Stamp market commentary
©2001, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada
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.
for larger view
Scott 34 R. Maresch Lot 405 Oct. 25, 2000 Scott 74a Saskatoon Stamp Lot 122 Sept. 28, 2000 Scott 149 R. Maresch Lot 2016 Jun 18, 2000 Scott 213 R. Maresch Lot 2101 Jan. 18, 2000 Scott 216 Eaton & Sons Lot 884 May 25, 1991 Scott 224 R. Maresch Lot 2124 Jan. 18, 2000 Scott 582/5 Saskatoon Stamp Lot 197 Aug. 25, 1999 Scott 614a Saskatoon Stamp Lot 197 May 25, 2000 Scott 1361 Eastern Auctions Lot 696 Jan. 29, 2000 Scott 1361 Post Office Scott 1687i Post Office
As always, we welcome your comments. Please write us at: