Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Centennial Issue of 1967-1973 The Broad Overview

Today marks the first in a series of many posts about what has become not only one of the most popular definitive issues for Canadian specialists, but in the world. It is on a par with the Machin Heads of the United Kingdom, in terms of complexity, for the six years that it was current. The Machin Heads are of course, much more extensive, having been in continuous use for 50 years now, but the Centennial Issue is remarkably complex for a series that lasted for only six years. Five to six years is the average life span of a modern definitive issue, but usually most definitive issues that run this long do not yield anywhere near the number of collectible varieties that this one does. This is one of those issues that you can collect for 40 years, and think at the end of that time that you know it inside and out, and just when you think you have discovered all that there is to discover, another aspect that you either didn't consider to be significant, or just didn't notice will surface.

Today's post will present the basic stamp designs, some background information, and will discuss in very broad terms the ways in which this issue can be approached. The remainder of the post will present an outline for the way in which I intend to address all aspects of this issue in future posts. My expectation is that full coverage of all aspects of this fascinating issue will take from 2 to three full months to complete.

The inspiration for the designs of the issue was Canada's centennial year in 1967. The desire was to fully celebrate Canada's diversity from coast to coast, and true Canadiana. So the low values of the series were designed to show different scenes from each different region of the country, alongside Anthony Buckley's portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. For the high values, the decision was made to feature Canadian landscape paintings by the Group of Seven. There were seven artists, and seven high values. Each one depicted a landscape scene from a different part of the country. So in this way the entire series was intended to be a pictorial celebration of Canada's diversity and history. Even though the Centennial celebrations were largely over by 1968, the series was kept as the current definitive series and not replaced fully until late 1973. The next series to replace it, dubbed the Caricature and Landscape Issue began to appear in 1972, with the high values being replaced first, followed by the low values in October 1973.

There were several significant milestones in Canadian stamp production that impacted the complexity of this series:

  1. Postal rate increases resulting from strikes, created the need for additional low values that had not been issued as part of the original set. By the time these were issued, stamp sizes were changed from Imperial measurements to metric ones, so that the new designs were slightly smaller than the original stamps.
  2. The introduction of multi-colour engraving by the British American Bank Note Company paved the way for the production of booklets that contained se-tenant combinations of different denominations of stamps, rather than just separate panes of stamps. It was also possible now to produce booklets in which the panes were attached to the booklet cover by their selvage tab rather than stapling several panes together between two covers. Thus, the first integral booklets were produced as part of this issue. 
  3. The introduction and use of papers that contained whitening agents began during the life of this issue. The whiteness of the paper interfered with the optical scanning equipment that had been designed to read the Winnipeg Tagging that had been introduced in 1962, with the result that it became necessary to come up with a new way to tag stamps that would work with these new paper types. Thus Ottawa tagging was born during the life of this issue. 
  4. Coil stamps had previously been produced in rolls of 500 stamps which were made by splicing together long strips of stamps which had been guillotined from large sheets that were printed for this purpose. However, during the life of this issue, a new method of producing coils was devised in which a sheet consisting of ten full strips of 100 stamps would be rolled up, sealed and then scored along a line between the rolls so that an entire sealed roll of 100 coils could be split off and sold. 
  5. The abandonment of dextrose or dextrine gum as the adhesive of choice on the backs of the stamps occurred during this issue. Like many of the innovations introduced during this period, the new PVA gum was introduced in stages, taking more than one physical form before the final chemical formula that would endure to this day was decided upon. 
  6. Both the British American Bank Note Company and the Canadian Bank Note Company were involved in the production of these stamps at the same time. This was the first issue not to be produced entirely by one printing company. Both companies used different papers, different versions of gum and different perforating equipment, which has resulted in many different perforations. 
  7. The abandonment of the Cello-paq as an issuing format for stamps occurred during the life of this issue also, so that this is the last definitive issue to exist in the form of miniature panes of 20 or 25 stamps. 
Each of these innovations is a separate topic in and of itself, and all of them give rise to many different collectible varieties. 

The stamps were all engraved using a single colour. The low values, from the 1c through to the 8c eventually, were all printed in sheets of 600 which consisted of six panes of 100 stamps. The high values, which started at 8c and ended with the $1 were all printed in sheets of 300, consisting of six panes of 50 stamps each. They were all designed by Harvey Thomas Prosser and engraved by both Yves Baril, who engraved the portrait and picture, and Gordon Mash, who as always, engraved the lettering. The bulk of the issue appeared on February 8, 1967, with additional low values being issued November 1, 1968, January 7, 1970, June 30, 1971 and December 30, 1971. 

Let us now take a look at the designs. Unfortunately I do not have access to the issue quantities, as they were so vast. One thing that does contribute to the complexity of this issue is the fact that these stamps were not printed in discrete print runs that had definite start dates and end dates. Rather, they were printed continuously over the six year period with two plates being used concurrently and then being retired as they wore out and replaced with new plates. The plates themselves lasted much longer than previous issues, so that the maximum number of plates used for any value was 7, with most values having 5 or fewer. 

The Designs

1c brown - Northern Lights and dogsled team - Northwest Territories.
Issued: February 8, 1967.

2c green - Totem pole and river - British Columbia.
Issued: February 8, 1967.

3c purple - combine harvester, truck and oil rig - Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Issued: February 8, 1967.

4c carmine - seaway lock at St. Lawrence Seaway in Quebec.
Issued: February 8, 1967.

5c blue - Atlantic fishing village - the Maritimes.
Issued: February 8, 1967.

6c orange - train, trucks, ship and airplane - any major city in Canada, but most like Toronto.
Issued: November 1, 1968.

6c black - transportation, as above.
Issued: January 7, 1970.

7c emerald green - transportation, as above.
Issued: June 30, 1971.

8c slate - Parliamentary Library, Ottawa.
Issued: December 30, 1971.

8c violet brown - Alaska Highway, by A.Y Jackson - representing the Yukon.
Issued: February 8, 1967.

10c olive green - Jack Pine, by Tom Thompson - representing Ontario.
Issued: February 8, 1967.

15c purple - Bylot Island by Lawren Harris - now Nunavut.
Issued: February 8, 1967.

20c dark blue - The Ferry, Quebec, by J.W. Morrice - representing Quebec.
Issued: February 8, 1967.

25c slate green - The Solemn Land by J.E.H Macdonald. - Algoma region, Ontario.
Issued: February 8, 1967.

50c brown orange - Summer's stores by John Ensor - represents the Prairies.
Issued: February 8, 1967.

$1 carmine red - Edmonton Oil Field by H.G. Glyde.
Issued: February 8, 1967.

So the designs taken together are supposed to represent and celebrate the diversity and vastness of Canada. The designs do a fairly good job of portraying the different regions and major industries of the country, although I notice that mining is not depicted on any of the stamps in this series, although oil and fishing are. 

Usually in my posts, I discuss the different points of interest that a specialist can take a given issue in. These points are usually a combination of the ways in which the different attributes of the stamps vary, as well as the different issue formats and different ways that the basic stamps can be collected. However, this issue is so complex, that I feel in order to do it justice, I need to write four groups of posts:

1. A group of posts to go over the actual ways in which the various physical attributes of the stamps vary for the issue as a whole so that when I get into the specifics on each value of the set, you will be familiar with what I am talking about. 
2. A separate post for each basic stamp in the series, so 16 posts in all. Each of these posts will examine the value in detail and will be closest to the type of posts that I usually write. It is here that I will cover aspects, such as plate blocks and plate varieties. 
3. Separate posts for the complete booklets, cello paqs, coil stamps and the postal stationery, as each of these areas has their own varieties. 
4. Separate posts to look at the postal history and cancellations. 

In terms of the physical attributes of the stamps in this series, each and every one of them exhibits a wide range of variation across the issue. Sure there are many stamps that show little to no variation of one or more attributes, but when the entire issue is examined together, every single attribute is the basis for a specialized collection in its own right. The attributes are:

  1. The paper
  2. Gum
  3. Ink
  4. Tagging
  5. Perforation
  6. Plate characteristics.
I will now discuss these very briefly and illustrate the need for separate posts to deal adequately with each of these. 


This is perhaps the aspect of this issue that is the most fun to study and has received the most attention from philatelists over the years. There are a seemingly almost infinite number of varieties of fluorescent reaction when the stamps of this issue are viewed under a long-wave ultraviolet lamp. All but the most specialized handbooks and journals limit the classification of fluorescence to just a few broad categories such as plain, low fluorescent, highbrite etc. But the reality is far more complicated than this. For starters, the two stamps with the same overall fluorescence level, can appear to be different colours under the lamp. For instance a stamp that is classified as plain, can appear bluish white, grey, or light violet under UV. Also, the paper can contain fluorescent fibres embedded into it that react differently from the majority of the paper, being usually brighter. The presence of these fibres can make the paper appear more fluorescent than it actually is. The density of these fibres can vary widely, as can the brightness of them. As a result, there can easily be dozens of different fluorescence levels for a given stamp. 

However, fluorescence is not the only property of the papers that vary and you can have quite a lot of fun and challenge if you expand your horizons to include other properties of the paper used, such as:

  1. The direction of the paper weave, i.e. horizontal or vertical.
  2. The presence of any ribbing on the paper surface, either the front or the back.
  3. Whether or not the paper is porous on the surface or not. You need a good magnifying glass for this, but if you have one, you definitely find papers that appear to be coated and non-porous, while other ones will be quite porous on the printed surface. 
I am sure that the Centennial study groups have probably examined these attributes and written about them in obscure journal articles. But very little attention is paid in the mainstream literature to these three aspects of the paper. Unitrade does list some ribbed papers on the 2c, but does not really consider any of these other properties on any other value. 


Most philatelists will be aware of two major types of gum on this issue: dextrine, dextrose of DEX gum, and PVA gum. Many will also be aware of a third type of gum which Unitrade calls "spotty white gum". Beyond this, not much attention has been paid to the gum on these stamps. In reality, there are several types of dextrine gum and several different types of PVA gum. These different types all vary in terms of their colour, whether they are smooth or streaky, and their surface sheen. The "spotty white gum" in Unitrade is really a glossy and streaky type of PVA gum for instance. Many collectors may feel that these differences are too minor and too random to be collectible, or they may think that the different types can be found on the same sheets and are therefore not real differences. I have handled many sheets and large multiples of this issue and I have never come across this phenomenon where the gum varies in the sheet. It is always quite uniform in the sheets I have examined. I like to use the analogy of comparing gum to paint on a wall. We all know that paints that give different finishes are not accidental. There are different chemical formulas used to make paint and to ensure that some paints dry with a matte finish, while others will dry with a high gloss shine. I believe that the same is true of gum: a glossy gum has a different chemical makeup from a matte one, or one with a satin sheen. 

Some stamps in this series only exist with dextrine gum, while others exist with only PVA gum because that is all that was in use by the time the stamps were issued. However, most exist with both types, and I suspect many different types of each, though this is an aspect of this issue that would require careful, disciplined study. 


Ink is another physical attribute that has received very little attention in the philatelic literature, which is a pity, I think, because next to paper, this attribute exhibits the most variation of all the other attributes. Unitrade does list a fluorescent ink on the 6c orange, but other than that, no attention is devoted to ink at all. 

Firstly, every single value of this set exhibits at least two shade varieties. Most of these are subtle at first, but as you become familiar with the colours and you work with lots of stamps, over time, they will become quite obvious to your eyes. Generally speaking, the early printings had the deepest, dullest colours, which became brighter and more intense as we move closet to 1973. This is of course, the appearance of the inks in normal light. Under long-wave ultraviolet (UV) light, it is possible to see other variations in the colours. In many cases you can have colours that are the same shade under both types of light, while having others that vary widely depending on whether you are looking under normal or UV light. Some inks completely change colour under UV. The flouorescent ink on the 6c orange is but one example. However, there are other instances. For example, many of the lighter, brighter colours, such as the orange brown of the 50c can appear black under the UV lamp, while others appear brown orange with a violet tinge, being merely the reflection of light from the lamp. The most specialized literature has considered this in quite a lot of detail, but it is not an aspect of these stamps that has received anywhere near the amount of attention that it warrants in my opinion. 


This attribute of the issue has received a large amount of attention, but again, not nearly as much as I feel it should. Most collectors who use Unitrade are aware that most stamps of the issue exist with Winnipeg tagging that is either in the form of a centre bar on values below 5c, or 2 bars on values 5c and over. Many are also aware of the fact that two types of Ottawa tagging are found on most values as well and it is here that most collectors stop. 

However, there are many varieties of Winnipeg tagging that can be studied in more detail, such as:

  1. The width and spacing between the tagging bars.
  2. Error shifts of the tag bars, that result in single bar tagging when it should be two. 
  3. The chemical makeup of the taggant, as evidenced by difference in the colour of the glow under UV light.
  4. The amount of taggant applied, i.e. light, moderate and heavy. This affects how obvious and dark the bands are when the stamp is viewed in normal light. 
With respect to Ottawa tagging, in addition to the difference between OP-2 and OP-4 tagging, there are also differences in the colour of the tagging under UV, with some stamps showing a distinctly bright green tagging, whereas others appear very bright yellow. There are also error shifts in this type of tagging where stamps show a single centre band of tagging when they should have had two bands. Some of the specialized catalogues have identified different widths of Ottawa tagging, with 3 mm bands and 4 mm bands being two widths that have been positively identified as existing on several values. Finally, although I haven't come across this yet, there may be differences in the spacing between the tag bars. 


Prior to this issue, all Canadian stamps were line perforated. While most of the stamps of this issue were line perforated 11.85 x 11.85, the stamps printed by the British American Bank Note Company introduced comb perforations into this issue. There were two measurements that were introduced: 9.9 and 12.5 x 12. However, beyond this, there has not been much research conducted to see whether or not there were any minute gauge changes like the one that has recently been discovered for the period from 1962-1965, where the Canadian Bank Note Company switched from an 11.95 gauge to 11.85. It is entirely possible that similar changes may have occurred for the stamps of this issue.

The coil stamps came in two documented perforation measurements: 9.5 horizontally and 10 horizontally, though again, it is possible that slight variations may exist.

Plate Characteristics

Most collectors will be familiar with the three die type differences that have been identified in the mainstream literature for the 6c black. However, over the years more and more attention has been paid to studying the design characteristics in more detail, and as a result, many constant varieties have been identified on the 2c, 6c, 7c and 8c values. I believe that there probably are similar die type differences on the other values as well because I have seen stamps that show weak impressions similar to the die 1 6c, and then others where the engraving is very strong. Much more painstaking research would be required to determine whether or not there actually were different dies used for the other values.

Unitrade mentions the existence of the 33 different "totem pole eyes" on the 2c, the "airplane in the sky" on the 1c, the line through the 5c, the doubled C on the 6c orange and the extra spire on the 8c. However, there are very few constant varieties actually listed for this issue. All of these varieties have only been documented in Unitrade in the past 10 years or so. So it seems to me that there must be many more varieties out there that are waiting to be discovered on the other values. However, a detailed study of many thousands of stamps may be necessary to identify them all.


Two stamps from this issue only, being the 4c and 5c, were issued in cello paqs that sold for $1 each. The 4c was thus printed in panes of 25 for this purpose, and the 5c was printed in panes of 20. The 5c was also issued with Winnipeg tagging in this form. Until just a few years ago, there were no listed varieties of the cello paqs. However in the past several years, Unitrade has started to give recognition to a dead paper variety on the 4c, but nothing on the 5c, even though I can confirm that the 5c too exists with dead paper. In addition to differences in paper, I have seen differences in shade, gum and the design of the cellophane packs themselves.

Coil Stamps

The coil stamps were all printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company (CBN), and as such they exhibit the same types of spacing varieties as coils printed by the CBN for other issues. However, in additon to these, I have also seen differences in paper and gum as well. A separate post to adequately address all of these varieties is definitely in order.


The booklet stamps will be discussed under each value, but it is necessary to have an entire post devoted to the complete booklets of this issue, as there are differences in the design of the booklet covers, differences in the fluorescence of the cover stocks, and other constant varieties. The booklets can generally be split up into the non-integral, stapled booklets that were printed by the CBN, and those integral booklets that were printed by the BABN, which comprise most of the booklets of this issue.

Postal Stationery

There was a very large range of postal stationery items prepared for this issue, which can be studied in much more detail than is listed in either Unitrade or Webb. The postal stationery can be divided into two broad categories: the publicly issued products such as envelopes, postcards, flimsies, and then the private order products, many of which are extremely rare now, especially used. A separate post will definitely be required to do this aspect of the issue justice.

Postal History

Postal history for this issue also requires its own post. Three postal strikes during the life of this issue, resulted in three rate-increases between 1968 and 1972, which affects what constitutes an interesting cover. There were also new rates established during this period, and the abolition of other other rates and/or services, such as third class mail. An example of a new rate was the "all up" airmail rate of 15c that was introduced in 1971. A separate post is needed to detail the rates, changes in rates, usages for the stamps and to discuss approaches that can be taken to collect the postal history of this issue.

Roadmap of Upcoming Posts

Based on the above discussion, it seems to me that a logical sequence for the remaining posts about this issue to follow is as follows:

1. The papers used to print the stamps.
2. The types of gum found on the Centennial issue.
3. Differences in the inks used to print the stamps.
4. Winnipeg tagging on the Centennial issue.
5. Ottawa tagging on the Centennial issue.
6. Perforations on the Centennial issue.
7. Plate characteristics of the stamps - die type differences.
8. Plate characteristics of the stamps - the totem pole eyes on the 2c.
9. Cylinder flaws on the 6c, 7c and 8c stamps printed by the BABN.
10. Constant plate varieties on the Centennial Issue.
11. The 1c brown Northern Lights and dogsled team stamp.
12. The 2c green totem pole and river stamp.
13. The 3c purple combine and oul rig stamp.
14. The 4c carmine red seaway lock stamp.
15. The 5c blue fishing village stamp.
16. The 6c orange transportation stamp.
17. The 6c black transportation stamp. 
18. The 7c emerald green transportation stamp. 
19. The 8c slate parliamentary library stamp. 
20. The 8c violet brown Alaska Highway stamp.
21. The 10c olive green Jack Pine stamp.
22. The 15c purple Bylot Island stamp.
23. The 20c dark blue Ferry, Quebec stamp.
24. The 25c slate green Solemn Land stamp. 
25. The 50c orange brown Summers Stores stamp.
26. The $1 carmine red Edmonton Oil Field stamp.
27. The Cello-paqs and miniature panes of the Centennial Issue.
28. The coil stamps of the Centennial issue.
29. The booklets of the centennial issue.
30. The postal stationery of the Centennial issue.
31. Postal history of the Centennial Issue. 

So my plan is to write and publish 31 different posts over the next 31 weeks, all of which will deal with the stamps of this issue. 

Next week's post will dive right in to a discussion of the papers used to print the stamps of this issue. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Commemorative Issues of 1963-1966


Between 1963 and 1966, during the life of the Cameo definitive issue, Canada issued no fewer than 39 commemorative stamps, that in my opinion, are some of the most attractive of the modern engraved issues. Bi-colour, or in some cases, tri-colour printing has featured more prominently during this period, although most of the stamps are still monocoloured. However, the range of colours used seems to be greater, and the colours themselves are brighter than the stamps of the 1950's. This is actually one of my favourite periods in modern Canadian philately, particularly the Provincial Emblems series that was issued between 1964 and 1966. This later set was remarkable in at least two respects: (1) it was a political statement designed to emphasize the importance of Canada's unity in direct response to the growing separatist movement in Quebec, and (2) it was the first set to feature provincial flags and coats of arms.  Lester Pearson was the prime minister during the period when these stamps were issued, so other themes that are connected with him, such as the importance of World Peace and the adoption of the Canadian flag feature prominently as well.

The stamps were all printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company and the larger sheet formats that were first introduced in the mid to late 1950's are continued into the entirety of this period: the larger horizontal format stamps are all printed in sheets of 300, instead of 200, with six panes of 50, while the intermediate horizontal and vertical format stamps are printed in sheets of 400, arranged into four panes of 100. Finally, the smallest horizontal and vertical format stamps were printed in sheets of 600 stamps, arranged in six panes of 100 stamps. Offset printing was used for the first time, in combination with engraving to produce the 1964-1966 Provincial Emblems series. In addition, duo-tone lithography was also used for the first time to produce the 1965 Churchill memorial issue.

In terms of designers, there were several designers who were responsible for these stamps. The most prolific two designers were:

  1. Thomas Harvey Prosser, who designed 23 of the 39 stamps.
  2. Ephrim Phillip Weiss
However, other designers included:
  • Bernard James Reddie, who had designed the 1961 Northern Development issue and the 1961 Pauline Johnson issue has returned to design the 1963 Postal Service issue. 
  • Phillips Gutkin and Associates, which had designed the 1962 Red River Settlement Issue, returned to design the 1965 Inter-Parliamentary Union Issue. 
  • Gerald Trottier, who had designed the 1958 La Verendrye, Champlain, Health and First Elected Assembly Issues, came back to design the 1965 National Capital Issue.
  • Helena Roberta Fitzgerald, who had designed the 1959 Country Women issue, and several of the issues to the end of 1962, has returned to design the 1965 Christmas and 1966 Highway Safety Issues.
  • Leendert Verhoeven, whose name appears for the first time, designed the 1966 La Salle stamp. 
  • Alan Pollock, who had designed the earlier high value definitives, such as the 25c Chemical and 50c Textile Industry, has designed the 1966 Atomic Research Issue.
  • Paul Aleksander Pedersen, another new designer, appears on the scene with the 1966 London Conference Issue and the 1966 CPA Conference Issues.
  • Geoffrey Holloway, another designer, designed the 1966 Christmas Issue. 
Yves Baril and Alan Alexander Carswell are the two engravers who did almost all of the engraving of the vignettes. The lettering was usually engraved either by Donald J. Mitchell, or Gordon Mash. 

In addition to a few shade varieties, there are several interesting plate varieties to be found on the Provincial Emblems issue, several fluorescent paper varieties, a few variations on the other physical attributes of the papers used and finally, the variation in the perforation gauge used that was first introduced in 1961, is also found on several of the stamps issued during this period. Thus, while the material here appears to offer no challenge at all, there is actually quite a bit of scope for someone wishing to build a specialized collection of these issues. 

The Stamp Designs, Issue Dates, Designers, Engravers and Quantities Issued

5c Rose lilac - Casimir Gzowski, Engineer, Soldier and Educator.
Designed by: Ephrum Phillip Weiss.
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Donald Mitchell (lettering).
Issued: March 5, 1963.
27,820,000 stamps.

5c Deep ultramarine - Martin Frobisher, explorer.
Designed by: Ephrum Phillip Weiss.
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Donald J. Mitchell (lettering).
Issued: August 21, 1963.
27,020,000 stamps.

5c Dark green and lake brown - First Overland Mail Route - 1763.
Designed by: Bernard James Reddie.
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Allan Alexander Carswell (lettering).
Issued: September 25, 1963.
27,860,000 stamps.

5c Greenish blue, Prussian blue and ochre - "Pacem in Terris" or "World Peace".
Designed by: Harvey Thomas Prosser.
Engraver: Allan Alexander Carswell.
Issued: April 8, 1964.
28,870,000 stamps.

5c Light blue and carmine lake - maple leaf and unity.
Designed by Harvey Thomas Prosser. 
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Gordon Mash (lettering).
Issued: May 14, 1964. 
36,870,000 stamps. 

5c Red brown, buff and green - White Trillium & Ontario Arms.
Designed by: Harvey Thomas Prosser.
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Gordon Mash (lettering).
Issued: June 30, 1964.
19,360,000 stamps. 

5c Green, yellow and orange - White Garden Lily & Quebec arms.
Designed by: Harvey Thomas Prosser.
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Gordon Mash (lettering).
Issued: June 30, 1964.
19,710,000 stamps. 

5c Blue, pink and green - Mayflower and Nova Scotia arms.
Designed by: Harvey Thomas Prosser. 
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Gordon Mash (lettering).
Issued: February 3, 1965.
18,360,000 stamps. 

5c Carmine, green and violet - Purple Violet and New Brunswick arms.
Designed by: Harvey Thomas Prosser.
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Gordon Mash (lettering).
Issued: February 3, 1965.
18,760,000 stamps. 

5c Red brown, lilac and dull green - Prairie Crocus and Manitoba arms.
Designer: Thomas Harvey Prosser.
Engraver: Donald J. Mitchell.
Issued: April 28, 1965.
15,820,000 stamps.

5c Lilac, green and bistre - Dogwood and British Columbia arms.
Designer: Harvey Thomas Prosser.
Engraver: Donald J. Mitchell.
Issued: April 28, 1965.
17,360,000 stamps.

5c Violet, green and deep rose - Lady's Slipper and Prince Edward Island arms.
Designer: Harvey Thomas Prosser.
Engraver: Allan Alexander Carswell.
Issued: July 21, 1965.
26,510,000 stamps.

5c Sepia, orange and green - Prairie Lily and Saskatchewan arms.
Designer: Harvey Thomas Prosser.
Engraver: Allan Alexander Carswell. 
Issued: January 19, 1966.
15,310,000 stamps. 

5c Dull green, yellow and carmine - Wild Rose and Alberta arms. 
Designed by: Harvey Thomas Prosser.
Engraver: Allan Alexander Carswell.
Issued: January 19, 1966.
16,160,000 stamps.

5c Black, green and carmine - Pitcher Plant and Newfoundland arms.
Designed by: Harvey Thomas Prosser.
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Gordon Mash (lettering).
Issued: February 23, 1966.
25,660,000 stamps.

5c Dark blue, rose and green - Fireweed and Yukon arms.
Designed by: Harvey Thomas Prosser.
Engravers: Allan Alexander Carswell (picture) and Gordon Mash (lettering).
Issued: March 23, 1966.
15,110,000 stamps.

5c Bistre brown, yellow and dull green - Mountain Avens and Northwest Territories arms.
Designed by: Harvey Thomas Prosser.
Engravers: Allan Alexander Carswell (picture) and Gordon Mash (lettering).
Issued: March 23, 1966.
15,010,000 stamps.

5c Dark blue and deep red - Maple Leaf and Canadian coat of arms.
Designed by: Harvey Thomas Prosser. 
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Allan Alexander Carswell (lettering).
Issued: June 30, 1966.
25,410,000 stamps.

5c Grey black - Confederation Memorial - Charlottetown Conference - 1864.
Designed by: Harvey Thomas Prosser.
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Donald J. Mitchell (lettering). 
Issued: July 29, 1964.
29,310,000 stamps.

5c Dark brown and rose - Quebec Conference - 1864.
Designed by: Phillip Weiss.
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Donald J. Mitchell (lettering).
Issued: September 9, 1964.
28,510,000 stamps.

5c Rose claret - Queen Elizabeth II - Royal Visit.
Designed by: Harvey Thomas Prosser.
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Donald J. Mitchell (lettering).
Issued: October 5, 1964.
38,410,000 stamps.

3c Bright red - family and Star of Bethlehem.
Designed by: Harvey Thomas Prosser.
Engravers: Allan Alexander Carswell (picture) and Gordon Mash (lettering).
Issued: October 14, 1964.
247,200,000  untagged stamps.
10,400,000 Winnipeg tagged stamps.

5c Bright ultramarine - family and Star of Bethlehem.
Designed by: Harvey Thomas Prosser.
Engravers: Allan Alexander Carswell (picture) and Gordon Mash (lettering).
Issued: October 14, 1964.
96,320,000 Untagged stamps.
6,200,000 Winnipeg tagged stamps.

5c Slate green - International Co-operation Year Issue.
Designed by: Harvey Thomas Prosser.
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Donald J Mitchell (lettering).
Issued: March 3, 1965.
26,660,000 stamps.

5c Prussian blue - Wilfred Grenfell - author and missionary.
Designed by: Harvey Thomas Prosser.
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Gordon Mash (lettering).
Issued: June 9, 1965.
26,610,000 stamps.

5c Bright blue and red - adoption of the Canadian flag - 1965.
Designed by: Harvey Thomas Prosser.
Engravers: Allan Alexander Carswell (picture) and Gordon Mash (lettering).
Issued: June 30, 1965.
37,360,000 stamps.

5c Brown - Sir Winston Churchill.
Designed by: Philip Weiss, based on a portrait by Yousuf Karsh.
Issued: August 12, 1965.
35,000,000 stamps.

5c Slate green - Inter-parliamentary Union.
Designed by: Phillips-Gutkin & Associates.
Engravers: Allan Alexander Carswell (picture) and Gordon Mash (lettering).
Issued: September 8, 1965.
16,820,000 stamps.

5c Brown - centenary of Ottawa as the national capital.
Designed by: Gerald Trottier.
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Gordon Mash (lettering).
Issued: September 8, 1965.
14,810,000 stamps.

3c Greyish olive - gifts from the Wise Men - 1965 Christmas.
Designed by: Helena Roberta Fitzgerald.
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Donald J Mitchell (lettering).
Issued: October 13, 1965.
208,320,000 untagged stamps.
7,700,000 Winnipeg tagged stamps.

5c Violet blue - gifts from the Wise Men - 1965 Christmas
Designed by: Helena Roberta Fitzgerald.
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Donald J Mitchell (lettering).
Issued: October 13, 1965.
92,920,000 untagged stamps.
4,000,000 Winnipeg tagged stamps.

5c Violet blue - Alouette II - first satellite launched in space by Canada.
Designed by: Harvey Thomas Prosser.
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Donald J Mitchell (lettering).
Issued: January 5, 1966.
26,370,000 stamps.

5c Blue green - De La Salle - explorer.
Designed by: Leendert Verhoeven.
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Donald J. Mitchell (lettering)
Issued: April 13, 1966.
25,160,000 stamps.

5c Black, blue and yellow - highway safety. 
Designed by: Helena Roberta Fitzgerald.
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Donald J. Mitchell (lettering).
Issued: May 2, 1966. 
27,220,000 stamps.

5c Red brown - 1866 London Conference centenary.
Designed by: Paul Aleksander Pedersen.
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Donald J Mitchell (lettering).
Issued: May 26, 1966.
25,130,000 stamps.

5c Deep ultramarine - atomic research issue.
Designed by: Allan L Pollock.
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Donald J Mitchell (lettering).
Issued: July 27, 1966.
25,360,000 stamps.

5c Plum - Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Meeting issue.
Designed by: Paul Aleksander Pedersen.
Engravers: Allan Alexander Carswell (picture) and Donald J. Mitchell (lettering).
Issued: September 8, 1966.
27,320,000 stamps.

3c Deep carmine rose - Albrecht Durer's praying hands - 1966 Christmas.
Designed by: Geoffrey Holloway.
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Gordon Mash (lettering).
Issued: October 12, 1966.
164,680,000 untaged stamps.
8,700,000 Winnipeg tagged stamps. 

3c orange - Albrecht Durer's praying hands - 1966 Christmas.
Designed by: Geoffrey Holloway.
Engravers: Yves Baril (picture) and Gordon Mash (lettering).
Issued: October 12, 1966.
83,380,000 untaged stamps.
3,900,000 Winnipeg tagged stamps. 

Points of Interest

The main points of interest for the commemorative issues of this period are:

1. Shade differences.
2. Paper varieties, including paper fluorescence. 
3. Gum variations.
4. Winnipeg tagging varieties
5. Cello-paqs and miniature panes.
6. Perforation variations.
7. Aniline inks.
8. First Day Covers.
9. Constant plate varieties.
10. Cancellations and postal history.
11. Proof material.

I will now discuss each of these aspects in more detail. Please note that this post is a work in progress, as I have only just begun a detailed study of these stamps and there is still much to learn. Still, I have learned quite a lot about them so far, and this post will share that information with you.

Shade Differences

Despite no shade variations being listed in Unitrade, at all, there are actually quite a few subtle variations visible in most of the stamps issued during this period. In addition to being able to see variations in normal lighting conditions, there are also variations that only show up under long-wave ultraviolet light. I don't even pretend to assert that I have seen all that exists. However, what follows are some examples of the type of varieties that you can find with a keen eye and a little patience:

The shade variation on the Gzowski issue is quite subtle, but the colour varies in terms of how much rose there is in the rose-lilac colour versus the amount of lilac. The stamp on the left, is brighter and rosier than the one on the right, which contains more lilac.

On the Frobisher issue, there are some stamps which are a deeper, duller ultramarine, compared to a deep bright ultramarine. The stamp on the left is the deeper, duller shade, while the one on the right is the deep, bright shade. 

This one might be a bit harder to see in this scan, but the light blue of the stamp on the left has a distinct greenish undertone that is completely missing from the stamp on the right. This particular stamp is one that shows quite a bit of variation in the ink colour under ultraviolet light.

On this Provincial Emblems issue stamp, there is some variation in the red-brown, though it is quite difficult to see in the scan. However, the variation in the intensity and brightness of the ge

On the Nova Scotia stamp shown above, there seems to be quite a bit of variation in the pink of the Mayflower, with almost no pink visible in the flowers on the left, while the stamp on the right shows clear pink. 

This Manitoba stamp shows very slight variations in the red brown and the lilac. Generally, the colours are both deeper and brighter in the stamp shown on the right.

Again, the variation in the brightness and intensity of the green colour is hard to miss on the British Columbia stamp shown above. 

On the 1966 Yukon stamp, the main colour that shows clear variation is the rose, which is deeper on the right hand stamp. 

On the 1966 Northwest Territories stamp, all three colours show some variation, though the most obvious is the green. The colours on the left hand stamp are all deeper than the colours of the stamp on the right. 

Paper Varieties

Again, this is one aspect of these issues that Unitrade has only just begun to deal with, but for which there are clearly a considerable number of variations which are very worthwhile of serious study. The first of these, are variations in the reaction of the paper under ultraviolet light, otherwise known to colectors as paper fluorescence. Until the late 1980's there were no listed varieties of paper fluorescence on these issues. All of them were known to be only on what was termed "plain paper". However, in the intervening years, philatelists have found that many issues exist on paper that gives a low bluish white glow under ultraviolet light, with a number of fluorescent fibres embedded in the paper itself, that are generally brighter than the ambient fluorescence level of the paper. The brightness and number of these fibres varies considerably. I use the term sparse and very sparse to indicate instances where there are fibres visible over the entire surface of the stamp, but spread very far apart. I describe more intense concentrations of fibres as "low, medium and high density". Low density has fibres across the stamp surface, but reasonably large gaps in between fibres of 1-2 mm, so that you can clearly see all the individual fibres. On medium density, the fibres are beginning to merge together, but you can still see that there are lots of them. On high density concentrations, it almost appears as if the paper is one single bright fluorescence, but you can just see that there are a very large number of fibres that are giving the overall effect.

Unitrade does list fluorescent papers for all of the 1964-66 Emblems stamps now, at last, as well as the 1964 Christmas, and 1965 Flag issue. However, I have also found variations on the 1964 Quebec Conference Issue, 1965 ICY Issue, 1965 Grenfell Issue, and 1965 Ottawa Centenary issues.

In addition to the fluorescent papers, I have found one example of the Quebec White Garden Lily stamp on hibrite paper. It is used, but the uniformity and brightness of the paper has me convinced beyond reasonable doubt, that it is genuine and that more of these issues may exist thus, though they are extremely rare.

Finally, the plain, dull papers also come in very dull or dead varieties, that give deep brownish or deep violet reactions under ultraviolet light. I have come across these on most of the issues.

In addition, to paper fluorescence, there are also differences in the physical differences of the paper, such as:

  • Thickness
  • Direction of the weave and appearance of ribbing.
  • The degree of surface porosity under magnification on the printed side.
The most common papers by far, are horizontal wove papers that show clear vertical ribbing on the back. The thickness of these papers and the degree to which the ribbing is visible varies considerably as well, with some thin papers showing the design clearly through the back, with clear ribbing, while other stamps barely show either the design, or the ribbing through the back. However, there are some papers that do not show this ribbing, and are actually vertical, rather than horizontal wove papers. Another paper is a vertical wove that shows horizontal ribbing, and is found on the 1964 Christmas issue and 1965 Churchill issue. Finally, some of the papers appear very porous on the surface under magnification, with many spots of uneven thickness, while other papers show very little surface porosity, as though they have been coated with some substance. Often, these papers are the ones that give the dullest reaction under ultraviolet light. 

The following scans illustrate some of these differences, none of which are currently listed in Unitrade:

The Gzowski stamp on the left shows the very light vertical ribbing on the back that is commonly seen on the stamps of this period, and which we first saw on the 1958 Health issue. The Unity stamp on the right is printed on a vertical wove paper that shows no visible ribbing at all. As you can see there is a distinct difference in the colour of the gum as well, with the gum on the right stamp being a much deeper cream colour.

These are both examples of the Nova Scotia Emblems stamp, but they are clearly different from one another. The stamp on the left is on a much thinner paper that shows very clear vertical ribbing, while the ribbing on the right stamp is almost invisible, and the gum is a much deeper cream colour on the right stamp.

Here is an example of the 1964 Christmas stamp on the vertical wove paper with the horizontal ribbing. This illustrates quite nicely the fact that these differences are not merely due to the way the paper was fed into the press, because the ribbing on this, were you to rotate the stamp does not look anything like the vertical ribbing on the other stamps, which would be the case, if that were true. 

These two stamps are the 1965 ICY Issue. The left stamps is the normal, horizontal wove paper with the clear vertical ribbing, while the stamp on the right is a vertical wove paper that is quite porous on the surface, and which has a dextrine gum that is quite satin in appearance, compared to the normal semi-gloss sheen. 

Gum Variations

I have already discussed some of the variations in the dextrine (dextrose) gum found on these issues, but there seems to be at least three types of dextrose gum found on these issues:

  1. There is a streaky, off white dextrose gum that has a semi-gloss sheen, which shows uneven spots of application.
  2. There is a deep cream dextrose that is smooth and quite shiny in appearance.
  3. There is a deep cream dextrose that is smooth, but has a satin sheen rather than a semi-gloss, or glossy sheen. 
In addition to the dextrine (dextrose) gum though, there was another type of gum, DAVAC, which was only every used on one more issue: the 1967 Centennial commemorative issue. This type of gum had a very light yellowish tinge, but was completely matte and invisible, so much so, that at first glance, it looks like the stamps have no gum. It has good adhesive qualities, and will not stick unless fully moistened, so its use would help prevent stamps from sticking together while stored. So the reason for its discontinuance is not entirely clear, though I suspect that has to do with the fact that it was invisible, and the public probably thought that the stamps had no gum. It was used on the 1966 Highway Safety Issue, which to my knowledge does not exist with regular dextrine gum. 

The scan below shows some of these differences in gum:

The stamp on the left is the 1966 Alouette II issue, and shows the smooth gum with the satin sheen. The second stamp from the right is the Highway Safety issue, showing the DAVAC gum. The third stamp from the left is the 1966 Atomic Research issue and shows an example of the typical streaky gum and finally the last stamp shows an example of the smooth, shiny cream gum.

Winnipeg Tagging Varieties.

The only issues from this period that exist with Winnipeg tagging are the three Christmas issues. As you can see from the issue quantities above, they are quite a lot scarcer than the regular, untagged stamps, especially in fine used condition. So, it is curious that they should list in Unitrade for prices that are so close to the other stamps.

As was the case with the Cameo issue, there was a considerable amount of experimentation done with respect to the amount of taggant to apply, as well as the width of the tag bars and the spacing between the bars. You can find examples where the tagging is so lightly applied as to be almost invisible to the naked eye, while on other stamps, it is applied so heavily that the bands appear dark yellow. Unitrade does not differentiate between any of these types of varieties, but I believe that they do have some significance. On the 1964 Christmas Issue, Unitrade does list margin pairs and blocks that show wide and narrow tagging bars side-by-side. On these, the tag bars on the outside of the pane were generally wider than those on the inside.

Cello-paqs and Miniature Panes

The 3c stamps from all three of the Christmas issues released during this period were made available to the public in Cello-paqs that consisted of two panes of 25 stamps each, for a total of 50 stamps. These sold for $1.50 each. They were made available in both untagged and Winnipeg tagged versions, with the tagged panes being quite a bit scarcer than the untagged panes.

Perforation Varieties

I wrote before, in my posts about the issues from 1960-1962 how the Canadian Bank Note Company had begun to use new perforating machines that had a gauge of 11.85 instead of the earlier 11.95 that appears to have been introduced sometime in the 1950's. According to Unitrade, it is only issues up to this point that can be found with both gauges and with compounds of both gauges. However, I have found many issues from this period that exist with up to 4 different perforations: 11.85 x 11.85, 11.95 x 11.95, 11.85 x 11.95 and 11.95 x 11.85. It does appear that by 1965, the most common perforation is 11.85 x 11.85. However, given that I have found all of these variations on the last stamps from the 1964-66 Provincial Emblems issue, which were issued in 1966, it seems as though most, if not all these stamps could potentially exist with all four measurements. I will, as I study these in more detail, update this post to include a listing of all the measurements I have found.

Aniline Inks

As was the case with the issues of the 1950's and the 5c Cameo issue, the stamps of this period that were printed with the blue inks are sometimes found with aniline ink. These are generally quite scarce, and if you look closely at them, you may see that it is not just the ink that is different, but the paper as well.

The above two scans show an example of the aniline ink on the 5c violet blue 1965 Christmas issue, from both the back and the front. When you compare the back of the normal stamp and the one printed with aniline ink, you can see that on the normal stamp, the mesh is visible in the paper, but you can't really see the design through the back. However on the stamp printed using aniline ink, you can clearly see the design through the back of the stamp. Also, the colour on the surface of the stamp appears brighter and highly suffused.

In addition to the above stamp, I have seen this variety on the 1966 Alouette II issue and the 1966 Atomic Research issue, but have yet to find it on any of the other stamps, or in any colour other than blue.

First Day Covers

There are a very large number of first day covers that can be collected from this period. The main way in which they are usually collected is by the cachet that appears on the cover. There were a very large number of private cachet makers operating during this period, and they produced their own hand painted or thermographed cachets, many of which are highly desirable and worth quite a lot more than the standard $2 that Unitrade values the more common Art Craft or Rose Craft cachets at.

For the Art Craft Cachets, I have noted that Art Craft generally would produce a specific cachet for the issue in question, but then they would recycle a whole series of generic cachets that were used for several different issues. There were 4 or 5 of these that appeared with great regularity on all the issues. The same applies to the Rosecraft cachets. So with a single stamp cover, it is possible to have over 10 different cachets, just for Art Craft and Rose Craft alone. In fact, that with all cachet makers taken together, and with pairs and blocks on cover, it is possible to collect over 100 first day covers for each of these 39 stamps. That is close to 4000 covers!

In addition to differences in the cachet, it is possible to get the covers cancelled in different cities other than Ottawa, where the majority of them will have come from. Finally, there may be differences in the paper fluorescence of the envelopes used for the covers. This may be of interest, given that the first day covers were often a standardized item.

Constant Plate Varieties

The 1964-1966 Provincial Emblems Issue has a number of stamps for which constant plate flaws have been found. The term "constant" simply means that the variety in question is found in the same position (the same stamp) on every single pane printed. It is their constant nature that makes them interesting to philatelists. Up until very recently, only the Newfoundland stamp had any listed flaws, and it was called the "broken stamen" on the flower. However, in recent years, a larger and larger number of varieties have been discovered and are now listed in Unitrade:

1. New Brunswick with the purple flowers doubled - all positions.
2. Manitoba with a small dot on the top left tip of the middle crocus, from position 48.
3. Manitoba with the lilac flowers double printed.
4. Prince Edward Island with a small dot to the left of the upper left leaf, called "green leaf pollen" from position 37.
5. Saskatchewan with a broken leaf on the stem of the left flower, from position 9.
6. Saskatchewan with a small dot nest to the second leaf from the top on the left side of the right flower, called "green pollen" from position 25.
7. Saskatchewan with a small dot just to the left of the stem of the left flower, at the top, called "stem pollen flaw", from position 30.
8. Newfoundland with the broken stamen, of which there are four different types, from positions 13, 37, 39 or 41.
9. Newfoundland with the red double printed, from all positions.
10. Yukon, with a large dot on one of the flowers about mid-way up on the second stalk from the right. This has been nicknamed the "dropping flower blossom", and is from position 30.
12. Northwest Territories with a small green dot at the top of the middle flower. This is called the "little bee in flower" and is from position 29.
13. Canada coat of arms with the right side of the maple leaf distorted. This is called the deformed leaf, variety and is not constant.
14. A number of colour shifts result in some of the flower parts appearing to be detached from the stems. These occur on all positions of the affected sheets of course. One example is the "floating rose" on the Alberta stamp.

The 1966 La Salle issue is known with a cracked plate variety, in which there is a vertical line through the right inscription.

I only have a few examples of these varieties to illustrate here, but I will add more through updates as more of them come to my attention:

There is an example of the "dot on crocus" variety. 

Here is an example of the "floating rose", which I believe is listed in the Darnell catalogue, but is not listed in Unitrade, because Unitirade's policy is not to list colour shifts. It results from the red being shifted upwards, and it appears as though the flowers are detached from the stems.

Here is the normal stamp that clearly shows the flowers being attached to the stems.

Here is an example of the more common of the broken stamen varieties. You can see it as a break in the angled red line at the bottom right of the flower at the right. 

Here is an example of the deformed leaf variety. This is an over-inking variety. If you look at the normal stamp on the left, the lines and edges of the maple leaf are sharp and the right part of the leaf is deeply notched. On the right stamp, the deep notch at the right of the leaf is gone, and the leaf almost has a swollen look about it. 

Cancellations and Postal History

As with all periods in Canadian philately, this one lends itself out greatly to the collecting of small town CDS postmarks. Most of the stamps from this period are the larger format horizontal stamps, which makes them very good for collecting cancels, as there is enough surface area to get the full cancellation. There are thousands of post offices in all the larger provinces, so there are literally tens of thousands of collectible stamps. These can still be purchased in bundles for very little money.

Covers also offer a very satisfying field, with many, many possibilities. The most common usages of these stamps will all be  single domestic usages. However, multiple issues used on foreign airmail or registered covers are not common and will offer a patient collector a real challenge. Also, you can focus on covers from smaller towns, or from defunct towns or closed post offices.

Proof Material

The BNA proofs website does not have a single example of a proof from this time period, nor can I recall any instance of a proof from these issues being offered for sale at a public auction. It seems to me that these must exist somewhere other than the postal archives. However, it is entirely possible that none of the existing proofs are currently in private hands. However, with a patient search, you may be fortunate enough to find some.

That brings me to the end of my discussion of the pre-centennial period commemoratives. It is another example of a period in Canadian philately that seems extremely simple on the surface, but for which quite a lot of scope is possible. Next week I will begin coverage of the 1967-1973 Centennial Issue. This is an extremely complicated issue that will require a series of overview posts, followed by a separate post for each value in the set, for the low values and then a post for the high values and the coil stamps.