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Show & Tell

Week of Oct 26, 2012

1908 Labrador/USA Postage ?? - an interesting look at these Cinderella's

Three stamps/labels were printed in 1908 by the Montreal Lithographing Company in 1908, ordered by an 'enterprising' doctor.

The printing consisted of - 5 cent stamps - 108,400, 25 cent stamps - 108,000, 1 dollar stamps - 57,000

For a 5 page read about the well documented history of these stamps and the trouble with the law – click here Week of Oct 2, 2012

1873 3c Small Queen - preprinting crease ( dramatic )

Sometimes paper got creased before it got to the printing press. If the crease was sufficiently minor, the pressman may have not noticed. This Small Queen was printed with a huge crease which, when opened leaves a diagonal gap of 3 millimetres and creates a stamp with an irregular shape.

Week of Sept 14, 2012

Newfoundland 1920 Trial Colour Surcharge in Red - 2c on 30c Colony Seal only 25 known - #127i

The quick decision to add a 1c War tax to the postal rates in 1918 in Newfoundland increased the local Newfoundland rate to 2c and stock of the regular 2c stamp was quickly depleted. 4 surplus stamps (now Scott #127,128,129,130 ) were surcharged to the new 2c rate by the local St. Johns Royal Gazette newspaper.

The shortage lasted several years and surcharging was done over a 2 year period - several Trial surcharges were made per the table below, this is one of the rarest.

Table - BNAPS Topics - April 1997, article by Norris R. Dyer

Week of Aug 13, 2012

The 1927 De Pinedo Air Mail Unique Mint Block

This is the unique mint block of the 1927 De Pinedo Air Mail 60c Henry VII issued for the 400th anniversary of John Cabot's discovery of Newfoundland. The stamp overprinted Air Mail DE PINEDO 1927 in red was issued on 18 May 1927.

300 of the Henry VII stamps were overprinted by Robinson & Co. Ltd. of St. Johns, NF on mail for use on mail to be carried by Marchese Francesco de Pinedo.

It ranks as the most important of all Newfoundland and World Airmail blocks, it is among the rarest 20th-century British Empire blocks and it is the rarest of any Italian blocks. It had always been accepted that only two blocks of four survived. The other block was divided into singles, following its sale at an auction.

This leaves the present example as the sole survivor. Estimated at £120,000-150,000, the stamps commemorate the 1927 flight to Europe by the Marchese Francesco de Pinedo, who is one of the most famous of all pioneer aviators and without equal among the elite group of Italians who took to the skies.

On 20 May 1927 the Marchese Francesco de Pinedo arrived in Trepassy in Newfoundland, on the return leg of his round trip flight from Italy via South America. Prior to his arrival, the Secretary to the Minister of Posts confirmed that de Pinedo had agreed to carry mail to Italy. In typical fashion, the Marchese responded with the message that "he would hop off this evening" in the Santa Maria II, his S.55 flying boat with twin Isotta Fraschini aero engines. The Minister of Posts and Telegraphs arranged for the issue of a specially overprinted stamp to frank mail carried by de Pinedo.

Records indicate that of the 300 stamps were overprinted, it seems that 230 were used on the correspondence, 66 were used for presentation purposes – many going to de Pinedo – and four damaged copies were destroyed. (fa)

Week of June 12, 2012

Newfoundland Vickers-Vimy Airmail Essay Nov.27, 1922 - ( and friend ?)


In 1922, Newfoundland commissioned an engraved airmail stamp essay, showing the Vickers Vimy airplane. The essay was printed by the company of De La Rue in shades of red-brown (imperforate) or in sepia with black or sepia with blue (perforated 14 x 13 1/2).

In 1931. Roessler offered an embossed lithographed stamp for sale in ads worded to promote the impression that it was the De La Rue essay. It has a red-brown center surrounded by a dark green frame. Apparently perforated 11, the stamp is in actual fact die-cut to produce a perforated edge. This is easily seen since the "perforations" have green edges.

Since the Cinderella is perforated in the embossing and cutting operation, there can be no multiples of this stamp. Offered in 1931 at 50 cents each, these stamps are now sought by collectors of Aviation topics as well as Canadian collectors and those who enjoy the darker side of bogus philately.

This is purported to be Roessler's advertisement

Week of June 4, 2012

Note a request for additional information on this stamp at bottom of write up - respond to vicepresident@westtorontostampclub.org

Scott 85b, 2 ¢, Black Andrew Jackson

USA Grill Stamps ~ The Scott Specialized catalogue of US Stamps & Covers shows an 85b 2 ¢ Black, Andrew Jackson ~ shown above ~ ( pair of #73's from 1861-66 Andrew Jackson) attributed to printing of 1867 ~ earliest documented use Jan 17 1868 on piece ~ produced by National Bank Note Co. This 2 ¢ stamp, passed by Act of Congress, approved Mar. 3 1863, abolished carrier's fees & established a prepaid letter rate of 2¢ for drop letters. At this time it was decided, as a security feature to "grill" these stamps (in Fig. 1 above one can see the grill across forehead and in cheeks) ~ impressed on each stamp. Fig. 1 shown above, has 2 on stamp at left & 1 on right ~ these were small pyramids that would break the fibres of the paper, so as the cancel ink would penetrate the stamp making a second use redundant. Is it possible that this was the first security measure implemented on a US stamp? The sizes of these grills varied from full stamp ( type A)to various sizes, type B 18x15mm, C, D, E & Z (11x14mm) ~ the stamp, Fig.1, was 11x14mm, a type Z.

The first number (11) was the horizontal & the second number (14) was the vertical. What ever happened to third stamp (only a quarter of stamp) is pure conjecture.

Scott 85b Reverse ~ gum side

Most interesting is the stamp on right, shown from reverse or gum side has a "double grill" From the reverse, the stamp on right with "double grill" ~ the extra grill has pushed the printing ink through to the back of stamp ~ allowing a mirror image of the face of stamp. Rather unique. Question the writer has, is that if a roller for a grill positioned for the middle of each stamp ~ how was a "double grill" produced? As well over how many stamps in pane of 200 did this occur? Further information would be appreciated. Information for this article was from Scott Specialized Catalogue 2009, any errors are wholly the responsibility of the writer.

It would be most appreciated to find additional information as to how these roller grills were used

Week of Mar 31, 2012

Rarest Postage Stamp of Canada

The 2¢ Large Queen on laid paper is the rarest postage stamp of Canada. Printed in 1868, it was not discovered until 1925, and so far only two are known to exist.

The Large Queens were the first issue by the Dominion of Canada; they are so-called to distinguish them from the 1870 issues (the "Small Queens") which are similar in appearance but physically smaller. The Large Queens were normally printed on wove paper, but the 1¢, 2¢, and 3¢ values were also printed on the less-desirable laid paper. The 1¢ and 3¢ on laid paper were long-known although uncommon.

In 1925 a 2¢ green on laid paper was reported, although many authorities were dubious, and the Scott catalog did not list it until the 1930s. Bileski reported another in 1950. Both copies are used, and in "fine" condition.

The latest auction price recorded is US$125,000. (fa)

Week of Jan 22, 2012

Newfoundland 1860 1 shilling Orange - watermarked Scotts #15ii

One of the great rarities in the stamp world.

This is the second printing of the Newfoundland Pence issue and only a 1000 were printed. Due to the layout of the printing plate and the Stacey Wise watermarked paper, only 23-25 could have existed. It is currently estimated that 15 are known with the watermark.

The first 3 printings of the Newfoundland pence issue are confusing to collectors as they were all printed by Perkins & Bacon in England using the same printing plates. The only difference became the colours when the orders were filled in England years apart. The 2d, 4d, 6d, 6 1/2d, 8d and 1 shilling were all supposed to be the same colours The first 1857 printings are now called 'Scarlet Vermillion' and have there own Scotts numbers #2,4,5,6,7,8,9. The second 1860 printings are now called 'Orange' – Scotts 11,12,13,15 ( no 6 1/2d or 8d were ordered ) The third and fourth prints are now called 'Rose' – Scotts 17, 18, 20, 21, 22 and 23

Week of Jan 3, 2012

Sant'Angelo Castle, Rome


Book wrapper (on the right) from Palazzolo (VC) to Scarborough (ON) mailed on 31 October 1981, franked with L.5 Sant'Angelo Castle (left stamp) making up the international rate of L.75 to mail a book weighing up to 50 gm. (White fluorescence)

The Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as the Castel Sant'Angelo, is a towering cylindrical building in Rome. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. The castle, located in Rome, Italy, was originally built as a tomb to hold the remains of Roman Emperor Hadrian. The mausoleum was begun by Hadrian in 130 AD and completed in 139 AD, a year after his death. In 403 Emperor Honorius incorporated the building in an outpost bastion of the Aurelian walls. In 537, when it was already a fortress, it was attacked by the Goths. In the 10th century the popes transformed it into a castle. Later in the 14th century Pope Nicholas III connected the castle to St. Peter's Basilica by a covered fortified corridor. In 1990 Castel Sant'Angelo was designated by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. Today the massive fortress is a national museum.

The castle was the setting for the third act of Giacomo Puccini's Tosca from whose ramparts the namesake of the opera leaps to her death.

It appeared in the romantic comedy film directed and produced by William Wyler's Roman Holiday starring Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn and Eddie Albert in a scene taking place on barges on the river below.

The design of the McKinley National Memorial in Canton, Ohio, which is the final resting place of US President William McKinley and his family, was based upon the Tomb of Hadrian according to its architect, Harold Van Buren Magonigle. (fa)

Week of Dec 22, 2011

Unusual Stamps

The world's first stamp made of soccer ball material was issued by Austria Post in March, 2008. The stamp celebrated the UEFA Euro soccer tournament, which took place in June 2008. The tournament was the largest sporting event ever held in Austria.

It took many attempts to get the stamp developed and perfected enough to withstand the rigors of postal duty. Not only were special printing methods needed for the plastic material, but the adhesive was also submitted for many trials to see if it would hold up. (fa)

Week of Dec 8, 2011

Label overprinted with the name of pilot Jacopo Calò (CALO)

Label overprinted with the name of pilot Luigi Questa (QUES)

General Balbo's Flying Armada

Aviation and philately are closely tied, so it is no wonder that airmail stamps are so popular. A very unusual set of airmails was issued in 1933 by Italy to commemorate a special Trans-Atlantic flight. An aerial armada of 24 Flying Boats commanded by General Italo Balbo, the flamboyant Italian Air Minister, flew from Rome to Chicago where the World's Fair was being held.

To honour this flight, Italy issued a set of two triptychs (an air registration label, a regular stamp, and an airmail stamp attached together) which are listed in the Scott catalogue as #C48-9. The set was made even more interesting when the abbreviated names of twenty of the flight's pilots were printed on the label portions. Outrageously expensive, the airmails were not well received by philatelists at the time because a complete set consisted of 20 sets of the two triptychs. The set is now much sought after, perhaps for the same reason.

It is a real challenge to collect all twenty pilots. (fa)

Note - scroll down to the last item on this page to see Newfoundlands stamp issued for this flight

Week of Nov 29, 2011

On August 7th, 1977, the Canadian and American Post Offices conducted a joint issue of single stamps commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Peace Bridge over the Niagara River. Canada's stamp featured a design of a span of the Peace Bridge. America's stamp featured a drawing of the Dove of Peace.

Colorano, a major Cachet Maker at the time, commissioned Mal Cann, to complete a suitable painting for a cachet for these stamps. The painting is a collage composed of watercolours and other materials and is 6" x 7 3/8". Colorano miniaturized the painting and applied their secret process to give the silk-like appearance on the cachet on the cover (hence Colorano covers are often referred to as Colorano Silks). Unfortunately, the silk-like appearance is only available on a Colorano cover and cannot be transferred by copiers or scanners. To fully appreciate the silk-like appearance, an actual Colorano cover must be available

The cover illustrated here is one of several covers issued by Colorano for this joint issue. It is signed by a Canadian who officiated at the opening ceremonies. It bears both the Canadian and American stamps with the Canadian (Ottawa) and American (Buffalo) cancellations. Note that the Canadian stamp is positioned on top for the Canadian market while the positioning for the American market is probably reversed. There are other variations, e.g. a Fort Erie cancellation only was also used on a "silk" bearing both stamps.

For additional information on Colorano Silks, google "Canadian Silks by Colorano" and click on "Canadian Silks by Colorano". A completely illustrated catalogue of Colorano's Canadian covers can be viewed on line. To do so, simply google "Knottywood Treasures", then click on "The Cachet Makers", "The FDC Catalogs" and "Colorano – Canada". Have fun – that's what it's all about.

Week of Sept 20, 2011

Circa 1966 West Toronto Stamp Club Auction Lot Treasure - compliments of Sidney Soanes

The above is an auction lot from our club from about 1966, still mounted on the sheet exactly as purchased some 45 years ago. Note the W.T.S.C. in the bottom left corner.

3 different items from France with a Catalogue value of $7.25 plus one item not counted and a purchase price of a whopping .40 – ( 5.5% of 1966 catalogue, our members had a keen eye for a bargain even then ) Scotts #125 strip of 3 mint no gum

1900 Liberty & Peace issue, 1fr claret & olive green – Current CV $26.50 each

Scotts #186 top left corner pair with colour printing tab still attached, listed as OG, but this item was never hinged until it was mounted on this sheet, hinged in top margin and now very slightly touches stamps. 1923 Louis Pasture issue 15c green – Current CV $2.75 each, not including NH premium Scotts #J31 Imperf Mint OG ( again appears it was NH until mounting here ). This item is not valued on this auction sheet as it is an imperf and the actual stamp is perforated. This still looks like an interesting item, perhaps wrong paper for a Plate Proof, but may be a later Reprint – still nice and the price was right !! 1894 Postage Due – Current CV ( as perforated stamp ) $28 With current catalogue values at $85, not counting NH and Imperf item, these items have gone up over 11x since purchase, wouldn't it have been nice to buy a set of the Canada 1898 $1-$5 Dollar value Jubilee's.

Week of Sept 8, 2011

Mauritius 1846, Scott 1-2

This is the famous "Bordeaux" cover (letter) with both the one penny and two pence stamps. It has been called "la pièce de résistance de toute la philatélie" or "the greatest item in all philately." At a recent auction it was hammered at $5,000,000.

The letter has been in the collections of famous philatelic luminaries, including, Alfred F. Lichtenstein, and Alfred H. Caspary. King George V paid £1,450 for an unused Two Pence "Post Office" at an auction in 1904, which was a world record price at the time. Reportedly one of his secretaries commented that "some damned fool" had paid a huge amount of money for one postage stamp and His Royal Highness replied "I am that damned fool".

Here is a summary from the book "Blue Mauritius: The Hunt for the World's Most Valuable Stamps." Follow the adventures of the world's most sought-after postage stamps-from a tropical Indian Ocean island to the hushed atmosphere of the modern auction room—in this dramatic and passionate tale of the first stamp hunters. In September 1847 coloured squares of paper were stuck on to envelopes and used to send out admission cards to a fancy-dress ball on the tropical island of Mauritius. No one at the party would have guessed that these stamps would one day be worth more than a million dollars. When a two-pence 'Blue Mauritius' surfaced on the fledgling French stamp-collecting market in 1865 it gained instant celebrity. Soldiers, schoolboys, and the entire German nation became obsessed with finding one of these extremely rare examples. When in 1903 a perfect specimen, discovered in a childhood album, was bought at auction by the Prince of Wales, the Blue Mauritius gained superstar status. Even now, "Post Office Mauritius" stamps are synonymous with fame, wealth and mystery. The most coveted scraps of paper in existence, this is their story, from their birth during days of sail, taking them from Port Louis to Bordeaux, India and Great Britain, Switzerland and Japan, into the hearts and imagination of collectors everywhere.

Week of Aug 30, 2011

Canada 1851 3d red – Scotts #1


Canada's first stamp issue in 1851 included 3 stamps, a 3 pence covering the regular rate, 6 pence covering USA rate and double rate and a 12 pence for USA double rate. The 3d designed by Sir Sandford Fleming was the first stamp in the world to carry the image of an animal – our own Beaver, up until this point, postage stamps had carried the image of a ruler of the country.

These stamps were issued on laid paper ( you can see the horizontal lines clearly on this stamp on the backscan ) which proved to be unacceptable for use due to the poor adhesive qualities of the paper and the stamps were switched to regular wove paper. Due to demand and the original quantities produced, the 3d was reissued in 1852, the 6d in 1856 and the 12d (due to low demand) was never reissued and eventually all copies were withdrawn and destroyed by the government in 1857.

This same design was used in 1852 on regular wove paper ( Scott's #4 ), it was one of the first perforated stamps issued in 1859 ( Scott's #11 ) and the design was changed to 5 cents when Canada went to the decimal system later in 1859 ( Scott's #15 ). It wasn't replaced until 1870 when Canada came out with the 'small queen' design. Not a bad 19 year run.

Week of Aug 13, 2011

Newfoundland 1930 – Airmail - Columbia Flight – Scotts #C5

Since the early flights to cross the Atlantic started in Newfoundland the government sent small amounts of mail on each flight and overprinted regular issue stamps to commemorate the flights.

1919 April 12 – Hawker Flight ( crashed ) Scotts #C1 Qty – 200
1919 June 9 – Alcock and Brown ( successful ) Scotts #C2 Qty – 10000
1921 Nov 7 – Halifax only Scotts #C3 Qty - 14000

1927 May 21 – De Pinedo Flight Scotts #C4 Qty - 300

1930 Sept 25 – Columbia Flight Scotts #C5 Qty – 300

The Columbia Airmail

- 3 sheets of 100 were overprinted in surcharge blocks of 4
- 252 went on sale in St. John's on Sept 25, 1930
- 48 went on sale in Harbour Grace on Oct 9, 1930
- 65 were used on cover on the flight from St.Johns, 35 were used on cover from Harbour Grace on the flight
- Additionally approx. 205 covers went on the flight using regular stamps totaling $.50
- 2-5 mint blocks of 4 were given out as favours

This stamp 'on piece' clearly shows the proper St.Johns cancel with the correct Sept 25,1930 date. The overprint with the $.50 surcharge was put on the $.36 Caribou issue.

Side note to the flight – since this flight was 11 years after the first attempts it was made to seem routine by the pilots who boarded the plane dressed in business suits. Not so much, when they were forced to make an emergency landing at Tresco Island, 25 miles from Lands End, England due to running out of gas because of a faulty rear petrol tank.

Week of July 21, 2011

The most precious object created by man

1855 Sweden "Three-skilling yellow"

This Swedish stamp is the result of a printing error; in fact the three skilling was printed in green (right stamp), while the yellow stamp was scheduled to be 8-skilling value. The yellow variety was discovered by a Swedish boy in 1855 and no other stamps were ever found. Hence, it is unique. Over the years, the 3-skilling yellow has been sold many times until the May 2010 auction which was hammered at 2,875,000 Swiss franks (2 million Euro) or (2.8 million dollars.)

This makes it the most precious object created by man, in terms of weight and dimensions. (fa)

Week of July 10, 2011

December 10, 1870. A single letter posted at St. Catharines with the postage ( 5 cents) to be paid by the addressee (prepayment not mandatory until 1875). The letter was addressed to the Commissioner of Crown Lands in Ottawa. A faint backstamp indicates that the letter was received in Ottawa December 10 where it was re-directed to Toronto and the rate revised to FREE as the addressee is a government department. The letter was carried on the OTTAWA & PRESCOTT RAILWAY to Prescott where it was included with other mail to Toronto. A second backstamp indicates receipt of the letter in Toronto on December 13, 1870.

The Ottawa & Prescott Railway opened in 1854 as the Bytown & Prescott Railroad. When Bytown was renamed Ottawa in 1855 the railway was renamed. The entire length of the line was 53 miles.