Lot 169 Canada #529-529p 10c Multicoloured Christ Child, 1970 Christmas Issue, Five VFNH Untagged and Winnipeg Tagged Lower Left Inscription and Field Stock Blocks of 4 on Ribbed HB 11 and HB12 Papers, Various Perfs

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$15.40
SKU Lot-169-December-22-2021

Five VFNH lower left inscription and field stock blocks of 4 of the 10c multicoloured Christ Child stamp from the 1970 Christmas issue, each printed on ribbed HB paper, giving a glow measuring between 11 and 12 on the Freeman-Irwin scale. One field stock block is perf. 11.95 and has a brightness level of 12. The second block is perf. 11.9 and has a brightness level of 12. The third block is perf. 11.9 and has a brightness level of 11. The fourth block is perf. 11.95 x 11.9, Winnipeg tagged, and has a brightness level of 12. The fifth block is perf. 11.9 x 11.95, Winnipeg tagged and has a brightness level of 11. Unitrade for five blocks is $15.40. The blocks offered here grade between 75 and 84.
The 1970 Christmas Issue is a fascinating study in its own right. It was the third issue after the 1957 Sports and 1970 Expo 70 issue to utilize the new se-tenant method of printing, and the second to use the new multicolour lithography process. There are several interesting aspects to this issue which make it a ripe area for specialization. The first of these is easily the constant varieties that can be found on all the stamp designs. These were detailed in an article written by Robin Harris in the November/December 2020 edition of the Canadian Philatelist. In this article multiple varieties are identifed on each design as follows:

1. 5c Santa Claus: 5 constant varieties, being positions 73/78, 5, 14, 60 and 28.
2. 5c Sleigh: 7 constant varieties, being positions 33, 15, 1, 63, 33, 49 and 10.
3. 5c Nativity: 6 constant varieties, being positons 90 (3 different), 58, 76 and 43.
4. 5c Children Skiing: 5 constant varieties, being positions 70, 40, 56 and 88 (2 different).
5. 5c Snowmen and Christmas Tree: 18 constant varieties, being positions 66, 19, 30, 80, 19, 54, 47, 44, 65, 98 (2 different), 80 (2 different), 66, 89, 35, 93, and 12.
6. 6c Christ Child: 8 constant varieties, being positions 76, 64, 53, 76, 11, 99 (2 different) and 2.
7. 6c Children & Christmas Tree: 9 constant varietes, being positions 13, 83, 18, 45, 46, 88, 55, 46, and 18.
8. 6c Toy Store: 11 constant varieties, being positions 12, 93, 66, 71, 36, 35, 89, 54, 44, 3 and 8.
9. 6c Santa Claus: 3 constant varieties, being positons 33, 52 and 63.
10. 6c Church: 9 constant varieties, being positions 41, 14, 78, 28, 87, 17, 73, 87, and 60.

What makes these varieties particularly interesting is the fact that they do not always occur on every sheet. There are many varieties which occur on a very small proportion of the sheets, such as the black dot on the sleigh, at positon 10. Other varieties, such as the dot between MA of Christmas (position 56), or the scratch in window (position 45) occur on almost every sheet, and positions that DO NOT contain the variety will be at a premium. Furthermore, where a particular position can contain 2 or three different varieties, usually that position will have only one variety, but occasionally there can be two varieties on the same stamp.

The exact number of sheets used in the printing layout is not clear, although the article shows two press sheets, each containing 4 sheets. However, the print layout could have contained multiple press sheets, which may account for the number of different sheets that can be found.

I purchased 27 full sheets of the 5c and 6c designs, and of these 27, I found 18 different sheets , which contained different combinations of varieties, as follows:

5c sheet 1: varieties at positons 33, 49, 76, 58, 70, 66 (2 varieties), 80, 65, 98 and 35.
5c sheet 2: varieties at positions 60, 33, 90, 58, 70, 88, 19, 80, 12, 98, 80, 35, 93 and 73.
5c sheet 3: varieties at positions 73, 5, 60, 33, 49, 58, 76, 70, 88, 19, 12, 93, 35, 80 and 98.
5c sheet 4: varieties at positions 73/78, 33, 49, 58, 70, 88, 66 (2 varieties), 80, 98 (2 varieties), 65, and 35.
5c sheet 5: vareties at positions 73/78, 60, 33, 49, 1, 58, 70, 88, 65, 66, 80, 98 and 35.
5c sheet 6: varieties at positions 32, 35, 56, 58, 65, 66, 70, 73/78, 76, 80,88, 98.
5c sheet 7: varieties at positions 73/78, 60, 33, 49, 58, 76, 70, 80, 35 and 66.
5c sheet 8: varieties at positions 33, 49, 58, 76, 70, 19 (unlisted in the article), 98, and 35.
5c sheet 9: varieties at positions 60, 30, 49, 58, 70, 56, 66, 54, 65 (different from the one in the article) and 35.
5c sheet 10: varieties at positions 35, 49, 60, 58, 65 (different from article), 66, 70, 80 and 90.
5c sheet 11: varieties at positions 54, 73, 49, 58, 65, 66, 70, 76, 80, 98, 33 and 1.
6c sheet 1: varieties at positons 53, 11, 99, 18, 13, 83, 88, 12, 36, 54 and 8.
6c sheet 2: varieties at positions 76, 64, 76, 99, 83, 18, 12, 66, 89, 38, 33 and 73.
6c sheet 3: varieties at positions 14, 78, 28, 17, 8, 3, 35, 36, 12, 88, 18, 13, 83, 11 and 99.
6c sheet 4: varieties at positions 76, 64, 99, 83, 18, 12, 66, 3, 8, 54, 33, 73, 60. undoubtedly there are more combinations out there, especially on the 6c sheets, of which I only had a small number to work with. What is notable is that several of the sheets are very similar, but for one or two varieties that are present on one sheet and not another. Conversely some sheets contain entirely different varieties. Unitrade lists only a few of the varieties and interestingly they are not even the scarcest ones.

After the varieties there are the se-tenant combinations that can be collected, namely horizontal and vertical strips of 5, identical vertical pairs, identical horizontal pairs and the centre block of 4. It is strange that Unitrade only lists the horizontal strips and the centre blocks, when many albums contain spaces for them all, but also because the pairs can be quite scarce, depending on how the sheets are handled. Most sheets of this size are usually split first down the middle vertically, and then these would typically be broken up into the horizontal strips. This is why the centre blocks are scarce, because if the sheet is either folded or split this way, you lose the centre block. However, you also lose the horizontal pairs as well, which can only be obtained if the middle vertical strip of 2 stamps is left intact. It is still possible to obtain the vertical pairs under these circumstances, as long as the sheet isn't split in half again horizontally. This is why the vertical pairs are not as scarce as the horizontal ones, despite the sheet containing the same number of each. Likewise, vertical strips will be much scarcer than horizontal ones, as most sheets would be split into 16 horizontal strips, the centre block and the remaining odd singles.

Then the stamps are found on two different types of paper, each of which exhibits slight variations in the fluorescence level. The paper can either be smooth or ribbed, and while the basic fluorescence level is hibrite, the brightess varies from 10 to 12 on the Freeman-Irwin scale. So far I have only found the high values on ribbed paper, and most of the tagged stamps seem to be on the ribbed paper. Finally, the perforations vary from 11.8 to 12 on both sides, with measurements of 11.95, 11.8 and 11.85 being the most common, and 12 being the least common.

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