Robin Harris Definitive Handbooks

1999-03-03: BRC Press Release #7

Harris CatalogueThe sixth volume in the Robin Harris series Canadian Definitives, was released in November 1998, and covers the 1952-53 Karsh, the 1954-62 Wilding, and the 1962-66 Cameo issues. The previous five volumes were: Caricature and Landscape (1972-1978), Environment (1977-1989), Artifact and Parliament (1982-1989), Wildlife and Architecture (1987-1998), and Fruit and Flag (1989-1998).

Harris follows a standard consistent layout with all volumes,   which is easily to follow and work with. They are all produced in a spiral bound 8.5" x 11" format, each with there own colour-coded soft cover. The books are so addictive to the specialist, one wonders how soon the covers will wear out! Perhaps they should be plastic coated. There are plenty of black and white illustrations, which are sufficient for this series; colour would only serve to increase costs. These illustrations include detailed enlargements of individual values, booklets, varieties, and more.

Each definitive series has its own historical notes, basic values at a glance, formats, and a simple ingenious time line that covers the particular issuance and postal usages of each value. This is followed by an in-depth study of each single value in a series, which includes all known printings, varieties, errors, tags, perfins and precancels. Printings that are difficult to distinguish are identified. Plate and blank corner blocks are also fully studied. One note of interest, Mr. Harris does not go overboard into fluorescence, which can be quite subjective. He basically covers the three types usually distinguishable to the naked eye: plain, fluorescent, and hibrite.

The Karsh/Wilding/Cameo volume is no doubt the most extensive ever produced under one cover for these stamps. The horizontal and vertical ribbed papers are included, along with every known perfin - which is a considerable amount! The other five volumes have gathered together all known information, along with plenty of  new, and have made the complex definitive stamp issues a much simpler study for philatelists.

Prices for the six volumes range from CDN$14.95 to $29.95 and are sold as singles or in a discounted complete set. They are available from the Saskatoon Stamp Centre, (Phone 1-800-205-8814). Robin Harris also has a website which has more detailed information on each book, updates, and simplified checklists of each issue. The URL is Both wesites have a wealth of interesting information for Canadian philatelists.

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