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Edition #643  Friday, March 30, 2018

Who Says Stamps Can't Be Exciting?

We recently received an email with attached scan from one of our favourite customers in Oregon. He had come across this massively re-entered and retouched one-cent Edward. He calls it the "Apprentice's Practice". You can detect the well-deserved enthusiasm of his find in his notes below.

This one is beauty. The only way I can explain this stamp is to offer the following scenario:

Take a retired plate and give it to your apprentice to practice on using the transfer roll, burnishing out mistakes and the retouching. OOPS the plate went into production, probably to make up a production shortage.

This is what I have observed so far:

In the lower left numeral box base I count three base horizontal lines (lowest the complete width of stamp) and four vertical lines (right most well removed, 0.15mm, from the frameline).

At the top of the stamp there is a oval remnant/retouch line above the frameline.

And then there's the upper right corner, re-entry and touchup? Your guess as good as mine.

Look at the background lines entering into the letters; particularly the D and A.

And, of course, the 1s and, now the retouches:


Most noteworthy, new lines (not in original design) have been added in the space between the outer frameline and the stamp body above the crown. Can't be slips. They seem a deliberate attempt to give more definition to the top of the crown.

There is also an extra line (slip?) above the bridge of the nose that runs into the eye.

The area of retouched background lines is vast and inconsistent in strength.

Edgelines are also inconsistent and some down right sloppy.

Also the right numeral box outside frameline, I can't discern a continuous true vertical line.

Finally, in support of my apprentice theory, considering the extent of retouching, there are weak areas and lines un-retouched (particularly the upper left spandrel). This plate image is so sub-quality I can't envision it being used except by accident or through desperation; hence a practice plate put back into production.


Queen Victoria ascended to the throne on June 20, 1837, and was Queen of the British Empire until her death on January 22, 1901. Officially, Queen Victoria reigned for 63 years, seven months, and two days. Due to the length of her reign and the breadth of the British Empire, numerous versions of her portrait appeared on stamps, banknotes, coins and documents. Here, a collector has assembled a wide range of portrait types ranging from the earliest years to the final years of her reign. Note a few choice pieces from the Wellburn collection as well as letters, signatures and other ephemera relating to both Queen Victoria and her beloved Albert. Grab a cup of tea and peruse this time capsule of the Victorian era.

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Chris McFetridge cut his philatelic teeth working for Weeda Stamps Ltd. in Vancouver back in the 1980s. Since then his numerous endeavours have allowed him to experience our great country from coast to coast in various professional incarnations. He now lives in Saint John, New Brunswick, working as a professional philatelist. His blog here will tell you the rest of his story.

Answer to Last Week's Salvation Army Quiz

We received eight correct answers to our last stamp identification quiz. That means a $8.00 donation to Salvation Army.

Here's the portion of the stamp we asked you to identify

Here's the answer - Canada #642, the 8c Cycling stamp issued in 1974.

The Salvation Army Quiz

We show you a minute portion of the design of a postage stamp. You have to determine which stamp it is. Send us an email with your answer.

We hold a contest almost every newsletter. For every correct answer we will donate $1.00 to our favourite charity, the Salvation Army. Click here to go to the The Salvation Army International Home Page to see what services they offer to communities around the world.

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