Online Resources and Exhibits

Spotted 45¢ Flag, a.k.a. “Snowstorm Variety”

Saskatoon Stamp Centre

(Published on the Saskatoon Stamp Centre website on 17 April 1998)


Have you seen the 45¢ Flag definitive with randomly placed white spots of varying sizes? Chances are you have, either in person or in recent ads. We have had many calls (in fact, too many) regarding this “variety”.

These are damaged stamps!
These are not printing varieties and, in our opinion, have no value!

Multicoloured 45¢ Flag stamps come in various formats (click for printing history): sheets of 100 and 120; booklets of 10, 25, and 30. The spots occur only on the stamps from booklets. These stamps did not miss any ink (colour) in the printing process. As the booklet is opened and the stamps are spread out, spots of colour are removed from the stamps and are left adhering to the inside of the booklet cover.

There are two possibilities as to how these varieties could have occurred:

  • As the panes are printed and immediately attached to the booklet cover, the printing ink is still moist in some spots and is transferred to the booklet cover.
  • As a strip of glue is placed on the booklet cover to adhere the pane of stamps along the edge of the left selvedge, droplets of excess glue splatter randomly on other parts of the cover. The pane of stamps then adheres to these spots of glue, and random spots of colour are transferred to the booklet cover.

The first possibility sounds good, but it is not the cause. It is quite unlikely that the panes are attached to the cover immediately after printing while the ink is still moist. In addition, random spots are removed from the stamp where there is no ink! Thus, by elimination, the second scenario is the cause of these spots.

We repeat, this variety is not a missing colour, and does not occur during the printing of the stamps! The variety can be easily created by simply splashing glue onto any surface, sticking the pane to the glue, and removing the pane from the surface after it has dried.

Although they have no value, they do make for interesting proof to the poor binding techniques used to produce these booklets.

Printing History of the 45¢ Flag definitive

  • Leigh-Mardon Pty, Limited printed sheets of 100 and booklets of 10 and 25, released 31 July 1995.
  • Canadian Bank Note Co. printed sheets of 100 and booklets of 10 and 25, released 6 October 1995 on Coated Paper and 5 April 1996 on Peterborough paper. The spots discussed in this article originate from these printings.
  • On 2 February 1998, the 45¢ Flag stamp was released in a smaller stamp/design size. Canadian Bank Note Co. printed sheets of 120 and booklets of 10; Ashton-Potter Canada Ltd. printed booklets of 30.

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