Three examples of the 10c Olive Green Jack Pine stamp of the 1967-1973 Centennial Issue of Canada with PVA gum

The 10c Jack Pine Stamp of the 1967-73 Centennial Issue Part Three

Today's post will be the last to deal with the 10c Jack Pine design from this series. I will examine the last group of printings - those which were made using PVA gum. According to Unitrade, the 10c Forests stamp from the Caricature issue, that replaced this set, was first issued on September 8, 1972. This would suggest that there should have been no more printings of this stamp after that date. Yet, according to Unitrade, the chronology of the printings for this value is really quite interesting indeed:


  1. Printings on medium fluorescent paper from plate 3 first appeared in March 1971.
  2. The low fluorescent paper printings did not appear until 1973. Unitrade does not provide a preceise issue date for these. 
  3. The general Ottawa tagged stamps appeared first, in February 1972.
  4. The Winnipeg tagged stamps appeared later, in November 1972, after the general tagging had already been introduced.
So the immediate question that comes to mind is: why would any printings of this stamp have been made in 1973? I believe that the answer may have to do with the problems caused by the OP-4 taggant that was used for the first printings of the Caricature medium value landscape designs. I think the untagged low fluorescent stamps were very likely made during the period in which the post office department was preparing new printings of the 10c forests, with the more stable OP-2 tagging. But this is just conjecture at this point.
All of the printings made with PVA gum came from plate 3 only. However, the tagged stamps have the selvage trimmed, so that the stamps do not bear a plate number. 
Collectors will be surprised to learn that there are several levels of fluorescence to be found, differences in other attributes of the paper, slight differences in the appearance of the gum, as well as at least two shades of ink used to print the stamps. Finally, there will be variations in the line perf for those printings issued during much of 1971, though by the end of 1971 the 11.95 machines will have been retired completely from production, so that all stamps should be perf. 11.85 on all sides. 
Let's now take a look at some of these varieties in depth:

Shades

In examining the stamps in my stock, I have found three different shades of ink on these stamps. One of the shades seems to comprise the bulk of the stamps I looked at, while the other two shades only seemed to occur on one of the stamps I looked at.

The first scan below shows all three of these together, and then the next two show side by side comparisons of each of the end stamp with the middle stamp:

If you look carefully at the overall scan you should see that the shade of the stamp on the right is yellowish and slightly brownish compared to the middle and left stamps. The middle stamp shade contains a slight hint of grey, while the left stamp is a deep, rich olive green.

Let's take a look at the close-up scans and then I can name the colours with reference to the Stanley Gibbons colour key:


Here, the difference between these two shades is outstanding and is visible everywhere on the designs. The stamp on the left is a perfect match to Gibbons' deep olive, while the stamp on the right is the basic olive green shade.


The shades of the middle and left stamps are very similar, but the stamp on the left contains less yellow still than the middle stamp. It is also a deeper colour. It is actually a perfect match to Gibbons' bronze green. 
The most common of these shades is the basic olive green, which appears to exist on most, if not all four of the basic printings. The middle stamp is general tagged, while the left stamp is untagged. Further study is needed to establish whether or not these shades can be found on the other printings as well. 
Under UV light, all of these colours generally appear black, so that all of these inks are transformative. 


Paper Characteristics Other Than Fluorescence

In studying these stamps, I have noted the following differences in paper:


  1. A very lightly coated horizontal wove paper that appears a very light cream colour when viewed against a stark white background. If you hold the paper up to a strong back light, you can usually just see a very fine horizontal mesh pattern, in which the striations are very closely spaced. Usually it is easier to see on selvage than it is on the printed portion of the stamp. Often you can see the weave direction as very light horizontal ribbing on the gum side.   
  2. A whiter paper that is identical in all respects to the above paper, except for the slight difference in colour, as seen in normal light. 
  3. A slightly whiter and also lightly coated vertical wove paper that appears very similar to the above paper, except that when held up to a strong backlight, there is generally no mesh pattern visible in the paper. 
It would seem that none of these three papers is confined to any specific variety of printing for these stamps, so that it should be possible to find examples of all the major printings on all three types of paper. 
The difference between the cream and white colours is easiest to see from the back of the stamps and by viewing the stamps against a stark white background, like the back of a 102 card. The scan below shows this difference clearly:
The cream paper is shown on the right, while the whiter paper is shown on the left.


Paper Fluorescence

Unitrade lists only medium and low fluorescence for these stamps, which is confusing because many of the papers are speckled and yet, none of this is mentioned in the Unitrade listings, or reflected in the nomenclature they use. What adds to the confusion are two things:

  1. Many of the so called low fluorescent papers are actually dull or non-fluorescent papers that contain fluorescent fibres of varying brightness. 
  2. The so called medium fluorescent paper is the same brightness level as the papers found for some of the tagged printings, which were classified as being low fluorescent. So the classifications in Unitrade are inconsistent. 
The picture below shows the basic difference in appearance between stamps on medium fluorescent paper, as well as stamps on low fluorescent paper, as seen from the back:

The so called medium fluorescent paper is shown on the left, while the low fluorescent paper is shown on the right. 

Low Fluorescent Papers

In studying these stamps, I have found five different types of paper that Unitrade would classify as low fluorescent:


  1. Non-fluorescent grey blue under UV, but containing a sparse concentration of low fluorescent fibres and a sparse concentration of medium fluorescent fibres. 
  2. Dull fluorescent greyish white, but containing a sparse concentration of low fluorescent fibres, a very sparse concentration of medium fluorescent fibres and very few high fluorescent fibres. 
  3. Dull fluorescent greyish, but containing a sparse concentration of low fluorescent fibres, a sparse concentration of medium fluorescent fibres and a very sparse concentration of high fluorescent fibres. 
  4. Dull fluorescent ivory grey, containing a sparse concentration of low fluorescent fibres and a very sparse concentration of medium fluorescent fibres. 
  5. Non-fluorescent blue grey under UV, but containing a sparse concentration of low fluorescent fibres, a sparse concentration of medium fluorescent fibres and a very sparse concentration of high fluorescent fibres. 
The scans below show all five of these types as seen from both the front of the stamps, and from the back, where it is a little easier to see the differences:

Type 1 is shown at top left, followed by 2 at the upper right. Type 3 appears and lower left and type 4 appears at lower right.



Type 1 is shown at top left, followed by 2 at the upper right. Type 3 appears and lower left and type 4 appears at lower right.



These are all type 5.


These are all type 5. The top stamp and lower left stamp actually appear the same in reality. The lower right stamp appears more whitish because it has been affected by migration from an OP-4 tagged stamp. I don't think, based on the strength of the tagging on the front that it is this tagging that has migrated, but rather, other stamps with OP-4 tagging that had come into contact with this stamp.



Medium Fluorescent Papers

I have found what I believe to be three types of the medium fluorescent paper. All three appear virtually identical when the stamps are examined under UV from the back. However, from the front, slightly different colours are apparent


  1. Low fluorescent light blue paper, containing a low density concentration of low fluorescent fibres, a sparse concentration of medium fluorescent fibres and very few high fluorescent fibres. 
  2. Low fluorescent greyish, containing a low density concentration of low fluorescent fibres and a very sparse concentration of medium fluorescent fibres. 
  3. Low fluorescent blue grey containing a low density concentration of low fluorescent fibres, a very sparse concentration of medium fluorescent fibres and very few brownish woodpulp fibres.
The pictures below show these types from both the front of the stamps on which they are found, and the back:

The top left stamp is type 1, the top right stamp is type 2, and the bottom two stamps are type 3.

Here are the backs, which look, very, very similar:



What is interesting here is that the untagged stamps are the only ones where the Unitrade catalogue description is consistent with what one actually sees. Here they are Unitrade #462iv. However, both the Winnipeg tagged stamp and the General tagged stamps shown here are not listed in Unitrade. I believe that:
  1. The Unitrade listing for #462piv should be changed to read W2B MF-fl, rather than LF, as all of the stamps I have seen from this printing look like this.
  2. A listing should be added for the General tagged stamp on MF-fl paper. It could be called 462pv. 


Gum
It would surprise most collectors to learn that there are two types of PVA gum found on these stamps:
  1. A colourless and almost matte gum that is so thin that it almost appears as though the stamp has no gum at first glance. If you view stamps with this gum at an angle to the light you can catch a small amount of glare, so that I classify the sheen as an eggshell sheen: not quite matte but much duller than a satin sheen. Under 10x magnification, you can see that it uniformly coats the paper surface, and is quite crackly. 
  2. A thicker colourless gum that is noticeably shinier than the above gum, and a little whiter. When stamps with this gum are viewed under a light source, there is an obvious glare that makes it clear that the stamps are gummed. Under magnification, the gum appears the same as above, but it is clearly thicker and is also crackly in appearance. 
The picture below captures the difference between these two types of gum:
Notice how much shiner the the gum on the bottom stamp is compared to the top stamp. This is not a trick of the light - it is a real and noticeable difference once you know what to look for.

At first I had thought that these gums would correspond to a particular printing, but after examining all the stamps in my stock, it is clear that all four basic varieties of stamp can be found with both types of gum, depending on when they were printed.


Perforations

The Winnipeg tagged stamps can be found with all four combinations of line perforation, being 11.85, 11.95, 11.95 x 11.85 and 11.85 x 11.95. The general tagged stamps can also be found with four different perforation measurements as well. The untagged stamps can also be found with all four measurements. However, I would expect that the printings on low fluorescent paper should only exist perforated 11.85, because they were issued in 1973, after the 11.95 machines had been retired fully from service.

However, upon checking the perforations of the stamps on low fluorescent paper, I see the same range of perforation measurements, which should not be possible if the stamp was released in 1973. Thus, I believe Unitrade's date of 1973 for the untagged stamps on the low fluorescent paper is not correct. In my mind, it must be earlier. 
Plate Flaws

None of the catalogues that I am aware of list, or make any mention of any plate flaws or varieties, including the plastic flow varieties that are known on this value. This is very odd to me, given that it was the most heavily printed of all the high value stamps, given the number of different postal uses it had. However, I have found one stamp that shows an interesting hairline variety, where a horizontal hairline runs from the middle of the "N" of "Canada" to the left edge of the design. This is the first plate variety I have found on this stamp, and the scan below shows it clearly:

This is quite promising, as it suggests to me that there are probably other, similar flaws to be found on the other high values also.

Winnipeg Tagging

Unitrade states that the Winnipeg tagged stamps were issued in November 1972, well after the General Ottawa Tagged stamps had appeared. I believe that these may have represented an emergency printing that was made to replace the OP-4 tagged 10c Forests stamps that the post office was having problems with. However, I am not entirely certain of this.

The Winnipeg tagging was applied in the same fashion to the sheets as the earlier Winnipeg tagging: 8.5 mm bars applied down the vertical perforations in the sheet, with the spacing between bands being narrower for the outer two columns, than the inner columns.

The tagging bars do not appear anywhere near as dark as many of the tagging bars found on the earlier printings that had either dextrose or spotty white gum. The tagging is a very light yellowish cream in normal light. It is still readily visible, but not to the same extent as on the earlier printings. Under UV light, they appear as a slight yellowish discolouration at the sides of the stamp. The following picture will show you what I mean:

You have to look carefully to see it, but if you look at the selvage tabs, you can just see a line of discolouration where the tagging bars end. As you can see, it is not nearly as bright as some of the other Winnipeg tagging we have seen. You could easily overlook it if you were not on the lookout for it.

Ottawa Tagging

According to Unitrade, the Ottawa tagged stamps appeared first, before the Winnipeg tagged ones, in February 1972, which is counter-intuitive, as one would have expected that the Winnipeg tagged stamps would have been issued first.  It would appear that all of the Ottawa tagging consisted of 4 mm wide bands that were applied down the vertical perforations in the sheet. The spacing between bands was 33 mm in the horizontal direction. However, differences can be found in the appearance of the tagging under UV light, as well as differences in the intensity of the bands, as they appear in normal light.

The scan below shows two stamps, one with dark yellow tagging bars that are very clearly visible in normal light, and another that has much lighter bands:


The lighter tagging is shown on the right, while the darker tagging is shown on the left. At first is might appear that the difference in appearance is merely due to the left stamp having a larger quantity of taggant applied as compared to the right, but that is not the case. The actual colour of the tagging varies slightly under UV, with the darker tagging being a very deep, highly saturated yellow and the lighter tagging being a paler yellow. The picture below shows these differences - not quite as clearly as they appear in reality, but enough that you should be able to see that there is a difference:

Compare the left hand side of the lower left stamp with the left side of the lower right one. If you do that you can see that the tagging on the two left stamps is a deeper shade of yellow than the two right hand stamps. This difference likely reflects slight differences in the chemical composition of the taggant compound that was applied to the stamps.

Bringing it All Together

Determining the exact number of collectible varieties for these printings is difficult because I do not currently know whether or not the bronze green and deep olive green shades can be found for all printings, nor do I know for certain what the limit is on the number of levels of paper fluorescence that can be found for each major variety. However, some approximations can be made, based on what is known:

For the untagged plate 3 stamps there would appear to be:


  1. 7 different types of paper, assuming that all the three basic paper types correspond to particular levels of fluorescence and do not exist with more than one fluorescence level. Two of these are the so called MF paper and five are LF.
  2. Two types of PVA gum.
  3. One single shade being olive green.
  4. Four different perforations.
So, this would give 7 x 2 x 1 x 4 = 56 collectible stamps, 224 collectible plate blocks and 672 collectible blank corner blocks.
For the Winnipeg tagged stamps, it seems that there may be:
  1. 1 paper type.
  2. 2 types of PVA gum
  3. 1 shade, being olive green, 
  4. 4 different perforations.
  5. 2 different tagging spacings.
This would give 16 different collectible stamps, and 96 different blank corner blocks.
Finally, for the general tagged stamps, there seems to be:
  1. 2 different paper types.
  2. 2 different gum types.
  3. 2 different types of OP-2 tagging.
  4. 4 different perforations.
  5. 2 different shades, at least.
Thus, it is this stamp that winds up with the largest amount of scope, with 64 collectible stamps, and 768 blank corner blocks.
So, there is quite a bit more to the Ottawa tagged stamps, than Unitrade would lead on.
This brings me to the conclusion of my posts about this value. Next week I will begin examining the 15c Bylot Island stamp. 

Previous article The 15c Bylot Island Stamp of the 1967-73 Centennial Issue Part One
Next article The 10c Jack Pine Stamp of the 1967-73 Centennial Issue Part Two

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