ESG Elizabethan II Study Group
Journal: The Corgi Times

Definitive Series

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By far the most challenging aspect of collecting stamps are the definitives. These stamps are issued in far larger quantities than commemoratives; they have multiple printings which often result in different varieties.

[I've provided links to series images found on The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada's website - these are images that I have produced as webmaster of The RPSC site. These links will open in a new window.]

Here are the different definitive series issued during the Elizabethan era...

Karsh 1952-1953

The simplest (due to the limited number of varieties) of the Elizabethan era definitive series. Only 9 designs exist. The five low-values (1c-5c) are based on a portrait by Yosuf Karsh. In addition to the sheet stamps, coils, booklets, precancels, and official stamps exist (for a total of 34 different varieties).
  • fluorescent paper appears.
  • separate 'English' and 'Bilingual' booklet covers discontinued.
Link to images on RPSC website
Wilding 1954-1962

A number of varieties exist in this 'short' series of only 10 designs which make it a prime candidate for some serious study. Phosphor tagging was introduced in Winnipeg during the Wilding era. Two different orientations of ribbing (horizontal and vertical) exist on several of the values. Coils, booklet, miniature panes, precancels, and officials add to the varieties. A total of 49 varieties exist from the 10 designs. Fluorescent paper varieties add to this.
  • phosphor tagging introduced.
  • miniature panes introduced.
  • post office "order number" trimmed from post office sheets.
Link to images on RPSC website
Cameo 1962-1966

The third of the 'early' Elizabethan era definitive series. The 10 values give us at 41 varieties (plus fluorescent paper varieties). The 'Winnipeg' tagging continued on the low-value Cameos with 5 different types available on the 4c denomination.

Nearly 600 perfins and over 300 stationery pieces (envelopes, post cards, etc.) add to the count of varieties available on the Karsh, Wilding, and Cameo definitives.

  • last "official" stamps issued (discontinued Dec 31/63).
  • medium-sized definitive stamp introduced.
Link to images on RPSC website
Centennial 1967-1973

The most popular modern-day definitive series for Canadian collectors. The 18 face different designs have yielded nearly 150 varieties. Add to this over 280 perfins and over 170 different stationery (envelopes, post cards, etc.) and you have a very challenging series.
  • 'general' tagging introduced.
  • 'integral' booklets, including se-tenant issues, introduced.
  • 'comb' perfed stamps seen for first time.
  • first major varieties available only in booklet form.
  • straight-edged sheet stamps re-introduced, then made obsolete.
  • coils reduced to 100 stamps per roll (from 500).
  • stamp sizes go metric.
Link to images on RPSC website
Caricature and Landscape 1972-1978

A somewhat simple looking series that is popular among collectors. The 16 face different designs have produced over 140 major varieties due to different tagging, perforation, printers, and re-prints.
  • first Canadian definitive series which did not depict the reigning monarch on the low-value definitives - caricatures of past Prime Ministers were used instead.
  • first Canadian series to use more than one colour on the same stamp.
  • first Canadian definitive series to not have low-value coils (only the first-class domestic letter-rate values had a coil version.
  • last Canadian definitive series to use Winnipeg tagging.
Link to images on RPSC website
Environment 1977-1987

This is a fascinating definitive series to study. Many collectors became upset by the study of the previous two Canadian definitive series (Centennial and Caricature/Landscape) because of the paper fluorescent varieties (these require the use of an ultraviolet light and are generally subjective in nature). Instead there are various perforation, printing styles, and paper manufacturers to contend with.

The 44 face different designs from 8 different subs-series have produced nearly 200 varieties. Throw in the booklets and booklet se-tenant combinations and you have quite a challenge indeed.

  • first Canadian series to use multiple colours on the low-value stamps.
  • first definitive series to have a face-different variety only available from a booklet.
  • first definitive series to have a first-class letter rate stamp which did not depict the reigning monarch.
  • first definitive series to use the "traffic light" inscription on plate blocks.
  • precanceled stamps were discontinued during this series.
  • first Canadian stamp to be non-denominated appears.
  • the post office department becomes a Crown corporation.
  • the largest postal rate increase experienced in Canada occurs (17c to 30c).
Link to images on RPSC website
Artifacts and Parliament 1982-1987

The 29 face different designs have produced nearly 100 varieties. The booklet format started to become more popular with the post office during this series.
  • the size of the first-class letter rate stamps were made slightly larger than previous definitive series.
  • first Canadian definitive series to issue stamps to meet a specific postal rate other than first class.
  • first definitive stamps to include bilingual text (English and French) on the stamp design besides 'Postes/Postage'.
Link to images on RPSC website
Mammals, Queen and Architecture 1987-2003

During this period the post office did not announce every new printing resulting in several relatively rare varieties. The 32 face different designs have produced nearly 80 varieties. The use of booklets to sell stamps to the public in retail outlets became the most popular format for selling stamps.
  • the size of the low-value and first-class letter rate stamps were made slightly larger than previous definitive series.
  • first definitive series to issue booklets which did not contain any first-class letter rate stamps for domestic use only.
  • first time a definitive stamp's colour was printed over the entire stamp, including the perforations.
Link to images on RPSC website
Fruit and Flag 1987-2007

The 42 face different designs have produced over 100 varieties.
  • first Canadian self-adhesive stamp appears.
  • last series to have vending machine booklets.
  • the design of the stamp "passed over" the perforations for the first time in a definitive series.
  • in past series, the perforations of the booklets were coarser than the sheets (fine perfs); in this series, the 'pattern' is reversed.
  • booklets began to appear in two forms: with (philatelic) and without (field stock) inscriptions.
Link to images on RPSC website
Trades, Leaf, Flower and Wildlife 1997-2010

Some of the high-value wildlife are still available.
  • highest value definitive issued ($10).
  • first 9c definitive issued.
  • stamps issued through banking Automated Teller Machines for the first time.
  • coil gutters return.
  • barcodes appear on pane selvedge.

Link to images on RPSC website
Link to Flower images on RPSC website

Beneficial Insects and Olympics 2009

These low-value definitives are still current.

Link to images on RPSC website
Link to Olympic images on RPSC website

Flag Over ... 2004-2011

Five series of Flag over (something).

Link to images on RPSC website

Canadian Pride 2011-2013

Three series of Canadian Pride definitives.

Link to images on RPSC website

Baby Wildlife 2012-2016

Four series of these definitives.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites 2014-2017

Three series of UNESCO definitives.


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