In the previous posts, I touched on the fact that there are different paper and gum types that can be found in the stamps printed by the BABN during the 1930-1935 period. Oddly enough Unitrade completely ignores the significance of these, relegating them to nothing more than a footnote - if even that. In actual fact the paper and gum types found during this period can be used to assign specific stamps to different printings by year. Today's post will explain how. In this post, I am only discussing the gum found on issues printed by flat plates, as opposed to rotary plates.Attributes of Paper and Gum
In studying the paper and gum used during this period, there are four basic attributes that are of significance:
- The visibility of the paper mesh to the naked eye, when the stamp is placed face-down on a surface and viewed. It will either be highly visible in the form of coarse mesh, slightly visible in the form of fine mesh, or not visible at all.
- The colour of the gum. The gum during this period varies from a deep coffee colour, to deep yellowish, to deep cream, to cream, to near white.
- The sheen of the gum, which is the degree to which it reflects light when viewed. The early gums from 1930 and 1931 are very shiny, or have a satin-like sheen, the mid-period gum from 1932 and 1933 tends to have a duller satin-like sheen; and the late gum from 1934-1935 also has a satin-like sheen.
- The evenness of application of the gum. The early gums until 1932 are perfectly evenly applied, with an even colour, whereas there is a period between 1932-1933, where the gum colour is mottled, showing alternate light and dark spots. Then in the later period from 1934 to 1935, the gum goes back to being even again.
It is a matter of debate as to whether or not these attributes are really significant. My belief is that any attribute that is found consistently on some stamps but not others is significant. If all the above attributes were found on all stamps issued during this period, then I'm not sure that they would be as significant as they are when they are found on some stamps but not others. To me, the three attributes of gum are all indicative of either chemical differences in the gum, or the method of applying it. I liken it to paint on a wall: different paint finishes (glossy, semi-gloss, flat, eggshell etc.) are all definitely due to differences in the chemical formula of the paint. Using rollers versus brushes also gives different finishes. So it is with gum on paper I believe. The same holds true for the visibility of the paper mesh. The only reason it is ever visible has to do with the spacing of the wire mesh upon which the paper slurry is laid: if the wire mesh is coarse, then the paper mesh will be highly visible, and if it is very fine, then it may not be visible at all, even when held up to a strong light source. Again, these differences are due to differences in the production process that are analogous to changes in perforating equipment that results in different perforation measurements, etc.
In attempting to de-code the significance of these differences in paper and gum, we are aided greatly by four things:
- Some of the stamps in the Arch issue were only issued in a very narrow window of time in 1930, which makes them important because it becomes possible to positively identify the characteristics of the paper and gum used in the 1930 printings.
- The commemorative issues during this period all had a very short period of use, and generally are only found with one paper and gum type. Thus we can generally conclude that definitive stamps that share the same paper and gum type as the commemoratives will have been issued at more or less the same time. There are commemoratives from 1932, 1933 and 1934 so we can generally determine the characteristics of printings from 1932-1934.
- The third postage due issue did not appear until very late 1933 (December) and was not replaced until mid-1935. So the characteristics of paper and gum from 1934-1935 can be much better understood by looking closely at these stamps.
- The Medallion issue first appears in December 1932. The first printings of this issue will share the same characteristics as the last printings of the Arch issue stamps that were replaced by this issue.
The above should allow us to positively identify most printings from 1930, and 1932-1935. That leaves us with 1931, and for that, we can generally conclude that the 1931 printings will be those whose characteristics do not match the other issues above.
Paper and Gum Types on BABN Commemoratives
During the period from 1930-1935 there were seven commemorative issues:
- The Ottawa Conference Issue - issued July 12, 1932;
- The UPU meeting issue - issued May 18,1933;
- The Regina Grain Exhibition Issue - issued July 24, 1933;
- The Royal William Issue - issued August 17, 1933;
- The Jacques Cartier Issue - issued July 1, 1934;
- The United Empire Loyalists Issue - issued July 1, 1934;
- The Founding of New Brunswick Issue - issued August 16, 1934;
The Ottawa Conference Issue
This issue had three stamps printed by the flat plate method:
- The 5c Prince of Wales;
- The 13c Allegory of Britannia;
- The 6c on 5c Allegory of Mercury airmail;
The gum found on the 5c and 13c values is usually a deep cream with a satin sheen on a paper that usually shows no visible mesh. Sometimes, the gum does have a glossy sheen. I seem to recall also seeing these two stamps with mottled, coffee coloured gum. However, I do not currently have examples of either stamp at the moment to be able to confirm this for sure.
The 6c on 5c airmail is an interesting stamp in the sense that it appears to have been made from leftover stocks of the original 5c stamp rather than new printings. The paper usually shows coarse, highly visible vertical mesh, though occasionally the mesh is not visible. The colour of the gum on all the examples I looked it is cream and the sheen is satin. If new printings of the 5c airmail were produced specifically for surcharging then we would expect the paper and gum to be the same as the 5c and 13c values. Generally speaking, from the stamps I have looked at, the paper and gum characteristics are consistent with stamps issued in 1930.
The UPU Meeting Issue
The paper of this issue is a vertical wove that almost always shows a fine vertical mesh. Again, the gum is a deep cream or deep yellowish cream colour that either has a glossy sheen or a satin-like sheen.
The Regina Grain Exhibition Issue
This issue appears to have been produced from leftover 20c stamps from the Arch issue, as well as freshly printed stamps. The paper and gum exhibits quite a bit of variation:
- Coffee coloured with coarse mesh;
- Deep yellowish cream with fine mesh and either a satin or glossy sheen;
- Deep cream with coarse mesh;
Those stamps that have deep cream gum, or coffee coloured gum, coarse mesh and a glossy sheen are generally consistent with printings of the 20c that were made between 1931 and 1932. Those with gum that has a more satin sheen tend to be from 1932, while those stamps whose gum is deep cream with fine mesh would appear to be from new printings made in 1933, possibly specifically for this issue.
The Royal William Issue
All of the mint stamps that I have examined of this issue are printed on paper with no visible mesh and with deep yellowish cream gum having a satin sheen. There is also a mottled appearance to the colour, which is not generally seen on the earlier issues.
Jacques Cartier Issue
The stamps of this issue are printed on horizontal wove paper with a mesh that is almost never visible on mint stamps. The gum is a cream colour tending towards white, with a satin sheen and even appearance.United Empire Loyalists Issue
The gum on this issue is the same as that found on the Jacques Cartier Issue. The only difference is that instead of horizontal wove paper, the paper is vertical wove.Founding of New Brunswick Issue
The paper is again horizontal wove, with the gum concealing the mesh on the mint stamps. On used stamps, very fine mesh can often be seen. The gum varies in colour from cream to light cream, but not white. It always has a satin sheen.
So from the above, the following generalizations can be made:
Application of Findings to the Arch Issue, the Medallion Issue and the Postage DuesThe Arch Issue
- The deep cream gum with satin sheen or glossy sheen and no visible mesh would appear to correspond to printings made in 1932 or late 1934.
- The deep cream gum with a glossy sheen and paper with fine mesh is from printings made in 1933.
- The deep cream, mottled gum with satin sheen and no visible mesh is from printings made in the later half of 1933.
- The cream and white gum with no visible mesh is from printings made in 1934.
There are two stamps whose period of use is confined to a very short period in 1930:
- The 5c deep dull purple printed from flat plates, which was issued June 18, 1930 and replaced November 13, 1930 by the 5c Prussian blue.
- The 2c green booklet stamps printed by flat press, which were issued June 17, 1930 and replaced by the 2c scarlet booklet stamps on November 17, 1930.
- The 8c deep steel blue, which was issued August 13, 1930 and replaced November 5, 1930 by the 8c red orange.
These three stamps, from what I can see, based on the stamps I have examined, always share the following characteristics:
- Cream coloured gum
- Satin sheen
- Coarse vertical paper mesh
Thus, any other stamps of the series, being the 4c, 10c, 12c, 20c, 50c, $1, 5c airmail and 20c special delivery that share these characteristics can be reckoned as having come from printings made in 1930.
The 10c Library of Parliament stamp was issued on September 15, 1930, and was in use until the 10c Georges Etienne Cartier stamp replaced it on September 30, 1931 - a period of just over a year. Generally on this stamp we see a variety of gum and paper types:
- Cream coloured gum, satin sheen and coarse mesh from the 1930 printings,
- Deep cream gum bordering on coffee colour, satin sheen and no mesh, from printings made in 1931.
- Deep cream gum again with a brownish tone, satin sheen and fine mesh from printings made in 1931.
We can see that two of these paper and gum types are from 1931 and they are different from the paper and gum found on the commemoratives issued between 1932 and 1934. Generally, there is a more brownish tone to the cream and less yellow, whereas the gums from 1932 and 1933, as seen on the commemorative stamps are more of a yellowish cream. So we can safely conclude that copies of the 1c green booklet stamps, the 2c scarlet booklet stamps, the 2c blackish brown booklet stamps, the 3c booklet stamps, the 4c, the 5c blue, the 8c red orange, the 12c, the 20c, the 50c, the $1, the 5c airmail and 20c special delivery sharing these characteristics are from printings made in 1931.
As we shall see in the next post dealing with this stamp, the 10c Georges Etienne Cartier stamp is found with all the paper and gum types as the commemoratives, as it was in use for the entire 1932-1935 period.
All the low values of this set, being all values from 1c-8c, the 12c and the 20c special delivery were replaced on December 1, 1932 with the Medallion issue. The early printings of the 4c, 5c 8c, 13c and 20c special delivery Medallion were printed on paper having coarse mesh, or no visible mesh and mottled coffee coloured gum. This corresponds to printings made in late 1932 and possibly very early 1933. So we can conclude that copies of the 1c green booklet stamps, the 2c blackish brown booklet stamps, the 3c booklet stamps, the 4c, the 5c blue, the 8c red orange, the 12c, the 20c, the 50c, the $1, and 20c special delivery sharing these characteristics are from printings made in late 1932.
Any stamps of this issue having deep yellowish cream gum, satin sheen and no visible mesh should be from printings made earlier in 1932, or very late in 1934. Thus, the 2c blackish brown booklet stamps, the 3c booklet stamps, the 4c, the 5c blue, the 8c red orange, the 12c, the 20c, the 50c, the $1 and the 20c special delivery should all exist with this combination of paper and gum.
Stamps having a deep yellowish cream gum with more of a glossy sheen and on paper showing fine mesh should be from printings made in 1933. Similarly, the yellowish cream mottled gum with satin sheen on paper showing no mesh is from 1933 as well. Thus the higher values being the 20c, 50c, and $1 having these paper and gum combinations should be from printings made in 1933.
Finally, any stamps of this issue found on paper with no visible mesh and cream or light cream gum that tends towards white, will be from printings made in 1934. We would expect this to be confined to the 20c, 50c and $1. It is worth noting that I have never seen the $1 with anything other than the cream gum and coarse paper mesh of 1930. It is quite possible, with a low printing of only 606,000 stamps that it was only printed once in 1930. I do believe that the 50c exists in at least two printings, and maybe even more. The 20c can be found for sure with all the gum and paper types mentioned above.
The Medallion Issue
These stamps were all issued between December 1932 and 1935. So generally, it should be possible to find the 4c, 5c, 8c, 13c and 20c special delivery with the following gum and paper types:
- Mottled coffee coloured gum with glossy sheen and paper that either shows coarse mesh or no mesh (late 1932);
- Deep yellowish cream gum with glossy sheen and fine vertical mesh (early 1933);
- Mottled cream gum with satin sheen and no mesh (later 1933);
- Cream gum or very light cream gum, with satin sheen and no mesh (1934);
- Yellowish cream gum with satin sheen and no mesh (late 1934).
The Second Postage Due Issue - 1930-1932
The second postage due issue came out in 1930, and was fully replaced by Deember 1933. The printings of the 5c and 10c are quite low at 523,000 and 309,000 stamps. Despite this, they are found with a range of paper and gum types similar to the other values. I have seen all the above paper and gum combinations on this issue, except for the mottled coffee gum. It may exist though. I should point out that all the stamps I have looked at are on paper that does not show any mesh on the mint stamps. This seems to be the main difference between this issue and the Arch Issue.
The Third Postage Due Issue - 1933-1935
This issue appeared December 20, 1933 and May 5, 1934. All the stamps of this issue that I have seen are printed on paper that shows no visible mesh. There are generally four types of gum that I have seen:
- light cream gum with a glossy sheen;
- light cream gum with a satin sheen;
- deep yellowish cream gum with a glossy sheen;
- deep yellowish cream gum with a satin sheen and very fine crackly texture;
The first and last gum types are not found on the commemoratives, through I have seen several copies of the 20c harvesting wheat Arch issue with the last gum type. It would appear based on the issue date that the stamps printed in 1933 will have the same gum types as the UPU conference issue, and the Royal William issue. Based on this, it would be reasonable to conclude that the first gum type is very likely from 1935, as it is found extensively on the 1935 Dated Die Issue. The last type in the above list is very likely from 1934 as well as the other gums found on the Jacques Cartier, Loyalists and Founding of New Brunswick Issues.
This post is somewhat speculative in nature, as it is difficult to prove definitively that certain paper and gum types correspond to specific printing dates. However, this post should make fairly clear the fact that there is a considerable amount of evidence to support the assignment of specific stamps to specific years between 1930 and 1935. I would love to hear what you think.