Some of the most beautiful and valuable Canada stamps are the three-pence beavers, Scott #1, #4, #12 and #15 (
Canada stamp #1: This three-pence beaver was printed on laid paper.
In the past, laid paper was manufactured by spreading the paper pulp over a wire sieve, which would allow the water to drain out. In the process, the wire would leave a pattern of wide-spaced lines on the sheet of paper. These lines can sometimes be viewed with the naked eye. If not, put a little watermark fluid in a tray with your stamp face down. The lines should appear.
Canada stamp #4: This three-pence beaver was printed on wove paper, so no lines will ever show up.
Canada stamp #4c: Just to complicate things a little more, this three-pence beaver was printed on ribbed, soft wove paper, so sometimes it is mistaken for the #1 beaver on laid paper. To tell them apart, remember that the lines on laid paper are widely spaced, whereas ribbed wove paper has fine, textured parallel lines. Also, for stamp #4c, it is the texture of the paper that is ribbed.
Canada stamp #12: This three-pence beaver has perforations measuring 11¾ x 11¾. All of the above beavers are imperforate, so this is an easy one to differentiate. But, beware of the #4 with added perforations to create a #12! The fakes will have even perforations, whereas the real McCoy has uneven perforations.
Canada stamp #15: Finally, this beaver is a 5¢, printed on a completely new plate with a different denomination.
Here’s hoping you find a few little jewels in your collections!