A very fine mint NH sealed package of 4 plate blocks of the 8c dark blue summer sports stamps from the 1974 Keep Fit Sports Issue, with moderate General Ottawa 4 mm OP-2 tagging. Line perf. 11.85 x 11.85. Horizontal wove paper with no ribbing or vertical mesh. Smooth creamy PVA gum with an eggshell sheen. Under ultraviolet light, the paper and card insert gives the following readings:
On the stamps: low fluorescent bluish white with a low density concentration of low fluorescent fibres, a sparse concentration of medium fluorescent fibres, and very few brownish woodpulp fibres visible in the paper.
On the card insert in the pack: medium fluorescent bluish white, with a mottled appearance, but no fluorescent fibres.
The card insert shows the purple, blue and red Canada Post maple leaf logo that was replaced between 1975 and 1976, with the simpler purple design. The tagging on the stamps is of moderate strength, which means that it is light yellow in colour and clearly visible to the naked eye, but not dark. Unitrade lists these stamps as being on HB paper, but this is a gross over-simplification, as the above description shows. There are in fact, at least two different types of the HB paper, which is not really HB, but more of a MF or HF overall, and three different tagging strengths (light, moderate and dark), for a total of at least six varieties. The scarcity of these varieties varies widely, with this being by far, one of the most common, based on my examination of 200 sealed packs like this one. Unitrade does not price these sealed packs, but lists the VF-75 NH blocks on the HB paper at $14. These packs are getting scarcer and scarcer every year, since most dealers and collectors open them up, remove the blocks and throw away the packaging. They are collectible in their own right though and can be nicely displayed in clear Vario pages. So they should be worth more than just the price of the blocks. The pack offered here grades VF-75 NH, based on the top block in the pack, as follows:
Paper freshness: 5/5
Absence of visible paper flaws: 5/5