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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The 1942-48 War Effort Issue Part One

This is an issue that took a long time to grow on me. I found the designs in general lacked the ornateness of the earlier issues. It was years before I understood that the simplicity of the designs was intentional and meant to send a no-nonsense message to the citizenry. The idea was that in a time of war, one should direct all extra resources and efforts to fighting the war. Therefore it was determined that it would be inappropriate to continue with the ornate designs of the earlier, pre-war period. Once I was able to evaluate this issue in the broader historical context, I found that I was able to appreciate it far more than I had previously.

It is a vastly under-collected set to be sure, with most collectors relegating it to a single page in their albums. However, it is probably one of the most complicated definitive issues of this period, as we shall soon see. The complexity comes mainly from the vast number of plate blocks and booklets, but as with the previous two issues, there are also, shade, paper and gum varieties that add greatly to the complexity of the material.

This issue is also the first to include both overprinted, and perforated official stamps. By now the 5-hole perfin type is completely gone from production, leaving only the 4-hole type. In 1949, the perfins were abandoned in favour of  OHMS overprints. These were however, only produced on the low values up to the 4c.

Finally, this issue was one of the first to be replaced in stages, rather than all at once. The first stamps to be replaced were the high values, which were supplanted by the Peace Issue in late 1946. The low values on the other hand remained in use until the Postes-Postage issue replaced them in November 1949.

The issue was designed by Herman Herbert Schwartz. The image for the portrait of King George VI was based on a photograph by Hugh Cecil Saunders. The vignettes for all stamps except the airmail special delivery stamps, and the special delivery stamp were engraved by Arthur C. Vogel. The vignettes for the airmail special delivery stamps were engraved by Joseph Keller,  and the vignette for the special delivery issue was engraved by Silas Robert Allen. The frames for all stamps were engraved by Charles H. Milks.

The Stamp Designs, Issue Dates and Quantities Issued


1c green - King George VI in naval uniform.
Sheet stamps issued July 1, 1942.
Booklet stamps issued September 14, 1942 & September 1, 1943.
Coil stamps issued February 9, 1943.
Sheet stamps replaced November 15, 1949.
Booklet stamps replaced May 18, 1950.
Coil stamps replaced December 23, 1949.
2,543,000,000 sheet stamps.
46,696,000 booklet stamps.
26,000,000 coil stamps (perf. 8 vertically)
Quantity of perf. 9.5 coil stamps is not known.




2c brown - King George VI in army uniform.
Sheet stamps issued July 1, 1942.
Booklet stamps issued September 14, 1942 & October 6, 1942.
Coil stamps issued November 24, 1942.
Sheet stamps replaced November 15, 1949.
Booklet stamps not replaced.
Coil stamps replaced May 18, 1950.
471,000,000 sheet stamps.
4,228,000 booklet stamps.
8,465,000 coil stamps (perf. 8 vertically)
Quantity of perf. 9.5 coil stamps is not known.




3c carmine red - King George VI in air force uniform.
Sheet stamps issued July 1, 1942.
Booklet stamps issued August 20, 1942 & September 14, 1942.
Coil stamps issued September 23, 1942.
Sheet stamps replaced June 30, 1943.
Booklet stamps replaced August 28, 1943.
Coil stamps replaced August 19, 1943.
606,000,000 sheet stamps.
44,888,000 booklet stamps.
9,975,000 coil stamps (perf. 8 vertically)




3c deep claret - King George VI in air force uniform.
Sheet stamps issued June 30, 1943.
Booklet stamps issued August 28, 1943 & September 1, 1943.
Coil stamps issued August 19, 1943.
Sheet stamps replaced November 15, 1949.
Booklet stamps replaced April 1, 1950.
Coil stamps replaced December 23, 1949.
2,118,000,000 sheet stamps.
37,235,000 booklet stamps.
45,990,000 coil stamps (perf. 8 vertically)
Quantity of perf. 9.5 coil stamps is not known.



4c greenish black - grain elevators.
Issued, July 1, 1942.
Replaced, April 9, 1943
7,900,000 stamps


4c carmine - King George VI in army uniform.
Sheet stamps issued April 9, 1943.
Booklet stamps issued May 3, 1943 & September 1, 1943.
Coil stamps issued May 13, 1943.
Sheet stamps replaced November 15, 1949.
Booklet stamps replaced May 5, 1950.
Coil stamps replaced April 20, 1950.
3,149,000,000 sheet stamps.
179,478,000 booklet stamps.
47,590,000 coil stamps (perf. 8 vertically)
Quantity of perf. 9.5 coil stamps is not known.


5c Prussian blue - King George VI in naval uniform.
Issued, July 1, 1942.
Replaced November 15, 1949.
174,000,000 stamps.


8c deep lake brown - farm scene.
Issued, July 1, 1942.
Replaced, September 16, 1946.
22,979,000 stamps.


10c brown - parliament buildings, centre block.
Issued, July 1, 1942.
Replaced, September 16, 1946.
157.680,577 stamps. 


13c myrtle green - ram tank.
Issued, July 1, 1942.
Replaced, April 16, 1943.
4,000,000 stamps.



14c dull green - ram tank
Issued, April 16, 1943.
14,878,643 stamps.


20c violet brown - corvette.
Issued, July 1, 1942.
Replaced, September 16, 1946.
62,028,166 stamps.


50c deep bluish violet - munitions factory.
Issued, July 1, 1942.
Replaced, September 16, 1946.
16,486,515 stamps.


$1 steel blue - tribal class destroyer.
Issued, July 1, 1942.
Replaced, September 16, 1946.
6,195,600 stamps.


6c steel blue - British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.
Issued, July 1, 1942.
Replaced, April 16, 1943.
14,990,000 stamps.


7c steel blue - British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.
Issued, April 16, 1943.
Replaced, September 16, 1946.
97,793,000 stamps.



16c deep bright ultrmarine - Trans Canada Airplane.
Issued, July 1, 1942
Replaced, April 16, 1943.
814,841 stamps.



17c deep ultrmarine - Trans Canada Airplane.
Issued, April 16, 1943
Replaced, September 16, 1946.
868,689 stamps.



10c deep bright green - flags & coat of arms.
Issued, July 1, 1942.
Replaced, September 16, 1946.
3,276,404 stamps.

As you can probably see from the quantities above, these are very common stamps, which is wonderful, because it means that there is enough material around to afford you the opportunity to prepare a thorough, in-depth study of this issue. The quantities issued of the airmail special delivery stamps is surprisingly low, and of these, the vast majority are mint. A real challenge is to see how many of these you can find in used condition, or on cover. 


Points of Interest

This issue can be taken in all the usual directions by the specialist:
  • Shade Varieties
  • Paper and Gum Varieties
  • Plate Blocks
  • Imperforate Pairs and Other Imperforate Varieties
  • Gutter Pairs and Foldover Errors
  • Coil Stamps
  • Booklet Panes and Complete Booklets
  • OHMS Perfins and Overprints
  • First Day Covers, Postal History and Cancellations
  • Precancels
  • Postal stationery
  • Proof Material
Today's post will cover the first five of these aspects, and in the following week, I will deal with the next two, while the last post will explore the last five aspects of this issue. 


Shade Varieties

At first this issue appears to suffer from an almost complete uniformity of colour. However, upon close examination, it becomes apparent that many values exhibit shade varieties that are anywhere from subtle to prominent. The 1c, 4c greenish black, 13c green, 14c green and 10c special delivery stamps exhibit near uniformity of colour. However, the other values can all be found with shade varieties that can be summarized as follows:

2c Brown



The colour varies both in terms of tone, as well as brightness. I have seen bright yellowish brown and bright reddish browns, and at the same time, I have seen, deep dull brown shades as well. The scan above shows some of these shades. Hopefully you can see that the stamp on the right is the darkest shade of brown, while the stamp immediately to it's left is the lightest. The difference between these shades is obvious. The first three stamps on the left are all very similar, but if you compare them to the stamps on the right, they are all darker than the lightest shade, but not as dark as the right hand stamp. Finally, if you stare at these three stamps for a while, while relaxing your gaze, you should start to notice very minute differences in the tones. Here is a scan showing the lightest, brightest shade I have seen, contrasted with the normal dark brown:


3c Carmine


This colour varies quite a bit in both tone and intensity. The stamp on the left in the above scan is a light, soft carmine-red, while the second stamp from the left is a very deep, rich carmine-red. The third stamp from the left, is a lighter, brighter carmine-red, while the right hand stamp is a deep, bright carmine red. 

3c Rose-violet



This colour is really claret, rather than rose violet, and it varies in terms of how much red, or how much brown is contained in the mix. On one end of the scale there is the deeper brownish purples, which are not bright, but rather are very brownish, deep and rich, like the stamp at the left. Then, as the amount of brown diminishes, and purple predominates, we get stamps like the third and fifth stamps from the left.  On the other hand, there is the rosy claret, which contains very little brown, and is much closer to the rose violet. The lightest of these is the second stamp from the left, while the fourth stamp from the left , and the right stamp are both of similar tone, but slightly different intensities. I would actually venture to suggest that this colour exhibits the most variation of any stamps in the series, as it was the most commonly used stamp, and was in use from 1943 until it was replaced by the 3c Postes-Postage issue in late 1949.

4c Carmine



This colour is really more of a carmine red, but it varies both in terms of how much blue it contains, as well as its brightness. The brightest shades, contain almost no blue, and are more of a scarlet, while the deeper, duller shades of carmine, are quite bluish by comparison. In the scan above, I show the paler, softer carmine reds on the first, third and fifth stamps from the left. The fourth stamp from the left is the deep carmine red, while the second stamp from the left is a slightly duller deep carmine red, printed on a rose-tinted paper. This tint is likely the result of improper wiping of the printing plate.

5c Blue



This colour exhibits the usual range of steel and Prussian blues. The steel blue shades all contain some grey to the blue, while the Prussian blues all contain some green. The above scan shows three shades of Prussia blue, with the darkest on the left, the lightest in the middle, and a deep, bright shade on the right.

8c Red-Brown



This generally always a bright red brown, though a slightly duller version is sometimes seen. The above scan shows these two shades. Although very slight, you be able to see that the stamp on the right is slightly brighter than the one on the left. The right stamp is the normal bright lake brown, whereas the one on the left is the bright red-brown, which is duller than the lake-brown.  I once saw a used example that was a pure brown shade, that contained absolutely no red undertone. I have not seen another one since. Being used, it is possible that it was a chemical changeling, but I don't think it was, given how close the colour was to other denomintions, like the 10c. It is possible that this was an error of colour. Unfortunately I did not keep the stamp, throwing it into a large accumulation of used singles - something I now regret given that I have never seen it since.

10c Brown


This colour varies in terms of how much red, or how much yellow it contains, much the same as the other brown shades found on the stamps of this issue. The shade variations in general are subtle, but there are generally four major shades: brown, a deep brown with a hint of red, a deep brown with a hint of yellow, and a light brown. In the above scan, the brown is on the left, while the light brown is on the right. Then the two deep brown shades are on the middle stamps, with the one on the right, being yellowish compared to the stamp on its left.

20c Chocolate



This colour is referred to by Unitrade as chocolate, but it is far too dark to be thus. It is more of an violet brown. It varies both in intensity, and tone. In the above scan, the stamps at left and right contain more purple in the mix than brown, while the two middle stamps contain less brown.

50c Violet



There are many variations of this colour, both with respect to the brightness level as well as the amount of red contained in the mix. In addition, it can be found in a deep bright bluish violet shade. In the above scan, the first two stamps are shades of bluish violet, with the left stamp being deeper than the one to its immediate right. On the left we have the violet shades that do not contain the bluish undertone. The stamp on the right is a slightly deeper shade than the stamp to its immediate left.

$1 Deep Blue



This colour is generally not a pure dark blue, but is usually either a steel blue, which contains some grey, or it is a Prussian blue that contains a greenish undertone. The shades are so similar that the differences are difficult to see in a scan. What I have done here in the above scan is to take a plate block of the deep dull blue shade, and lay a deep Prussian blue over top of the lower right stamp. Hopefully you can see that the lower right stamp in the above scan is greenish compared to the other three stamps. You have to look at it for a few minutes and allow your eyes to adjust, but the difference should become apparent as your eyes acclimatize.

6c Deep Dull Blue



This airmail stamp does exhibit some variation, from Prussian blues to steel blues, though the differences are very difficult to see in a scan. In the above scan, it should be apparent after a few minutes that the middle stamp is a brighter blue than the ones at the sides.

7c blue



This second airmail stamp that was issued in 1943, and in use until 1946, exhibits quite a bit of variation, from steel blue to a dull greenish blue. Here we see the steel blue on the left, and the dull greenish blue on the right.

16c and 17c Ultramarine 



The airmail special delivery stamps show quite a bit of variation in terms of how bright the ultramarine is, as well as how much violet is included in the colour. In the above scan of the 16c, we have from left to right: deep ultramarine, deep bright ultramarine and violet blue. The 17c is usually a lighter, softer shade compared to the 16c. The scan below shows some shades of the 17c, with the centre stamp being a deep aniline ultramarine, and the outer stamps being a deep ultramarine.



Paper and Gum Varieties

Although there are fewer paper and gum varieties compared to the previous two issues, there are enough to make this a very complicated issue. Interestingly, Unitrade completely ignores this aspect of the issue.

Paper Varieties





There are at least five paper types that I have seen in working with the stamps of this issue:

  • A soft white vertical wove that shows a clear mesh when viewed from the back. This appears to have been used for all the early 1942 printings, as it generally is not found on those stamps which were not issued until 1943 or later. 
  • A soft, almost translucent wove paper that shows no clear weave at all. This paper often appears toned. 
  • A harder, thicker opaque wove paper that shows no clear weave at all. This paper was used on the latest printings of the low values made after 1946. 
  • A soft horizontal wove paper that shows very fine horizontal mesh when viewed from the back. This was used on the first coil stamps perforated 8 vertically. 
  • A horizontal ribbed paper, showing distinct ribbing on the gummed side, but not the face generally. 
  • A ribbed paper that shows ribbing on both the front and back. The first scan of the 1c shown at the beginning of this post illustrates this type of paper. 
In the scan above of the 1c stamps, you can see some of the variations in the colour of the paper that are found. 

Gum Varieties








The gum on this issue shows a considerable amount of variation in colour, as well as the thickness of the gum and the sheen. I have seen at least ten types of gum on this issue:

  • A brownish yellow gum with a high gloss sheen. I have seen this on the 10c brown, 10c special delivery and the 16c airmail special delivery. An example can be see in the second scan above on the second stamp from the left. 
  • A brownish yellow gum with a mottled appearance and a satin sheen, which I have also seen on the 16c airmail special delivery. An example is the fourth scan above. 
  • A cream gum with a satin sheen. This gum can be seen on the right stamp in the top scan above, as well as the end stamps on the second scan and the right three stamps in the third scan above.
  • A cream gum with a semi-gloss sheen. I have seen this gum on the 17c airmail special delivery stamp. 
  • A deep yellow gum with a grainy texture and a satin sheen. An example of this gum can be seen in the first scan above, on the stamp on the left. 
  • A cream gum, with a patchiness and a satin sheen. 
  • A white gum with a satin sheen. An example of this gum can be seen on the middle stamp in the first scan above. 
  • A deep yellow-cream gum with a semi-gloss sheen. An example of this gum can be seen on the second scan above, on the third stamp from the left. 
  • A light brownish cream gum with a satin sheen. An example of this can be seen on the third scan above, on the left hand stamp. 
  • A yellowish, streaky gum with a satin sheen.
There may be others, but these are the main ones. The brownish yellow and the white gums would appear to correspond to the earlier printings, while the patchy cream gum with the satin sheen is attributable to the later printings. 


Plate Blocks



All the plate blocks of this issue are corner blocks of 4. There are no centre positions, and while a block can be more than 4 stamps long, it is not necessary, as the full imprints will be visible on a block consisting of 4 stamps. There are a staggering number of different plates, as follows:


  • 1c green - 32 plates = 128 different blocks, plus 5 different cracked plates.
  • 2c brown - 6 plates = 24 different blocks.
  • 3c carmine red - 10 plates = 40 different blocks.
  • 3c deep claret - 28 plates = 112 different blocks, plus 7 different cracked plates.
  • 4c greenish black - 1 plate = 4 different blocks.
  • 4c carmine red - 47 plates = 188 different blocks, plus 9 different cracked plates.
  • 5c Prussian blue - 4 plates = 16 different blocks.
  • 8c bright lake brown - 1 plate = 4 different blocks.
  • 10c brown - 6 plates = 24 different blocks, plus 1 cracked plate.
  • 13c myrtle green - 1 plate = 4 different blocks.
  • 14c dull green - 1 plate = 4 different blocks.
  • 20c violet brown - 2 plates = 8 different blocks.
  • 50c bluish violet - 1 plate = 4 different blocks.
  • $1 steel blue - 1 plate = 4 different blocks.
  • 6c airmail - 2 plates = 8 different blocks.
  • 7c airmail - 5 plates = 20 different blocks, though plate 5 UL has not been reported as yet.
  • 16c airmail special delivery - 1 plate = 4 different blocks.
  • 17c airmail special delivery - 1 plate = 4 different blocks.
  • 10c special delivery - 1 plate = 4 different blocks. 
  • 1c green OHMS overprint - 2 plates = 8 different blocks.
  • 2c brown OHMS overprint - 1 plate = 4 different blocks.
  • 3c deep claret OHMS overprint - 2 plates = 8 different blocks.
  • 4c carmine red OHMS overprint - 2 plates = 8 different blocks. 
So at a minimum, the basic set of plate blocks consists of 654 plate blocks! This is not considering any shade, paper, or gum varieties which could exist. In addition, except for the OHMS overprints, the remaining blocks could all exist with 4-hole OHMS perfins, in up to 8 different positions, making for a total of 5,008 potential additional plate blocks! That is a staggering number that is hard to visualize. Basically, you could spend your entire life collecting these plate blocks, and getting them all will be a real challenge 


In addition to the different plate numbers and positions, some of the plates are known with cracks that show up as jagged lines in the selvage.

Order Numbers, Cutting Guides, Dashes and Position Dots

Order Numbers

As is the case with many of the stamps printed by the CBN, there are various markings to be found on the plate blocks, which exhibit some variation, and are long overdue for a detailed study. The first of these are the order numbers, which appear on the lower left position. The CBN placed these on all LL plate blocks until the fall of 1957. I have seen different numbers, and different spacings between the numbers, which would indicate the use of more than one plate to print the inscriptions. Compiling a complete list of these numbers is no easy task, due to the very large number of plates that were used to print these stamps, and I have seen very few plate blocks of this issue. However, I will list what I have seen here, and will add to the listing, as I examine more and more blocks:

1c green plate 30 - #1170, closely spaced numerals (i.e. 2.5 mm apart).
1c green plate 31 - #1170, also closely spaced numerals.
2c brown plate 5 - #1121  with widely spaced numerals (i.e. 5 mm apart).

Cutting Guides

The small size stamps were printed in sheets of 400 which were then guillotined into four panes of 100 stamps each, while the larger format stamps were printed in sheets of 200 that were guillotined into four panes of 50. Lines were placed both horizontally and vertically inside the gutters that separated each pane to act as a guide for the guillotine. Ideally, the guillotine was supposed to cut along this line, splitting it, so that it wouldn't be visible on the resulting pane. However, this was often not achieved, with the result that blocks will often show a horizontal line, a vertical line, or both inside the selvage. The block at the left in the above scan is an example of a block that shows a horizontal cutting guideline at the top.

Dashes


Some blocks such as the one shown above can be found with a dash to the left of the "N" of "No.". If you compare this to the right hand LL block from the same plate, in the first scan above, you will see that no dash appears in that block. So it would appear that there are two different types of LL block for this plate. There could of course be others on the other values as well. I will detail them here as they come to my attention. The positions that I have seen with this dash so far are:


  • 1c green, plate 31.
  • 2c brown, plate 5 with widely spaced order number #1121.


Position Dots

On the CBN issues well into the late 1950's the lower positions of plate blocks often show one or more coloured dots inside the selvage. Starting in the late 1950's, these dots can also appear on the top positions, or in the selvage at the sides. However, on this issue they seem to be confined to the lower positions as follows:


  • On the lower left positions, the dot is located under the "D" of "Limited" in the inscription.
  • On the lower right positions, the dot is located under the "C" of "Canadian" in the inscription.


Imperforate Pairs and Other Imperforate Varieties

Image result for Canada War Issue Imperforate pairs

All the regular issue stamps of the series exist imperforate, and these are generally collected as pairs. Some of the coil stamps exist partially imperforate vertically, as a result of a missed strike by the comb perforator. The following varieties and the quantities produced are as follows:


  • 1c green - 150 pairs.
  • 2c brown - 150 pairs.
  • 2c brown, vertical strip of 3, imperforate horizontally - 3 strips.
  • 3c deep carmine-red - 150 pairs.
  • 3c deep claret - 150 pairs.
  • 4c greenish black - 150 pairs.
  • 4c carmine red - 150 pairs.
  • 5c deep blue - 150 pairs.
  • 8c bright lake-brown - 150 pairs.
  • 10c brown - 75 pairs.
  • 10c brown, imperf. at right margin - 10 singles.
  • 13c myrtle green - 50 pairs.
  • 14c dull green - 75 pairs.
  • 20c violet brown - 75 pairs.
  • 50c bluish violet - 75 pairs.
  • $1 steel blue - 75 pairs.
  • 3c deep claret perf. 9.5 coil strip, imperforate at bottom. - 1 strip.
  • 6c airmail - 50 pairs
  • 7c airmail - 50 pairs
  • 7c airmail - imperf at right margin - 10 singles from plate 4 LR pane.
  • 16c airmail special delivery - 75 pairs.
  • 17c airmail special delivery - 75 pairs.
  • 10c special delivery - 75 pairs.


Gutter Pairs and Foldover Errors


The 1c green exists in a unique gutter block that resulted from a paper foldover error. It occurred where the stamps of one pane got folded over to the stamps of a second lower pane, so that when it was opened out, there are two vertical pairs with a full horizontal gutter in between. As far as I know this piece is still intact, and consists of two vertical strips for 4 with the gutters, and then two lower pairs attached to the left.

Then the 3c deep claret also exists in a horizontal gutter pair which came about due to a foldover error that prevented two panes from being properly guillotined. Twenty of these pairs exist.

This concludes the first post of three dealing with this very attractive and interesting wartime set. Hopefully after seeing just how much scope there is for specialization, some of you may be inspired to try your hand at collecting the issue in more depth.




Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The 1937 Coronation and 1939 Royal Visit Issue

There were not very many commemorative issues for the King George VI period until after the War, but today's post will deal with the two commemorative issues that appeared before the War: the 1937 Coronation issue, and the 1939 Royal Visit Issue.

The scope is very limited for the 1937 Coronation, although there are quite a few proof items for it that are more challenging, and one can always seek out better frankings on cover. However, it is the 1939 Royal Visit issue that affords real scope and challenge for the specialist. The main attraction of this issue lies in the plate blocks. This was the very first bicoloured engraved issue to be produced, and it is in fact one of the only such issues prior to the introduction of multi-colour printing in the late 1960's. Consequently, two separate plates were employed to print each stamp in the set: one for the frame, and the other for the vignette. The result is a surprisingly large number of different plate blocks, some of which are very rare.

Both issues were printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company. The 1937 Coronation issue was printed in sheets of 200, which were then guillotined into 4 panes of 50. I have not seen full sheets of the 1939 Royal Visit Issue, but I suspect that the sheet and pane sizes are the same.

The Stamp Designs, Issue Dates and Quantities

1937 Coronation Issue


3c carmine red - King George VI and Queen Mother Elizabeth.
Issued: May 10, 1937.
51,400,000 stamps.
Engraved by William F. Ford.
Based on a photograph by Peter North and Bertram Park.


1939 Royal Visit Issue



1c green & black - Princesses Elizabeth & Margaret Rose.
Issued: May 15, 1939.
50,043,000 stamps.
Designed by Herman Herbert Schwartz.
Based on photographs by Marcus Adams.


2c brown & black - Ottawa War Memorial.
Issued: May 15, 1939.
50,244,000 stamps.
Designed by Herman Herbert Schwartz.
Based on photographs by Marcus Adams.


3c carmine & black - King George VI & Queen Mother Elizabeth.
Issued: May 15, 1939.
100,000,000 stamps.
Designed by Herman Herbert Schwartz.
Based on photographs by Dorothy Wilding.

Points of Interest

Despite being commemorative issues that were in use for a relatively short period of time, there are still many ways in which you can form a specialized collection of this issue:


  • Shade varieties exist for all stamps.
  • Paper and gum varieties exist with a large range of variation.
  • Plate blocks there are 176 possible plate blocks, though some have yet to be reported.
  • Re-entries exist on at least the 2c Royal Visit, and possibly other stamps.
  • Colour shifts on the 1939 Royal Visit Issue. 
  • Imperforate Varieties exist for all stamps and are rare.
  • Proof material.
  • OHMS perfins exist for all stamps and are scarce to rare.
  • First Day Covers, postal history and cancels.
This is quite a bit of scope, and the great thing is that it occupies both extremes of the scale in terms of rarity and value, with the proofs and imperfs being very expensive, while the basic stamps are very inexpensive and can be extensively studied while you wait for the more expensive material to become available. 


Shade Varieties

1937 Coronation

I do not currently have any obvious shade variations in my stock to show you now, but I do know that there are definitely some which you can collect. The basic colour is actually carmine-red, and so you can find examples that contain a bit more red than carmine, and others that have bit more carmine than red, as well as variations in intensity.

1939 Royal Visit Issue

1c Green & Black



On this stamp the basic frame colour is deep green. It can be found in a soft, hue containing a hint of grey as shown in the stamp on the left. Alternatively it can be found in a deep bright hue as well, as on the right stamp. The black centres, may also vary, though I haven't really noticed any significant shades on this stamp.

2c Brown & Black 


The brown frame shows a fair amount of variation, from a light chocolate brown, as in the centre stamp, to a much deeper chocolate brown, as shown in the stamps on the sides. The difference is not very obvious in the scan, but it is quite distinct in reality. Again, I haven't noticed much variation in the black used for the vignette. On all the stamps I have seen, the black usually contains a hint of silver, though I suspect grey and pure jet-blacks should exist. 

3c Carmine & Black


This is one of the few Canadian stamps whose true, basic colour is carmine. It can vary from a soft, dull carmine, as on the left and middle stamps, to a deep, bright carmine, as shown on the right stamp. The intensity of the frame colour varies also. The middle and left stamps are basically dull carmine, with the stamp on the left being noticeably lighter and brighter than the one in the middle. I find the best part of the design to compare to see this is the upper corners where the crown is. The black on this stamp does show quite a bit of variation on the stamps I have seen, with silver-blacks, jet-blacks and grey blacks all existing. 

Paper and Gum Varieties

Paper Varieties

All the 1937 Coronation stamps that I have seen are printed on a creamy wove paper, that has a smooth front surface and light horizontal ribbing being visible from the gummed side. This paper is found on many stamps of the 1935 Dated Die Issue, which suggests that it may have been the paper used for the 1937 printings of that set. However, it is possible that other papers, such as the soft wove with vertical mesh, and the crisp wove with no mesh -  both papers found on the subsequent Mufti Issue, may indeed exist on this issue. A thorough study of papers would have to be undertaken to establish, with certainty, the full range of papers that exists on this issue.

The 1939 Royal Visit issue seems to be found mostly on the soft wove with vertical mesh, which is often seen on the Mufti Issue. I have also seen a crisp wove that shows no mesh as well. I have not found the horizontal ribbed paper that was used on the 1937 Coronation Issue however. The colour of the paper on the surface seems to vary from a cream paper, to a paper that has a slightly greyish tint. This might result from the black ink residue left on the printing plates after the plates were wiped. I'm not certain, and one way to resolve this might me to study full sheets and see if the surface colouration is even throughout the sheet, including the selvage. If it is, it does suggest that it is the actual colour of the paper and is not discolouration caused by ink.

Gum Varieties - 1937 Coronation Issue


On this issue, all the gums that I have seen are smooth cream with a satin sheen. The amount of yellow in the cream does vary, as you can see in the three stamps shown above. The middle stamp is about as close to a pure cream as you can get, while the two stamps on the side are a yellowish cream (right stamp) and a slightly deeper yellowish cream (left stamp). 

Gum Varieties - 1939 Royal Visit


The 1939 Royal Visit issue is similar to the preceding and subsequent definitive issues in terms of the large amount of variation in the gum found. As the scans above and below show, there are at least six different types and quite possibly seven or eight. Shown above, from left to right are:

  • Smooth cream gum with a satin sheen
  • Smooth mottled yellowish cream gum with a satin sheen.
  • Streaky yellowish cream gum with a satin sheen.
  • Smooth yellowish cream with a semi-gloss sheen.
  • Smooth mottled yellowish cream with a semi-gloss sheen.
Not shown here are is one other variety that I have seen over the years: the smooth brownish gum with a semi gloss sheen. As you can see in the scan above, these are quite distinct. How any collector can dismiss these variations as not collectible is beyond me. 

The scan below shows a seventh variety on the stamp at right, which is the streaky brownish cream with a satin sheen. 



It is my belief that the differences in the appearance of the gum, including the colour, how uniform the coverage is, and the sheen are all a function of both the chemical makeup, as well as the method of application. In this sense, they are a component of the mint stamps, just as much as the ink or the paper is. Therefore, I really do believe that they form an important aspect of the issue which should not be overlooked.


Plate Blocks


As stated earlier, these two issues provide a vast amount of scope for the specialist, due to the large number of plate combinations possible. The 1937 Coronation Issue was printed from 4 plates, and there are four positions, which makes a basic set of 16 plate blocks. This can easily be expanded for paper, gum and shade varieties. 

On the 1939 Royal Visit, there are supposed to be 176 possible plate number combinations and positions. However 11 of these have never been reported, and some are very rare, and worth thousands of dollars including:

  • All known positions of the 1c plate 1-3, which are so far only UL, UR and LL.
  • All known positions of the 1c plate 1-4, which are so far only UL, LL and LR.
  • All known positions of the 1c plate 2-3, which are so far only UL, LL, LR.
  • All known positions of the 1c plate 2-4, which are so far only UL, UR or LL.
  • Plate 5-1 of the 3c which has never been seen, and likely does not exist.
  • All known positions of plate 5-3 of the 3c, which so far are only the UL and LL positions.
The remaining blocks do vary quite a bit in price, but all of them, including the most common, are worth quite a bit more than the price of four singles. They can be summarized as follows:

  • 1c - 18 plates: 1-1 to 1-4; 2-1 to 2-4; 3-1 to 3-4; 4-1 to 4-4 and 5-1 & 5-2. All positions exist for all except the rare plates mentioned above. Here there are 68 different blocks to collect without considering any of the paper, shade or gum varieties that I discussed above. 
  • 2c - 6 plates: 1-1 to 1-2; 2-1 to 2-2 and 3-1 to 3-2. All positions exist for a total of 24 basic blocks. Why so few plates were used compared to the 1c, which had almost the same issue quantity is a bit of a mystery. 
  • 3c - 19 confirmed plates: 1-1 to 1-4; 2-1 to 2-4; 3-1 to 3-4, 4-1 to 4-4; 5-2 to 5-4. All positions exist for all except the rare plates mentioned above. Here there are 74 different blocks to collect without considering any of the paper, shade or gum varieties that I discussed above. 


Position Dots

Many of the plate blocks printed by the CBN show small dots in the selvage, in various positions. It is not known what the purpose of these dots were, but they are found in various positions. I have not examined enough blocks yet to compile a complete listing. However, so far I have found:

  • Two dots in the lower selvage, of the lower right block of the 2c War Memorial, one being the frame colour and the other being black, and confirming that they came from each plate used. The black dot is under the "N" of "Canadian" in the inscription, while the brown dot is under the "E" of "Note". 
I will expand the above list, as I have the opportunity to examine more blocks.


Re-Entries

There is only one documented re-entry on the 1939 Royal Visit Issue, and no documented re-entries on the 1937 Coronation issue. The one known re-entry occurs on the 2c War Memorial stamp and consists of some faint doubling of the horizontal steps of the memorial. Unitrade states that this re-entry comes from position 17 of the lower left pane of plate 2-2. However Ralph Trimble, the preeminent re-entry specialist says that there are many positions which exist with this re-entry, although he does not specify which ones. You can see a nice, high resolution image of this re-entry by clicking this link:

http://www.re-entries.com/post_medallions.html

and scrolling almost to the bottom of the page.

My instinct, given the sheer quantity of stamps printed, is to suggest that there must surely be more re-entries on these issues. However, it is entirely possible that there isn't. Why? Well the main reason might be that instead of re-working worn plates, the CBN simply decided to make new ones. That would certainly account for the unusually large number of plates used. If that were the case, then there will indeed be few to no re-entries. However, these stamps are very inexpensive, and it would certainly be a fun exercise to go through several thousand mint or used examples searching for that elusive, undiscovered re-entry.

Colour Shifts On The 1939 Royal Visit Issue



When the stamps were printed, they were run through the presses twice. It would appear that the frames were printed first, and then the vignettes. There was a preprinted space within which the vignette was supposed to sit. In the vast majority of stamps that you will see, the vignettes will either be perfectly positioned, or will only encroach on the design very slightly, but not so much that you can see white space where the design is supposed to be. 

However there are some instances where the vignette is significantly out of alignment with the frame, either in the horizontal or vertical direction. In these instances, the result can be quite striking, as in the case of the 1c pair from plate 2-1 above. The portraits are shifted upward by almost 1 mm, resulting in a very noticeable white space at the bottom of the ovals. 

In other instances, it is not so noticeable, unless you examine the stamp, closely. For example, take a look at the 2c below:



Because the sky of the vignette is normally white at the top, it is not immediately apparent that the vignette is shifted downward slightly. However, if you look at the date "1939" and the thick white lines flanking it, you can see black lines running through them. These are of course the bottom steps of the monument. 

Which shifts you consider to be collectible has to be a matter of personal preference of course, but I think any complete specialized collection should include some, if for no other reason to illustrate what can, and did happen with the printing of these stamps. 


Imperforate Varieties

Image result for 1939 royal visit sheet

All four of these stamps exist imperforate, and are generally collected as pairs. A very limited number of imperforate plate blocks also exist. These items are all very challenging and represent an aspect to a specialized collection that will keep you searching for a lifetime. The numbers of pairs and plate blocks that are reported are as follows:

Pairs:


  • 3c Coronation - 75 pairs.
  • 1c Royal Visit - 100 pairs.
  • 2c Royal Visit - 100 pairs.
  • 3c Royal Visit - 100 pairs.
Plate Blocks:

  • 3c Coronation - 3 blocks. Unitrade specifies neither the plates nor the positions.
  • 1c Royal Visit - plate 1-1 LR; plate 2-1 LL & UR; and plate 4-2 UL.
  • 2c Royal Visit - plate 1-2 LL; plate 2-2 UR, LR and LL.
  • 3c Royal Visit - plate 2-1 UL; plate 2-2 LL; plate 2-3 LR and plate 4-3 LL.


Proof Material


There are 17 proof items listed on the BNA proofs website, which can be summarized as follows:

  • 3 essays with photographic vignettes of the three Royal Visit issues.
  • 7 large die proofs in issued colours of just the frames.
  • 3 trial colour proofs on India paper in black. 
  • 1 large die proof of the 1937 Coronation issue on India paper
  • 2 trial colour proofs of the 1937 Coronation issue on India paper.
  • 1 small die proof of the 1937 Coronation issue on India paper. 
Most of these are reportedly unique, and consequently very expensive for this period, being in the $1,000-$3,000 price range for each item. I cannot recall the last time I saw a proof from this issue offered for sale in any of the major auctions in Canada. I am fairly certain that it will take you decades to locate and acquire all 17 items and even then you will spend between $35,000 and $50,000 in all likelihood. All of the sudden these two cheap commemorative sets that are sandwiched in between the Mufti and War Issues, taking one single page in an album, don't seem so easy to collect to completion after all, do they?

The links to the BNA proofs where you can view this material are here:

http://www.bnaproofs.com/can-mufti.html   (the middle of this page)


When you get to these pages, you will see white rectangular boxes off to the right side next to each listing. These are links to the item scans. They are not labelled, so you might miss them if you weren't aware of what they are. Most all of these 17 items are ilustrated, so you can see exactly what they look like. 

OHMS Perfins

Image result for Canada #OA237

These issues are some of the few to exist with both the 5-hole and 4-hole types. Both types exist in up to eight different orientations as follows:


  • Upright, reading from left to right.
  • Upright, reading from right to left.
  • Sideways, reading upwards.
  • Sideways, reading downwards.
  • Inverted, reading from left to right.
  • Inverted, reading from right to left.
In addition the 5 hole type exists with a "missing pin in the S" variety, which is really like a whole other type. I do not know if all four stamps exist with all eight positions, but if they do, there would be 4 stamps x 3 types x 8 positions = 96 possible stamps. All of these stamps list in the $80-$180 range, so this is  very challenging aspect of the issue in its own right. 

In addition to the above, many of these perfins are found doubled, or doubled with one inverted. Great care must be taken when purchasing these as they have been very widely faked, since the basic stamps are so inexpensive. There are specific characteristics to the dies used for these perfins, and both the shape, arrangement and spacing of the holes is very specific on the genuine stamps. There were up to 10 dies used for the 4-hole type, so there are many different genuine type. The forgery expert Kenneth Pugh has published a very good series of reference manuals titled "Reference Manual of BNA Fakes, Forgeries and Counterfeits". The volume in the series that deals with these issues is "Series 2 - release 5". You would do well to acquire and read a copy of this book if you are contemplating collecting these to any serious degree. 


First Day Covers and Postal History

Image result for Canada 1939 Royal Visit First Day Cover

There are a good number of different first day covers to collect for these issues, both as plain covers with no cachet, and with a variety of decorative cachets, like the one shown above. Most of the Royal Visit covers I have seen like this have the entire set on them, but there were also covers issued for each value individually. Many were canceled with CDS's like the one above, but there was also a fancy flag cancel used for this issue as well. You could try finding a complete set of all known cachets and then try to get a complete set for all the cities in Canada which produced the covers. They are generally very affordable, being under $5 each. 

Of course other than first day covers, you can also try to collect these issues used on regular commercial covers. Of course domestic usages of the 2c and 3c values will be very common and the 1c less so. However, you can spice up a collection of these by looking for advertising covers or hotel covers, which will have nice graphic designs. Alternatively you can look for covers from small towns which don't exist anymore or that do exist, but just did not have a large volume of mail. Finally, you can try to find foreign usages to various destinations where the postage has been paid with multiples of these stamps. Given that the Mufti definitives were available when these stamps were issued, I would expect that multiples used on cover will be much scarcer than one would initially expect. 

Last, but by no means least, you can have a lot of fun collecting small town cancels on these stamps. You can still find used bundleware of these, and there were many, many small towns during this period that no longer exist, as well as post offices that closed during this time, or that have since closed. There are literally thousands of post office cancels that you could potentially collect on these four stamps. So there is always something that you can occupy yourself with. 

This concludes my discussion of these two issues. Hopefully you can see that for this is an excellent choice for collectors who want to collect in this period, but who lack the funds to tackle the more expensive definitive issues. As I said above, I don't think you would spend less than a lifetime acquiring the imperfs, proofs and OHMS perfins. Then, the other aspects would fill in the time while you wait for the other material to come up for sale.