Coil Back Numbers

 Two stamp issues have appeared with counting numbers on the back of the coil rolls. The Hydrangeas coil issue of March 1, 2014 (rolls of 50 stamps), and the current Permanent™ Beaver definitive (rolls of 100 stamps, first issued March 31, 2014) have dot matrix-printed numbers placed every 5 stamps on the back of the rolls. The purpose is to give an indication to the user of the rolls just how many stamps are remaining in the roll. [An individual stamp removed from the backing paper does not show any number.]



As one gets closer to the end of the roll, a message in both English and French appears to let the person know it is time to think about purchasing more stamps.

The start of the roll has the highest number (50 on the Hydrangeas stamps, and 100 on the Beaver definitive). The “Need more?/Order at” text in English appears at stamp number 15 remaining, and the equivalent message in French appears at stamp number 10 remaining.

Here is the starter strip of the Permanent™ Beavers stamp (Scott 2711) that shows counting numbers 100 and 95.


Here are images, taken from the Hydrangeas stamps, of the counts at 50–45, 15–10, and 10 to the end of the roll where the remnants of the inner core tube are present (the end of the roll of stamps is glued to the inner core).




$5 Canada Flag

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).

Major die cutting variety reported

A correspondent in Alberta (Mirko Zatka, who quite likely has the best stock of modern Canadian mint varieties around) discovered a new, major die cutting variety this past week.

The Permanent™ Arctic Hare baby wildlife definitive issued January 17, 2011 exists in two formats: a coil of 100 (common) and a roll of 5,000 used by specialized postaging machines (scarce).

The roll of 5,000 is listed in the Unitrade catalogue as Scott 2425. The ‘normal’ variety looks like this (notice that the serpentine die cutting along the top starts with ‘peak’):


Now take a look at this used example:


The serpentine die cutting along the top in this example starts with a ‘valley’. This is a new major die cutting variety (i.e. the die cutting was inverted in relation to the original).

Do not confuse the above ‘roll of 5,000 stamps’ from the very common stamps from coils/rolls of 100 (Scott 2426):


How do you tell the difference between single stamps printed from the coils of 100 and 5,000? There are two key differences:

  • the roll of 5,000 is die cut 9.2 horizontally; the roll of 100 stamps have a die cut that ranges from 8.15 to 8.50 horizontally.
  • the stamps from the roll of 100 have small ‘nibs’ of paper somewhere along the die cutting (in the example above there are four such ‘nibs’); the stamps from the roll of 5,000 have no ‘nibs’ whatsoever.

So far I have checked 2,500 used examples (out of about 9,000 in our ‘stock). For the rare ‘roll of 5,000’ (Scott 2425) I have found 5 used ‘normal’ (peak at upper left) and 8 use ‘inverts’ (valley at upper left). [It takes about 20 minutes to sort through 500 stamps looking for this specific variety. With a bit of practise you can spot the rarer examples without the aid of a perforation gauge.]

By the way, to date there have been 9 different stamps released in these larger rolls of 5,000:



Happy hunting!