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Canadian Stamp Tips: #2 of a series
Last Updated December 10, 1998 by Robin Harris

First published in the September 1995 Buffalo, the monthly publication of The Winnipeg Philatelic Society.


The current Queen Elizabeth II first-class definitive design has been around since 1987. The seven face values range from 37c to the now current rate of 45c. The use of this design has actually spanned three different low-value definitive series: Artifacts (1982-87), Wildlife (1988-92), and the current Berries (1991-present).

37c QE (14k) 38c QE (15k) 39c QE (15k)

+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|                  |                      SHEET                      ||    BOOKLET    |
| Queen            |-----------------------------+-----------+-------++-------+-------+
| Elizabeth II     |             BABN            |     AP    |  CBN  ||   AP  |  CBN  |
|                  +-------+-----------+---------+---+---+---+---+---++---+---+---+---+
|                  |13.3x13|13.1x12 3/4|13.1x13.6|              13.1 x 13.6           |
|                  +-------+-----------+---------+---+---+---+---+---++---+---+---+---+
|           paper: |          Harrison           | P | H | C | P | C || S | C | H | P |
+------------------+-------+-----------+---------+---+---+---+---+---++---+---+---+---+
| 37c blue         |   X   |           |         |   |   |   |   |   ||   |   |   |   |
+------------------+-------+-----------+---------+---+---+---+---+---++---+---+---+---+
| 38c red          |       |      X    |         |   |   |   |   |   || X |   |   |   |
+------------------+-------+-----------+---------+---+---+---+---+---++---+---+---+---+
| 39c green-black  |       |      X    |    X    |   |   |   |   |   || X |   |   |   |
+------------------+-------+-----------+---------+---+---+---+---+---++---+---+---+---+
| 40c red-brown    |       |           |         | X | X |   |   |   ||   | X |   |   |
+------------------+-------+-----------+---------+---+---+---+---+---++---+---+---+---+
| 42c purple       |       |           |         |   |   | X |   |   ||   | X |   |   |
+------------------+-------+-----------+---------+---+---+---+---+---++---+---+---+---+
| 43c grey-black   |       |           |         |   |   |   | X |   ||   | X | X | X |
+------------------+-------+-----------+---------+---+---+---+---+---++---+---+---+---+
| 45c turquoise    |       |           |         |   |   | X |   | X ||   |   |   | X |
+------------------+-------+-----------+---------+---+---+---+---+---++---+---+---+---+

Paper codes: P=Peterborough; H=Harrison; C=Coated; S=Slater

40c QE (15k) 42c QE (15k) 43c QE (15k) 45c QE (15k)

Study Tip#3: Don't expect Canada Post to announce every new variety - study stamps on a regular basis.

Here are the three distinguishing factors to be considered when studying these seven values:

  • perforation: two values, the 38c and 39c, come in two different perforations. From the fall of 1989 to late 1991 there were at least eight different definitive stamps that were found with a new perforation, but had never been announced by Canada Post - in fact, we are still waiting for an official explanation on how these varieties occurred! In the Queen Elizabeth II values, the 39c was one of these "unofficial" stamps released by Canada Post. On January 12, 1990 the 39c sheet and booklet stamps were released with a perforation of 13.1 x 13.6. Sometime in April of 1990, the sheet stamp appeared with a perf of 13.1 x 12 3/4. As far as we know, there are no plate blocks available of this latter printing.

  • paper: the 38c-45c values exist on at least two different papers (ie. Harrison, Slater, Peterborough, or Coated Papers). These can be differentiated! Of course, mint copies do make this process easier, but with careful study even the used copies can be separated.

  • colour: although each new face value also had a different background colour as par of the design, many also have two distinct colours of certain parts of the design. This is due to the different printers that were involved. I have never seen any reference to this colour-distinguishing factor in any of the philatelic press (I had first reported this colour variety in the July-August 1993 Buffalo).

Study Tip #4: Finding a collectable new variety requires detailed study. While looking at a large number of used 43c QEIIs, it became apparent to me that two pars of the design had two distinct colours: the Queen's hair was either brown or black, and the medallion on her dress had either a purple ribbon or a blue ribbon! Thus, a new collectable variety was found.

43c QE (15k) 43c QE (14k)

PS. Although there are only 8 different booklets noted in the chart above, there are actually 25 different complete booklets to collect (but that is another story).


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