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Stamp Market Commentary


Special Commentary - 25 January, 2005

Darnell's New Catalogue of
Canadian Philatelic Errors, Freaks & Oddities

The third edition of Lyse Rousseau's catalogue of Canadian varieties has just made its appearance. We were aware of how hard she had been working on it over the past few months and so it was with some anticipation that we awaited to its arrival. Having looked through it carefully, we can say without reservation that she has done an excellent job and the Canadian stamp community will greatly benefit.

We would like to quote from two paragraphs from Lyse’s introduction which say as much about her as it does about the catalogue:

"The editing and publishing of this variety catalogue is a labour of love; love of Canadian stamps, love of varieties and their intricacies, love of the wonderful world of philately and love of Canada. I have learned so much of our history and culture through this most enriching hobby. The peacefulness it brings along with the bountiful knowledge is most precious.

In the past, EFO's were add-ons to standard catalogues. But, their interest has mushroomed as new varieties continue to be uncovered. The anticipation of discovering an error is heightened by the now established practice of having the "mistake" named after the discoverer! It's like having a flower named after you, but in a way, it's also like having a "maladie" bear your name, because philately is a delightful disease for which there is no known cure."

Once you get into the catalogue, you will find an amazing array of varieties. But many of these are also found in other specialized catalogues, including Lyse's own (see our review of Darnell's 2005 Stamps of Canada). So, what’s special about this catalogue? Here's what we noted:

  1. It contains the most complete summary of varieties we have seen.
  2. Its illustrations of the varieties are detailed and very good.
  3. In many cases these are placed side-by-side with the regular stamp for comparison.
  4. Most of the stamps illustrated are beautifully selected examples.
  5. There are more varieties in this new edition than we knew existed.

All varieties are priced, both mint and used.

Of all the things we noticed in this edition, what impressed us the most was the excellence of the illustrations. Illustrations of re-entries, of hairlines, of freaks, missed perforations, paper folds, missing colours, inverted and missing inscriptions.

There are many well-known varieties whose names have fascinated our collectors for years. The torn teepee, the short $, the broken chin strap, the broken door frame, the string of pearls, double epaulettes, the pawnbroker variety, the strand of hair, the man on the mast, the swollen breast, and the broken "x" etc.

Who makes up all these funny names? Someone does and for some reason they stick. Poor Terry Fox, there’s even an “open mouth” and a “closed mouth” variety of the stamp issued in his honour! There are stamps with very subtle little dots, hollows or missing lines, stamps printed on gum, over inked or under inked stamps, stamps missing ink or missing dates. Oddly enough, as we look back, it seems that in the past fewer mistakes were made when the Admirals were printed in the billions, than today, when the printing run is only a few million.

What will it mean to collectors to have a catalogue like this? What it will mean to the advanced collector or the faithful buyers of all Canada Post’s new stamps, plate blocks and first day covers as they are issued each year? It means that we now have a wonderful new opportunity, both for the expert and the novice, to discover some of those varieties in our stamps that may have been sitting there for years. It’s exciting really but demanding. This catalogue gives us a tool to go back over all our Canadian stamps with this book in hand and look for varieties with clear illustrations of what they look like. This is good, it is exciting, isn’t this what collecting is all about!

As a final word, we note that Lyse paid special tribute to two people who greatly helped her. The first was Claude Beaulac who collaborated with her and the second was her assistant Donnah DuMouchel Magoon. We would like to thank them as well for their help in producing this wonderful catalogue.

2005 Darnell Catalogue

 

The new catalogue is available through Canada Post, Chapters, Indigo, Rousseau Inc. or your favorite dealer in either English or French.

You can communicate directly with Marc Magoon at the Galerie Rousseau store at 230 St Jacques Street, Montreal, Que., H2Y 1L9, telephone (514) 284-8686 or via email at:

rousseaucollections@bellnet.ca

The catalogue retails for $39.95, plus tax, (Canadian Dollars)

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©2005, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada