Reader finds miscut Christmas stamps

A Canadian Stamp News reader has spotted an error on the $1.85 international rate Christmas tree stamp issued this year by Canada Post. Carol Miller reported to Canadian Stamp News that she didn’t spot the error at first, but as soon as she removed a stamp for postage, the error became apparent. “I put one on to an envelope, only to realize that I no longer live in Canada, but now reside in the exotic country of Anada! The stamp had all the letters except the ‘C,’ which remained in the selvedge,” she said.

Realizing she had something interesting, Miller returned the stamp back to the booklet.
“I then checked the other four booklets I had purchased. Three were normal, but one was very poorly centred, though not as poorly centred as this unfortunate stamp.” In the case of the stamps shown here, the die cutter used to create the simulated perforations was not quite in alignment. The result is that the stamps are all perforated too far to the left, creating huge margins on the right side, and missing part of the image and the C in Canada on the left side. The stamps were produced in Ottawa by Lowe-Martin. That firm produces booklet stamps on a web, or roll-feed press. The perforations are done on the press, and the finished stamps end up on a large roll used to make booklets. The booklet pages are printed sideways, so the left-right perforation error actually stems from a problem with the top-bottom alignment of the printer. The press operator sets up the perforations at the start of the print run, and adjusts the machinery to ensure they are correctly placed. Errors are usually culled, but in this case at least a few got through.

According to Robin Harris, editor of the Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps, the error, while interesting to some collectors, is not likely to show up in the reference book. “The Unitrade does not list colour/perf/die cut shifts only because there can be several different types on any given issue,” he explained. Harris confirmed that there are collectors who are interested in such varieties and a few dealers specialize in EFOs (Errors, Freaks, and Oddities). He also suggested that, with the perforations shifted so far, it is possible that there may be some stamps which do not have tagging on all four sides. Fluorescent tagging is applied on all four sides of the issue, but a large enough error would mean that the tagging was missed on one side, creating a popular three-bar tagging error.
As for Miller, she is pleased with her find. “I shall call this stamp the Anada variety!” she exclaimed.

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