Building relationship with local postal clerks ‘key’ to finding errors

By Jesse Robitaille

One dealer is especially excited for spring’s arrival thanks to a recent pickup from his local postal clerk.

George Kaltenecker, owner of the Toronto-based Covernutz, recently purchased one of Canada Post’s 2015 Pansies souvenir sheets from a postal clerk in the Greater Toronto Area. Each sheet features the dramatic misperforation that was originally discovered upon its release two years ago.

“She has helped me out by finding me two major misperf items over the course of the last two years, and for that, she has now been added to my annual Christmas gift card list,” said Kaltenecker, who specializes in postal history and deltiology. “She is always looking for unique items for me, and hopefully she will come up with more great finds.”

As detailed in an April 2015 issue of CSN (Vol. 39, No. 25), Quebec stamp dealer Michelle Levesque, co-owner of Zimo Stamp Co., originally discovered the misperforation on four souvenir sheets. One of these sheets has since been sold by Zimo to a collector in Hong Kong for $1,000 US.

These freaky misperforations, also known as misperfs, lay between the trinity of philatelic peculiarities known as errors, freaks and oddities (EFOs). And when it comes to misperfs, the amount of interest shown by collectors – and their potential value on the market, as with most EFOs – is dependent on the severity of the error.


The perforations on the misperforated Pansies souvenir sheets are shifted upwards and to the right – towards the series name – about one quarter of the size of the stamp. A total of 135,000 two-stamp sheets were printed by Lowe-Martin using six-colour lithography. The sheets were issued on March 2, 2015, and with each non-denominated Permanent stamp having a value of 85 cents, post offices were selling the sheets for $1.70.

The misperfs leave a large blank space above the blossoms on the two se-tenant commemoratives. The word “Canada,” the “P” symbol and the lower half of the bottom petals remain on the face of each sheet.

Shortly after its discovery, it was described as “a very nice perf shift error” by EFO expert and  owner of Saskatoon Stamp Centre, John Jamieson.


One of these misperfs was on the bourse of the recent National Postage Stamp and Coin Show, where Kaltenecker was displaying the example he purchased.

Kaltenecker said the postal clerk sold three of the misperforated sheets to other collectors before selling another one to him. There are now eight examples known to exist.

“I just went in to drop off my mail, and she had it put aside for me. I bought it and promised her dinner if I ever sold it,” said Kaltenecker, who added he’s planning to sell the sheet. “The problem is, if there are more reported, then the price value will drop. But so far we only know of eight.”

Kaltenecker said developing a relationship with your local postal clerks is “key to finding these new varieties as they are on the front line of selling stamps and they are typically the first ones that will discover errors or misperfs, if they know what to look for.”

“I have a very good relationship with my local postal clerk, and I have taught her what to look out for when new issues arrive at her kiosk,” he added.


Judging by another one of Kaltenecker’s recent acquisitions, the relationship with his local postal clerk is paying off. She also sold him a returned booklet of 30 Permanent domestic stamps issued in 2016 as part of Canada Post’s UNESCO World Heritage Site issue.

This example has its perforations shifted upwards. In this position, along the bottom of the stamp, the perforations run through the top of the Canadian flag, the word “CANADA” and the “P” symbol.

Kaltenecker said he believes it’s a new discovery.

“She had sold it to a gentleman, but he returned it because he couldn’t get the stamp off because of the misperf,” he said, adding the stamp in the top-right corner of the left booklet pane is slightly damaged from an attempted removal by the original customer.

“She put it aside for me at that point, and that’s the only one that she had.”

The booklets, which were issued along with the rest of the set on Jan. 11, 2016, were designed by British Columbia’s Lime Design and printed by Lowe-Martin.

The five featured sites include (from left to right, top to bottom) the Landscape of Grand Pré and Old Town Lunenburg in Nova Scotia; the Rideau Canal in Ontario; Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in Alberta; and SGang Gwaay in British Columbia. The booklet features six of each of designer Lara Minja’s five stamps, which have a rounded edge in the upper-left corner and a Canadian flag in the lower-left corner. The images featured on these stamps were previously used on U.S.- and international-rate stamps issued in May 2014.

“Misperfs to me represent a different aspect of the hobby in that they are typically unique, one-of-a-kind items and the quantity is typically low, which makes the hunt for them that much greater,” said Kaltenecker, who added these EFOs are a boon for the hobby.

“When a new misperf is discovered, it gets collectors talking and keeps that collecting bug alive to find more.”

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