Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

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Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

Security features are often incorporated into stamp designs in order to thwart counterfeiters. One classic security element is the use of micro-text or micro-printing, tiny words incorporated into the design. This feature not only gives added protection but is also fun for collectors to study under a magnifying glass.

Modern Canadian stamps have the copyright symbol and year of issue micro-printed somewhere on the stamp. In this thread I would like to share images of micro-printing - other than the year of issue - hidden in the design of stamps from Canada. If anyone knows of other examples, please feel free to post them here. I've scanned all stamps at 1200 dpi resolution to enlarge the micro-printing as much as I can with my scanner. You will see that even at that high resolution, some of the micro-printing is still a bit indistinct!

The first examples I will show are from the Olympic sports definitive issue of 2009.

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In addition to extra tagging elements (tiny maple leafs) throughout the white portions of the design (visible under UV light), the name of each sport is hidden within the sporting designs, in very tiny micro-printing (compare the size of the text to the size of the numbers in the year of issue! :shock: ).

Curling / Curling
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Bobsleigh - Four-Man / Bobsleigh, bob à quatre
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Snowboard Parallel Giant Slalom / Surf des neiges, slalom géant parallèle
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Freestyle Skiing, Aerials / Ski acrobatique, sauts
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Ice Sledge Hockey / Hockey sur luge
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

The next examples are from the Beneficial Insects definitive series (2007-2010). I've posted this information in my swap thread, but will reproduce it here.

Three of the beneficial insect stamps were re-issued in 2012 in a special souvenir sheet to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada:

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This souvenir sheet was aimed at young, beginning collectors. Special additional features were added to the souvenir sheet to make it more interesting to a younger audience. Microtype-sized fun icons, each one depicting a benefit performed by the insects, can be found on each stamp, along with the insect’s common name in English and French.

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As you can see, the micro-printing is not quite as "micro" as on the Olympic defintives. :D
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Global Administrator »

Now THIS is Micro above the "$10"!

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Image

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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

Why thank you Glen, that's a perfect segue into my next post. :mrgreen:

All of the high value wildlife definitives have micro-printing.

In order of date of issue:

15 October 1997, $8 Grizzly bear
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MAIL POSTE
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27 October 1998, $1 Loon and $2 Polar bear

Beginning with this issue, Canada Post got a little more imaginative and used the scientific name for the micro-printing. :D

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GAVIA IMMER GAVIA IMMER
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URSUS MARITIMUS URSUS MARITIMUS
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

19 December 2003, $5 Moose

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ALCES ALCES ALCES ALCES
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by MargoZ »

Amazing. Thank you Jean- I'll do a Facebook link to this thread on the weekend
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

20 October 2005, $1 White-tailed deer and $1 Atlantic walrus

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ODOCOILEUS VIRGINIANUS
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ODOBENUS ROSMARUS
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These images are from the original printing - for reprints, see here: https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=42024#p4110050


19 December 2005, $2 Peregrine falcon and $2 Sable Island horse

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FALCO PEREGRINUS
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EQUUS CABALLUS
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

...and last but not least :mrgreen:

4 October 2010, $10 Blue whale (the micro-printing appears in the "wave" lines)

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BALAENOPTERA MUSCULUS
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

MargoZ wrote:Amazing. Thank you Jean- I'll do a Facebook link to this thread on the weekend
Thank you Margo. :D

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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by kuikka »

Jean, you didn't mention that the upper background pattern is also related to the animal in most cases, such as the hoof print or similar. And although not microprint, the back foot of the bear has a giant 8 with the lines that change the direction.

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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Paumerrek »

The $8 grizzly bear stamp looks like he has a large "8" on his right rear leg. Not micro-print related but just something I noticed.
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

Thank you Kimmo and Paumerrek. :D These stamps are among my favourites from Canada Post because of all the hidden design features. Here's a close up of that hidden "8":

Image

The $8 grizzly stamp also has some little green bears in the ground shading, most visible at the lower right corner. :D :D

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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by kuikka »

Also, the blue whale has microprint at upper edge that has not been shown.

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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by kuikka »

Canada stamper wrote:Thank you Kimmo and Paumerrek. :D Yes, these stamps are among my favourites from Canada Post because of all the hidden features. The $8 stamp also has some little green bears in the ground shading, most visible at the lower right corner. :D :D

Jean
The green bears are the pattern I referred to with the hoof print pattern, as in moose stamp that pattern is hoof print (I didn't list every pattern separately, hoof print was used more than once).

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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

kuikka wrote:
Canada stamper wrote:Thank you Kimmo and Paumerrek. :D Yes, these stamps are among my favourites from Canada Post because of all the hidden features. The $8 stamp also has some little green bears in the ground shading, most visible at the lower right corner. :D :D

Jean
The green bears are the pattern I referred to with the hoof print pattern, as in moose stamp that pattern is hoof print (I didn't list every pattern separately, hoof print was used more than once).

Kimmo
Thank you Kimmo. I was just pointing out the green bears in the shading at the bottom of the stamp in addition to the blue bears in the upper background shading. 8)
kuikka wrote:Also, the blue whale has microprint at upper edge that has not been shown.

Kimmo
Thank you for pointing that out, I missed that. :mrgreen:

Image

The spacing between the letters starts out wide at the left and becomes more condensed at the right.
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Philexx »

Fascinating thread :D
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Arakan »

Very creative uses of micro-printing by Canada Post.
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

Just noticed a typo in the upper micro-print on the $10 whale stamp:

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"EA" instead of "AE" in the 6th repeat of "BALAENOPTERA" (out of 9)

:mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by kuikka »

That is no typo. It's intentional. If you find a stamp where it is corrected, it is a forgery. They make such mistakes intentionally so that they can spot the copies that are better than the original. I have seen a similar typo in my old Finnish passport.

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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

That's fascinating Kimmo, I'd never heard of that concept. But I found this old story about Belgian ID cards. And I guess there are probably other examples that are not publicized. I doubt we will get confirmation from Canada Post. :mrgreen:

However, Canada Post did previously make an unintentional typographical error, misspelling the last name of Olympic bobsledder Pierre Lueders in the micro-printing on a definitive stamp issued in January 2012.

Misspelled "Leuders"
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A stamp with the corrected spelling was issued in September of that year.

Corrected "Lueders"
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The Canada Post website describing the initial issue still displays the spelling error:

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***************

I have looked carefully through my Unitrade catalogue and found several definitive issues with hidden micro-printing, including the set with the Lueders stamp. I will scan and post them over the next while, so stay tuned. :D
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Girish Vaidya »

Beautiful!!

Especially so when it is done for definitives!!

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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by rolcora »

Great thread Jean, Kuikka and the others. Now I am more knowledgeable about my Canada collection :D :D

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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by kuikka »

Canada stamper wrote:That's fascinating Kimmo, I'd never heard of that concept. But I found this old story about Belgian ID cards. And I guess there are probably other examples that are not publicized. I doubt we will get confirmation from Canada Post. :mrgreen:
Actually, they might as well admit it. When it is at Stampboards it is about as public as it can get. Also, there is nothing new about this concept. Given how carefully philatelists study stamps I don't think they even expected it to go unnoticed. However, don't ask it from your local post office. They are unlikely to know it unless it was publicized in the beginning. You need to ask it from corporate level.

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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by vicaf60 »

Still the best way to check is to see other similar stamps. If there are stamps with correct spelling in the same position then it's just a typo, not a deliberate element of defence. The Element of defence should be repeated in ALL items in the SAME position(s) otherwise it's useless.
What concerns the Lueders' stamps it's clearly a mistake of the printer as it's repeated all about the micro-text, and the stamps was re-issued with the correct spelling.
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

Hi Victor

The whale stamps were issued in panes of 2 stamps, and both stamps in the pane have the same spelling error, so it was probably deliberate. 8)

Regarding the Lueders error - the spelling mistake was also repeated on the back of the booklets and on the selvedge of the souvenir sheet. Actually, Margo included a Linns report on the error in her Stamps in the News May 2012 post (you have to scroll down a bit). The Linns report incorrectly states "While the stamps themselves do not bear the erroneous text..." - clearly they didn't have a magnifying glass. :lol:

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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by kuikka »

Typical feature of this concept. In microprint same word(s) are repeated over and over. In some place in the middle two letters change order.

That is difficult to spot and requires proof reading whole microprint. And as vicaf60 says, of course it needs to be always in the same position. However, depending on the purpose of detection (fake sheet / fake stamp) it may be not in every stamp but in one stamp in every sheet (in this case 2 stamps per sheet).

In this case I believe it is in every stamp. If not, it would be publicized and catalogue listed within 1 year of issuing.

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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

Canada Post added tiny micro-printing to the 2007 "Flag over..." definitive series, hiding the geographical location of each lighthouse within the stamp design. These stamps were issued in self-adhesive booklet format only.

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Sambro Island NS
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The micro-print reads "Île Sambro Island NS"

Point Clark / Pointe Clark ON
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Cap-des-Rosiers QC
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Warren Landing MB
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Pachena Point BC (flipped image)
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The micro-print reads "Pointe Pachena Point BC"

The image supplied to Canada Post for the Pachena Point Lighthouse was incorrectly "flipped" (mirror image). A corrected image was subsequently provided and the stamp was re-issued.

Pachena Point BC (corrected image)
Image Image
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Global Administrator »

Certainly this micro writing shows far better on the Engraved high values than the offset printed lighthouses! :mrgreen:
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by stampingpaws »

Fascinating, I've just checked my Canadian Collection and am amazed at what there is to see.. Especially as its late at night. Even more reasons to get a decent scanner or a magnifier connect to my screen.

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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

Next issue under the microscope is the 2010 Flag over Historic Mills definitive set, issued January 11, 2010. The set of 5 stamps was issued both in self-adhesive booklet format and in a gummed souvenir sheet.

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Hidden within each of the designs is the location of the mill.

Watson's Mill / Moulin Watson Manotick ON
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Keremeos Grist Mill / Moulin à blé de Keremeos Keremeos BC
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Old Stone Mill / Vieux moulin en pierre Delta ON
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Riordon Grist Mill / Moulin à farine Riordon Caraquet NB
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(This one's tough to see against the red! :shock: )

Cornell Mill / Moulin Cornell Stanbridge East QC
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

In 2011, Canada Post issued the first set of stamps in a 4-part series depicting baby wildlife.

Image

In addition to the usual micro-printed year of issue (which is easily visible with the naked eye), Canada Post added a harder-to-find, much tinier micro-printed year (not always in black), as well as areas of black cross-hatching. These were the first stamps issued by Canada post on which the date appears twice.

Image Image
Arctic hare

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Red fox

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Canada geese

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Polar bear

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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Global Administrator »

Image
Jean - great scans - are you saying the year is in all these 3 places?

I can't even see ONE! :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by kuikka »

She is not saying that. The arrows point cross hatched areas. The year is supposed to be inside the circle (I suppose) but I cannot make that out either.

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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

Kimmo is correct. The copyright symbol followed by "2011" appears inside the circle in red font. It's very hard to see, which I guess is the point. :mrgreen:

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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

The Pierre Lueders stamp shown above was part of a set of Canadian Pride definitives issued on 16 January 2012 (the second Pride issue). The set of 5 stamps was issued both in self-adhesive booklet format and in a gummed souvenir sheet.

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A micro-printed description is hidden within each of the designs.

Canadian Coast Guard / Garde côtière canadienne
Image Image

Vintage van / Caravane d'époque
Image Image

Nicolas Gill in Athens / Nicolas Gill à Athènes
Image Image

Pierre Leuders on bobsled / Pierre Leuders en bobsleigh (This is the incorrect spelling of "Lueders" - see above for correction)
Image Image

Young child with flag / Bambin avec drapeau
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Global Administrator »

So are they on all new issues, or just selected ones Jean?
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

Glen - as far as I know this kind of micro-printing has only appeared on definitive stamps, not commemorative ones. However, not all of the definitive issues from recent years have it (that I could find). For example, I could not find any micro-print on the O Canada definitive set that was issued in January 2011: https://www.canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/personal/collecting/stamps/2011/2011_jan_o_canada.jsf

The small definitive set of 5 UNESCO stamps issued in March 2014 also has micro-printing, I have not posted those pictures here yet. I don't think the larger UNESCO stamps have any, but will have to double check that when I get home (am out of town at the moment).

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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Global Administrator »

Interesting.

It really is used to superb effect on the recess printed engraved stamps.

Jean kindly sent me her original superb high detail scans, even whilst out of office, for a magazine article I am doing, and at stamp size I doubt one can even SEE the tiny words along top line. (Can ANYONE here - and this image is larger than stamps size on a laptop??!) Much less the deliberate spelling error to fool forgers! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by pre_1912_thanks »

Magnificent thread, Jean 8)

I would love to get a few of those stamps under my USB microscope for a really close look. Better have a yarn to Santa about Christmas 2016 :lol:
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by figmente »

Global Administrator wrote:Now THIS is Micro above the "$10"!

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A scuba diver appears not only in the selvage, but above the whale's tail (to scale I think) on each stamp. A UV light is needed to see it. I don't have the tech to show it.
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

figmente wrote: A scuba diver appears not only in the selvage, but above the whale's tail (to scale I think) on each stamp. A UV light is needed to see it. I don't have the tech to show it.
Hello figmente

Here is what the whale looks like under UV light:
Image
(From here: https://www.adminware.ca/checklist/chk_tradewild_high.htm)
The pink "cloud" at right is a cluster of krill, the main prey of baleen whales. The diver is the same size as the ones in the selvage of the sheet. The wave lines are shifted over from the lines visible to the naked eye. I'll have to check when I get home whether they are also micro-print or just solid lines.

Jean :D
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

Canada stamper wrote:
Image
The pink "cloud" at right is a cluster of krill, the main prey of baleen whales. The diver is the same size as the ones in the selvage of the sheet. The wave lines are shifted over from the lines visible to the naked eye. I'll have to check when I get home whether they are also micro-print or just solid lines.
Didn't get a chance to check with UV lamp and magnifying glass until today, but I can confirm that the wave lines that appear under UV light are also micro-printing of the whale's scientific name! :shock:

Amazing! 8) 8) :D

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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

The third Canadian Pride issue of 14 January 2013 also featured micro-printing on each of the 5 definitive stamps in the set, which were issued both in self-adhesive booklet format and in a gummed souvenir sheet:

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Muskoka Chairs / Fauteuils Adirondack
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Hay Bales / Meules de foin
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Spinnaker
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Living flag / Drapeau vivant
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Ice fishing hut / Cabane de pêche
Image Image
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

On 31 March 2014, Canada Post issued a set of 5 definitive stamps featuring UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada, in both self-adhesive booklet format and in a gummed souvenir sheet.

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The (long :!: ) name of each of the pictured sites appears in micro-printing.

GROS MORNE NATIONAL PARK / PARC NATIONAL DU GROS-MORNE
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JOGGINS FOSSIL CLIFFS / FALAISES FOSSILIFÈRES DE JOGGINS
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CANADIAN ROCKY MOUNTAIN PARKS / PARCS DES MONTAGNES ROCHEUSES CANADIENNES
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NAHANNI NATIONAL PARK WORLD HERITAGE SITE / PARC NATIONAL NAHANNI, SITE DU PATRIMOINE MONDIAL
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PARC NATIONAL DE MIGUASHA / MIGUASHA NATIONAL PARK
Image Image
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

Well, that's it for this sort of micro-printed text on currently issued Canadian stamps, at least that I could find. I checked the larger format (higher value) UNESCO stamps that were issued in 2014 and 2015, and could not find any hidden micro-printing.

The more recent baby wildlife definitives from 2012-2014 have security features but not this kind of descriptive micro-print. You can read more about those stamps here:
2012 issue
2013 issue

In Jaunary 2016, Canada Post is issuing a second set of UNESCO definitives, as well as a set of 5 stamps in a new Birds of Canada definitive series. We shall have to put those under the microscope... :mrgreen:

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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Kennethsequeira »

Simply Superb Thread... Jean... thanks to you folks its just taken it to another level.. Now we will always look forward to new issues with micro printing from Canada Post.
I am definitely going back this weekend to check these on my Canada collection.
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

Today I visited our local philatelic library, the Harry Sutherland Library at the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation. The library has a video spectral comparator, the VSC6000, which is a comprehensive digital imaging system used by forensic document examiners. This machine is one of the few in North America, and the Foundation uses it for stamp expertising.

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Today they were letting collectors bring in stamps for examination in the machine, so I took advantage of this opportunity to get some pictures of the $5 moose and $10 whale stamps (many thanks to Garfield Portch!).

First, the $5 moose has a hidden petroglyph that is visible under long-wave UV light:

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The petroglyph is a mirror image of the ones that appear in the selvage of the stamp pane:

Image

Image
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

Here are some great pictures I got of the whale stamp. This is fast becoming my favourite Canadian stamp - so many hidden features!

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First, something I wasn't aware of - the whale has a white underbelly that is visible under spot fluorescence:

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Here are the features that appear under UV light:

A scuba diver, wave lines that are offset from the engraved wave lines, and a cloud of "krill" at the right:
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Image

The wave lines that appear under UV light are also composed of micro-printing! I was able to see these at home with a magnifying glass and my UV lamp, but couldn't take a picture. Here for your viewing pleasure:

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The denomination is printed with optically variable ink, which displays different colours depending on the viewing angle (the right image is seen in an angled mirror that was placed on the stamp):

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Here is a sidelit picture which really shows how elevated the engraving is:

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:D :D :D :D :D
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Arakan »

Very cool hidden features. Is the Whale stamp still available for purchase at the post office?
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Re: Hidden Gems - Micro-printing on Canadian stamps

Post by Canada stamper »

Hi Danny

The whale is still available for purchase at Canada Post online, in a sheet of 2 stamps. If you just want a mint single, I have an extra that I can add to your swap pile (no selvage). I also have an extra $5 moose if you are interested.

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