Lot #157 Canada #455, 455iv 2c Green & Deep Bright Green, Pacific Coast Totem Pole, 1967-1973 Centennial Issue, A Specialized Lot of Plate 2 UL Blocks on DF and NF Papers, All With Blinky Flaws From the Upper Left Pane


A specialized group of upper left plate 2 blocks of the 2c green and deep bright green Pacific Coast Totem Pole stamp from the 1967-1973 Centennial issue, all showing blinky flaws at positions 1/1 and 1/2. Printed on different DF and NF papers, as identified on the front of the glassine that the blocks are in.

The blinky flaws, or "totem pole eyes" as they have come to be known to collectors are a series of constant flaws that occur on the four eyes of the totem pole of the design. Normally the eyes appear as solid circles of color within larger circles. The flaws generally consist of either crescents or arcs of colour in place of one or more eyes, or they can involve one of more of the four eyes completely or partially missing. In all there are 33 different flaws that have been identified by specialists, that are distributed across the 12 panes produced by plates 1 and 2. Some panes, such as the upper left and left centre from plate 1, and the right centre and lower left panes from plate 2 have no flaws at all, while most others have between 1 and 6 in the entire pane. The panes with the most flaws come from plate 2, and are the upper left pane and the lower right pane. In all 37 flaws occur in the entire print run of 1,200 stamps, so they are not as common as might first be assumed, making up no more than just over 3% of the entire printing. They occur on both tagged and untagged panes, as well as the panes with dextrine and PVA gums.

    Although Unitrade and Harris list DF and NF papers, in reality there are several variations of these paper types, which differ according to (1) the basic colour under UV, (2) the brightness and concentration of the fluorescent fibres in the paper, which make it appear brighter than it actually is.

    The 2c sheet stamps printed by CBN were printed in a number of different shades, depending on when the printings were made:

    • Plate 1 and 2 printings made between 1967 and 1968 tend to be in shades of green, bluish green, or deep green, with the occasional light green being seen. Ink colours under UV more often than not still appear as deeper versions of themselves.
    • Plate 1 and 2 printings made between 1968 and 1970 tend to be printed in shades of deep bright green. Again, under UV the ink colour retains its basic colour.
    • Plate 1 and 2 printings made between 1971 and 1973 with PVA gum tend to be printed in shades of bright green. Under UV this ink most often appears black.

    The collage shows the differences between some of these shades, though they are easier to see in the flesh for some reason.

    The gum used on all printings to 1971 is dextrine, but within this category, there are a number of different types, which differ by the way the gum appears, when viewed in light:

    • Early printings have yellowish gum that appears either completely smooth, mildly streaky, or very streaky, and has a semi-gloss sheen.
    • Later printings made toward 1970 have gum that has a distinct satin sheen, and can occasionally appear grainy.

    The PVA gum used on the plate 1 and 2 printings, shows very little variation, but a subtle difference can be found in the sheen and thickness of the gum, with the earlier printings having a thicker gum with a satin sheen, compared to a slightly thinner gum that has an eggshell sheen.

    Harris values these blocks at $50. The blocks offered here grade between 75 and 84.