The Cameo Issue of 1962-1967 Part One
Today's post will examine the first four aspects of this issue that I outlined in last week's overview post:
- Shade varieties.
- Paper and gum varieties.
- Tagging varieties.
- Perforation varieties.
Most of the values of this issue can be found with at least two shades, with the 3c purple being an outstanding hunting ground for many, many shades of purple that can be found due to difficulties that the CBN experienced with the stability of the colour. The only stamps that seem to show almost no variation are the 2c green and the jet plane stamps. However, I'll bet that with enough searching, it is possible to find some subtle shades of even these stamps. I will try to show some examples of the main shades I have seen in the stamps that I have worked with so far over the years. Of course, there are likely others (many others in the case of the 3c) that are not shown here. But this will hopefully give you some idea of the scope that exists.
The basic shades with this stamp are deep brown and deep reddish brown. If you carefully compare the two stamps, you will see that the sheet stamp on the left has a reddish undertone to the brown, whereas the booklet stamp on the right does not. The stamp on the left is the deep reddish brown, whereas the one on the right is deep brown.
This stamp shows almost no variation in colour at all. There is a very subtle difference with the stamp on the right being a little brighter than the one on the left, but you really have to look carefully to see the difference.
This is the most complicated stamp in terms of shades, for the entire series. The colour initially was the bluish violet of the coil stamp in the centre. Gradually, it started to get more and more reddish as the printer tried to match the shade of the previous printing, instead of referring back to the original colour. The stamp on the right shows an example of the deep reddish violet shade, while the stamp on the left is almost an exact match for Gibbons' purple shade. There are several other intermediate shades of each of these three main ones. However, they are all very subtle and would probably not show up very clearly in a scan, so consequently, I have only shown these three here now.
4c Scarlet and Rose Red
Although this colour appears at first to be quite uniform, there is quite a bit of variation. I have found some fairly deep shades on the coils, like the pair on the left, which is closest to Gibbons' deep rose red. The block in the middle is a light, bright scarlet, which is often found on the later printings of this value, while the one on the right is the most common scarlet shade.
5c Violet Blue
The basic shade of this stamp is the dull violet blue that is shown on the stamp in the centre. The stamps on either side of this are a deep, bright blue which lacks the violet undertone. There also exists a bright blue shade printed in aniline ink, which I do not have, and unfortunately cannot illustrate here (yet). There is a bright blue shade in a regular ink which is shown in the block below:
Lastly, there is a deep violet blue shade that I have seen on the coil stamps that is quite distinct:
7c Blue, 7c on 8c Blue and 8c Blue
The basic shade of this stamp is dull blue. However, the earlier printings of the 7c and 8c on 7c surcharge can be found in a dull blue that has just the slightest hint of green to it, as shown on the left stamp.
15c Violet Blue
Unfortunately the variation that I have to illustrate here is the most subtle one. The right stamp is the regular pale dull violet-blue, while the stamp on the left is a brighter pale violet blue that appears much less violet. It is possible to find a deeper shade than the stamp on the left, as well as a slightly brighter shade than the stamp on the left.
$1 Carmine Red
There are three principal shades on this stamp that I have come across so far:
- Carmine red - on the left.
- Carmine rose - in the middle
- Bright carmine red - on the right.
In case you are having trouble seeing the differences between the shades, here they are individually:
Paper and Gum Varieties
The low values seem to exist on six different types of paper, four of which are illustrated below:
The differences between the papers do not show up quite as readily when they are presented together like this, so I will re-produce larger scans of each type and describe them below:
The above scan shows the first type of paper. This paper has completely smooth, burnished surface on the printed side of the paper. It is a vertical wove paper that shows some very light horizontal ribbing on the gummed side. The gum is generally a yellowish cream that shows intermittent vertical streaks and a semi-gloss sheen. The paper is quite white in colour to the naked eye. Under long wave ultraviolet light, this paper can give quite varied reactions from a non-fluorescent violet reaction, to a dull fluorescent bluish white reaction, with a sparse concentration of low and medium fluorescent fibres being visible in the paper itself.
The second type of paper is shown in the scan above. I have found this type of paper only on the booklet stamps. Unlike the first paper type above, this one is a horizontal wove paper, and as you may be able to see from the above scan, there is a very, very slight vertical mesh visible on the gum side. The surface on the printed side, is smooth also, but more porous than the first type of paper, and the paper is somewhat thinner, for if these are placed on a black surface, some of the black will show faintly through. Under long wave ultraviolet light, this paper can give quite varied reactions from a dull-fluorescent greyish reaction, to a low fluorescent bluish white reaction, with a sparse concentration of low and medium fluorescent fibres being visible in the paper itself. The gum is yellowish cream that is usually smooth with a satin, rather than a glossy, or semi-gloss sheen. To the naked eye, this paper is off-white in colour.
The above scan shows the third type of paper. This paper has the same, smooth, burnished look on the printing surface as the first type of paper has. Like the first type, it is a vertical wove paper, but unlike the first type, it does not show any clear ribbing or mesh. The gum tends to be a yellowish cream colour, that is smooth, with a semi-gloss sheen. Under long wave ultraviolet light this paper tends to appear a dull fluorescent bluish white, usually with no fluorescent fibres being visible in the paper. This paper is quite white to the naked eye.
The above scan shows the fourth type of paper. This vertical wove paper shows very strong horizontal ribbing on the gum side. The printed side is smooth under a loupe, but shows intermittent pores, unlike the first three paper types. The gum is smooth, yellowish cream and has a semi-gloss sheen. Under ultraviolet light this paper tends to give a dull fluorescent bluish white reaction, with no fluorescent fibres being visible in the paper. This paper also appears quite white to the naked eye.
In addition to the normal non-fluorescent and dull fluorescent reactions, there is also a paper type which gives a low fluorescent bluish white reaction and usually contains some fluorescent fibres. The fibres are usually a medium fluorescent bluish white, and are usually sparsely distributed through the paper.
Finally, there is a sixth paper type that I have only found on the coil stamps of this issue. It is a horizontal wove paper, which shows very, very light horizontal ribbing on the gum side. The gum is deep yellowish cream, smooth and has a semi-gloss sheen. The paper surface on the printed side is both smooth and porous.
Jet Plane Stamps
The 7c, 8c on 7c and 8c jet plane stamps seem to exist on three types of paper, two of which are illustrated below:
The first type of paper on which these stamps are found is shown in the scan above. This is a horizontal wove paper that shows just the slightest hint of vertical mesh on the gum side. The paper surface on the printed side is smooth, but quite porous. Then gum is cream coloured, smooth and has a semi-gloss sheen. Under ultraviolet light, the paper gives a dull fluorescent greyish reaction, and the ink fluoresces greenish blue. This paper appears quite creamy and off-white to the naked eye. I have found this paper type on the 7c jet plane and the 8c on 7c jet plane stamps.
This scan shows the second type of paper, which I have so far only found on the 8c jet plane stamp. It is also a horizontal wove paper that shows clear vertical mesh on the back. The surface of the paper, like the first type above is also smooth and porous. The gum is smooth and creamy like the 7c. Under ultraviolet light, this paper usually gives a low fluorescent greyish white reaction.
A third type of paper is the same in all respects as the second type above, except that instead of a low fluorescent reaction under ultraviolet light, it gives a dull fluorescent greyish white reaction, with a sparse concentration of low fluorescent fibres visible in the paper.
This value seems to come on two different types of paper, which vary principally in terms of how porous the paper appears on the printing surface, when viewed under a 10x loupe, whether there is any visible horizontal ribbing on the back and the sheen of the gum.
The above scan shows the first type of paper. This type of paper is a horizontal wove paper that shows very clear horizontal ribbing on the gum side of the stamp. On the printing surface, you will see very, very fine pores in the surface of the paper if you look at it under a 10x loupe. The appearance of this paper under long wave ultraviolet light is generally a dull greyish reaction, so the paper is termed "dull fluorescent". The gum is generally yellowish cream with a semi-gloss sheen.
The above scan shows a second type of paper on which this stamp can be found. This is also a horizontal wove paper, but this one has no visible ribbing on the gum side and only a faint horizontal mesh is visible. The gum is also yellowish cream, but with a glossy sheen. Under long wave ultraviolet light the paper also gives a dull greyish reaction just like the first paper above. Like the first paper, this one also has a porous surface when viewed under a 10x loupe.
The first type of paper on which this stamp is found is shown above. This is a vertical wove paper that has a creamy appearance in normal light, and which shows clear vertical mesh on the gum side as shown above. The printed surafce is smooth, with very few pores being visible under a 10x loupe. The gum is a deep cream, smooth and hs a semi-gloss sheen. Under ultrviolet light, the paper gives a dull fluorescent greyish white reaction, with no fluorescent fibres visible.
This scan shows the second type of paper on which this stamp is found. This paper is a horizontal wove paper that shows very faint, but visible vertical mesh on the gum side. The colour in normal light is off white also. Under a 10x loupe, the surface of the paper is smooth, but much more porous than the other paper. The gum is cream colour, often shows intermittent horizontal streaks and has a semi-gloss sheen. Under ultraviolet light, this paper usually gives a dull fluorescent greyish reaction.
The third type of paper on which this stamp is found is shown above. This paper is similar in most respects to the second type, except that the paper is thinner, with the design usually showing through the back. As a result, the vertical mesh is much more obvious than with either the first or second type of paper. The colour in normal light is again off-white, but under ultraviolet light, the paper gives a dull fluorescent light violet reaction.
The fourth type of paper I have seen on this stamp is shown in the block above. Here there is no mesh visible at all, the paper appears off white in normal light, but gives a dull fluorescent greyish reaction under ultraviolet light. The surface is smooth but quite porous when viewed under a 10x loupe. It is horizontal wove paper and the gum is usually a smooth cream gum that has a satin sheen.
Finally, the fifth paper type, known in Unitrade as the low fluorescent paper appears almost identical to the first type of paper. The only difference is that under ultraviolet light, the paper gives a dull fluorescent greyish white reaction with a sparse concentration of low fluorescent fibres that gives an overall low fluorescent effect.
The tagging varieties on this issue form a fascinating field of study in and of themselves. The low values of this issue were all produced with Winnipeg tagging that was applied to selected sheets in various configurations to continue experimentation with the SEFCAN automatic cancelling machines. The tagging is just a form of overprint in which the "ink" is the phosphorescent taggant. In studying the tagging on this issue, there are the following attributes to consider:
- The number of tagging bars on each stamp, i.e. the configuration of the tagging.
- The number of bars that were applied to each pane in the sheet.
- The width of the bars that were applied
- The spacing between the bars
- The intensity of the taggant applied.
I will now discuss each of these in detail.
Configuration of the Tagging
All the low values other than the 4c, had the tagging applied down the columns between the stamps, so that half of each vertical bar would appear on each side of each stamp in the sheet, thus giving the appearance of 2-bar tagging. These two bars were used to denote, regular first class mail usage. The 4c value was issued for local letters only, and so to distinguish it from the other stamps, only 1 bar was applied to each stamp. However, five different styles or settings of the tagging overprint were applied, which resulted in the 1 bar appearing either at the centre of the stamp, or down either the left side or the right side of each stamp.
In the scan above, the 2c green stamp has the normal 2-bar tagging, the centre stamp has a 4 mm centre band tag, while the one on the right has the 8 mm side bar at the left.
Number of Bars Applied to Each Pane
Each of the panes of stamps had 11 columns of perforations. So for all values except the 4c, each sheet had 11 vertical bars of taggant applied to each pane in order to give the 2-bar effect to each stamp. The 5c stamps issued in the miniature panes of 25 stamps had six vertical bars of tagging applied down each vertical column of perforations. For the 4c stamp, each of the five different styles or settings of overprint, utilized a different number of bars per pane:
- the stamps with a centre band had 10 vertical bars of taggant applied to the sheets.
- The stamps with 1-bar side tagging had either 6, or 5 vertical bars of tagging applied down alternate columns of perforations, depending on whether the first bar was located on the left hand perforations of the left hand stamp, or whether the overprint started withe the right hand perforations.
The Width of the Tagging Bars
As best I can tell, the standard with of the tagging bars used on the values of other than the 4c is 8.5 mm. It does appear however that for the outer columns of each of the inner panes, the outer tag bars were 7 mm rather than 8.5 mm. This is what gives rise to the wide and narrow tag bar strips that are listed in the Unitrade catalogue. You will generally notice that these strips have narrow selvage, since they cannot come from the outside edges of the outer panes in the sheet. The 4c stamp used bars of different widths as follows:
- Those with 1 centre band had either 10 4 mm bars or 10 8 mm bars applied to the pane. The 4 mm bars was the earliest type that was used from February 1963 to April 1964. The 8 mm bars were in use for only short time from August 1964 to November 1964.
- For 1-4 weeks in April 1964, experimentation was done where 5 bars measuring 9-10 mm was applied down alternate vertical perforation columns of selected sheets. These are fairly easy to identify by the non-uniform width of the bars. It would appear that whatever device was used to contain the taggant and ensured a bar of uniform width had not yet been perfected, which is why these sheets have up to a full millimeter of variation in the width of the bars.
- Starting in December 1964, sheets had 6 8.5 mm (Unitrade says they are 8 mm, but I measure 8.5 mm) bars applied down alternate vertical perforations. It is from these sheets that "split bar pairs can be collected. These pairs have tagging down the side perforations on each end of the pair, but not down the middle perforations.
- Commencing in March 1965 and continuing to February 1967, sheets had 5 8.5 mm (again Unitrade says 8 mm) bars applied down alternative rows of perforations. Pairs from these sheets will have tagging down the centre perforations, but not at the sides. These pairs are fairly easy to distinguish from the scarcer 9-10 mm bar pairs by the fact that the bars are of uniform width and are never more than 8 mm wide.
- There is another type which is not listed in Unitrade, which appears to consist of 6 4 mm bars applied down alternate vertical perfs.
The scans below illustrate some of of these types.
This is an example of the upper right block of the 5c showing very light 2 bar tagging, with all bars being 8.5 mm wide. The selvage is normal width on both sides, which indicates that this block is from the upper right pane.
Here is a strip of three of the 5c from one of the inner panes, showing the narrow 7 mm band at the right, and regular width bands elsewhere. This could be from any of the left four panes.
A lower left block showing an example of the 5 9 mm bars per pane. The selvage on this block is narrow on both sides which suggests that it cannot be from any of the lower panes in the sheet. Recall that these stamps were printed in layouts of 600 subjects in six panes of 100 stamps. Thus, the width of the selvage suggests that this must have come from either the upper centre pane, or the upper right pane.
An example of the last type discussed above from the upper right position. You can clearly see that the width of the bars is not more than 4 mm. The selvage is narrow on both sides of this block, which suggests that has to have come either from the lower centre pane or the lower left pane.
Here is a lower right corner block showing an example of the 6, 8.5 mm bar tagging. You can instantly recognize that it is the 8 mm type from how light and clean the bars are, as compared to how heavily applied and non-uniform the 9-10 mm bars are. Here the selvage is wide on the right and narrow at the bottom, which suggests that it is from the upper right pane.
Here we have a lower left corner block with the 5, 8.5 mm bar tagging. Again, notice how clean and uniform the lines of the tagging are. This block has narrow selvage on both sides, which suggests that it must be either from the upper centre, or the upper right pane.
The Spacing Between the Bars
The spacing between the vertical bars does vary, with the spacing often being narrower on the left position blocks than it is on the right blocks:
- The spacing between the tag bars on the sheets that had 6 8.5 mm bars applied, appears to be 19 mm on the right positions.
- The spacing between the tag bars on the sheets that had 6 4 mm bars applied appears to be 20.5 mm on the right blocks and 19.5 mm on the left blocks. So it would appear that the spacing between the tag bars varies from 19.5 mm between bars to 20.5 mm between bars.
- The spacing between the tag bars of the 8.5 mm bars that were on the 1c, 2c, 3c and 5c values seems to vary between 15 mm and 16.5 mm between bars.
Unfortunately I do not have strip of three or larger of the 4c centre band for either size, nor do I have any strips of the 5 x 8.5 mm or x 9-10 mm bars to be able to measure the space between them. However, I will update this section as those pieces become available and I can obtain the necessary measurements.
The Intensity of the Taggant Applied
The post office experimented extensively with the amount of taggant that was applied to the stamps in order to get the optimal result from the SEFCAN machines. Consequently, you can find stamps for which the bars are lightly applied and can barely be seen with the naked eye. Such stamps will not show any sign of having been tagged when viewed from the back. This I call "light tagging". Here is an example of light tagging on the 5c blue:
You have to look very closely at the scan to see the two side tag bars. Now, let's take a look at the back of this stamp:
Notice how there is no evidence of any tag bars from the back of the stamp. So this is light tagging.
Then there are the majority of the tagged stamps, which had tagging that was very clearly visible, but which did not seriously discolour the stamps to which it was applied. From the back, however, the tagging bars could be seen. I call this type of tagging "moderate" tagging. Here is a strip of three 5c stamps showing moderate tagging:
Here you can see quite clearly that the stamps are tagged, but the tagging itself is not very heavy in appearance. However, unlike the last stamp, a shadow of the tagging appears on the back:
See how the vertical areas near the perforations are darker than the rest of the stamps? That is the taggant that has soaked into the paper and has discoloured it.
Finally, there are stamps for which the taggant has been applied heavily, resulting in deep yellow discolouration of the stamp. This tagging is very obvious both from the front, and the back:
Notice how yellow the tagging is. This is not my best example, as I have seen stamps where the tagging is even darker than this.
Again, you can see that the tagging is very obvious from the back of the stamps as well.
The above discussion of the tagging configurations for the various stamps assumes that the stamps have the tagging in the correct position. However, just like any printing ink, the tagging can become shifted over from where it should be. On the 4c, these errors will be difficult, if not impossible to distinguish from the regular centre bands in all cases except where the outer band on one of the centre panes where the outer bands are narrower becomes shifted, forming a centre band that is 7 mm wide. It can be distinguished from the regular centre bands in this case because of the smaller width. On all the other values, shifts will often result in stamps that have 1 bar tagging and an 8.5 mm centre band. These are quite scarce and highly sought after.
As I stated in my overview post, Julian Goldberg, a philatelist living in Toronto has discovered a perforation change that he believes occurred in 1962, whereby the CBN changed the gauge of its perforating machines from 11.95 to 11.85. I believe, based on what I have seen that this change must have been phased-in over a couple of years because I have found the old perforation and compounds of the new and old gauge on stamps issued in 1963 and 1964. The following summarizes the perforations that I have found so far:
1c brown: 11.85, 11.95, and 11.95 x 11.85.
2c green: 11.95 x 11.85, and 11.85.
3c purple: 11.85, 11.95, and 11.85 x 11.95.
4c scarlet: 11.85, 11.95 x 11.85, and 11.85 x 11.95.
5c violet blue: 11.85, 11.95, and 11.85 x 11.95.
7c jet plane: 11.95, 11.95 x 11.85, 11.85, and 11.85 x 11.95.
8c on 7c jet plane: 11.95, 11.95 x 11.85, 11.85 and 11.85 x 11.95.
8c jet plane: 11.85, 11.95 x 11.85, and 11.85 x 11.95.
15c geese: 11.95 x 11.85, 11.95, 11.85 x 11.95, and 11.85.
$1 exports: 11.95, 11.95 x 11.85 and 11.85.
Now, I have only checked few dozen of each value, and based on the pattern above, it does seen highly likely that all values can be found with all four perforation combinations. This immediately raises the question of which ones are scarce if any? Who knows? This would be a fantastic research project to a specialist to tackle, as you could study the perfs on the regular stamps, the tagged stamps, the booklet stamps, the miniature pane stamps and finally, the official stamps. The coils are listed in Unitrade as being perforated 9.5 horizontally. My Instanta gauge does not go below 9.8, so unfortunately I cannot verify the exact measurement.
That brings me to the end of my discussion of these aspects of the Cameo issue. Next week I will look at the plate blocks, booklets, miniature panes and coil stamps of this issue.