On today’s date in 2015, Quebec stamp dealer Michelle Levesque discovered a dramatic perforation error on four souvenir sheets from Canada Post’s “Pansies” issue.
The misperfs left a large blank space above the blossoms on each shees’ pair of se-tenant commemoratives; the word “Canada,” the “P” symbol (for Permanent Postage) and the flowers’ lower petals remain on the face of each sheet. The perforations were also shifted slightly to the right.
The discovery came while Levesque and her husband Jean Dallaire – co-owners of Zimo Stamp – were preparing their regular mailings. They issue a quarterly stamp bulletin to each of their customer along with coupons and other promotional material.
“We always put souvenir sheets for franking, which is greatly appreciated by our customers.”
Levesque said she began mailing bulletins on March 7, 2015. Two days later, there were still about 100 bulletins left to post. While taking the remaining souvenir sheets from a pack, she noticed the first one was noticeably misperforated—and was followed by three more with similar perf shifts.
The top horizontal perfs were struck slightly high – into the text that names and describes the two flowers – with the last line of the English text left inside the “Delta Premium Pure Light Blue” stamp. The shift left blank spaces about halfway down to the top of that flower plus the accompanying “Midnight Glow” pansy, with horizontal perfs cutting through the lower part of their petals.
Levesque checked her remaining unopened packs but found no other errors.
Dallaire said some bulletins were mailed before Levesque’s discovery; however, in the five years since the error’s discovery, no used examples have been reported.
When CSN originally contact Canada Post for comment on the error in 2015, it was the first they had heard of the pansy perf shift.
“The supplier, Lowe-Martin Group in Ottawa, is conducting a full analysis to determine the root cause,” said Jim Phillips, director of stamp services at Canada Post.
“Once this is complete, a corrective action plan will be put in place to try and ensure this never happens again. Canada Post strives for excellence in the design and production of stamps and we take this kind of error very seriously.”
SOME SOLD, MORE FOUND
By 2017, Levesque and Dallaire had sold one of their four souvenir sheets to a collector in Hong Kong for $1,000 US.
Other examples were also found soon after the pansy issue’s release in 2015. One of these misperfs was on the bourse of the Spring 2017 National Postage Stamp and Coin Show, where dealer Goerge Kaltenecker was displaying his newfound example.
Kaltenecker said his local postal clerk sold three of the misperforated sheets to other collectors before selling another one to him.
As of 2017, there were eight examples known to exist.
Developing a relationship with your local postal clerk 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,” Kaltenecker said.
“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.”