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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Philately Versus Stamp Collecting - Two Very Different Hobbies and The Appeal of Stamps

In normal parlance the term "philatelist" and "stamp collector" are used synonymously, with many non-collectors often saying "what is that fancy word used to describe stamp collecting? I know it is "phil-a something. I can't pronounce it". Most collectors will then tell the person that a stamp collector is a "philatelist" or will otherwise agree with the person who equates the two, as if the two were playing a game of Trivial Pursuit.

But as a dealer and professional philatelic blogger, it has occurred to me that philately and stamp collecting, though very close to one another, are not, in fact, the same thing. In the rest of this post, I will explain the difference between the two, and then I will conclude with some more reasons why I believe that both are the most rewarding of hobbies, and why I believe they are misunderstood by most people in general.

Stamp Collecting

Stamp collecting involves the pursuit and accumulation of stamps for their pure artistic and overall historic merit only. Most collectors love to look at the design and workmanship that went into the stamps, the pretty pictures, the portrayal of cultures from far away lands, and to see a slice of history captured in long-dead countries and colonies that no longer exist as what they once were. The vast majority of collectors are in the hobby for the pure enjoyment of collecting, while some are in it for both the enjoyment and the possibility of financial gain through the appreciation in value of their stamps. Still others are in it only for the financial aspect. I tend to regard this later group as not really being involved in a hobby at this point, but really only another form of investment.

Collectors can be interested in collecting the entire world, which is much less common now because of the proliferation of modern stamp issues in the last 60+ years, or they tend to limit themselves to a single country, or group of countries that they find most interesting.

Because the emphasis is on the overall appearance of the stamps, most collectors are not concerned with differences in paper, shade, perforation, or printing that are not extremely obvious to the naked eye, and are not listed in major catalogues as basic "numbers". Perforation differences, which are not obvious is about as detailed as most collectors are willing to get. Many will collect basic differences in watermarks and in very significant colour differences, but will not be interested in all of the subtle varieties that can be found in all the attributes of that stamp.

Also, collecting is highly personal, and so a collector can be very passionate about classic stamps from before 1940, while having no interest whatsoever in the stamps issued in the modern era.

Condition and value are very important to collectors. I have noticed that most collectors can be extremely fussy about condition to the point of being perfectionists, and that can often limit what they chose to collect. These collectors tend to be more concerned with the financial aspect of the hobby than the pure artistic aspect, but even casual collectors will often insist on a minimum standard of condition with the stamps in their collection. Most collectors are very concerned about not paying too much for their stamps relative to what they perceive the value of their stamps to be. The only collectors who tend not to be concerned at all about this are those who are completely uninterested in the financial aspect and who view collecting as only a hobby and nothing more. The sad irony that I see as a professional dealer is that most collectors who focus too much on the financial aspect of collecting tend to be disappointed when the time comes to sell their collections, as they do not understand the economics of the hobby, and their stamps when sold all at once, are worth much less than they think.

Finally, the notion of "completion" figures very highly into stamp collecting, with most collectors pursuing the goal of acquiring one of each stamp from their chosen area in either mint or used condition, depending on their preference, and stopping when they have reached it. Then, generally, most collectors will start up on a new collection, doing the exact same thing again.

Although there may be some passing interest expressed in the backstory of the stamps they collect, most collectors do not get heavily into the study of this backstory at all.


I can best describe philatelists as forensic historians.

They are historians in the sense that they tend to be interested in learning as much of the story behind the stamp issue as they can, from the very first conception of the issue, through the rejected designs, through the final acceptance of the design to be used, through the production, including all the printings made, and finally the actual use of those stamps throughout their lives. This final branch of philately is often completely separate from the others, and these philatelists are generally known as postal historians. Philatelists use their stamps and covers to tell the story. They further recognize, as they gain more and more experience that the official records of a typical stamp issue only tell half the story. The reason for this is that stamps are a product of human endeavour. They are designed and printed and distributed by organizations, and organizations by their nature are not perfect. Problems occur. Mistakes are made. Then these problems and mistakes are corrected. Sometimes, but not often, these corrections will be documented. More often than not, though, they will not be because reputations are at stake, careers can be affected and these solved problems are often swept under the rug in these organizations.

This is where the element of forensics comes in. A philatelist can unravel the remainder of the story by carefully studying the physical attributes of the stamps themselves, which include:

  1. The paper, and all physical aspects of that paper.
  2. The design, including any minute changes made to it, or imperfections.
  3. The ink used to print the stamp, and any minute differences.
  4. The perforation, including any minute difference in either the measurement, or the method used.
  5. The gum on the back of the stamp, including its physical characteristics.
Often, these attributes will involve very, very subtle differences that are nonetheless consistent across a very large number of identical stamps. Thus in unraveling the story, the philatelist studies individual stamps, and looks for these differences, then using these differences to form hypotheses about the story (i.e. the order of the printings for example), which if they are very disciplined, they will test statistically. 

In order to statistically test these hypotheses, one must then study a very large number of stamps from the overall population of stamps, in order to reach statistically valid conclusions. Very few philatelists actually take their interest this far, as most never really get past the study of the individual stamps. 

Thus philately is really a discipline, and while individual philatelists will choose the issue of their specialization, based on their personal interest level, generally speaking, budgetary considerations will force them to consider collecting issues that may not have been their first preference. In that sense, a true philatelist will be as open to collecting a stamp issue that was released five years ago, as they are to collecting Penny Blacks from 1840, provided that they find the actual stamps sufficiently interesting to want to tell the story behind them. 

So, because of this, philatelists are highly concerned with every significant variety they can find, and as a result, the notion of "completion" is neither important, nor necessarily desirable to them. I know several philatelists who have been involved in collecting the 1967-1973 Centennial Issue of Canada since 1967 when it came out, which is 50 years now. These collectors absolutely love the fact that even after 50 years and tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of stamps later, they are still able to make new discoveries. For this reason most philatelists are not generally concerned with whether an item fits into an album page, or whether it is listed in a catalogue in deciding whether or not they want it for their collection. That decision is usually driven only by the consideration of whether or not the stamp or cover adds to their telling of the story. If it does, then they want it, and if it doesn't, they they don't, unless they just like it and want it anyway. 

Finally, most philatelists, because they are trying to tell a story, will be happy to have any piece of the puzzle that they can find, even if it is damaged, or in otherwise poor condition. So they are much less picky about condition, through they will only pay in accordance with the actual condition of an item. However, because of all this, many philatelists are much more willing to pay more for a stamp or cover that they really need to complete one aspect of the story they are trying to tell, than a typical collector would be. 

The irony with philatelists is that because of the meticulous nature with which they approach their hobby, they often wind up discovering rare printings and varieties in their stamps that are worth far, far more than what they paid, even when they go to sell their collections. Often their collections, because of how unique and thorough they are, will sell for far, far more than a typical collection will, because other philatelists recognize that the sale might be their only opportunity to acquire specific stamps and covers for their collections. Thus most very serious philatelists wind up making money on their collections, even though such was not their goal. That is the ironic part. 

So hopefully you can now see that these two hobbies, while very closely related, are really completely different in their approach, and their focus. 

Why Stamp Collecting and Philately Are So Rewarding as Hobbies And Are Not For Losers

Most people can barely wrap their heads around the idea of stamp collecting. If they think about it, they can just comprehend why someone might be interested in collecting little pieces of paper with cool designs on them. But most will freely concede that they possess no interest in doing so themselves. Part of the reason why I believe that collecting is not more popular today than it used to be is that stamp designs of many countries have gotten less artistically pleasing than they once were. Most people are not exposed on a day to day basis to truly beautiful stamps, and so they do not have a good idea of just how beautiful stamps can be, and many beautiful stamps there are in the world to collect.

For instance, here are two stamps from my worldwide collection of beautiful stamps that I think are just gorgeous:

This first stamp from Laos, issued in the 1960's has a beautiful contrast of colours that just "pop" out at me, and the design is intricate and was engraved entirely by hand after being sketched by a very skilled artist. 

This 1970 stamp from Czechoslovakia is a reproduction of a painting by a famous Czech artist. It is absolutely stunning to a person who appreciates this kind of art, though it may not be everyone's cup of tea. Again, someone had to draw this and then a skilled engraver, had to engrave it before it could be printed. It is part of a series of stamps that Czechoslovakia issued in the 1960's depicting famous paintings. 

I believe that few people would disagree that both of these are miniature works of art. It would surprise most people, I think, to realize that there are tens of thousands of stamps issued throughout the world that are as beautiful as these, if not more so. What will be even more surprising to many will be that 90% of these can be bought in mint condition for less than $1. The stamps above are both less expensive than this. 

From this, I would hope that you can clearly see, if you are not a collector, how it could be very rewarding to collect stamps like this and focus only on collecting stamps that you like and that you can comfortably afford. There is a lot of visual pleasure to be had just going through a number of these and really taking in the images and looking at the art. So I think many people can understand the rewarding nature of stamp collecting, once they become aware of how it is really just the collection of miniature art pieces. Other stamps bestow the collector with knowledge of people, places and cultures that they would not otherwise have. 

But, the case for philately is much, much harder for the average person to understand. When I try to explain to the average person the study of stamps, to the point of what I have described, I usually get a blank expression, followed by a "why?". Some have suggested that it would be like collecting string, or pencils, or matchbooklets, or any other mundane daily object. Many will say that they can understand collecting these items, but they can't understand why a person would care about all the intricate details. 

I believe that this is because most do not understand that it all stems from a desire to tell a story, and that if they understand that, it becomes much easier to understand, and thus respect. To tell the story involves solving a complex puzzle, and people love to solve puzzles. Yes, stamps are a mundane object, just like any other. But the story behind these objects, or any other mundane object that we as humans produce is the really the study of human ingenuity and human frailties, as every aspect of the human condition is replicated in the production, distribution, innovation and use of these objects. When you understand this, the hobby of philately takes on a much, much different appearance from what the average person thinks it is. I would expect that fewer people would see this as a hobby for losers or geeks if they really understood what it was all about, even if they weren't interested in it themselves. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

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

Today's post will be my last post for 2017, as I need to take a few days off over Christmas and spend some time doing something other than studying stamps! However, I will try to make it a fairly meaty post, to give you lots of material to consider over the holidays. Today's post will examine all of the remaining booklets other than those containing the 8c Parliamentary Library stamp. Those will be covered in my first post of the New Year. Unfortunately, there is one booklet that I will discuss today that I do not have an illustration of: the 6c black booklet pane of 25, perf. 12.5 x 12. I had ordered one last week, specifically so that I would have it to scan and include an image of here today, but it hasn't arrived yet. However, I will update this post with an image, as soon as it does.

The booklets to be examined today will fall into two groups:

  • The OPAL booklet, produced by the Canadian Bank Note Company in October 1970 and, 
  • The booklets produced by the BABNC that were comb perforated 12.5 x 12 (actually 12.4 x 11.9 according to McCann). 
During this period, other than the change in perforation, there were other significant changes, which include:

  • The transition from dextrose gum to PVA, and different forms of PVA gum used on the panes.
  • The covers were re-designed for the 25c and $1 booklets. 
  • A new experimental 50c booklet was produced.
  • Significant differences in paper fluorescence are found on nearly all of the booklets printed by the BABNC. 
This post will discuss all of these changes in detail as part of my coverage of all significant aspects of these booklets. Except for the OPAL booklet, all of these booklets exist with a large oblong counting mark along the spine of every 50th booklet printed. The counting mark is printed in the same colour as the text on the cover of the booklet. 

The OPAL Booklet

In October 1970, the Opal Manufacturing Co., located in Toronto was contracted to produce a private vending machine booklet that would sell for 25c. It contained only 3c and 2c stamps, up to  face value of 20c, so it sold for a whopping 5c over face. For that reason I expect that it would have been highly unpopular with the public. The configuration of the stamps was not a problem, because the 5c, 6c and 7c rates could be easily made up using combinations of the stamps contained therein. 2,200,000 booklets were issued. Apart from the first two stapled booklets, this was the only other booklet from the series to be produced by the Canadian Bank Note Company, as well as the only integral booklet to be produced by them. This is also the only integral booklet that does not exist with a counting mark on the cover. 

The cover of the booklet was made up of cream coloured card stock, which had a rough texture, and can be found with vertical ribbing on some booklets as well, though the ribbing does not show up very well even in a 1200dpi scan, even though it is quite apparent to the naked eye. The text is printed in deep indigo, and shows very little variation, as shown below:

The front cover.

The back cover. Interestingly, there never was any advertising on any version of this booklet, or any other booklet since, that did not have to do directly with Canada Post. The spine of the cover is perforated, as is visible at the right in the above scan. The covers generally give a dull fluorescent greyish cream glow under the UV light. 

The booklet contained one large pane of 8 stamps separated by a gutter that was folded horizontally, just past the middle. At the top of the pane was a block of 4 of the 2c green and at the bottom of the pane, beneath the gutter, was a block of 4 of the 3c purple. The panes were usually sealed at the end, with a glob of adhesive, which usually leaves a thin spot in the top selvage of the pane when the booklet is opened. However, I have found examples of this booklet, which I think may be philatelic, in which there is no trace of any adhesive, or other sealant. 

Examples of each type are shown in the scans below:

A typical booklet with the clear glob or adhesive at the top of the booklet. Of the total number of booklets produced, 226,000 of these were perforated horizontally in the gutter where the fold is. These are very scarce and highly sought after by specialist collectors. However, this variety has been very widely faked by adding in fraudulent perforations. One very easy way to spot this is that the perfs. are often in the wrong place: in the middle of the gutter, rather than where the fold is, off centre, as they should be. In addition, the perfs. will often not be the 11.9 line that it should be. 

An example of the booklet, showing no trace of sealing glue. 

These booklets were printed on a special vertical wove paper, that was glazed on the front with a coating that would give a very bright glow under UV light. Unitrade and McCann classify it has hibrite paper, which most booklets that I have looked at are, but I have also seen several that are more high fluorescent, than hibrite. The gum found on these booklets is a smooth, yellow, even dextrine gum with a semi-gloss sheen that shows no streaks. The paper of the panes often shows clear vertical ribbing on the gum side, but is smooth on the front. 

The $1.50 Booklet

In December 1970, the booklet of 25 that contained the 6c black die 1 perf. 10, was replaced by an identical booklet that now contained the 6c black die 1, perf. 12.5 x 12. It is identical in all respects to the perf. 10 booklet, except for the perforation. A cutting error does exist on this booklet, in which the labels on the top row appear to the right of the stamp, instead of on the left. This was discovered by Doug Karns and I had mistakenly identified this in my last post, as having occurred on the 4c booklet of 25, rather than this booklet. 14,070,000 booklets were issued. 

The front and back covers, which have the same design as the earlier booklet containing the 6c black and 6c orange.

The complete pane inside the booklet. 

The plate flaws found on the other large 6c booklets, being the mole on the lip or nose, and the vertical scratches across the sixth row, also exist on this pane as well. The cover is generally found in the rough cream stock, and the printing on the cover is always slightly coarse. The panes are generally found printed on either dull paper, or medium fluorescent paper, which usually contains fluorescent fibres. 

The 25c Booklets

Two 25c booklets were produced between May 1970 and June 1971. The first of these was a continuation of the booklets containing four 6c stamps that were also issued in May. Rather than contain a pane of 4 perf. 10 6c die 2 stamps, they contained a pane of 4 perf. 12.5 x 12 (12.4 x 11.9) die 2 stamps. As was the case with the perf. 10 booklet, this one sold at a premium of 1c over face value. 15,840,000 booklets were issued, in three distinctly different formats:

  1. One containing a pane with dextrose gum, and wax on the inside covers.
  2. One containing a pane with PVA gum and wax on the inside covers. 
  3. One containing a pane with PVA gum and no wax on the inside covers. 
The PVA gum used on this booklet is white and has a semi-gloss sheen, being almost as shiny as dextrose gum. May 1970 is, as far as I know, the earliest date on which any stamp product appears with this type of gum. It is possible though, that the PVA gum examples were produced towards the end of the print run, just before the new combination booklets were produced to replace them. 

The paper used to print the panes is generally a smooth, vertical wove that gives a dull fluorescent greyish reaction under UV light. 

The front cover, back cover and inside of the booklet, look more or less the same as the perf. 10 booklet, as shown in the scans below:

The front cover, showing the dimpled cream card stock that first appeared on later printings of the perf. 10 booklets. I have only been able to examine one example of this booklet, so I am unable, at this point to comment on whether the ribbed, or rough unribbed stocks exist with it as well. The card stock itself gives a dull fluorescent greyish cream reaction under UV light

The back cover, showing the text printed on a slight slant, which is quite noticeable. The printing is generally fairly clear, but is not fine. It is about half way between the fine print found on the early printings of the perf. 10 booklets, and the coarse printing of the later ones. I have not seen any obvious variation in the size or spacing of the text on either the front, or back covers, but a focused study of these may turn up one or two interesting varieties.

The inside of the booklet. This one is the unwaxed cover, and shows the two rectangular cutting guidelines that are commonly found on the BABNC booklets that were printed from 1970 onwards. 

In June 1971, the booklet of 4 6c stamps had to be replaced because the first class postage rate increased from 6 cents to 7 cents, making the 6c booklet more or less useless. The resulting booklet now contained three 7c stamps, and one each of the 1c and 3c stamps, plus a printed label to make up a pane of 6 stamps lais out in a 2 x 3 configuration. The label read, in bilingual text "Apartment numbers are important", and the label always appeared to the left of the top stamp. So far as I know, there have never been any discoveries of cutting errors on this booklet that have resulted in the label being on the right, instead of on the left. A total of 8,660,000 booklets were issued between June 30, 1971 and December 30.

The scan below shows the front cover of a typical booklet:

The cover is a rough textured cream coloured card stock, which always gives a dull fluorescent, greyish cream coloured glow under UV light. The design is similar to the last booklet, except that "Canada" is now in much smaller font, and instead of the value being white on a coloured box, the value is printed in colour on a colourless box.

At this point, it is important to mention that two basic different types of bilingual back cover slogans were produced:

  • One read: Free dispenser with each roll of 100 7c stamps. Sanitary/convenient. McCann refers to this as Type 1.
  • The other read: Pre-stamped envelopes. A bargain, and no stamps to lick. Ask at your post office. McCann refers to this as type 2.

Examples of each of these covers are shown below:

Free Dispenser - Type 1.

Pre-Stamped Envelopes - Type 2.

The inside of the booklet showing the pane of 6. As with all BABNC booklets after 1970, this one has two rectangular cutting guides in the tab. In this case, they are printed in dark brown, the colour of the 1c stamp. The make up stamps included were chosen to be a 3c and 1c because this allowed the user to mail a domestic letter and a letter or postcard to the US (10c rate), and when the rates increased to 8c, they could even use the 1c stamp to make up the rate. They could also use the 1c and two 7c stamps to pay the foreign airmail rate. 

The gum on these booklets is a creamy, off-white PVA that has a satin sheen. Occasionally there are small bumps that can be found in the gum as well, which some specialists have referred to as stippled or grainy. These are not inclusions, but rather result from the small depressions that are often found in the paper.   The panes are generally printed on a creamy vertical wove paper, that shows clear vertical ribbing from the front, in most, if not all cases. The fluorescence of this paper varies quite considerably from dull to medium fluorescent with quite a dense concentration of both fluorescent fibres and brownish woodpulp fibres being visible in the paper. The low fluorescent paper is the most common, and the dull paper is the scarcest. Finally, the 7c stamps can be found in a shade of deep emerald green, as shown above, and a much duller green. Unfortunately, I do not have an example of the dull green at the moment, but will add a scan of one when I can. 

In addition to different cover slogans, different sealing strips are found on these as well. Both Unitrade and McCann refer to clear sealing strips and black sealing strips, but within these distinctions, there are collectible variations as well. The so called clear sealing strips found on these booklets, which McCann, refers to as "a" types, so that when combined with the covers are type 1a and type 2a, are almost invisible. They consist only of a small bead of rubber cement spread along the wax coating of both sides of the cover. As a result, most booklets usually open without any damage to the cover. Later, the clear sealing strip was actually a band of clear adhesive spread onto an unwaxed cover. Over time, this adhesive has browned, resulting in sealing strips that look very different to those found on these booklets. 

In addition to the clear sealing strip, there was a black graphite-like strip introduced. Here it consisted of a black strip of a graphite-like compound on one side of the booklet, usually the right inside cover, and a bead of rubber cement on the left side. Again, usually, but not always, booklets utilizing this could be opened without significant damage to the cover on either side. An example of a black sealing strip is shown below:

McCann refers to the black sealing strip as a "b" type, and it can be found with both types of cover. So that there exists for this issue, four cover and seal combinations:

  • Free dispenser, clear seal - McCann type 1a.
  • Free dispenser, black seal - McCann type 1b.
  • Pre-stamped, clear seal - McCann type 2a.
  • Pre-stamped, black seal - McCann type 2b.
Theoretically, it should be possible to find all four types, with three levels of fluorescence, two different green shades and with and without counting marks. All of these permutations should result in 4 x 3 x 2 x 2 = 48 different collectible booklets. So far McCann only lists 15 of these, while Unitrade lists 10, with a general note about counting marks, taking this up to 20. 

The 50c Experimental Booklets

An experiment was conducted only in Toronto to test the public's reaction to 50c booklets. To conduct the experiment, a total of 18,000 of the 25c booklets were taken an modified by pasting an additional pane into the booklet, at the top of the inside front cover, and covering the value portion of the outside cover with a sticker containing the new booklet configuration. The stickers came on both glossy paper and dull paper, and in different sizes, as follows:

  1. Large sticker on dull paper 33 mm x 19 mm.
  2. Large sticker on glossy paper 33 mm x 19 mm.
  3. Small sticker on glossy paper 28 mm x 14 mm.
Of the 18,000 booklets, 8,000 were produced using small stickers, while the remaining 10,000 were produced using the large sticker. It is not generally known what the breakdown of the 10,000 is between the glossy and dull stickers for the large format, though glossy would appear to be the scarcer of these two types. At any rate, 18,000 is a staggeringly low issue quantity. In my opinion, at an average value between $25-$35 each, these booklets are some of the most undervalued items in all of modern Canadian philately. Both cover types are found, but only with the clear sealing strip according to McCann. In actual fact, all of the booklets that I examined showed no evidence at all of having ever being sealed. McCann lists both types 1a and 2a, with each type of sticker, for a total of six basic booklets, and 12 if you include the counter booklets. However, his catalogue does not list any paper fluorescence varieties, not does it list any shade varieties.

However, everything that I said for the 25c booklets indicates that these varieties should exist, and in fact, with two different panes used in each booklet, and in a different order, there should be at least 48 x 3 x 2 = 288 potentially different booklets in existence, though I imagine that by now there will be many cover/paper/sticker combinations that will not exist any longer, almost 50 years after they were issued. 

The scans below show a typical front cover with a large sticker on dull paper, and the inside appearance of a typical booklet. 

The front cover with a large, dull sticker.

The inside of the booklet showing the two overlapping panes. Both of these are the deep emerald green shade. However, I have seen booklets where both panes are the duller green, and others in which one pane is the deep emerald, and the second pane is the duller green. The paper and gum characteristics of these panes are identical to the earlier 25c booklets. 

The panes are ordinarily both attached on the back of the front cover, with the top pane simply being affixed to the top end of the cover, which makes sense as it was added after the fact. However, I have come across examples of this booklet in which the bottom pane is attached to the inside of the back cover, rather than the front. 

The $1 Booklet

By June 30, 1971, when the postage rate increased from 6c to 7c, it was decided not to continue with the booklets of 25, as the selling price would have to be $1.75 - an amount that the post office felt was too odd for the public to stomach, though I can't imagine why. So it was decided instead to produce a $1 booklet, which would simply quadruple the number of stamps, denomination-for-denomination, that were contained in the 25c booklets. a total of 468,000 booklets were issued. 

The cover design was very similar to the 25c booklet, except that the card stock was more of a deep yellow than a cream. The card stock was rough on all the booklets I have examined, though it is possible that they may exist on dimpled stock as well. The bilingual message on the back cover was changed to read: "An apartment is a necessary part of an address - please encourage the use of apartment numbers." Under UV light, the covers give a dull fluorescent greyish yellow reaction. 

The scans below show the cover design and the inside of the booklet:

The front cover. 

The back cover. 

The pane of 20 stamps. The paper used to print these stamps is a smooth, horizontal wove paper, with no ribbing, and giving a dull fluorescent greyish reaction under UV light. As far as I am aware, all of the panes that I have seen have the 7c printed in a shade of deep emerald green. 

The gum on these panes was dextrose, which is odd, given that the covers were not waxed at all, and dextrose gum is highly, highly sensitive to moisture. Also every other stamp and booklet pane, except for the coil stamp by June 1971, had PVA gum. I have seen two distinct types of dextrose gum on the panes contained in this booklet:

  • A very crackly gum, which is colourless, but appears to have a satin sheen because of the fine cracks. 
  • A smooth and very glossy gum that has what appear to be fine horizontal strokes in it. 
The scan below shows both types of gum:

The glossy gum is shown on the right, while the crackly gum is shown on the left. The horizontal strokes do not show up in the scan here, but hopefully you can see that the gum on the left is clearly less glossy than the gum on the right. 

This brings me to the end of my discussion of the integral booklets issued up to June 30, 1971. This now leaves us with only the 25c, 50c booklets and $1 booklets containing the 8c, which were issued between December 30, 1971 and August 1972. I will discuss these in my next post, which will be published on January 2, 2018. Happy holidays to all of my readers, and spend plenty of time with your stamps!

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.

One significant fact has been brought to my attention by Mr. Eirwyn Jones, a specialist from the UK. He sent me an article from the February 1970 edition of Maple Leaves, which contains some interesting comments about how the booklets were actually produced. Apparently, the integral booklets were produced using continuous rolls of stamps and rolls of covers. The selvage tabs were moistened and attached to the cover stock in pre-determined positions, and the card stock was scored to facilitate folding (rouletted actually). A cross cutter, guided by an electric eye, would cut the booklets apart as they were printed, and then the were folded. This stands in sharp contrast to the method used for producing stapled booklets, in which the cover material and stamps were printed in sheets, which were assembled, stapled and then cut apart. This new method of production provides some explanation as to why there are never any cutting guidelines on either the booklet panes, or the covers.

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.  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).