Canada Tagging Errors: Introduction

Anyone who has ever attempted to classify or identify tagging errors has had to rely on two key tools: a) a strong Ultra Violet (UV) light in a room that can be turned pitch black, and b) the Ken Rose 1995 Tagging catalogue. This catalogue was edited by George Dunsay, and by John Jamieson of Saskatoon Stamp Centre. This is the most comprehensive catalogue that had ever been attempted and brought the collecting of tag errors into some semblance order and made it possible for the layman to understand this aspect of the hobby that had largely been ignored. It had evolved tremendously from Ken Rose's first Canada Tagged Stamps Handbook published in 1973, but it is now time to bring this information into the 21st Century.

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In the year 2004 when I (Del Peters, with John Jamieson) was “convinced” to pursue this aspect of the hobby, it seemed like an innocent enough endeavour that could be readily achieved. It soon became apparent however, that many tagging varieties issued prior to 1995 had not surfaced at the date of writing that edition of the catalogue. Since that time it also became evident that with current printing practices, many more tag varieties were appearing.

In particular it became apparent that when 4-sided tagging was introduced and die cutting replacing traditional perforations, it created a whole new set of tagging errors that had never appeared when the stamps were only perforated and tagging only ran down the edges of each stamp or down the middle. In particular the 47c Flag over Inukshuk stamps booklet BK236 (Scott 1707a), was the main culprit in creating these new types of tagging errors. In discussions with John Jamieson he mentioned that when the 1995 Canadian Tagged Errors and Tagged Perfins catalogue was edited, most of the attention had been focused on tagging bar "shifts" and "missing tagging bars". In subsequent analysis it was determined that perforation shifts and die cutting shifts also created tagging errors and this expanded the numbers greatly of the various types of tagging errors. When the tagging bars were only on the vertical sides, then shifts only went to the right or left.

You will note that in addition to an expanded and clarified version of the tagging types as identified on the back page of the 1995 catalogue, we have also had to develop three new tagging error designations due to the 4-sided tagging and die cut errors. When four sided tagging was added, the effects of shifts up or down combined with shifts to left and right made for a total of 24 new tag types. Then die cutting shifts, which sometimes resulted in oversize stamps added 10 more possibilities. These are illustrated as types G4B, G4F and G4G.

We have also identified a larger number of "paper" varieties, i.e. grades of fluorescence. Again this is somewhat subjective and the different fluorescent paper varieties cannot be identified visually without a good UV lamp.

We have also determined that in designating the various shifts that appear at “ right” (R), "centre" (C) and “left” (L), such as "G2aR", "G2aC" and "G2aL" that in order for a variety to be a "C" it must be completely clear of the perforation holes, even if only by say ½ of a millimetre (mm). The "G2aL" and "G2aR" types will show one bar at either left or right, on the perforations, with no trace of any tagging on the perforations on the opposite side of the stamp. The purist will of course state that we could have divided the stamp into more sections other than just left, centre and right, however we will leave that for the next generation of tagging enthusiasts.

To those of you who have used the Ken Rose 1995 catalogue, you will note that our designation or classification of the various tag errors are different than those used in that catalogue. We noted that the Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps has used G2 and G4 as the two and four bar tags respectively and we changed the tag errors in this website to use these same designations so as to provide continuity. The examples of the various tag errors are identified in another location in this website.

I would like to add at this time that we have tried our utmost to ensure the accuracy of the tables and information presented, however we recognize that gremlins will sneak into this production and we request that if you detect an error or cannot determine what type of error it is due to the fuzziness of our description please be kind enough to point out the error via email or regular mail to the addresses attached below. If you have a new variety we would be more than pleased to include it in this website and assign the proper description and price to it. It is important that we know precisely what the paper type is and exactly where the bars are. It is best that the editors actually examine the stamp in question before it is added to the listings.

As this is an ongoing process with new stamps being continually issued and each one potentially resulting in a new "find", we have chosen not to bind the information into a booklet form, but to use the website as a format that can accurately reflect new varieties or changes as they occur and your information can remain current.

In early 2021, the management of this data has been transferred to Mirko Zatka of Zatka Philately.

The assembling of this data has proven to be a challenging yet rewarding experience. Your input via reports of new finds or comments on any aspect of this website will be greatly appreciated. Therefore if you have any information you feel we could use please email the following:

Mirko Zatka, editor
Calgary, AB

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