This week, I will examine the tagged sheet stamps of the 4c seaway lock stamp. While not quite as complicated as the untagged stamps, there are quite a few varieties of paper, shade and perforation that are not listed in Unitrade. Unitrade lists four basic varieties of this stamp, which they expand to six listings when paper fluorescence varieties are added:
- The Winnipeg 1-bar tags, which were in use from February 8, 1967 until the change in postal rates in 1968 necessitated the introduction of centre bar tagging. Unitrade lists them on dull fluorescent (DF) and non-fluorescent (NF) papers.
- The Winnipeg centre bar tagged stamps with dextrose gum. These were first issued in March 1969, several months after the postal rate changes that took effect in 1968. Unitrade only lists these on DF paper.
- The Winnipeg centre bar tagged stamps with PVA gum. These were first issued in May 1972, and are listed on both low fluorescent (LF) and medium fluorescent (MF) paper. The MF paper is quite scarce and valued at ten times the price of a LF stamp.
- The general Ottawa tagged stamps with PVA gum. These were issued in April 1973, only six months before the issuance of the 4c Mackenzie King stamps of the Caricature issue. These are listed only on MF paper, but they exist on LF paper as well, and these are quite a bit scarcer than the MF paper.
As we shall see, the Unitrade descriptions are confusing, once again, because the LF and MF papers obtain their fluorescence from both the ambient fluorescence of the paper, but also from the inclusion of fluorescent fibres that glow brighter under UV light than the overall paper. Yet, Unitrade does not refer to them as LF-fl, or MF-fl, which would be more correct.
The remainder of this post will now look at these four basic varieties in detail.
Stamps With Winnipeg 1-Bar Tagging - Unitrade #457p and #457pv
Paper Characteristics Other Than Fluorescence
The paper used to print these stamps is a vertical wove paper that is always a cream, off-white colour, which appears even more cream when viewed against a stark white background. The printing surface has a smooth, burnished appearance, and under magnification, you can see a very light surface coating that prevents any loose fibres and any surface porosity. There are two sub-types of this paper though, which seem to be correspond with each major class of paper fluorescence described below:
- The first type, found on the non-fluorescent and low fluorescent stamps shows a clear horizontal mesh pattern when held up to a strong back-light, and faint horizontal mesh on the gum side.
- The second type, found on the dull papers has no ribbing on the gummed side, and when held up to strong back-lighting has a mesh pattern that seems to run in both horizontal and vertical directions, and almost resembles no pattern at all.
In addition to the DF and NF papers that Unitrade lists, there are LF-fl papers in addition to different colours of paper under UV light, just as there was with the untagged stamps.
The first picture below shows three different types of the non-fluorescent paper. The picture makes them appear brighter than they actually appear unfortunately, but hopefully with careful and patient comparison to the other pictures of the DF paper, you will be able to begin to see the difference. I will say that in the differences in reality should be quite easy to see:
The block at the upper left is a light violet-grey colour under the UV lamp, but it is just dark enough to be considered NF, rather than a variation of DF. The block at upper right is a light violet colour, and is very clearly NF. Finally the third stamp below appears similar in the picture, but is actually a grey colour with a brownish tinge under UV.
The picture also shows how the colours themselves can appear different under UV, but interestingly the pictures do not always show what your eyes will actually see. I am not sure why this is, but it is something that you should bear in mind as you read and look at the pictures. The two blocks at the top appear more or less the same under UV light as in normal light, and appear a bright carmine-red under UV. The bottom stamp actually carmine-red under UV, but in the picture, it appears a much brighter carmine red than it actually appears in reality.
The next picture shows two varieties of the DF paper:
The block on the left appears greyish white here in the picture, but it is actually an ivory colour under the lamp. The block on the right is a grey colour under the lamp, just as it appears here. The block on the left appears to be a much brighter shade of carmine-red under UV, and this is actually the case, both in normal light, and under the UV lamp.
The next picture shows two more variations of the DF Paper:
Both blocks appear greyish white under the lamp, although the block on the right appears to be a slightly deeper grey in the picture. If you look carefully at the top of the upper right stamp in the left block, and in the selvage, you will be able to see a few fluorescent fibres poking through the paper. This block has very few such fibres, and they are of all three major brightness levels: low, medium and high fluorescent. There are not really enough of them in the paper to significantly alter the perceived overall fluorescence from DF to LF though.
The last picture below shows three varieties of paper that can be considered as LF paper, due to how much brighter they appear under UV than the DF and NF papers:
The corner block is a greyish white colour under UV and is basically DF. But it contains an overall very sparse concentration of fluorescent fibres throughout the paper. These fibres are also quite bright, being medium and high fluorescent. So their presence, raises the overall perceived level of fluorescence, from DF to LF. Because of the fibres, the paper is correctly classified as LF-fl paper.
The upper left stamp is greyish under UV, while the lower stamp is violet, but in both cases, the colours are much brighter versions of what you would see on DF paper. They also contain very few low fluorescent fibres, that while not readily apparent, become more visible when the stamps are viewed at 10x magnification.
I have found different ranges of shades on these stamps, as shown in the pictures below:
Here we have three distinct shades. The third shade is a single stamp that I placed in the lower left corner of the block on the left to highlight the differences. The block on the left is carmine-red, while the stamp at lower left is scarlet on the Gibbons colour key. The block on the right is rosine on the Gibbons colour key.
Under UV light, these shades are either shades of carmine or carmine-red, and are not fundamentally different from the colours in normal light. Therefore, the inks used to print these stamps are non-transformative.
The first tagged stamps of this value that were released in Winnipeg post offices were tagged with 8 mm wide bars that were applied down the perforations between columns of stamps, so that there was no tagging on the left side of the stamps in the first column, nor was there any tagging down the right side of the stamps in the tenth column of panes. The arrangement of the tagging means that singles will have what basically amounts to a 4 mm bar on either the left or right side. Due to shifts of the tagging, this bar can vary in width slightly. According to Rose, tagging errors can exist where, due to shifts in application of the taggant, these bars can be shifted over to the outer perforations, leaving the centre columns untagged, or a single 8 mm bar can appear in the centre of the stamp. These are quite scarce and valuable, and I have never actually seen either myself. The only way to collect the first type of error of course, would be as a block, where there is no tagging down the middle, or a single with selvage attached, showing tagging down the left or right side, where there should be no tagging.
Sometimes the bars can appear to be slightly wider than 8 mm as the application of the taggant compound was often not smooth. But if you measure the bands from their narrowest points, they are always 8 mm. So I do not believe that there were any versions of these that are consistently wider, like 9 mm or 10 mm, the way that there was with the 4c Cameo issue. The spacing between the bars is difficult to measure for the reasons I have stated above, but generally it is about 16 mm in the horizontal direction.
However, apart from the width of the tagging, there were differences in the chemical composition of the taggant compound used, as well as differences in the length of the tagging. The pictures below show some of these differences:
The first picture here shows the differences in the appearance of the tagging. If you look carefully, you can see that the tagging bar on the block on the right appears a bluish white colour under the lamp, while the block on the left appears yellowish white. In reality, the difference is quite a bit more stark than it appears to be in the picture. In fact the tagging of the block on the left appears distinctly yellowish. In my study of the 1c stamps, I noted that the colour of the centre bar tagging, which appears later is always yellowish, while there are very few examples of the bluish white tagging. My conclusion is thus that the bluish white tagging is an early printing of the stamps using a different taggant that was deemed unsuitable, due to the fact that the tagging did not appear bright enough for the Sefcan machines to function properly. So it was altered to make the tagging appear the brighter yellowish white colour that we see on most examples of this stamp that one comes across. However, in my opinion, it is quite distinct, and is definitely a collectible variety.
The next picture shows some of the variations in length of the tagging:
With all the Winnipeg tagged stamps that I have examined so far, it was generally the case that the tagging was applied in two printings across the upper panes in the sheet layout, and then across the lower panes. We could usually see this because the selvage tabs of many blocks would show the end of one tag bar and the beginning of another. However, on this stamp we do not see this. It appears that the tagging may have been applied to all six panes at once. However, it did not always extend past the top of the stamps in question into the selvage, as the two blocks above show. The block on the left, has tagging that stops right at the edge of the upper margin of the top stamps, not extending into the selvage at all, whereas the right block shows the typical tagging that extends about half way into the selvage tab and then terminates. In both cases, the appearance of the tagging denotes that these blocks must have come from the upper panes, and from the width of the selvage at right, they must have come from the upper right pane.
In cases where the blocks are from the lower positions in the upper panes, or the upper positions in the lower panes, the tagging will cover the full length of the lower and upper selvage tabs respectively.
The gum on these stamps is generally always either the smooth dextrose gum with a semi-gloss sheen, or the streaky gum with semi-gloss sheen. I have not yet seen examples with true satin gum or with excessively glossy gum, or the blotchy gum of the 1970 printings. This is consistent with the fact that these stamps had been completely replaced by the Winnipeg centre bar tags by March 1969, and provides some evidence to suggest that these other gum types are only found on printings made after March 1969.
The picture below shows the different appearance of the smooth and streaky gums under UV light, which shows the streaks up quite clearly on examples with the streaky gum:
As you can see, the block on the right is the streaky gum, while the smooth gum is shown on the left.
As with nearly all of the stamps issued prior to 1971, these stamps exist with four line perforations: 11.85, 11.95, 11.85 x 11.95 and 11.95 x 11.85.
Bringing it All Together
I have identified 10 different paper types, 3 shades, 2 types of tagging, 2 gum types and four perforations. This results in 10 x 3 x 2 x 2 x 4 = 480 different possible collectible pairs, or 960 different singles, with 480 having left bar tags and 480 having right bar tags. The corner blocks are blank, as are all Winnipeg tagged stamps, which means that there are 12 different collectible positions. This increases to 18 when we factor in the short tagging that stops at the end of the stamp's top margin in the upper blocks. Thus there are 18 x 480 = 8,640 possible corner blocks that can be collected!
Stamps With Winnipeg Centre Bar Tagging and Dextrose Gum - Unitrade #457pi
Paper Characteristics Other Than Fluorescence
The paper used to print all of the stamps that I examined is a vertical wove paper, that is a crealy colour, especially when viewed against a stark white background. It has a smooth, burnished appearance on the printing surface. Under magnification, it is clear that there is a light surface coating, which prevents any stray fibres and any surface porosity. When held up to a strong back light, there is no clear mesh pattern visible, or a very weak horizontal one. There is no ribbing visible on the paper, either on the front, or the gum side.
In my examination of these stamps, I have only found examples on DF paper, which is consistent with the Unitrade listings. I have not found any NF papers, nor have I found any on DF paper. However, within the classification of DF, I have found five, subtle variations, which appear slightly different under the UV lamp:
The pictures below show these differences:
The stamp on the left is an ivory colour under the lamp, even though it appears greyish here in the picture. The stamp on the right is a violet grey colour under the lamp.
The stamp on the left appears bluish white under the lamp, and has very few fluorescent fibres that are low to medium fluorescent. Again, there are not enough of them present to raise the perceived level of fluorescence above DF. The stamp on the right is greyish under the lamp, and it too has very few fluorescent fibres of the same brightness level as the left stamp.
Finally, this corner block, from the upper right pane appears greyish white under the lamp, and once again contains very few fluorescent fibres.
An important take-away from my examination of paper fluorescence on these blocks is that there are no NF and LF papers, which suggests quite strongly that those paper types are associated with printings made before March 1969.
I have found two very closely related shades on this stamp as shown in the scan below:
I have taken a block of four for one of the shades and placed a stamp of the second shade over the lower left stamp in the block. As you can see, the shades are very, very close, but the shade of the loose stamp is both lighter and brighter than the shade for the rest of the block. These are a close match to scarlet on the Gibbons colour key, with the block being close to a perfect match, and the stamp being just a bit lighter and brighter, as I said.
Under UV light, both inks are carmine-red. So these inks are non-transformative.
The tagging on these stamps consists of 4 mm wide bars applied down the centre of the stamps. The taggant compound appears to be a later type that gives a pale yellowish white glow under UV light, on all of the stamps and blocks I have examined. I have not seen any blocks in which the tagging does not run the full length of the selvage tabs, which suggests to me that like the side-bar tagging, this tagging was applied continuously, all at once, to all six panes in the sheet layout. The horizontal spacing between the tagging bars is approximately 20.5-21 mm apart in the horizontal direction.
The picture below shows the appearance of this tagging on a typical block:
As with the 1 side-bar tagging, these stamps are found with both smooth and streaky dextrose gum. In all cases, the gum has a semi-gloss sheen. The smooth type does seem to be more common than the streaky gum. However, I am basing that observation on a fairly small sample of stamps, and it is entirely possible that they are equally common.
As with the side-bar tagged stamps, there are four line perforations that can be found: 11.85, 11.95, 11.85 x 11.95, and 11.95 x 11.85.
Bringing it All Together
I have identified five paper types, two shades, two types of dextrose gum and four perforations. Thus, there should be up to 5 x 2 x 2 x 4 = 80 different collectible single stamps. The corner blocks are all trimmed, making for a possible 12 collectible positions of each variety, or up to 960 collectible corner blocks.
Stamps With Winnipeg Centre Bar Tagging and PVA Gum - Unitrade #457pii and #457piii
Paper Characteristics Other Than Fluorescence
I have found two, very similar types of vertical wove paper. Both types have a very smooth printed surface, which is lightly coated, which prevents loose fibres and surface porosity. Both types also show very fine vertical mesh in the paper when viewed against strong back lighting. However, one paper appears light off white against a stark white background, while the other appears slightly whiter. The scan below hopefully shows the subtle difference:
If you compare the selvage tabs of the two blocks in the middle, you can see that the paper of the right block, is ever so slightly whiter than the paper of the block on the left. The difference is very small though, so it could very easily be overlooked. It seems to be limited to one level of paper fluorescence (the bluish white type as described below), so I do not believe that these characteristics result in additional paper types over and above the different types of fluorescence. In other words, the number of collectible paper types is dictated by the number of different fluorescence levels. However, it is important to be aware of these characteristics of the papers as well.
This stamp is found on several types of LF-fl paper, as listed by Unitrade and at least two types of MF-fl paper. The difference between the LF-fl and MF-fl papers is quite outstanding, as shown in the picture below.
The MF-fl paper is the loose stamp that is sitting on top of the block, which is on LF-fl paper. In this picture the LF-fl appears almost DF, but in reality, it is brighter than DF.
I have found no fewer than five varieties of the LF paper, all of which are very close to one another, but vary slightly in colour under UV light:
The blocks shown above appear very similar in the picture. However the one on the left is a bluish white colour under UV. There is a sparse concentration of brownish woodpulp fibres in the paper, that have the effect of dampening the fluorescent effect. There is also a low density concentration of low fluorescent fibres, and a very sparse concentration of medium fluorescent fibres present in the paper. These fibres raise the overall level of fluorescence from DF to LF. The block on the right is similar, except that in this case, the colour under UV is ivory, rather than bluish white.
Again, these two blocks are very similar in appearance in this picture. The block on the left appears greyish under the lamp, and has a very sparse concentration of low and medium fluorescent fibres in the paper, as well as a very sparse concentration of brownish woodpulp fibres. Together, the fluorescent fibres raise the overall fluorescence level from DF to LF, as with the other papers above. The block on the right is violet-grey under the lamp, and has a sparse concentration of low and medium fluorescent fibres, very few high fluorescent fibres, and a very sparse concentration of brownish woodpulp fibres. Again, these fibres together, raise the overall fluorescence level from DF to LF.
This stamp is greyish white under the lamp. It has very few if any brownish woodpulp fibres in the paper, and there is only a sparse concentration of low fluorescent fibres and very few medium fluorescent fibres in the paper. Unlike the other papers, this one is LF in its own right, even without the fibres.
The next two pictures below show two varieties of the MF-fl paper:
The stamp on the left appears quite bluish under UV. If you look at it under 10x magnification, it become apparent that the actual paper fluorescence is DF bluish white, but there is a low density concentration of both low and medium fluorescent fibres for an overall medium density coverage of fluorescent fibres. This gives the paper the appearance of being MF-fl. The stamp on the right is similar, except that the inherent paper fluorescence is DF greyish and there is a low density concentration of low fluorescent fibres and a sparse concentration of medium fluorescent fibres. These fibres raise the paper fluorescence level from LF to MF.
Here is the difference as seen from the back:
The white mottling against the blue are the fluorescent fibres, and as you can see, there is a greater density of brighter fibres on the left stamp, which appears much bluer than the stamp on the right. However, both are much, much brighter than the other LF-fl stamps examined, and so are MF-fl.
I have found two, very similar shades on these stamps as shown below:
The colour of ink on the block at the left is deeper than the one on the right, which is both lighter, and brighter. On the Gibbons colour key, the colour on the right is an almost perfect match to Gibbons's rosine shade, while the one on the left is a deeper version of that same colour.
Under UV light, the ink of the block on the left appears to be carmine, while the block on the right appears quite a bit brighter, being a carmine-red. However, neither colour has fudamentally changed as a result of introducing UV light. Therefore the inks used on these stamps are non-transformative.
All three of the MF-fl examples that I have are the deeper rosine shade, but it is probable that both shades can be found on these paper types as well as on the LF-fl papers.
The tagging applied to these stamps is similar to that found on the stamps with dextrose gum. However, in this case, there are variations in the colour of the tagging under UV light, as well as clear evidence that the tagging bars were not all applied to the six panes of the sheet layout all at once, but rather were applied to the upper panes first, and then the lower panes. The tagging bars are 4 mm wide, and the spacing between tagging bars is 21 mm wide in the horizontal direction.
The following pictures show these differences:
The block on the right is tagged with taggant that gives a brighter, pale yellow glow, while the block on the right has tagging bars that appear almost bluish white. Upon very close examination with a 10x loupe, you will be able to see that the taggant is indeed yellow, but is very pale. It is the bluish colour of the paper that makes the bars appear bluish. In reality, they are a pale yellowish white. It is not clear whether this is a different taggant compound, or merely a variation in the concentration of compound applied. But for now, I would consider it a collectible variety.
The picture below shows two blocks: one with tagging that fully terminates in the upper selvage, and one that shows the end of one bar in the selvage, and the beginning of a second tagging bar at the very top:
If you look carefully at the block on the left, you can see that the tagging ends in the middle of the upper selvage tab, and that there is no second tagging bar at the top. The block on the right has a gap of about 1 mm after the end of the tagging bars, and then at the very top of the selvage, you can just make out a sliver of a second tagging bar. That means that the first block comes from the upper left pane, while the block on the right comes from the lower left pane.
The gum found on all the examples of this stamp that I have examined is a white, smooth PVA gum that has a satin sheen.
All of the stamps and blocks I examined are line perf. 11.85 only. This supports all of my observations up to this point that the 11.95 machines had been fully retired from use by the CBN by 1972 when these stamps were issued.
Bringing it All Together
I have identified 7 paper types, 2 shades and 2 different types of tagging on these stamps. That makes for a possible 7 x 2 x 2 = 28 potentially different collectible varieties. Again, as with all tagged stamps, the blocks are trimmed, so that there are 12 collectible positions of each variety, for a possible 12 x 28 = 336 collectible corner blocks. Of these, 96 would be on the MF-fl paper and the remaining 240 would be on the less expensive LF-fl paper.
Stamps With General Ottawa Tagging and PVA Gum - Unitrade #457piv
Paper Characteristics Other Than Fluorescence
The paper used for these stamps is always a vertical, white wove that appears a very light off-white against a very stark white background. If held up to the light, you can almost always see a very fine vertical grain running through the paper. Under magnification, the printing surface is very smooth, and there is a very light surface coating that prevents any loose paper fibres on the surface and precludes any surface porosity.
The paper fluorescence found on these stamps is exactly the same as that found on the Winnipeg tagged stamps with PVA gum on the MF-fl paper. This fact suggests that both papers were in use concurrently, and one does not pre-date the other. The picture below shows the difference on these stamps:
The blocks on the right and left appear quite bluish under UV. If you look at it under 10x magnification, it become apparent that the actual paper fluorescence is DF bluish white, but there is a low density concentration of both low and medium fluorescent fibres for an overall medium density coverage of fluorescent fibres. This gives the paper the appearance of being MF-fl. The stamp that lies on top of both blocks right is similar, except that the inherent paper fluorescence is DF greyish and there is a low density concentration of low fluorescent fibres and a sparse concentration of medium fluorescent fibres. These fibres raise the paper fluorescence level from LF to MF.
The paper with the lower brightness level would appear to be far scarcer than the other one, with the differential being likely as great as the difference between the LF-fl paper and the MF-fl paper on the Winnipeg tagged stamps.
I have found two very closely related shades on these stamps, as shown below:
Like most of the PVA gum stamps, these shades are quite a bit brighter than those found on many of the earlier printings with dextrose gum. The shade of the stamps in the left block is deeper, and not as bright as the stamps in the right block. On the Gibbons colour key, they are both shades of rosine, with the right block being an exact match to Gibbons' rosine, and the left block being a deep rosine.
Under UV light, the colours become darker - closer to carmine-red, as one would expect, but the introduction of UV does not fundamentally change the colour. Therefore, I would classify the inks used on these stamps as non-transformative inks.
On these stamps, which were issued in April 1973, the tagging that was applied is the OP-2 taggant, which was stable and which appears very bright yellow under UV light. The appearance of the tagging does also vary in normal light, depending on the concentration of the taggant applied to the stamps, with some stamps showing tagging that is clearly visible brownish yellow on the sides of the stamps, and clear yellowish brown on others. Most of the stamps that I have seen have the tagging that appears brownish yellow in normal light.
The tagging bars were applied down the all of the vertical perforations on the sheets, and are 3 mm wide, with the bars spaced 21.5 mm apart in the horizontal direction. They were not applied continuously on all six panes in the sheet layout, but were applied to the upper panes first, followed by the lower panes, as the following pictures show:
The block on the left, which is on the brighter paper, shows the tagging extending all the way up the selvage, which indicates that it must have come from one of the lower panes. The width of the selvage at the left suggests that this block is from the lower left pane. The block on the right shows the tagging terminating entirely in the middle of the lower selvage tab. From the width of the selvage at the left and bottom, it is clear that this block is also from the lower left pane. This block is on the paper that is less bright.
Although the inks appear quite different in the picture, they look more or less identical under the UV light and in normal light.
This picture shows a block from the upper left pane. Here, you can see a gap where the tagging bars on this block stop, and then a very small portion of the tagging bars that would have covered the pane below this block. This proves that the tagging of the upper panes was applied separately from that applied to the lower panes.
Rose does list a tagging error on this stamp: one single 3 mm bar that lies towards the left side of the stamp. No centre bar, or right bar error has, as yet been reported.
Two types of PVA gum are found on these stamps. Both are smooth and white in colour. One type of gum is thicker than the other, and has a satin sheen, while the thinner gum has an duller, eggshell sheen.
Like the other PVA gum stamps, these stamps are only found line perf. 11.85.
I came across an interesting printing error that I have never seen before on this issue. It is an sideways-reversed image of the inscription "Canada 4" printed across the stamps. I found it in a block of four of these stamps, that was badly creased. The block is shown below:
If you look at the right edge of the stamps at the right on this block you can clearly see the "Canada" inscription in reverse. The Canada inscription that relates to the left stamps is at the very left of the right stamps also, but is not as strongly printed. The reversed "4" can be seen on the top right stamp, right above the "A" of "Canada".
Here is a close up that shows the error more clearly:
Bringing it All Together
On this stamp, I have found 2 types of paper, 2 shades, 2 tagging intensities and 2 types of gum. Therefore, it is possible, though not certain, that there could be as many as 16 different collectible single stamps. All of the corner blocks of these stamps were trimmed, so that there are 12 different collectible positions of each variety. This means that there are potentially 12 x 16 = 192 possible corner blocks that can be collected for these stamps.
This brings me to the end of my discussion of the tagged 4c stamps of this series.