$2 Truro Provincial Normal School Inverted Inscriptions

By John Jamieson — July 1999

Unitrade CS #1376b, 1376v, 1376vi & 1376vii

In April of 1996, the discovery of the $2.00 Truro Provincial Normal School definitive issue with Inverted Inscriptions was announced and two of the 4 panes discovered were exhibited at the Capex’96 International Philatelic Exhibition in Toronto in June of that year.

The first announcements of the discovery called them inverted centers likely to make a more direct comparison to the Seaway Invert. Although it matters not, the Truro errors are now listed as INVERTED INSCRIPTIONS as it was the school building and background colours that were printed first. These colours were printed on a lithographic press on a continuous roll of paper. The sheets were then guillotined into large printers’ sheets and run through a second press where the embossed intaglio inscriptions were printed. It was between these two presses that somehow at least one of these printer’s sheets was pulled, likely to examine the printing quality, and then placed back on the pile “upside-down”. According to CBN officials, these stamps were printed with 4 panes of 25 to the printers’ sheet.

The Seaway Invert has generally been referred to as an inverted center error. It is generally agreed that it, too, was really an inverted inscription error with the center having been printed properly and the inscriptions printed upside-down. As, it was, in fact, the already printed center portion that was inverted, and the inscriptions that were printed right side up on an inverted sheet one could call it either and be correct. Depends on whether you put the emphasis on the piece of paper or the printing presses. It is a given and no one turned the printing press over.

A total of only 4 panes of 25 were discovered in franchise Post Office stocks and reached private hands. Two were found in Moncton, NB and the other two in Hamilton, ON. Each pair of panes was different as shown in the photos that follow. Canada Post, after hearing of these discoveries, pulled all $2 off sale and checked their entire stock from coast to coast. They apparently found 6 more invert panes, all of which are in the secure hands of Canada Post and most likely in the Postal Archives by now.

New Brunswick dealer Gary Lyon purchased the 4 panes from three different individuals. Shortly after acquiring them he sold the entire group to US dealers Dan Eaton and Dana Okey. They, in turn, split up and began to offer these exciting errors to the philatelic market.

The MONCTON sheet

The MONCTON discovery sheets each contained:

  1. 1376b 15 Inscription Inverted on fully printed stamps. Thus there were a total of 30 inverts from these two panes. (See note below on the lost block of 15, which contain 9 of these 30)
  2. 1376v 5 White Inverts. White stamps (without the school) with full inscriptions each showing a different pattern of small “colour verification squares” below the inscriptions “CANADA $2”. Each of these 5 stamps from the two Moncton panes is different due to the variations in the placing of these squares of colour. Thus, instead of being a total of 10 of this variety, there were actually 2 each of 5 different. (See note below on the lost block of 15, which contain 3 of these 10)
  3. 1376vi 5 Brown Cutting Guide Inverts. White stamps (without the school) with full inscriptions, showing a row of “colour verification squares” plus a large brown rectangular box in the centre containing a “+” cutting guide. Each of the stamps shows 8 different squares, and parts of 2 others, which land on the vertical perfs between the stamps. Again, each of these 5 stamps from the two Moncton panes is different due to the variations in the order and placement of these squares of colour. In addition, each of these stamps has a “guide number” running from 16 to 22. The first stamp shows only “16”, the second shows “17” & “18”. The right stamp shows “21” and a portion of “22” which falls on the perfs at right. Thus, again, instead of being a total of 10 of this variety, there were actually 2 each of 5 different. (See note below on the lost block of 15, which contain 3 of these 10)

The MISSING BLOCK:

In January of 1997 we became aware of reports of the loss of a block of 15 inverts. It was the left margin block of, 3x5, from one of the Moncton panes. This block was in a shipment being sent back to Dana Okey’s office in San Diego. The insurance companies for the two partners in the inverts settled the claim on these later in 1997 confirming that the loss did occur. What a shame that was. The block contained 9 of the inverts and 3 each of the two “white” margin invert errors, the rarest of the whole Truro Invert group.

The HAMILTON sheet

The HAMILTON discovery sheets each contained:

  1. 1376b 20 Inscription Inverted on fully printed stamps. Thus there were a total of 40 inverts from these two panes.
  2. 1376vii 5 Brown Cutting Guide Invert Gutter Stamps. Brown stamps (without the school) showing full inscriptions plus a large brown rectangular box in the centre containing TWO “+” cutting guides one directly above the other. Each of these “gutter” stamps shows the brown bottom margin from the pane above and the brown top margin from the pane below. All 5 are identical so there are a total of 10 possible of this variation from the Invert sheets.

SUMMARY OF Unitrade CS #1376b, 1376v, 1376vi & 1376vii

Firstly, it must be noted that there are far fewer than 70 normal inverts available as single stamps to collectors. Firstly there are the 9 stamps in the missing block. Then there are the inverts with the margin and gutter error stamps attached. These will never be available as single inverts (I certainly hope no one is foolish enough to split up any of the wonderful error strips with the margin and gutter error stamps.)

  1. 1376b There are only 37 single inverts available. This includes the block of 10 from the second Hamilton sheet, which was offered on the Ivy Mader auction in March of this year. It is possible there are two corner blocks of 4 remaining in tact but that would be the most. We split up one of the LL corner blocks of 4 for singles in 1997.
  2. 1376b,v,vi There are only 3 strips of 3 and 2 blocks of 6 remaining showing the invert attached to the white and brown marginal errors. The other 3 were in the block of 15 lost in shipping in 1997. I personally feel these strips are, by far, the best of the Truro Inverts. The UL corner block is offered elsewhere in this listing along with one of the strips of 3 which has just returned to us in the G.D. Mass collection. We are offering to sell one or the other in this listing. The UR corner block is in a comfortable home in a major Canadian collection in the USA mid-west. The other two strips have been valued additions to two other major Canadian collections at opposite ends of the continent, again, both in the USA.
  3. 1376b,vii There are 10 possible pairs showing an invert with the Brown “Gutter” invert attached, however, several of these are still in strips of 3 (with two inverts) or blocks of 6 (with 4 inverts). At present we definitely know that there are 3 examples in pairs (two of which we have sold to clients), and an UL corner block of 6 plus an UL corner strip of 3 from the second Hamilton sheet were sold on Brigham Auctions sale in June of this year. We do not know the owners of and current format (size) of the UR corner block of 6 from the first Hamilton sheet and the block of 6 from the interior of the second Hamilton sheet. For our summary we will assume they are still in blocks of 6.

SUMMARY:

INVERTS
1376b
WHITE
1376v
BROWN
1376vi
GUTTER
1376vii
1376b singles or blocks 37
1376b,v,vi Moncton top strips of 3. 3 exist. 3 3 3
1376b,v,vi Moncton corner blocks of 6. 2 exist. 4 4 4
1376b,vii Hamilton pairs. 3 known at present 3 3
1376b,vii Hamilton UL block of 6. 4 2
1376b,vii Hamilton UR strip of 3. 2 1
1376b,vii Hamilton UR block of 6 location unknown 4 2
1376b,vii Hamilton interior block of 6 location unknown 4 2
TOTAL STILL KNOWN TO EXIST 61 7 7 10
The Lost Block of 15 9 3 3
THE TOTAL FIND 70 10 10 10

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