The 50th anniversary of Canada’s flag was commemorated with the release of two stamps on February 15th. A Permanent™ stamp (value of 85¢) and a $5 souvenir sheet were released.
A ‘press sheet’ of 23 panes of the $5 souvenir sheet was also released. Only 1,000 of these sheets were released. Here is a pre-release image from Canada Post’s online shopping cart:
Notice that 20 of the panes include the full souvenir sheet while 3 of the ‘panes’ are only the $5 stamp itself … the three rotated 90 degrees at the right side.
These $5 stamps are the first fabric-printed stamps by Canada Post. Is this significant? Certainly. A closer look at the printed souvenir sheet shows a horizontal pattern to the printed colours:
There are horizontal ‘rectangles’ across the stamp (hopefully that is visible in this image).
I am awaiting my press sheet to arrive (rumour has it they will not begin shipping to customers until the beginning of March) in order to check the “three” panes from the right side of the press sheet.
I expect to see a vertical pattern to these three stamps due to their 90 degree orientation compared to the other twenty panes.
Why is this difference important? If the three ‘vertical’ panes are in fact different from the other 20, then this is a major variety. With only 1,000 press sheet printed that makes only 3,000 of these available (if all of the press sheets were cut up).
Did you also notice that the three ‘vertical’ stamps are only the stamp, not the entire pane? As well, the back of these stamps are ‘white’; as in they have no backprinting (view the image on Canada Post’s website or in the Details magazine). This by itself makes these three stamps different.
Another thought by a correspondent is that these three stamps were used for the Official First Day Covers. I have one on order to see if these stamps do show the different orientation of the paper pattern.
I’ll keep you posted!
March 2/15 update: received notification this evening that my uncut press sheet order has shipped from Canada Post.
March 5/15 update: my uncut press sheet, and OFDC arrived in today’s mail. I can confirm that the three vertically-oriented stamps on the right side of the press sheet were made specifically for first day covers. As well, the fabric orientation is visibly different between the 20 ‘horizontal’ souvenir sheets and the 3 ‘vertical’ stamps. These are unique varieties of which only 3,000 mint examples, and 13,000 used (for OFDC) can exist (1,000 uncut press sheets times 3 per sheet = 3,000).