The Commemorative Issues of 1970 - Part 2
I must apologize for being late with this post. My flash drive, which had most of my business documents on it went corrupt and I lost almost all my data. I have spent most of yesterday trying to get it back, without success. So, that is the reason why I am only writing this post today.
Today, I will complete my examination of the stamps issued during the later half of 1970. This period saw the appearance on the Canadian stamp scene of a new private printing firm that would go on to produce most of Canada's stamps for the next 25 years: Ashton Potter.
The Stamp Designs, Issue Dates, Quantities and Designers
6c bright blue and red
Issued: June 19, 1970
Quantity issued: 37,000,000
Printed by the BABN using photogravure
Designed by: Reinhard Derreth
6c dark brown
Rock carved by Alexander Mackenzie at provincial park in BC
Issued: June 25, 1970
Quantity issued: 35,500,000
Printed by CBN using engraving
Designed by Eiko Emori, Harvey Thomas Prosser and Yves Baril
Engraved by: Yves Baril
6c red and black
Issued: August 12, 1970
Quantity issued: 35,200,000
Printed by BABN using photogravure and engraving
Designed by: Ernst Roch
Engraved by: George Arthur Gundersen
Isles of Spruce, by Arthur Lismer
Issued: September 18, 1970
Quantity issued: 36,203,000
Printed by Ashton Potter using lithography
1970 Christmas Issue
Issued: October 7, 1970
Quantities issued: 46,560,000 of each 5c, and 2,600,000 tagged
Quantities issued: 28,380,000 of each 6c and 1,800,000 tagged
Quantities issued: 26,675,000 of the 10c and 2,050,000 tagged
Quantities issued: 20,000,000 of the 15c and 2,000,000 tagged
Printed by CBN using lithography
5c Santa Clause, by Anthony Martin, age 5, Marius, MB
Sleigh, by Donna Niskala, age 9, Macrorie, SK
Nativity scene, by Lisa Wilson, age 8, Kamloops, BC
Children Skiing, by Dwayne Durham, age 7, Fort Eirie, ON
Snowmen, by Mannon Lecompte, age 9, Laprairie, QC
Christ Child, by Janet Mckinney, age 8, Saint John, NB
Family and tree, by Jean Pomperlau, age 8, St. Paul, AB
Toy store, by Nancy Whatley, age 10, Armdale, NS
Santa Claus, by Eugene Battacharya, age 7, St. John's, NL
Church, by Joseph MacMillan, age 12, Summerville, PEI
Christ Child, by Corrine Fortier, age 10, St. Leon, MB
Snowmobile and trees, by Janis Dojcak, age 10, Flin Flon, MB
6c dark green, yellow and black
Sir Donald Alexander Smith
Issued: November 4, 1970
Quantity issued: 35,400,000
Printed by CBN using lithography
Paper Characteristics Other Than Paper Fluorescence
Like the previous issues, the stamps of this half of the year show considerable variations in the characteristics of the paper used to print the stamps, other than the fluorescence levels. The most notable variation is the existence of paper with very light ribbing, that has not, as yet been recognized by Unitrade, but is quite distinct, when you know what to look for.
The following types of paper are noted:
- A soft, smooth, uncoated, horizontal cream wove paper that shows no mesh pattern, even when held up to strong back lighting. Under magnification, the surface is actually a little rough and quite porous. This type of paper is found on some printings of the Louis Riel stamp.
- A similar paper to the first type above, only this type shows clear vertical ribbing on the face, when viewed at an angle to a light source. When held up to strong back lighting the vertical mesh pattern in the paper is very clearly visible. This type of paper is found on some printings of the Louis Riel stamp.
- A smooth, lightly coated, light cream horizontal wove paper, that shows no distinct mesh pattern on either the front, or the back. However, when held up to a strong back light, a light horizontal mesh pattern is visible in the paper. This paper is found on the Alexander Mackenzie stamp.
- A similar paper to 3 above, but vertical, rather than horizontal wove, and shows little to no mesh pattern. This is also found on some printings of the Alexander Mackenzie stamp.
- A smooth, cream coloured vertical wove paper that shows no clear mesh pattern. When held up to a strong back-light, a light horizontal mesh is visible in the paper. This is easiest to see in the sheet selvage, but if you look hard enough you can see it in the stamps as well. A light surface coating can be seen on this paper under magnification. This paper is found on the Oliver Mowat stamp.
- A smooth, lightly coated, horizontal wove paper that shows no mesh pattern, even when held up to a strong back light. This paper is found on some printings of the Group of Seven stamp. This paper is also found on most printings of the 1970 Christmas stamps.
- A similar paper to #6 above, except that there is very light vertical ribbing on the printing surface, which can be difficult to see, but which is visible as vertical mesh, when the stamp is held up to a strong back light. This paper is found on the Group of Seven stamp.
- A thinner vertical wove paper, identical to #6 above, that shows clear vertical ribbing on the surface, and a clear vertical mesh when held up to strong back light. This paper is found on the 1970 Christmas stamps.
- A paper that is identical in all respects to #6 above, except that the paper is vertical, rather than horizontal wove. This paper is found on the Donald Alexander Smith stamp.
- A paper that is identical in all respects to #7 above, except that the paper is vertical, rather than horizontal wove. This paper is found on some printings of the Donald Alexander Smith stamp.
The picture below shows the difference between the ribbed and smooth paper on the Louis Riel stamp"
The ribbed paper is on the left. You can see the ribbing as vertical lines in Riel's face, and then as you relax your gaze, across the entire length of the stamp. In contrast, there are no such ridges visible on the right stamp, which is printed on the smooth paper.
The next picture shows the difference between the smooth paper of the 1970 Christmas Issue and the ribbed paper:
The smooth paper is on the left, while the ribbed paper is on the right. Note the vertical striations on the ribbed paper.
Most of the stamps from this half of 1970 are printed on variations of medium fluorescent, high fluorescent and hibrite papers. Two of the issues are printed on variations of dull fluorescent paper: the Louis Riel stamp and the Oliver Mowat stamp.
The Louis Riel Stamp
The basic fluorescence level for this stamp is dull. Unitrade cites this stamp as an example of dead paper, which I believe to be not entirely accurate. There is a grey version of dull paper, which looks duller than some of the other varieties of paper, but it is nowhere near as dull as the true dead papers that appear in the late 1980's.
I have found no fewer than six varieties of dull fluorescent paper on this stamp. Some of these have a very sparse concentration of low fluorescent fibres in the paper, while others do not have fluorescent fibres. The colour under UV varies from bright ivory cream to grey. The pictures below attempt to show some of these varieties:
The stamp on the right is the bright ivory dull fluorescent paper, while the paper on the left is the grey paper. There are no fluorescent fibres in each of these. The easiest way to compare these is to look at Louis Riel's face and compare the colour.
Here we have an ivory grey on the right that contains a single fluorescent fibre in the middle of the face. Then the block on the left is the dull fluorescent bluish white paper. There are really no visible fluorescent fibres to speak of on these.
The block on the left is bluish, greyish white, with a very sparse concentration of low fluorescent fibres. The partial block on the right is greyish white with only a few fluorescent fibres.
The Alexander Mackenzie Stamp
This stamp is listed as being on hibrite paper, but as is usually the case with this type of paper, there are variations in the brightness level from true hibrite, to medium fluorescent. The pictures below show the differences:
The stamp on the left is the true hibrite paper, while the one on the right is the high fluorescent paper. You can see the difference clearly if you compare the brightness of the top half of the stamp.
The block and the single at the left that lies on top of it are both on the medium fluorescent paper. The stamp on the right is the high fluorescent paper, and is the same stamp that was shown in the previous picture. Again, if you compare the top half of both stamps, you can see that the right stamp is brighter than the left one.
The Oliver Mowat Stamp
This stamp is listed as being on dull fluorescent paper. As was the case with the Louis Riel stamp, there is a variety of different colours of dull fluorescent papers. All except one of these contain no fluorescent fibres, while the last one contains a very sparse concentration of low fluorescent fibres:
The block on the left is printed on the greyish white dull fluorescent paper, with no fluorescent fibres, while the pair on the right is printed on dull fluorescent blue grey paper with a very sparse concentration of low fluorescent fibres.
The block on the left is printed on the dull fluorescent ivory paper, while the block on the right is on the dull fluorescent greyish paper. Neither of these contain any fluorescent fibres.
The Group of Seven Stamp
This stamp is listed as being on hibrite paper. Again, in reality, the paper varies from medium fluorescent to highbrite. The hibrite paper also exists in a mottled hibrite as well as a smooth, even hibrite. The high fluorescent and medium fluorescent papers all contain a few hibrite fibres.
The pictures below attempt to show these differences, though the differences do not show up as well in a picture as they do in real life:
Both the block and the single stamp on top of it are on the hibrite paper. The stamp on the top is the mottled hibrite, while the block is the smoother hibrite. The difference is not so apparent in this picture, however in the next pictures you can see the lack of mottling in the block.
The block shown here is the same hibrite block shown in the last picture. The stamp shown on top is the high fluorescent paper. You can see the difference if you compare the top white portion of the design of the stamp, with the images of the stamps in the block.
Here, the stamp is on the medium fluorescent paper with a few hibrite fibres, while the block is on hibrite paper. Here the difference is very obvious.
The Christmas Stamps
These stamps are all listed as being on hibrite paper, and once again, they exhibit much the same variation as the other hibrite stamps. The pictures below show the differences on the 5c stamps.
The block underneath in this picture is on the high fluorescent paper, while the pair and stamps on top are the true hibrite paper.
The block is the same high fluorescent block shown in the last picture. But the pair on top is the medium fluorescent paper. If you look carefully, you can clearly see that the pair on the top is not as bright as the block. The difference is most apparent on the Santa Claus stamp, which has a lot of white space.
I have not shown the 6c, 10c and 15c values because the variations are exactly the same as shown here.
The Donald Alexander Smith Stamp
This stamp is also listed as being on hibrite paper. Once again, the paper shows the same variation as for the other stamps on hibrite paper, in that there is true hibrite, high fluorescent and medium fluorescent paper.
The pictures below show these differences:
The block on the right is the true hibrite paper, while the block on the left is the high fluorescent paper.
The block on the left is the high fluorescent paper, while the block on the right is the medium fluorescent paper. The difference is most apparent if you compare the selvage tabs at the bottom of each block.
The next picture shows the stark difference between the true hibrite paper and the medium fluorescent paper:
Here, the difference in brightness levels is unmistakable.
Although there are no listed shade varieties in Unitrade, I have found a few interesting shade variations on the some of the issues, which I show below:
On this stamp the main trees and the dark shadows in the water can appear either greenish black or brownish black. The difference is quite striking when the stamps are placed side by side. The greenish black is of course shown on the right, while the brownish black is shown on the left.
The 5c Christmas stamp from 1970 is found in two distinct shades of the blue: a pinkish blue, as shown on the left stamp and a more greenish blue, as shown on the right.
On the nativity stamp, some stamps can be found with a background that is yellow orange, as shown on the right, versus the redder orange shown on the left.
The toy store stamp shows a subtle shade variation in the blue roof of the toy store. On some stamps, like the one shown on the left, the roof is violet blue, whereas on others like the stamp on the right, the roof is a deeper blue that does not contain any purple.
On the 10c Christmas stamp the blue background can be found in a pure dark blue shade, like the one on the right, and a shade that contains a hint of purple, like the stamp on the left.
This is the last year in which all of the stamps issued are printed with dextrine gum. That being said there are several variations of this gum, as there was on the issues of the first half of this year:
- A smooth, cream gum that has a semi-gloss sheen that also shows horizontal ridges running through it. This is how the gum looks on the vertical format stamps. On the horizontal format stamps, the ridges in the gum run vertically. This gum is found on the Louis Riel stamp and the Oliver Mowat stamp.
- A smooth, yellowish cream gum that has a semi-gloss sheen. This gum is found on many printings of the Alexander Mackenzie stamp.
- A streaky version of the gum described in #2 above. The streaks run in the vertical direction and consist of small blemishes in the surface of the gum.
- A crackly cream gum. This is found on some printings of the Louis Riel and Oliver Mowat stamps.
- A smooth cream gum that has an extremely fine pattern of diagonal cracks that gives it a satin sheen. This gum is found on the Group of Seven stamp.
- A smooth cream gum with a semi-gloss sheen. This gum is found on some printings of the Group of Seven stamp.
- A smooth, yellowish cream gum with an extremely fine diagonal crack pattern. This gum is found on some printings of the 1970 Christmas stamps.
- A streaky yellowish cream gum that is similar to #7 above, but with a regular horizontal pattern of small blemishes in the gum. This gum is found on some printings of the 1970 Christmas stamps.
- A yellowish cream gum with a highly glossy sheen that contain a regular pattern of tiny blemishes. This gum is found on some printings of the 1970 Christmas stamps.
The picture below shows the appearance of the ridged, cream gum with the semi-gloss sheen:
The next picture shows the crackly gum found on some printings of the Oliver Mowat stamp:
Here you can see the very fine pattern of diagonal cracks and the lack of the ridges on the gum.
The next picture shows the cream gums found on the Group of Seven stamp:
The crackly version of the gum is on the left, while the semi-gloss version of the gum is shown on the right stamp.
The Louis Riel and Oliver Mowat stamps are the only two issues to have been comb perforated with the 12.5 x 12 perforation, or 12 x 12.5, depending on whether the stamp is a vertical or horizontal format stamp.
The CBN printed all the other stamps, except for the Group of Seven issue, which was printed by Ashton Potter. As with the other CBN stamps, four line perforation measurements are found: 11.85, 11.95, 11.95 x 11.85 and 11.85 x 11.95. As far as I can tell, all four of these measurements can be found on all the stamps printed by them.
The Group of Seven stamp was printed by Ashton Potter and is listed by Unitrade as being line perforated 11. In actual fact, it is line perf. 10.9.
The only issues during this second half of the year that were tagged, were all values of the Christmas issue. The 5c values were tagged with 4 mm bands that run down the centre of each stamp in the sheet. The bands are spaced 25.5 mm apart in the horizontal direction. On the 6c stamps, the bands are 8 mm wide and are spaced 21.5 mm apart in the horizontal direction. On the two high values, the 10c and 15c, the bands are also 8 mm wide, but are spaced slightly differently, depending on which column of the sheet we are talking about. The outer columns are spaced 31 mm apart and on the inner columns, the spacing is 31.5 mm.
In normal light, the tagging appears much lighter than the Winnipeg tagging did on earlier issues. The darkest tagging is visible, but is not dark. On many stamps the tagging is almost invisible, and is best seen by holding the stamp at an angle to the light. The following scan shows an example of how this tagging appears in normal light:
The stamp on the left shows an example of the moderate tagging, which is very clearly visible, but is not dark. The right stamp shows the light tagging, which is very difficult to see.
Under UV light, the moderate tagging appears quite dark against the fluorescence of the paper. On the lightly tagged stamps, the tagging is still quite difficult to see. Unlike the earlier Winnipeg tagging, there is no afterglow when the light is switched off.
Unitrade does list a few constant varieties on the Group of Seven issue as well as the Christmas stamps. However, I have noticed a few other minor varieties on some of the other stamps as well.
The Louis Riel Stamp
On this stamp, there are some examples that show notable deformities in the letters of the "postes postage" inscription. The scans below show one of the deformities that I have come across on this stamp. First, let's take a close look at the normal inscription:
The letters are blurry, but you can clearly see that both P's have their downstrokes, the S's are clear and the e's are clearly e's. On the scan below, you can see that the second P is missing its downstroke, resembling an "o":
On another stamp I've seen an "e" that is closed and also resembles an "o".
The Oliver Mowat Stamp
The parliament buildings in the background of the design consist of very thin white lines of uneven thickness. While I haven't seen any obvious breaks or deformities in the buildings, I would suspect that with enough patience, some varieties will turn up.
The Group of Seven Stamp
Unitrade lists one constant variety, which it calls "the fire in the bush", which comes from position 42 of the panes. It appears as a small red mark on the two smaller trees located just to the left of the main stand of trees in the background. A close up scan shows this below:
The fire is the orangy red blob that appears at the base of the left tree.
In addition to this, I have come across a partial double print, called a ghost print on subsequent issues in Unitrade, involving the Canada inscription:
The doubling is most apparent in the top of the "a's, but can be seen on all the letters, as well as the "6".
The Christmas Stamps
For the longest time there were no plate flaws listed in Unitrade for any of these stamps. But, as the stamps have been studied more closely, a number of constant plate flaws have been listed. I have examples of most of these that I can show here, in addition to a few unlisted flaws, which may or may not be constant.
The dot between "M" and "A" of Christmas on 5c skiing
Occurs on position 56 of most panes.
Line in "5" on 5c skiing
Occurs on position 88 of most panes
Flat topped "S" on the 5c snowmen
Occurs on position 80 of most panes
Blue button on the 5c snowmen
Not listed in Unitrade, so position is unknown
In addition to the above two varieties of the 5c snowmen, there are two constant varieties that I do not have examples of, but will add, as they become available:
- The red spot on the cheek of the snowman, which occurs on position 54, and
- The blue thread on the snowman, which occurs on position 98.
In the case of the red spot, it is found on the left cheek of the snowman to the right of the tree. The blue thread appears towards the base of this snowman as well.
The varieties that I have found on the 6c are shown below:
The line in the upper left window, on 6c family and tree
Occurs on position 45 on most panes
The flaming window on the 6c church
Occurs on position 17 or most panes
The pink spot on the roof of the toy store stamp
Unlisted, not known if it is constant or not.
For the BABN stamps, being Oliver Mowat and Louis Riel, the field stock panes were trimmed on 3 sides, which means that while some blocks will have full selvage and inscriptions, as shown above, while others will have no inscriptions and straight edges on 2 sides.
All of the issues were printed from a single plate. So, while plate blocks can be collected for all these stamps, they are much simpler than they were in pevious years
First Day Covers
As I said in my last post, this is the last year that First Day Covers were primarily produced by private cachet makers. Starting in 1971, Canada Post began to produce and sell official First Day Covers, which marked the beginning of the end of the private cachets. Wile most of what I see by now is Art Craft and Rose Craft, there are still a few of the more obscure cachets to be found. The scan below shows a Rose Craft cover of the Group of Seven issue:
Postal History And Cancellations
Most all the stamps except for the high values from the Christmas issue are single, first class rate stamps. Thus the opportunity, in terms of postal history for these issues is to look mainly for:
- Foreign airmail covers in which the 15c, 30c or 25c rates are made up with various combinations of the commemoratives, used in period.
- Any tagged examples of the Christmas stamps on cover.
- Any of the se-tenant identical pairs or centre blocks of the Christmas issue on cover.
- Postcards and airmail covers bearing single, or multiple usages of the 10c and 15c Christmas stamps.
Although not particularly expensive, many of the types of covers listed above are quite scarce, as modern covers were not generally saved by collectors.
Of course, one can also specialize in the CDS town cancellations that can be found on these issues. All of the stamps are of a sufficient size that they take the cancellations quite well, and collecting the postmarks of a particular region has proven to be quite popular.
This concludes my post for this week and my exploration of the stamps of 1970. Next week, I will look at the first half of 1971.