Canadian Stamp Auctions

Stamp market commentary


Commentary No. 21 - 17 May, 2001

Canada's Gutter Stamps

Over the years, the Canadian Post Office has issued a variety of stamps known as gutter pairs or blocks.  Most were officially issued, but a few got out as errors.  The latter are very rare.  As will be seen in the examples below, the practice started as early as the Small Queens and has lasted until at least a year ago with the 46¢ definitive flag issue. 

The most likely explanation for this variety is that the gutter represented the mid-point between 2 sheets that were meant to be cut and separated so that the gutter formed part of the border of each sheet.  Bogg's monumental work "The Postal Stamps and Postal History of Canada", published in 1945, defined the term "gutter block" as follows:
 

"Ordinarily, when guide lines are used to divide the sheet into panes, the spaces between the panes are not greater than the space between any other of the stamps on the sheet.  On some plates, however, a wider space, or "gutter" is left between the panes......A block of stamps showing this wide space running between is called a "gutter block""

Either purposely or by error, certain of the recent sheets made their way into collectors' hands and then onto the market where they appear from time to time at auction.

The following examples are only a portion of all the Canadian gutter pairs and blocks that have been issued over the years.  We would encourage collectors to pick up some of the 45¢ and 46¢ definitive gutter blocks shown below from their dealers while they are still available at a modest price.
 

Please click 
on image 
for larger view

Scott
Catalogue
Number
     
Scott 34
Scott 34
R. Maresch
Lot 405
Oct. 25, 2000

Scott 74a

Scott 74a
Saskatoon Stamp
Lot 122
Sept. 28, 2000

Scott 149

Scott 149
R. Maresch
Lot 2016
Jun 18, 2000

Scott 213

Scott 213
R. Maresch
Lot 2101
Jan. 18, 2000

Scott 216

Scott 216
Eaton & Sons
Lot 884
May 25, 1991
Scott 224
Scott 224
R. Maresch
Lot 2124
Jan. 18, 2000
Scott 582/5
Scott 582/5
Saskatoon Stamp
Lot 197
Aug. 25, 1999
Scott 614a
Scott 614a
Saskatoon Stamp
Lot 197
May 25, 2000
Scott 1361
Scott 1361
Eastern Auctions
Lot 696
Jan. 29, 2000
Scott 1361
Scott 1361
Post Office
   
Scott 1687i
Scott 1687i
Post Office
   

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©2001, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada