Canada #405xx 5c Deep Aniline Ultramarine Queen Elizabeth II, 1962-1967 Cameo Issue, LL and UL VFNH Field Stock Precancel Corner Blocks With Narrow Selvedge

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Upper left and lower left very fine NH (VF-80) field stock corner blocks of 4 of the untagged 5c deep aniline ultramarine precancelled stamp of the 1962-1967 Cameo Issue, which may include unlisted paper, shade and perfs, as discussed below. As explained in the blog articles here, here, here and here, these stamps can be found with a variety of paper, shade, tagging and gum varieties, some of which are listed in Unitrade, but most of which are not listed. These articles will explain what these varieties are and how you can identify them. 

The stamps were printed in plates of 600 stamps, divided into 6 panes of 100. In accordance with new directives established at the end of 1958, a portion of the panes were left with the plate inscriptions intact, and these were sent to the philatelic bureau. All other panes were trimmed to remove the inscriptions and were distributed to post offices. This is known as field stock. From the appearance of the cutting guidelines on the blocks, and the selvedge widths, it would appear that the panes are arranged in a 2 x 3 configuration, so that:

  • Upper and lower panes have wide selvedge at the top and bottom.
  • Middle panes have narrow selvage at the top and bottom.
  • Left panes will have wide selvedge at the left side, and narrow on the right side.
  • Right panes will have narrow selvedge on the left side and wide selvedge on the right side. 

This lot includes:

  • UL with narrow selvedge at top and left. This comes from either the lower right or right centre pane.
  • LL with narrow selvedge at the bottom and left. This comes from either the upper right pane or right centre pane.

I have not checked these blocks specifically for the paper types or perfs, but the notes below will prove helpful. 

In terms of paper, Unitrade only lists the untagged stamps on DF paper, except for some printings of the 4c, which are listed as existing on fluorescent paper.  There are at least two types of DF paper that can be found, as well as NF papers. This lot may include some of both types that have not been specifically identified, but which will generally be 1 of 2 types of the DF paper as follows: 

  1. A vertical wove paper that shows no clear mesh. 
  2. A vertical wove paper that shows clear horizontal mesh when viewed from the back (sometimes referred to as "ribbed")

Also, in most instances, the paper is opaque, showing only a faint image of the design through the back. However, some stamps are found with more of the design visible on the back.

In terms of gum, there are generally three types, one of which are present in this group:

  1. A smooth, cream coloured gum that has a semi-gloss sheen. This is the gum on the blocks in this lot.
  2. A streaky, cream coloured gum that has a semi-gloss sheen. 
  3. A grainy cream coloured textured gum with a satin sheen. This is not present in this lot, but has been seen to exist on the 4c value. 

In terms of shades, there are subtle variations on the 1c, 2c and 4c, and the 3c and 5c values show clear variations. This printing is on a special aniline ink as discussed below.

The aniline inks are not listed in Unitrade, but they occur on many of the blue stamps of the 1950's and 1960's. They are all scarce, turning up only a handful of times in many hundreds of mint examples, and quite often thousands of stamps. It has been suggested by some that these are colour changelings brought about by storage conditions, but I have recently sold a cover that was franked with several stamps, with only a few on the envelope being aniline. This supports the notion that these are legitimate differences in the chemical composition of the inks. On this issue the blue is actually a completely different shade from what is usually seen. Normally this stamp is printed in a violet blue. This shade is much brighter. Also, the scan of the back shows the suffusion of colour through to the surface of the paper that is characteristic of stamps printed with aniline inks. 

The perforations also vary due to the fact that CBN used up to four different machines to perforate sheets during this period. The old machines gauging 12 and 11.9 were used to perforate most of the original printings, and then the newer machines were used for the later printings. One of these new machines gauges 11.95, while the other one introduced sometime in 1961 gauges 11.85. Compounds can also be found of both these gauges, so that all sheet stamps can be found with many different perforation measurements that at least include: 11.95 x 11.9, 11.95 x 11.85, 11.9 x 11.95, 11.9, 11.95, 11.85 x 11.95, 11.85 x 11.9, 12 x 11.9, 11.9 x 12 and 11.85 x 12. I did not measure the perfs of these blocks specifically, and the most common perf. appears to be 11.9, but they could be any of the measurements given above. 

Unitrade does not list field stock blocks, and the aniline inks generally sell for $25 or so per stamp, so the value of these blocks is in the $200 range. A wonderful opportunity to get started on a more specialized collection of the corner blocks of this issue. 

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