The $1 Edmonton Oilfield Stamp From the 1967-1973 Centennial Issue
Today, I finally reach the end of my detailed coverage of this incredible definitive issue, with the $1 value depicting the Edmonton Oilfield, by H.G Glyde. Like most of the stamps in this issue, this stamp had many printings and there are plenty of paper and gum varieties to collect, as well as a few subtle shades.
Unitrade lists no fewer than 6 varieties of this stamp, four of which have dextrine gum, and the remaining two of which are PVA gum printings. The dextrine gum printings are listed as existing on dull, dead, low fluorescent and hibrite paper. As is the case for the other values of this series, the paper exhibits other differences besides the fluorescence level, and the low and medium fluorescent papers are actually flecked papers at a lower fluorescence level, which appear brighter than they actually are, due to the fluorescent fibre content of the paper.
The shades found on this stamp are very subtle and really only visible when several stamps are very closely compared. Consequently, I am not going to approach this stamp by discussing the shades first. Rather, I will go back to describing the different attributes of the stamp: the paper characteristics, fluorescence, gum, etc.
According to Unitrade, all of the dextrine gum printings were issued in 1967. The printings on hibrite paper were issued in March 1971. Finally, the printings with PVA gum were issued in December 1971, like the 50c value. Given the prevalence of the perforation varieties on the other values, I would expect to find all four line perforations on all printings of this stamp.
So, without further delay, the rest of this post will discuss these varieties in detail.
Paper Characteristics Other Than Fluorescence
In terms of the papers, as with all other values in the series, there are differences in the attributes of the paper used to print these stamps, other than the fluorescence. The different types of paper that I have found on the printings of this stamp can be described as follows:
- A very light cream coloured horizontal wove paper, that shows no apparent mesh pattern when viewed from the front or back. When viewed against strong back-lighting, you can see very fine horizontal striations in the paper. Under magnification, it becomes apparent that the paper is uncoated, and has a very slightly uneven surface texture. This paper appears white when compared to the papers used for the dextrine gum printings, but is very light cream when viewed against a stark white background, like a stock card, or when compared to the next type of paper.
- A white, horizontal wove paper, that has no clear mesh pattern when viewed normally, or against any back-lighting. This paper too appears uncoated under magnification, but unlike the first type of paper above, the surface appears to have been burnished smooth prior to printing.
- A white vertical wove paper that is similar to the first type above, but it is vertical wove, and white in colour.
- A white vertical wove paper that shows very distinct and obvious vertical mesh when viewed from the back. This is the paper commonly known as the hibrite paper, though, as we shall see, there is some variation in the brightness of this paper.
- A light cream coloured, horizontal wove paper that shows very slight vertical ribbing when viewed from the gum side. When viewed through strong back-lighting, the vertical mesh pattern in the paper is very obvious and distinct. There is clearly a white, smooth surface coating on the printing surface of the paper.
- A cream coloured, horizontal wove paper that shows no distinct mesh pattern when viewed normally. When viewed against strong back lighting the mesh pattern is seen to be both horizontal and vertical. Under magnification, this paper can be seen to be uncoated, but it has been ver clearly burnished smooth prior to printing.
- A light cream coloured, vertical wove paper that shows no distinct mesh pattern when viewed normally, or against strong back-lighting. The printing surface is uncoated, but burnished smooth.
- A light cream coloured, horizontal wove paper that shows no distinct mesh pattern when viewed normally, or against strong back-lighting. The printing surface is uncoated, but burnished smooth.
- A cream coloured, horizontal wove paper that shows very light ribbing on the gum side. When viewed against strong back lighting the mesh pattern is seen to be both horizontal and vertical. Under magnification, this paper can be seen to be uncoated, but it has been very clearly burnished smooth prior to printing.
The pictures below show some of the differences in the characteristics of these papers:
This picture shows, though not as clearly as I would like, the difference between the smooth and vertical ribbed paper. You have to view the picture with a slightly relaxed gaze, but if you look at it long enough, you should be able to just see the vertical ribbing on the left stamp. It is most visible near the upper right quarter and upper left quarters of the picture. The stamp on the right, in contrast is on the smooth paper that shows no ribbing. The left stamp is printed on the hibrite paper, and as you can hopefully see, the paper is whiter than the left stamp.
This picture shows two plate blocks of the PVA gum printing, placed on the back of a stark white background. If you allow your gaze to relax a bit, you will see that the paper of the block on the right appears slightly more creamy than the one on the left, which appears whiter.
This picture shows two plate 1 blocks of the dextrine gum printing, with the block on the left being the cream paper, while the block on the right is the light cream paper.
As expected, there are many more varieties of paper fluorescence, other than what is listed in Unitrade. However, as I have often done in the past, I will group the varieties under each of Unitrade's major headings.
I have found five varieties of the basic dull paper, that exhibit quite a range of colours under the UV light, ranging from brownish grey, to greyish white. The first two varieties are shown below:
The block on the left is a brownish grey under the UV light, while the block on the right is a pure grey colour. It is not deep enough though to be non-fluorescent. Both blocks contain 1 or 2 high fluorescent, or hibrite fibres on each stamp, but not enough to make any difference at all to the perceived level of fluorescence.
The next three varieties are shown below:
The pair on the left is an ivory colour under UV light, and it would appear that this is one of the most common colours under UV light. The stamp at top right is an ivory grey colour, while the bottom right stamp is a bright grey - almost bright enough to be low fluorescent, but not quite.
The line separating dull paper from non-fluorescent is a fine one, but generally if the colour is a pure grey, deep grey or violet grey, the paper is non-fluorescent. I have found 3 different varieties of the non-fluorescent paper. The first two are shown in the picture below:
The block on the left is a violet grey colour, while the block on the right is grey under the UV light. The third variety is very similar to the grey block on the right, but has more of an ivory tone to the grey. A picture of that paper type is shown below:
Low Fluorescent Papers With Dextrine Gum
The above picture shows three varieties of what Unitrade calls the low fluorescent paper. The pair shown at the left is a very bright ivory cream colour under UV. It is too bright to be classified as dull, which is why it is classified as low fluorescent. The stamp at the top left is actually dull fluorescent greyish, and contains sparse concentrations of medium and high fluorescent fibres, which raise the overall perceived fluorescence from dull to low. Finally, the stamp at the bottom right is dull fluorescent greyish white and contains very few medium and high fluorescent fibres.
This picture shows three used stamps, which are all printed on vertically ribbed paper that would be considered to be hibrite for the issue. But a simple comparison reveals that only the top left stamp is truly hibrite. The top right stamp is really a high fluorescent paper, and the bottom stamp is really more of a medium fluorescent. Now, it is possible that soaking may have altered the fluorescence, which is a possibility one always has to watch for with used stamps. But if you look at the picture, you can see that the fluorescence on each of the three stamps is uniform. So, it is unlikely that soaking has affected them, and more probable that there is simply more than one variation of the so called hibrite paper.
The Low Fluorescent Paper With PVA Gum
I have found four different varieties of paper which can all be considered to be low fluorescent flecked. Unitrade lists the paper as LF, but as we shall see, this is not accurate, as most all of the perceived fluorescence is coming from the fluorescent fibres that have been added to the paper.
Here are the first two of these varieties. They are both very similar, except that the block on the right appears slightly more bluish than the block on the left. The basic level of ambient fluorescence in both blocks is dull, with the block on the left being greyish white, and the block on the right being greyish. The block on the right contains a low density concentration of low fluorescent fibres, a sparse concentration of medium fluorescent fibres and a very sparse concentration of high fluorescent fibres. Together, these give the appearance overall of low fluorescence. The block on the left contains the exact same concentration of fluorescent fibres.
This picture shows the next two varieties of this paper. These two varieties are also very similar, differing only in terms of the fluorescent fibre content of the paper. The ambient fluorescence in this paper is dull fluorescent bluish grey. The paper of the block and the top right stamp contains a low density concentration of dull fluorescent fibres, a sparse concentration of low fluorescent fibres and a very sparse concentration of both medium and high fluorescent fibres. The stamp on the bottom right is very similar, but has just a very few high fluorescent fibres, instead of a sparse concentration of them.
The Medium Fluorescent Paper With PVA Gum
I have found three varieties of paper that can be considered to fit within this classification, as shown in the following picture:
The overall appearance of the two blocks at the top of the picture is a light blue, as contrasted to the grey blue of the low fluorescent papers. The block at the bottom appears an ivory colour overall. The actual ambient fluorescence level of the paper is still dull, but the top blocks are bluish white, while the bottom is ivory. The perceived fluorescence overall comes from the fluorescent fibres and the relative concentrations of low, medium, and high fluorescent fibres in each block.
The paper of the block at the bottom contains low density concentrations of both dull and low fluorescent fibres, a sparse concentration of medium fluorescent fibres and a very sparse concentration of high fluorescent fibres, as well as very few brownish woodpulp fibres.
The block at top left contains low density concentrations of low and medium fluorescent fibres, and a very sparse concentration of high fluorescent fibres, as well as very few brownish woodpulp fibres. The block at the top right contains almost the same makeup of fluorescent fibres except that there is a sparse concentration of high fluorescent fibres, rather than a very sparse one.
In studying this stamp I have found four different shades of the ink that was used to print them. The differences are subtle, and generally require comparison with other stamps. However, they are legitimate differences and deserve some coverage here. Unitrade calls this colour carmine-rose, but it isn't even close. It is more of a carmine red bordering on scarlet. So the basic differences between the shades lie in whether they are more toward the carmine end of the spectrum, or the scarlet end, as well as how bright they are.
The shades that I have found on this stamp, according to the Stanley Gibbons colour key so far, are as follows:
- Carmine-red, which appears carmine-red under UV light.
- Scarlet, which appears deep scarlet under UV light.
- A deeper shade of scarlet, which appears deep scarlet under UV light.
- Bright carmine-red, which appears black under UV light.
Generally, the carmine-red shades are found almost exclusively on the printings with dextrine gum while the scarlet shades are found mostly on the PVA gum printings, and on some of the dextrine gum printings. The fourth shade, the bright carmine red, is only found on the printings on hibrite paper.
The pictures below show the differences between the above shades:
This picture shows the carmine-red and scarlet shades. The easiest way to see the difference is to compare the shading in the trenches of the foreground on the bottom two stamps. You should then be able to see that the ink on the pair is darker than it is on the single stamp.
This picture shows the deep scarlet on the right with the scarlet shade which is shown on the left. Again, the trenches in the foreground and the shading on the mountain are the best parts of the design to compare. If you compare the two stamps with a somewhat relaxed gaze, you should be able to spot the difference.
In this picture we have two shades we have already seen: the carmine-red, in the pair, and the deep scarlet. If you compare these with a relaxed gaze, you should be able to see that the ink of the deep scarlet is brighter than the carmine-red.
This picture shows the bright carmine red on hibrite paper on the top and the deep scarlet shade on the bottom stamp. The difference is most apparent by comparing the trenches in the foreground. Clearly, the top stamp is more carmine than the bottom stamp, even though both have about the same level of intensity.
I have found no fewer than 6 varieties of the dextrine gum on this stamp, as follows:
- A smooth, cream coloured gum, with a glossy sheen.
- A smooth, cream coloured gum, with a semi-gloss sheen.
- A smooth, cream coloured gum, with a satin sheen.
- A smooth, deep cream coloured gum, with a semi-gloss sheen.
- A streaky, cream coloured gum, with a semi-gloss sheen.
- A streaky, deep cream coloured gum, with a semi-gloss sheen.
The pictures below show the differences between the cream and deep cream gum colours, and the glossy sheen gum and the satin sheen gum:
This picture shows the cream gum and deep cream gum types. The top block has the smooth cream gum with a semi-gloss sheen, while the bottom block has the deep cream streaky gum with a semi-gloss sheen. The colour difference is very noticeable, as you can see.
This picture makes the gums look white, but in reality they are the same colour as the cream coloured gum block shown in the first picture above. What is picture does show quite well, is the difference between the gum with the satin sheen, shown at the top, with the high gloss gum, that is on the bottom pair.
The PVA gum is found with both satin and eggshell sheens, as with many of the other PVA gum stamps. Fortunately, I happened to have corner blocks of both types, which enabled me to take a picture of both that I believe does show the difference reasonably clearly:
The main difference between the two lies in the discernible sheen that is usually found with this gum, whereas there is a distinct lack of any sheen to the eggshell gum. There isn't really any difference in the appearance of the gum under magnification, so I believe that the eggshell gum is likely more thinly applied than the satin gum is.
After checking the perforations on the stamps I have examined, I have concluded that all four of the line perforations that can be found on all of the printings, so that each stamp can be found with perf. 11.85, 11.95, 11.95 x 11.85 and 11.85 x 11.95.
There are no listed plate varieties or flaws on this value, nor are any plastic flow varieties known.
Putting it All Together
This value is not nearly as complicated as it otherwise could be, due to the fact that all of the paper fluorescence levels only seem to exist with one paper type, and in one shade, which greatly reduces the number of possible varieties that can be collected. I have noticed that there is often more than one gum type to be found though, so I would assume that most, if not all of the printings with dextrine gum can be found with all 6 types, and all the PVA gum printings can be found with both types of PVA. So, the main complication is going to thus lie in the gum types and perforations.
All of the dextrine gum printings were printed from plate 1, while the PVA gum printings came only from plate 2, which means that there are only 4 possible plate blocks for each major variety with each gum type, and 12 different field stock blocks, depending on the selvedge widths. The hibrite paper is only known to exist in blank sheets, so there are no plate blocks for this variety.
So, in terms of the papers and fluorescence levels, I have found:
- Five varieties of the dull paper. So I would expect that there could be as many as 120 (5 x 4 x 6) collectible varieties, 480 plate blocks and 1,440 blank corner blocks.
- Three varieties of the non-fluorescent paper. So I would expect that there could be as many as 72 (3 x 4 x 6) collectible varieties, 288 plate blocks and 864 corner blocks.
- Three varieties of the low fluorescent paper with dextrine gum. Here I would also expect up to 72 collectible varieties, 288 plate blocks and 864 corner blocks.
- Three varieties of the so called hibrite paper. Again, I would expect that there could be as many as 72 collectible varieties and 864 corner blocks.
- Five varieties of the low fluorescent flecked paper with PVA gum. Here, I would expect that there could be as many as 40 collectible (5 x 4 x 2) varieties, 160 plate blocks and 480 corner blocks.
- Three varieties of the medium fluorescent flecked paper with PVA gum. Again, I would expect that there could be as many as 24 collectible varieties (3 x 4 x 2), 96 plate blocks and 288 corner blocks.
Of course, it is unlikely that every gum type exists with every fluorescence level. The actual number of varieties is probably about half of what I have stated above, but is still significant.
This concludes my detailed discussion of this value from the set, and the entire series. I hope you have enjoyed reading these posts as much as I have enjoyed writing them. I will of course continually update them, as more facts and varieties come to light.