1999 Unitrade Catalogue Released

1999-01-01: BRC Press Release #4

1998 Unitrade/ScottThe 1999 edition of the Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps was place on sale in the fall of 1998. This 600 page catalogue features the Scott Numbering System and includes the stamps of Canada, British Columbia and Vancouver Island, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. In addition to standard stamps, the 600 pages cover postal stationary, complete booklets, semi-official air mail stamps, perforated officials, wildlife habitat conservation stamps, prisoner-of-war free franks and various types of early Canadian postmarks.

The catalogue is in full colour, and the stamp images are excellent, from the early issues to the modern commemoratives. This, no doubt, reflects on the suggested retail price of $Can27.95 for the handy spiral bound version, or $25.95 for the bounded version. This is up a dollar from the previous year, but more than $10.00 over the last black-and-white version of 1994. One wonders if full colour is really required for such a catalogue - we certainly pay for it.

As this site specializes in modern definitive stamps, I will confine the critique to that area, with a few exceptions.

  1. The 1967 Centennials are extensively covered. However, Unitrade's trend to list many minor subjective paper varieties continues. They list a paper called NF and describe it as "non-fluorescent coated paper" and another called DF or "non-fluorescent uncoated", and assign both varieties to several values. As far as I know, none of the Centennials have ever appeared on coated paper, except perhaps the 2c and 3c Opal booklet stamps. Perhaps the "coated" note is an error. Many listed stamps are indistinguishable to the naked eye, while the narrow Ottawa tagging varieties for the 6c and 8c values continue to be unlisted. It is my opinion that many of the listed paper varieties belong only in a highly specialized Centennial catalog.
  2. The 1972 Caricatures, like the Centennials, were all printed on uncoated paper, but coated NF varieties are listed. Most surprising is that the 1c, 2c and 6c booklet singles are listed without any numbers, yet they are far easier to identify as singles (gum, ink intensity) than the minor fluorescent MF, LF etc paper varieties! The same goes for the 7c St. Laurent plate 2 single; it is easily identified as a single, but unlisted.
  3. The 1972 Landscapes were all printed on coated paper (due to the partial photogravure process), yet Unitrade list some with the uncoated DF paper. The ribbed paper notations are inconsistent, some are called "RIB", others "vert. RIB" or "horiz. RIB". Inexperienced Landscape collectors would wonder which direction the plain "RIB" type goes.
  4. The two different printings (CBN and BABN) of the 12c Parliament stamp (#714) are still unrecognized by Unitrade, despite being so obviously different to the naked eye, mint or used. This continued omission is baffling.
  5. The above note (4) also applies to the CBN and BABN Maple Leaf 'A' stamps. However, for some reason Unitrade explains these two different stamps with a footnote!
  6. The Rolland and Abitibi paper varieties are not separated for the 2c (#939), 5c (#941) AND 34c (#947) parliament booklet singles.
  7. The rare Rolland paper issue of the 37c Parliament coil (#1194) is not listed.
  8. Perhaps the most interesting inclusions in the catalogue are the second AP printings of the 2c, 3c, and 5c Berries. These stamps are indistinguishable from the original printings, yet Unitrade manages to price them mint and used.
  9. The layout for the Edible Fruits is quite difficult to follow, especially searching for single stamps. The 90c perf 14.5 x 14 all around (from sheets of 50) is unlisted.
  10. Unitrade is inconsistent in pricing miniature panes. The 1972 Earth Sciences has long been priced without a number, while other commemorative sheetlets are ignored, such as the 50th anniversary of WWII, Masterpieces of Art, UN Charter, etc.
  11. Unfolded booklet strips and unfolded un-glued complete panes are not listed, despite being scarce and popular collectibles The die-cut-to-shape greetings stamps not listed either.

To sum it up, the Unitrade Specialized Catalogue is indispensable for Canadian stamp collectors. Ignoring the inconsistencies of the modern definitive stamp listings, the catalogue is well laid out and covers what most specialists expect to find. Serious definitive collectors are better off with such specialist material as the recent Robin Harris books (to be reviewed on this site soon).

The catalogue is usually available from your local stampdealer. It can also be ordered by mail from the Saskatoon Stamp Centre http://www.saskatoonstamp.com (Phone 1-800-205-8814). The publisher, Unitrade and Associates has a web site, http://www.unitradeassoc.com, but is not up to date at the time of this article.

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