaving.

The Front Covers

The front covers of the booklets were first introduced for the very last printings of the 25c booklet from the previous Cameo Issue, that contained 5c stamps only. It consists of the Centennial celebrations emblem in white on a coloured background. Dark red was used for BK 54, while bright blue was used for BK 55. The covers appear as follows:

BK54 - 61.75 mm x 41 mm-41.5 mm

BK55 - 61.75 mm x 41 mm-41.5 mm

The inside of the front cover for both booklets was identical, and consisted of bilingual basic postage rate information, in sans-serif letters. The scan below shows one such cover:

Total text width: 52.5 mm, height: 40 mm

The Back Covers

The back covers were very simple, consisting of a bilingual text message enclosed in a rectangular box. The message simply states that stamps are required on mail posted in Canada. The covers were identical in all respects, except for the colour, which was the same as that used for the front cover:

BK54 - 55.5 mm x 35.75 mm

BK54 - 55.5 mm x 35.75 mm

The inside back cover of both booklets contained a bilingual message in black and white to the effect that apartment numbers were important for a complete address:

Inside back cover - 55.5 mm x 35.75 mm

The Wilding Cover

McCann, in his specialized booklet catalogue, notes the existence of a version of BK 54 that was produced using the older Type III cover that was used for the earlier Cameo issue. I had never heard of this prior to seeing McCann's catalogue, and I have never seen one. However, he prices it at 25 times the price of a normal booklet, which reflects its scarcity.

The covers of this booklet type are shown in the following scans:

Front cover.

Back cover

Inside front cover.

Inside back cover.

The Booklet Panes

All three of the panes that were included in the booklets were identical in their general layout. Five stamps and 1 label were printed in a 2 x 3 arrangement, with the label at the top left. The message on the label was always the same for the 1c and 5c, and read: "Avoid Loss Use Postal Money Orders", in both English and French. The message on the 4c booklets, in both English and French was "Address All Mail, Clearly, Correctly, and Completely".

The general layout of the panes looked like this:

The edges of the panes were generally deckled, rather than being clean, straight edges, and the quality of the guillotining was usually not great, with the result, that poorly centered booklet stamps with either very wide outer margins, or very narrow, and almost nonexistent margins are the norm. 

The paper is generally found to be a horizontal wove, that often shows some very faint vertical ribbing on the surface. This is in contrast to the sheet stamps, which are usually printed on vertical wove paper (at least for the low values), that shows faint horizontal ribbing. The gum is generally the smooth dextrose gum with a satin sheen. There is a fairly decent range of paper fluorescences that range from dead to medium fluorescent, as discussed below.

In terms of perforations, both the 11.85 and 11.95 gauges that the CBN employed were in use during this time, so that it should be possible to find all three of these panes with four perforations:

  • 11.85
  • 11.95
  • 11.95 x 11.85
  • 11.85 x 11.95
It should be noted that it will be difficult to measure the vertical perforations accurately, due to the fact that there is no opposing perforation tooth on the outer edges to use in lining up the guide-line of your Instanta gauge. Great care and patience is needed to do this accurately. 

Cutting Guidelines

The covers were printed in sheets that were cut apart using a guillotine. In order to ensure that the covers were guillotined in the correct place, small "L" shaped guide marks were printed on the covers in the same colour as the cover. Usually, these were trimmed off and are not visible on the covers. However occasionally, they show up in the corners of the front covers, back covers, or both. They are highly sought after by specialists, and sell for a significant premium (generally 500%) over the price of a normal booklet.

The guide markings appear like so:


"L" shaped Guide mark on a front cover of BK 55.


A portion of the "L" shaped guide mark on the back cover of BK 55.
Staple Widths

Another important feature of booklets, that becomes a point of differentiation for specialists is the width of the staple used to bind the panes and covers of the booklet. All of the specialist literature says that 12 mm was the only width of staple used, which appears to be correct. However, carefully measuring the holes in an exploded booklet reveals that the actual measurement is closer to 12.5 mm. 

It is entirely possible that other widths, such as 14 mm, 16 mm or 17 mm do exist somewhere, as these were commonplace in the booklets that were produced for earlier issues. However, I have not, as yet come across any. 

Cover Fluorescence  

This an aspect of the booklets that, as far as I know, has not received any attention at all, even in the most specialized handbooks. This is a shame, as the covers seem to exhibit many of the same variations as the stamps, although they do not show the same, bright levels of fluorescence as the later printings of stamps from this issue. They do exhibit a fair amount of variation though within the dead to low fluorescent end of the spectrum, with some covers showing clear fluorescent fibres. In the above scan, it is difficult to see, but if you look at the booklet cover on the right, towards the top, you can just make out the fluorescent fibres at the top, whereas the booklet cover on the left is a straight-up dull fluorescent ivory cover, that shows no fluorescent fibres at all. 

I haven't unfortunately examined enough of these yet to be able to give a comprehensive listing of all known fluorescence varieties on both the front and back covers, but I can certainly list those that I have seen thus far and add more to the list as I encounter them:

Front Covers

  1. BK 54 - Dull fluorescent ivory, with no fluorescent fibres.
  2. BK 54 - Dull fluorescent bluish white with very sparse low fluorescent.
  3. BK 54 - Dull fluorescent greyish white, with no fluorescent fibres.
  4. BK  55 - Dull fluorescent ivory, with very sparse low, medium and high fluorescent fibres.
  5. BK 55 - Dull fluorescent violet-white, with no fluorescent fibres.
  6. BK 55 - Dull fluorescent greyish white, with no fluorescent fibres.
  7. BK 55 - Dull fluorescent greyish white with sparse low & medium fluorescent fibres, and very few high fluorescent fibres.

Back Covers

  1. BK 54 - Dull fluorescent greyish white, with no fluorescent fibres.
  2. BK 55 - Dull fluorescent greyish white, with no fluorescent fibres. 
  3. BK 55 - Dull fluorescent violet-white, with no fluorescent fibres.
  4. BK 55 - Dull fluorescent greyish white, with sparse low fluorescent fibres.

Pane Fluorescence

As mentioned above, all of the panes used in the booklets are found with a range of fluorescence from dead to medium fluorescent. What is more, because BK54 contains two panes, it is possible to find different combinations of paper fluorescence for the two panes

A 1c deep brown pane of 5 + label that is dull fluorescent and greyish in colour under UV.

The panes that I am aware of include:

  1. 1c - dull fluorescent, with the colour under UV being ivory, grey, bluish white or greyish white.
  2. 1c - dead, with the colour being either violet or dark brown under UV.
  3. 1c - low fluorescent greyish white or bluish white.
  4. 1c - medium fluorescent bluish white.
  5. 4c - dull fluorescent, with the colour under UV being ivory, grey, bluish white or greyish white.
  6. 4c - dead, with the colour being either violet or dark brown under UV.
  7. 4c - low fluorescent greyish white or bluish white.
  8. 4c - medium fluorescent bluish white.
  9. 5c - dull fluorescent greyish, with no fluorescent fibres.
  10. 5c - dull fluorescent greyish white, with sparse low fluorescent, and very sparse medium fluorescent fibres. This is what McCann refers to as low fluorescent. 
  11. 5c - dull fluorescent greyish, with very sparse low fluorescent fibres.
  12. 5c - medium fluorescent, bluish white.
  13. 5c - dull fluorescent, with the colour under UV being ivory, grey, bluish white or greyish white.
  14. 5c - dead, with the colour under UV, being either violet, or dark brown. 

On the combination booklet, BK 54, these levels of fluorescence can be found in various combinations, including:

  • Both panes dull fluorescent, in various colours under UV.
  • Both panes dead, in either violet or dark brown under UV.
  • 1c pane is dull, while 4c pane is dead.
  • 1c pane is dead, while 4c pane is dull.
  • 1c pane is low fluorescent, while 4c pane is dull.
  • 1c pane is medium fluorescent, while 4c pane is dull. 
  • 1c pane is low fluorescent with fluorescent fibres, while the 4c pane is dull fluorescent with fluorescent fibres.
There obviously should be more combinations of panes that exist on this booklet, given that there are at least four of each kind, which means that there should be 16 different possible combinations. 

Cover Colour Variations

This is another aspect of these booklets that has been largely ignored, quite unjustifiably, I think. There are definite differences in the red and blue colours used to print the covers. I do not, at the moment, have an example of a marked difference on the red cover, though it can be found in a very deep red, and an almost deep orangy red. I will be sure to add an example when I come across one, so that you can see what I mean.

The scan below shows two variations of the blue colour on BK 55, with the left being a much deeper blue, compared to the cover on the right:

Cover Lettering and Spacing Varieties

I am not aware of any lettering or spacing varieties (between the lines of text, or between words) of the covers of these booklets, though again, this is not an area that has received all that much attention from specialists, as compared to other aspects of this issue. So, it is possible that some subtle varieties may exist. I have noted for each of the front and back covers, what the outside dimensions of the printing are, in order to provide a reference point for further study, to see if in fact, any varieties do exist of this nature. 

The Cello Paqs

The 4c stamps of this series were sold in sealed panes of 25 stamps, and the 5c stamps were available in sealed panes of 20 stamps. In the case of the 5c, both tagged and untagged versions were available. The packs had a face value of $1 each and were sold for their exact face value. They were issued on February 8, 1967, when the set was first issued, and remained on sale throughout the year. 

The scan below shows the general format of these packs:

The pack had instructions printed in either red, for the 4c value, or blue, for the 5c value, on a white background at the top of the pack. Then in the centre, was the centennial emblem and the value of the pack, printed horizontally across in a repeating pattern. Then along the bottom in a repeating pattern was printed "Postes Canada Postage". As far as I know, there were no major variations in the designs that were printed across the front of the packages. However, this is another aspect of this issue that has been highly neglected, as most of these packs were opened, and the cellophane thrown away, without any diligent study being carried out to check to see if there were collectible variations in the size, style and spacings between lettering on the front of these packs.

The panes contained in each pack are shown in the following scans:

The 4c carmine rose pane of 25

The 5c blue untagged pane of 20.

A Winnipeg tagged pane of 20 of the 5c blue.

These panes were guillotined apart and the edges were very cleanly cut, which sets them apart from the stamps that are usually found in the stapled booklets. These were also generally printed on vertical wove paper, just like the sheet stamps. So it is generally not too difficult to distinguish a straight edged stamp from one of these panes, from a stamp that came from one of the two stapled booklets. However, distinguishing the stamps from the middle of the pane from those printed only in full sheets, is much, much more difficult, and may not even be possible. Shades may help to an extent, as most of the 5c sheet stamps tend to be more of a violet blue, rather than the deep bright blue of these panes. The 4c stamps tend to be more carmine, though I have also seen carmine-rose as well. The gum of these panes tends to be fairly smooth and shiny like types 3 and 4 dextrine gum. 

In terms of perforation, the same range of perforations found on the sheet stamps and booklet stamps should exist on these as well, however, the same comments about measuring vertical and horizontal perforations accurately apply here too - at least with respect to the stamps from the outer perimeter of the sheet. 

Until very recently these were only listed as being printed on dull paper, and the catalogues do not generally bother to differentiate the small differences between the different types of dull paper, in terms of the appearance under UV light. Generally, I have seen grey to greyish white and these two colours with very, very few low fluorescent fibres. However, in recent years Unitrade has begun to list these as being on dead paper as well, which generally appears violet under UV. I have found this type of paper for all three basic types of pane (4c, 5c untagged and 5c tagged). The dead paper is much, scarcer than the dull fluorescent, and is easily overlooked if you aren't familiar with it. However, at the present time, Unitrade does not list it for the 5c untagged stamp, only listing it for the Winnipeg tagged pane. 

Unitrade does list these in used condition for the same price as mint. Collectors should be aware of the fact that in practice, genuinely used examples of these are much, much harder to come by than mint, as there are very few mail items that would have required something so large. The only practical use for sheets this size would have been parcels, and consequently it would be rare for sheets this size to survive without some minor creases, or wrinkles and perforation separations. So if you come across in-period, used sheets with legible dated cancellations, you would be well advised to buy them, as they may be among some of the scarcest regular-issue items from this issue. 

This concludes my review of these two early issue formats, both of which were more or less superseded by the integral booklets that first appeared in 1968. It would appear, from how long it took me to write this post today, that I am going to need more than one post to cover the integral booklets, because there were so many of them. I have decided that I will cover these in three posts:

  1. The Perf. 10 BABN Booklets (BK56-BK62).
  2. The Perf. 12.5 x 12 booklets not containing the 8c library and the OPAL booklet (BK63-68).
  3. The 25c booklets containing the 8c parliamentary library (BK69-BK71).

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Totem Pole Eye Varieties on the 2c Centennial Issue Stamp of 1967-1973

Today's post will delve into a specific set of plate flaws that are specific to one value from the series: the 2c Pacific Coast totem pole. Two weeks ago I touched on the existence of several different plate flaws involving the eyes on the totem pole.  In total, there are some 33 different varieties, that are located in different positions, on the various panes that comprise a full post office sheet of 600 stamps. Today, I will attempt to illustrate as many of these as I currently have in stock. Then, as I acquire more of the 33 known varieties, I will update this post to add examples.

As a starting point, it is important to know what the normal totem pole looks like:

In the normal totem pole, the 4 eyes of both the figure at the top and the figure in the centre of the pole consist of solid circles of colour that are surrounded by a larger circle. These eyes are "closed". The varieties consist in one or more of the four eyes being either:

1. Fully "open", in which the smaller solid dot of colour forming the pupil is missing entirely, 
2. Partially closed, in which the pupil of the eye is a smaller crescent of colour, rather than a solid dot, or
3. Partially closed, in which the pupil is complete circle that is hollow, rather than being solid. 

Fully Open Eye Varieties

This example consists of three normal eyes and an upper left eye that is fully open. It comes from position 30 of a field stock pane, that would appear, from the selvage width to be the upper right pane. 

In this example, all four eyes are fully open. This was a single stamp from an unknown position. Actually, Robin Harris's book on the 1967-73 Centennial Issue does list the plate positions for each of these varieties, but I do not have my copy anymore. So I am having to write this post without that information. 

Here we have an example that shows the upper left and lower left eyes fully open, while the two eyes on the right are normal. This is the upper right stamp in an upper left field stock block. From the narrow width of the selvage at the left and top, I would say that it is either from the lower right pane or the lower centre pane. 

This next example comes from a block of 6, that judging from the width of the selvage, is one of the top panes. Unfortunately I cannot tell which pane, nor which plate. This one has three normal closed eyes and the bottom left eye open:

This stamp is the upper left stamp in the block, so it is from one of positions 1-8, but other than that, I do not know which one.

The middle stamp from the top row of this block shows both bottom eyes open:

The upper right stamp in this block shows the lower right eye open:

Partially Open Eye Varieties - Crescent Shaped Pupils

In this example, three eyes are normal and the upper left eye is a small crescent of colour. This is position 1 from the upper left pane of plate 2. 

Partially Open Eye Varieties - Hollow Pupils

I do not currently have any example of these to illustrate here. However, I will be sure to add some as they become available. 

Partially Open Eye Varieties - Both Hollow and Crescent Shaped Pupils

In this example, the upper left eye is hollow, the upper right eye is a crescent and the lower left eye is a crescent. This is position 2 from the upper left pane of plate 2. 

This illustrates 8 of the 33 known varieties. It is less than one third of them, but it represents a good cross section of what the varieties look like. The remaining 25 are all different permutations and combinations of open eyes, closed eyes and crescent shaped eyes. 

This brings me to the end of my discussion of the physical characteristics of the Centennial stamps as they apply to the issue as a whole. Before I get into a detailed discussion of each value from the series, I need to first look at the different issue formats other than the sheet stamps. There were four basic issue formats other than sheet stamps, which will be covered in three posts, starting next week:

  1. The cellophane packs of 20 and 25 stamps that were issued for the 4c and 5c, also known as the cello-paqs. 
  2. The stapled booklets of 1c, 4c and 5c stamps.
  3. The integral booklets.
  4. The coil stamps

Next week's post will look at the cello paqs and stapled booklets. The following week, I will look at the integral booklets, and the week after that I will discuss the coil stamps. Then I will be ready to begin a new series of posts, detailing the different varieties of each value from the set, bringing all the information presented in the last 19 posts together and applying it to each value in the set.