Lot 53 Canada #28iii 12.5c Blue Queen Victoria, 1868-1897 Large Queen Issue, A Very Fine Used Single On Soft White Blotting Paper (Duckworth #8), Perf 12.1 x 11.9
A very fine used single of the 12.5c blue Queen Victoria from the 1868-1897 Large Queen Issue on soft white blotting paper (Duckworth #8), perf 12.1 x 11.9. This might actually be paper 9b, as it is quite thin, but it has all the other characteristics of the blotting paper, being the lack of visible mesh, the very soft feel and very clear printing impression. It is definitely as scarce, if not scarcer than the blotting paper, and it is the first of its kind that I have seen on this value.
Unitrade lists a fine quality stamp at $600, and does not price anything above this grade. So a very fine quality should be at least doubled for $1200. This is easily the nicest Large Queen stamp in the entire auction. The stamp offered here grades 84 as follows:
Paper Freshness: 5/5
Absence of Visible Paper Flaws: 5/5
The Large Queens were printed on a number of different paper types, named after Duckworth, the most well known student of this issue. All values except for the 1/2c, 5c and 15c were fully replaced by the Small Queen issue by 1872, with the 1c and 3c being the first to be replaced. The original values were all printed in Ottawa only. The 5c was only printed in Montreal between October 1875 and February 1876, which is one reason for its scarcity. The 1/2c was in use until 1882, so it exists printed first in Ottawa and then Montreal. Finally, the 15c covers the entire Small Queen period, so it exists printed in Ottawa, Montreal and then in Ottawa again.
The Duckworth paper types are numbered from 1 to 10, with 9b having been recently added to the list. Papers 3 and 4 are the most commonly found, and differ in the sense that paper 4 is stiffer (more stout) than paper 3. Both have clear horizontal mesh. Paper 6 is also known as Bothwell paper. This is the paper that exists watermarked, with the watermark covering only 12 or 13 stamps in a sheet. It is a highly porous paper that shows clear vertical mesh, which is how it is identified. The listed thin papers are generally either paper 1, paper 2 or paper 9b. Paper 1 is translucent and has a vertical mesh, and appears yellowish. Paper 2 is horizontal wove, and not soft. Paper 9b is very soft to the touch. You will find that if you draw the stamp between your thumb and index finger very gently that papers 8, 9 and 9b will feel silky smooth. Paper 5 is the laid paper, found on #31 through #33. Paper 8 is what is known as the thick soft blotting paper. It is not really thick, but it is opaque and very white. It also has no visible mesh. Paper 9 is a soft white paper that ca have either horizontal or vertical mesh. Paper 7 is a coarse paper that is an ivory colour and has vertical mesh. It is similar to Bothwell paper, but is coarser, not being reported on the 1/2c or 3c values as yet. Paper 10 is a stout horizontal wove paper that is quite soft. It is the standard paper for the 1c yellow orange.
The 1/2c, 5c and 15c stamps printed after 1871 will all be found with the same range of papers that were used to print the Small Queens of the same time period. So, the 1/2c, 5c and 15c can be found on both horizontal and vertical wove papers that are not the same as the Duckworth papers described above. On the Montreal printings of these stamps the paper tends to be stout, and the stamps often have a plate position dot in the lower left corner, as the equivalent Small Queen issues do. On the Second Ottawa printings the quality of paper used was much better than for the Small Queens, so the tests employed on that issue, tend not to work as well here. Generally, the papers used on Second Ottawa printings are vertical wove, and show vertical mesh and are not soft.
Shades can also be of some help in sorting the printings of the 15c. Most of the grey violet, grey and slate grey shades listed as #29, #30 and #30i will be Second Ottawa printings. Similarly, most purple, blue grey, greenish grey and blue shades, listed as #29i, #30b, #30e and #30iv will be Montreal printings. Finally the perforations are slightly more complicated than what Unitrade presents.While some stamps are indeed 12 x 12, there are also other measurements like 11.9 x 12, 12.1, 12.2, and compounds. Both the 1/2c and 15c can be found 11.5 x 12, 11.6 x 12 or 11.75 x 12 from the mid-Montreal period, and similarly the 5c can be found only 11.75 x 12 or 12.1 x 12.1, being from the same Mid-Montreal period.