The Complete Booklets and Booklet Panes of the 1911-1927 Admiral Issue
Today's post will examine the different booklets and booklet panes that were in use during the life of this popular series. The Admiral issue has the distinction of being the first issue to introduce booklets in two different basic language formats: French and English. This dual language format would continue until the introduction of bilingual booklets in the 1940's during the life of the War Issue. As we shall see, the French booklets were issued in much lower numbers than the English booklets, making them very scarce today.
All the booklets of this issue consisted of a plain front and back cover, generally in the same colour as the stamps inside, with an engraved coat of arms and either the inscription "Canada Postage" or "Timbres Poste". The booklets were bound, in most, but not all all cases by a strip of coloured tape, which was always in a darker version of the colour of the stamps inside. Over top of this would be a single staple to hold everything together. I believe that the width of the staple bar was generally 17 mm. In all cases, the booklets would contain between 2 and 4 panes of different stamps, with a face value adding up to 24c. They were always sold at 25c, so there was a 1c premium over the face value of the stamps - a kind of fee for the added convenience of having stamps to carry around. Inside each booklet would be a page containing information about current postage rates. These pages are known to philatelists as "rate pages". They are usually printed in a particular font style, and this style could and often did change during the lifetime of the issue.
Also, wet and dry printing differences will come into play whenever a particular booklet includes stamps that were in use during the transition from the wet printing process to the dry process. In addition, for the 1c and 2c stamps, the early printings were on horizontal wove, rather than vertical wove paper, so that the shrinkage that occurred caused the stamps to appear short and squat rather than tall and narrow. Finally, the covers would occasionally be overprinted when the postage rates changed, with a warning notice to that effect.
The Unitrade catalogue lists 8 basic booklets, but with variations in the covers, the printings and rate pages, the number of listed varieties balloons to 30 collectible booklets in the English format, and 23 in the French format. I'm sure that one could probably add shade varieties in both the stamps and possibly the covers to this as well, but these are not listed in Unitrade. The Standard Catalogue of Canadian Booklet Stamps by Bill McCann, states that all booklets of this issue exist with gummed and ungummed tabs, which further increases the number of collectible varieties.
The booklet panes inside the booklets were printed in large sheets, each containing a number of panes, with two major blocks of panes which were inverted in relation to one another. The requisite number of sheets would be assembled together along with the rate page sheets, interleaving to prevent the stamps from sticking together, or to the covers, and then the covers. The binding tape was added in vertical columns and then the staples. Finally, the booklets would be guillotined apart. Because of this process, it is common to find miscut panes where the panes have very small outside margins.
Because of this, and due to other factors, such as the ease of creasing the covers, staining the covers and the tendency of the staples to rust over time, it is challenging to obtain booklets in pristine condition. Most booklets one comes across are generally only fine.
The Basic Booklets, Pane Layouts and Quantities
There were two basic layouts of stamp panes for these booklets:
- Panes of 6
- Panes of 4 stamps plus two labels
The two layouts are shown below:
The panes of 6 were used for:
- The 1c green.
- The 1c yellow-orange.
- The 2c carmine.
- The 2c yellow green.
The panes of 4 plus 2 labels were used for:
- The 1c yellow orange.
- The 2c yellow green.
- The 3c brown.
- The 3c carmine.
These were combined and issued in the following booklets, with issue quantities:
- 1c green booklet containing 4 panes of 6 - 4,453,000 English & 200,000 French.
- 1c yellow-orange booklet containing 4 panes of 6 - 981,225 English & 163,750 French.
- 2c carmine booklet containing 2 panes of 6 - 9,139,000 English & 169,000 French.
- 2c yellow green booklet containing 2 panes of 6 - 5,123,425 English & 431,325 French.
- 3c brown booklet containing 2 panes of 4 + 2 labels - 1,600,000 English & 200,000 French.
- 3c carmine booklet containing 2 panes of 4 + 2 labels - 3,027,00 English & 168,000 French.
- 1c yellow, 2c green & 3c brown booklet containing 1 pane of 4 + 2 labels each - 600,000 English & 75,000 French.
- 1c yellow, 2c green & 3c carmine booklet containing 1 pane of 4 + 2 labels each - 1,791,000 English & 86,000 French.
Looking at these issue quantities and considering the catalogue values, we can see that some of these are wildly undervalued: most notably all the French booklets and the last two combination booklets in either language. I suspect that the main reason for this is lack of demand relative to other scarce varieties. No printed album on the market provides any spaces for complete booklets so there is little demand from general collectors, and all the booklets are listed in the back of the catalogue, so that they tend to get overlooked in general. However, the above quantities show that even the most common booklets are still much scarcer than most stamps, and we can expect that the survival rate for intact booklets would be much lower than for the corresponding sheet stamps. Thus for those collectors looking for an area of the philately of Canada that offers much upward potential due to scarcity, the booklets would be one of my top picks.
The approximate issue dates for the booklets are:
- 1c green English booklet containing 4 panes of 6 - March 1913
- 1c green French booklet containing 4 panes of 6 - April 28, 2016
- 1c yellow-orange booklet containing 4 panes of 6 - December 1922 - both languages.
- 2c carmine English booklet containing 2 panes of 6 - January 1912.
- 2c Carmine French booklet containing 2 panes of 6 - April 1916.
- 2c yellow green booklet containing 2 panes of 6 - December 1922 - both languages.
- 3c brown English booklet containing 2 panes of 4 +2 labels - March 1922.
- 3c brown French booklet containing 2 panes of 4 + 2 labels - late 1922.
- 3c carmine English booklet containing 2 panes of 4 + 2 labels - December 1923.
- 3c carmine French booklet containing 2 panes of 4 + 2 labels - May 1924.
- 1c yellow, 2c green & 3c brown English booklet containing 1 pane of 4 + 2 labels each - July 1922.
- 1c yellow, 2c green & 3c brown French booklet containing 1 pane of 4 + 2 labels each - December 1922.
- 1c yellow, 2c green & 3c carmine booklet containing 1 pane of 4 + 2 labels each - December 1923 in both languages.
Variations in Rate Sheets
There are four basic types of rate page sheets that can be found with these booklets:
- Large Type I - these were generally 4 pages of rate text printed in serifed letters. The total width of the text lines is 43 mm.
- Small Type I - these are the same as above, except the font is smaller, resulting in text lines that are 38 mm wide instead of 43 mm.
- Small Type II - this is the same as small type I except for a change in the wording under the heading "Merchandise" to "For Canada see Parcel Post in Postal Guide. For the United States 1c per oz. or fraction thereof." Here the text is generally 36 mm wide.
- Sans-serif capitals - as small type II, except on the first page. Where the war-tax rate was in effect, the wording on the page will read "On drop letters 2c first oz. (War Tax included)".
On the rate sheets for the booklets containing stamps issued in 1922-1923, i.e. the 1c yellow orange, 2c yellow green and 3c carmine there are usually slogans found, and the text of these slogans can either be 3.5 mm high (small) or 7.5 mm high (large).
The basic progression of types is as follows:
- The earliest booklets have large type I rate pages, and no overprint on the cover.
- Then some of the 2c booklets have small type I text, and again no overprint on the cover. I do believe that some of the 1c booklets are found thus, but Unitrade does not explicitly say so.
- Then some of the 2c booklets have small type II text and no overprint on the cover.
- Then the front covers of both above types were overprinted with a rate change notice. These overprints were hand-stamped diagonally in violet.
- Then the small type II rate pages with sans-serif capitals appear that contain the War Tax information on the rate pages, so that no overprint on the front covers is required.
- Then the rate pages appear with the slogans inside.
Booklets With Large Type I Rate Pages
Although not made explicitly clear in Unitrade, McCann states that the large type I text is found on the first printings of both the 1c green and 2c carmine booklets. The 1c green booklets are found in two shades: blue green and deep blue green and both are the squat printing. As stated in my posts about shades, the so-called blue green shades are really shades of Myrtle green and bottle green if you are using the Stanley Gibbons colour key for identification. The 2c carmine is also found in shades of rose-carmine. However, there are two sizes of design: 17.7 mm x 21.5 mm and 18 mm x 21 mm, of which the later is regarded as a quat printings. The normal printings are usually 17.7-17.75 mm x 21.5 m, so that the difference is generally that the vertical measurement of the squat printings is 0.5 mm less than normal. The deep bright rose reds and scarlets that are commonly seen are the later printings. Both the 1c and 2c booklet panes must be on horizontal wove paper and not vertical wove. Otherwise they are likely fakes that have been made by reassembling the more common panes with genuine covers and rate pages into new booklets.
Booklets With Small Type I Text on the Rate Pages
The small type 1 text is found on the intermediate printings of the 1c green and 2c carmine booklets. This time, the paper is vertical wove and the dimensions of the printing are the 17.7 mm x 21.5 mm. The green stamps are generally yellow green at this point, or just plain green, while the 2c shades are the deep bright rose reds and scarlets. The 2c booklets can be found with the rate-change notice handstamped on the front cover.
Booklets With Small Type II Text on the Rate Pages
Again, the booklets found thus are the 1c green and 2c carmine booklets. The comments regarding paper, printing dimensions and shade made above apply here as well. The 1c booklets from this group can be found with the rate change notice overprint on the front cover.
Booklets With Small Type II Text and Sans-Serif Capitals on the Rate Pages
This type is found on the all the booklets except for the 2c carmine. In the case of the 1c green booklets, there is usually no War Tax information included on the rate pages. Instead, this type is found with the rate-change notice on the front cover for the 1c green booklets with this text type. The very last printings of the 1c green booklets however, do have the War Tax information on the rate pages. All the remaining booklets are found with War Tax information on the rate pages. Further variations that can be found in this group:
- The 2c yellow green booklet with no binding tape on the outside covers.
- The 3c brown booklet can be found with a black coat of arms.
- The first combination booklet containing the 3c brown can be found with a bright blue cover and dark blue binding tape.
- The same booklet as above, but with no binding tape.
Booklets With Sans-Serif Text and Slogans on the Rate Pages
These types of rate pages are found on all booklets containing 1922 type stamps:
- 1c yellow orange - 4 panes of 6.
- 2c yellow green - 2 panes of 6.
- 3c carmine - 2 panes of 4 +2 labels.
- 1c +2c + 3c carmine combination booklet.
All of these exist with both the small and large text, and in each case, they are found in both English and French versions. The only exception is the 2c yellow green with the large capitals which seems to exist only in English.
All of the 1922 type 1c booklets and the 3c brown booklet panes are wet printings only. The 2c yellow green is found both wet and dry, while the 3c carmine is dry only. What isn't clear is whether all the different types of 2c yellow green booklets exist in both wet and dry versions. This would make a good study project for a specialist.
In addition to collecting one of each of the 53 listed booklets in Unitrade, one can also study the text of the rate pages looking for additional unlisted types. It is conceivable that there may be hitherto undiscovered type differences. Another avenue for expansion is to look for shade variations of each of the basic stamp colours. As stated above, the scope of the 2c yellow green booklets can be expanded with wet and dry printings.
Finally, a real challenge would be collecting the complete panes used, used on cover and the single stamps with nice socked-on-the-nose CDS town cancels in period. Although the number of English booklets issued was quite high for the 1c green and 2c carmine and the resulting number of stamps was quite a bit larger, this still works out to far fewer stamps than were issued in sheet format. Only a small percentage of these will have survived, and of these, only a fraction will have nice CDS cancels. Indeed, one could concentrate on just this aspect of the issue and form a very fine collection over a lifetime.