The 1970 6c Henry Kelsey stamp of Canada

The 1970 Commemorative Issues - Part One

This week I begin my examination of the issues of the 1970's, beginning of course, with 1970. I am going to cover this year in two posts, with this week's post dealing with the first 6 issues that appeared to May 13, 1970. 

In this group we have a few new developments:

  1. Chalk surfaced paper is introduced for the first time on the Manitoba Centennial issue and the Expo '70 issue.
  2. Winnipeg tagging is used for the first time on commemorative issues other than the Christmas issues, again with the Manitoba Centennial issue, the Expo '70 issue and the 25th Anniversary of the United Nations issues. 
  3. The last bicoloured engraved stamp printed by the CBN appears in this period, with the Northwest Territories Issue. 
  4. The first se-tenant commemorative issue since the 1957 recreational sports issue appears with the Expo '70 issue. 

There are also several trends in stamp production that began in the previous few years that continued on in this year:

  1. The BABN continued to use the 12 x 12.5 comb perforation for the stamps that it printed using photogravure and engraving and line 10.9 for those stamps that it printed using lithography. They also continued to trim the panes on 1 or 3 sides, depending on whether or not the panes were philatelic. 
  2. The CBN continued to use the line perforation that gauged 11.85, 11.95, or compounds for all the stamps they printed. 

This is one of the few years in which, apart from Winnipeg tagged stamps, there are no listed varieties in Unitrade at all. As we shall see, though, there are still a few varieties for specialists to collect - some shade varieties, some fluorescent ink varieties, the usual perforation varieties and a few paper varieties. The papers form an interesting study in the sense that they are different on nearly all 6 of the issues that were released during this period. 

The remainder of this post will explore the aspects of these stamps, after introducing the basic stamps themselves. 

The Stamp Designs, Issue Quantities, Printers, Designers and Engravers

 

The 1970 Manitoba Centennial stamp of Canada

6c blue, yellow and red

"Crossroads of Canada" - Manitoba Centennial issue

Issued: January 27, 1970

Quantity issued: 27,075,000 untagged, and 9,900,000 tagged

Designed by: Kenneth Campbell Lochhead

Printed by CBN using lithography

 

1970 Centennial of Northwest Territories Stamp of Canada

6c deep red and black

Enchanted Owl, by Kenojuak - Centenary of the Northwest Territories

Issued: January 27, 1970

Quantity issued: 27,600,000

Designed by: Norman E. Hallendy and Sharon Van Raalte

Printed by CBN using engraving

 

1970 International Biological Programme stamp of Canada

6c green, light orange and blue

Interior of a leaf - International Biological Programme issue

Issued: February 18, 1970

Quantity Issued: 34,155,000

Designed by: Israel Charney

Printed by BABN using photogravure and engraving

 

The Expo 70 stamp of Canada with red emblem

25c blue, red and black

Expo '67 and Expo '70 emblems - Expo '70 issue

Issued: March 18, 1970

Quantity issued: 2,548,000 untagged and 532,000 tagged

Designed by: Edward R.C. Bethune

Printed by CBN using lithography

 

The Expo 70 stamp of Canada showing dogwood

25c multicoloured

Expo ' 70 emblem and Dogwood - Expo '70 issue

Issued: March 18, 1970

Quantity issued: 2,184,000 untagged and 456,000 tagged

Designed by: Edward R.C. Bethune

Printed by CBN using lithography

 

Expo 70 stamp of Canada showing White Garden Lily

25c multicoloured

Expo ' 70 emblem and White Garden Lily - Expo '70 issue

Issued: March 18, 1970

Quantity issued: 2,184,000 untagged and 456,000 tagged

Designed by: Edward R.C. Bethune

Printed by CBN using lithography

 

Expo 70 stamp of Canada showing white Trillium

25c multicoloured

Expo ' 70 emblem and White Trillium - Expo '70 issue

Issued: March 18, 1970

Quantity issued: 2,184,000 untagged and 456,000 tagged

Designed by: Edward R.C. Bethune

Printed by CBN using lithography

 

1970 Henry Kelsey stamp of Canada

6c multicoloured

300th birth anniversary of Henry Kelsey, a western explorer

Issued: April 15, 1970

Quantity issued: 36,450,000

Designed by: Dennis Eugene Norman Burton

Engraved by: George Arthur Gundersen

Printed by the BABN using photogravure and engraving

 

10c 25th Anniversary of United Nations stamp of Canada from 1970

10c dull blue and white

Energy unification - 25th anniversary of United Nations

Issued: May 13, 1970

Quantity issued: 12,200,000 untagged and 700,000 tagged 

Designed by: Brian Fisher

Printed by BABN using lithography 

 

10c 25th Anniversary of United Nations stamp of Canada from 1970

15c lilac and dark red

Energy unification - 25th anniversary of United Nations

Issued: May 13, 1970

Quantity issued: 11,800,000 untagged and 700,000 tagged 

Designed by: Brian Fisher

Printed by BABN using lithography 

 

What immediately stands out is how relatively scarce the Winnipeg tagged stamps are. The only issue in which the tagged stamps are relatively common is the Manitoba Centennial. For the Expo '70 and United Nations issues, they are genuinely scarce stamps, especially used. These were mainly for airmail use and commercially used examples, especially on cover, are scarce. 

The remainder of this post will explore the various aspects of these issues in greater depth.

Paper Characteristics Other Than Fluorescence

As was the case in the last two years, the paper used to print these stamps shows considerable variation on the characteristics other than the level of fluorescence. The following types of paper are found:

  1. A thick, vertical wove, which has no apparent mesh pattern, even when held up to a string back light. The printing surface is smooth, with a thick, white chalk coating, which under magnification, shows no visible pores. This type of paper is found on the Manitoba Centennial and Expo '70 issues. 
  2. A white horizontal wove paper that has a very clear vertical mesh pattern, when viewed from the back, and against strong back light. The printing surface of this paper is uncoated, and smooth, showing very few tiny pores on the surface under magnification. 
  3. A light cream vertical wove paper that shows no clear mesh pattern, even when held up to a strong back light. The printing surface is smooth and uncoated. This paper is found on the Henry Kelsey issue. 
  4. A similar paper to 3 above, but there is a clear horizontal ribbing visible on the surface when held at an angle to a light source. The horizontal mesh pattern is also obvious when the stamp is viewed against strong back lighting. This paper was used for the International Biological Programme and Henry Kelsey issues. 
  5. A thicker cream paper that is vertical wove and has a very clear horizontal mesh pattern that is just visible from the back of the stamp when viewed at an angle to the light source, but not when the stamp is held up to back lighting. The printing surface has a light, varnish like coating. This paper is found only on the United Nations stamps. 

 

 

Paper Fluorescence

The papers used to print the stamps are generally either dull fluorescent, non-fluorescent or high fluorescent. The Manitoba Centennial and Expo 70 stamps appear non-fluorescent at first, because of the heavy chalk surfacing on the paper, which deadens the appearance under UV. However, on close examination, fluorescent fibres are generally visible in the paper. 

The Northwest Territories centennial is the only issue from this part of 1970 which is found on the high fluorescent/hibrite paper, while the United Nations issue can be found on paper that exhibits a low level of fluorescence. On this issue we also see the re-appearance of brownish woodpulp fibres in the paper. 

The Manitoba Centennial Issue

 The overall appearance of this paper under UV light is either dull fluorescent greyish or dead greyish. On most printings, what appear to be bright fluorescent fibres poke out from beneath the surface coating. When one examines the paper from the back, one can see concentrations of fluorescent fibres in the paper most all of the time. The differences in the paper lie in the differences in the way the surface coating reacts to the light, and how concentrated and bright the fluorescent fibres in the paper are. 

So far I have found six varieties of paper for this stamp as shown in the following pictures:

Two variations of paper on the 1970 Manitoba centennial issue of Canada

The block on the left is non-fluorescent mottled grey, whereas the one on the right is a dull fluorescent mottled bluish grey. The mottling is from the fluorescent fibres in the paper.  Both blocks contain a low density concentration of low fluorescent fibres. 

Two varieties of dull paper on the 1970 Manitoba Centennial stamp of Canada

In this picture these two blocks look similar to the last two, but they are slightly different. The block on the left is a slightly less intense grey, without the bluish tone, while the block on the right is a dull fluorescent greyish white. Again, the two blocks contain a low density concentration of low fluorescent fibres. 

Two varieties of dull paper on the 1970 Manitoba centennial issue

Here, both blocks appear dull fluorescent overall, but the block on the left appears brownish grey, while the one on the right is blue grey with a lot of fluorescent spots poking out. The block on the left contains a low density concentration of low fluorescent fibres. The block on the right appears to contain the same thing, when examined from the back. However the bright fluorescence poking through the non-fluorescent surface coating suggests that the fibres are medium fluorescent or high fluorescent fibres. 

The Northwest Territories Centennial Issue

 On this issue the majority of the stamps are printed on high fluorescent paper, though a few can be found on hibrite paper as well as medium fluorescent paper. These differences do not show up well in pictures - at least not as well as they appear in reality. Nevertheless, I attempt to show the differences between the three paper types in the pictures below:

Medium and high fluorescent paper on the 1970 NWT Centennial issue of Canada

In this picture we see the difference between the high fluorescent paper and the medium fluorescent paper. The high fluorescent paper is on the left, while the medium fluorescent paper is on the right. 

High fluorescent and hibrite papers on the 1970 NWT centennial issue of Canada

Here, we see the difference between the high fluorescent paper, shown on the left, and the hibrite paper, shown on the right. 

Medium fluorescent and hibrite paper on the 1970 NWT Centennary issue of Canada

To show the stark difference between the medium fluorescent paper and the true hibrite paper more clearly, I include the above picture. The medium fluorescent paper is on the left, while the hibrite paper is on the right. 

The International Biological Programme Issue

This issue is listed by Unitrade as only existing on dull paper, which is correct. However, there are at least two varieties of the dull fluorescent paper, that differ according to their colour under UV light.

The pictures below attempt to show these subtle differences:

Two varieties of dull paper on the 1970 Biological Programme issue of Canada

Although it looks greyish here, the bottom block is an ivory colour under the UV light, appearing quite creamy. The stamp on top is the bluish grey dull fluorescent paper. 

Two varieties of dull paper on the 1970 Biological Programme Issue of Canada

 The difference between these two blocks is difficult to see in the picture, but if you look closely the block on the right is slightly duller than the one on the left. The block on the right is the grey dull fluorescent paper, whereas the one on the left is bluish grey. 

Two varieties of dull paper on the 1970 Biological Programme Issue of Canada

Here we have the most stark contrast, with the ivory dull fluorescent paper on the left, and a bluish white paper on the right, which is almost bright enough to be low fluorescent. 

The Expo '70 Issue

Non-fluorescent paper on the 1970 Expo 70 Issue of Canada

On this issue the papers exhibit more of less the same range of dull fluorescent and non-fluorescent flecked reactions as the Manitoba Centennial issue does, with the block shown above being fairly typical. The main difference between the paper types for this issue are the brightness and concentration of fluorescent fibres contained in the paper, which affect the overall appearance of the entire block. 

The Henry Kelsey Issue

This is the only issue that I have found on two distinctly different types of paper, with one being smooth, and the other having a distinct horizontal ribbing. In terms of fluorescence, I do not see much difference between the two types. Both are dull fluorescent papers. However, I have found three slightly different colours of paper under the UV light: grey, bluish white and ivory. The scans below show the differences:

Two varieties of dull paper on the 1970 Henry Kelsey Issue of Canada

The block on the left is printed on the dull fluorescent greyish paper, while the one on the right is the dull fluorescent bluish white paper. 

Three varieties of dull paper on the 1970 Henry Kelsey Issue of Canada

In this picture the dull fluorescent greyish and bluish white papers are shown at the top, and then the bottom block, on the ivory paper is shown at the bottom. This block is almost bright enough to be considered low fluorescent rather than dull. In any event it is quite markedly different from the grey paper. 

The 25th Anniversary of United Nations Issue

Unitrade lists two varieties of paper for this issue, dull and fluorescent. In reality the papers are more complex than this because in addition to the differences in the basic fluorescence level, there also appears to have been some experimentation with the paper coatings used, which had the effect of making the paper appear duller than it really was under UV light. 

 The dull and fluorescent papers on the 15c United Nations Stamp of Canada from 1970

The above scan shows the basic difference between the dull and fluorescent papers on this issue. The dull paper, as shown on the right, appears greyish, whereas the low fluorescent paper, shown on the left, appears bluish white and is quite a bit brighter. 

All of the papers generally show a sparse concentration of brownish woodpulp fibres in the paper, which only show up under UV light, and which can be readily seen by looking at the back of the stamps:

Brownish woodpulp fibres as seen on the back of some United Nations stamps of Canada from 1970

If you look closely at the above picture you can see that the stamps appear grainy and mottled. This is the woodpulp fibres in the paper. On some varieties of the paper, the back appears a brownish yellow, as does the stamp on the left, whereas on other stamps, like the one on the right, the paper is a greyish colour. 

Upon close examination of the dull papers it becomes apparent that they are actually dull with sparse concentrations of low and medium fluorescent fibres. The dull appearance comes from the surface coating of the paper, which obscures the fluorescent fibres. The scans below show some of the different variations of dull fluorescent paper that I have found on these:

Two varieties of the dull fluorescent paper on the 1970 United Nations stamp of Canada

The stamp on the left is a dull fluorescent paper that contains a sparse concentration of low and medium fluorescent fibres. The surface coating appears a mottled brown under UV and this gives the stamp the overall greyish appearance that you see here. The stamp on the right is a dull fluorescent greyish colour, and under magnification you can see that it contains a low density concentration of brownish woodpulp fibres mixed with a low density concentration of low fluorescent fibres. Overall though, it appears dull. The paper coating this time does not make the stamp appear duller that it otherwise appears. 

Two varieties of dull fluorescent paper on the 1970 United Nations Stamp of Canada

Both of these stamps appear dull fluorescent greyish. Upon close examination we can see a low density concentration of low fluorescent fibres and a high density concentration of brownish woodpulp fibres.  

There would appear to be at least four variations of the dull paper, which differ according to both the concentration of fluorescent fibres in the paper and the concentration of brownish woodpulp fibres. The fluorescent paper also contains fluorescent fibres, but its basic fluorescence level is fluorescent, rather than dull. 

The 10c value is found on similar papers, but a major difference is that the papers on the 10c do not seem to contain as high a concentration of brownish woodpulp fibres as the 15c. The following pictures show some of the paper variations that I have found on the 10c value:

Fluorescent and dull paper on the 10c United Nations stamp of Canada from 1970

The stamp on the left is the fluorescent paper, while the one on the right is the dull paper. This fluorescent paper is essentially the same as the fluorescent paper on the 15c value. The paper on the right is dull fluorescent greyish, but contains sparse concentrations of low fluorescent fibres and brownish woodpulp fibres, which obscure the fluorescent fibres. 

Two varieties of dull paper on the 10c United Nations stamp of Canada from 1970

The stamp on the left is an anomaly. It appears dull fluorescent ivory grey. On the back it appears ivory, with almost no visible woodpulp fibres. You have to look very closely with a loupe to see a few faint brown woodpulp fibres. There is a low density concentration of low fluorescent fibres in the paper. On the printing surface, there appears to be a sparse concentration of brownish woodpulp fibres, but they do not make the stamp appear that much duller, as they have done with the other stamps we have looked at so far. The stamp on the right is the same stamp that was in the right of the previous picture.  

 

Two varieties of dull fluorescent paper on the 10c United Nations stamp of Canada from 1970

Both of these stamps appear dull fluorescent, with the stamp on the left appearing greyish and the one on the right appearing yellowish grey. With the left stamp however, it becomes apparent that there is a high concentration of fluorescent fibres in the paper that are poking out from under a dull surface coating. Upon closer examination, this stamp contains a low density concentration of low and medium fluorescent fibres, as well as brownish woodpulp fibres. There is indeed a non-fluorescent greyish surface coating applied to the paper. 

The stamp on the right is similar, but instead of containing a low density concentration of low and medium fluorescent fibres, only low fluorescent fibres are present. Also, the surface coating is more greyish and shows clear woodpulp fibres. 

In conclusion I would say that there are at least six varieties of the dull fluorescent paper, and possibly more. I have only really seen one variation of the listed fluorescent paper, but some of the variations of the dull paper come fairly close to being fluorescent. 

 

Shade Varieties and Ink Varieties

I have found some interesting shade varieties on the Henry Kelsey stamp, involving the sky. In most stamps the sky appears as a mixture of predominantly yellow and blue hues. But in some stamps, the sky appears quite pinkish. An example of this variety is shown below next to a normal stamp:

Two shades of the 1970 Henry Kelsey Stamp of Canada

If you compare the to stamps with a somewhat relaxed gaze, you can clearly see that the stamp on the left has a more pinkish tone overall to the sky than does the stamp on the right/ 

On the 15c value of the United Nations Issue, it is possible to find fluorescent ink varieties in which the lilac ink appears pink under UV light, as shown below:

The normal and fluorescent inks on the 15c United Nations stamp of Canada from 1970

These stamps appear more or less the same under normal light. However, the right stamp appears completely different from the left stamp under UV light. 

The Manitoba Centennial issue exits with a similar variety. The blue colour normally retains its blue appearance under UV light. However, there are a few stamps for which the blue colour turns purple under UV:

regular and transformative ink printings of the 1970 Manitoba centennial issue of Canada

 It is difficult to see in this picture, but the blue ink on all of the stamps in the right block appears purple, whereas the stamps in the block on the left still appear blue. 

Gum Types

This is the last year in which all of the stamps issued are issued with dextrine gum. However, as before, the dextrine gum used by BABN differs quite significantly in appearance from that used by CBN. In addition, there is variation in the gum used by BABN as well. 

The gum types found on these stamps can best be described as follows:

  1. Thick deep cream gum that is smooth and has a semi-gloss to glossy sheen. This type of gum is found on the Manitoba Centennial and Expo '70 issues. 
  2. A streaky version of the above gum that shows a regular horizontal pattern of tiny blemishes in the gum, and has a semi-gloss sheen. This gum is also found on the Manitoba Centennial and Expo ' 70 issues. 
  3. A less thick deep cream gum that is smooth, with the occasional surface blemish and has a semi-gloss sheen. This type of gum is found on the Northwest Territories stamp. 
  4. A smooth cream gum with vertical striations and a semi-gloss sheen. This type of gum is found on the International Biological Programme and Henry Kelsey issues. 
  5. A smooth cream gum that is very crackly, with very fine diagonal cracks in the surface. This gum is found on the International Biological Programme and Henry Kelsey issues as well. 
  6. A smooth, cream to deep cream gum that has a semi-gloss sheen, and no striations or blemishes of any kind. This gum is found only on the United Nations issue. 

Perforations

Three basic perforations are found on these issues. In Unitrade they are quoted as 12, 11 and 12 x 12.5. The 12 x 12.5 perforation is a comb perforation and measures exactly as stated in Unitrade. It is found on only two issues: the International Biological Programme issue and the Henry Kelsey Issue. 

The perf. 12, as listed in unitrade is CBN's standard line perforation that gauges 11.85, 11.95 and compounds thereof. It is found on the Maniboba Centennial and Expo '70 issues. It comes in all four measurements: 11.95, 11.85, 11.95 x 11.85 and 11.85 x 11.95. 

The line perf 11, which is only found on the United Nations issue is actually 10.9 on all the stamps in my possession that I examined. 

Plate Flaws and Varieties

Unitrade does not list any constant varieties at all for these issues, and I cannot recall seeing any non-constant varieties either. However, patient study may turn up a few varieties with time. I will be sure to add any that I come across here, and would appreciate submissions from anyone on possession of any. 

I do have one donut flaw on the 15c United Nations issue, which is shown below:

Donut flaw on the 15c 1970 United Nations issue of Canada

Winnipeg Tagging

Three of the commemorative issues released during this period in 1970 were also issued with Winnipeg 2-bar tagging: the Expo '70 issue, the Manitoba Centennial issue and the United Nations issue. One characteristic of the tagging that differs from the earlier Winnipeg tagging is that the taggant is of relatively light intensity, and appears a very light creamy yellow on the stamps. 

On the Manitoba Centennial and Expo '70 issues the tagging bars are spaced 31-31.5 mm apart in the horizontal direction, with the spacing of the outer columns in the sheet being 31 mm and the inner columns being 31.5 mm. The tagging bars themselves are always 8.5 mm wide. 

Under UV light, the tagging is highly visible, largely due to the contrast with the dull, non-fluorescent chalk coating that is applied. They glow a light yellowish white. 

The picture below shows the appearance of the tagging under UV light, as well as the differences in the horizontal spacing between the tagging bars between the outer and inner columns of the sheets:

The Winnipeg tagging on the 1970 Manitoba Centennial issue of Canada

 The block on top is an upper right block, so the pair on the right is from an outside column, while the block on the bottom is an upper left block. So, by laying the blocks on top of one another an outer column can be compared directly to an inner one. On the right, the outer column is on top and the spacing is clearly narrower. On the left, the inner column is on top, and you can see that the spacing is wider. 

On the United Nations issue, the tagging bars are only 8 mm wide, between columns, while the bands on the right and left edges of the pane are only 6 mm wide. This means that the horizontal spacing between the bands is 32 mm exactly and is the same, regardless of which column the bands are located in.  The bands are easy to see in normal light, as dull, matte bands running down the sides of the stamp. However, they are not easy to see under UV light at all. However, they do give a relatively strong afterglow if the UV light is suddenly switched off after several seconds of exposure. 

Plate Blocks

Plate blocks can be collected for all the issues listed here, although in all cases they either have no plate number, or the plate number is always 1. Blank blocks can also be collected, though unlike their earlier counterparts, only one selvage width exists for each block. This is because the panes were printed individually and not in a large layout requiring separation. Thus, for each collectible stamp, there will always be 8 possible blocks, 4 of which will have inscriptions, and four of which will not. 

First Day Covers

Rosecraft First Day Cover of the 1970 NWT and Manitoba Centenary Issues of Canada

1970 was the last year before Canada post got involved in the production and sale of first day covers, so this is one of the last years in which we see covers made by independent cachet makers other than Art Craft and Rosecraft. The above scan shows an Rose Craft combination cover for the Manitoba and Northwest Territories cetennial issues, which were both released on the same day. 

For the Winnipeg tagged issues, there is considerable interest in cancellations other than Winnipeg for the first day of issue cancellations. Ottawa is mentioned by Unitrade for both the Expo 70 and United Nations issues, and they are valued a a very significant premium over the Winnipeg cancellations - triple in most cases. 

Postal History and Cancellations

The Expo '70 issue and the United Nations Issue stamps were all intended for airmail use. The 25c Expo '70 stamps were intended for use on airmail letters to non-European destinations, but could also have been used on registered letters also. The 10c United Nations stamp was intended for the US airmail rate, while the 15c was for European airmail letters. Despite the fact that these are not uncommon routes, single commercial usages of these stamps are not common at all. A very fun and rewarding challenge would be to collect as many different commercial usages of these stamps as possible, including the tagged stamps. 

Of course, another very fun challenge is to find 15c and 25c airmail covers or 50c registered covers paid with different combinations of the 6c stamps, instead of the higher value definitives, which would have been more common at the time. 

Se-Tenant Combinations

As was the case with the 1957 sports issue, the Expo 70 issue exists in a wide variety of different se-tenant combinations - 21 to be exact. Like the 1957 issue, several full panes have to be broken up to supply all 21 different blocks of 4. The layout of the panes also results in identical pairs of the 1967/1970 emblem stamp and identical strips of 3 of both the Dogwood and White Trillium stamps. There are however, no identical pairs or strips of 3 of the White Garden Lily stamp, as these tend to be concentrated at the outer edges of the sheets in which they come. 

Back when these stamps were first issued, there was considerable interest in collecting all the known combinations of stamps. However, the popularity of this type of collecting has waned in recent years. However, it can still be quite a lot of fun to seek out the different combinations of stamps, in both the untagged and tagged versions. 

 This concludes my exploration of these first issues from 1970. Next week I will complete my examination of the stamps of this year. 

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Comments

John C. - 24, 2018

One thing that strikes me about the 1970 issues is the change in font on how Canada is written. Great way to celebrate a new decade with a more modern look. I wonder whose suggestion it was.

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