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Stamp Market Commentary

Special Commentary - 6 July, 2009

Scott 5a - A Rare Appearance
in the Saskatoon Stamp Centre Catalogue

In his June 8, 2009 catalogue, John Jamieson of the Saskatoon Stamp Centre offered this remarkable stamp:

Scott 5a

We looked up our pricing and research files for this stamp and to our complete surprise couldn’t find any previous sale of an unused copy. So this prompted us to see what we could find out about the stamp, its attributes and its history.

The 6d Albert on wove paper was issued in 1855, for use to U.S. destinations other than California and Oregon, which required an additional 3d. It came in various shades that are not always easy to identify.

The above copy was described in the catalogue as “6d Dark Brownish Grey unused, deepest shade we’ve seen. Margins close to just cutting at top. Wonderful deep rich colour.” V.G. Greene certificate states: “Unused dark brownish grey shade, genuine”.

The stamp was offered for $13,754 U.S. or $14,950 Cdn.

Previous sales

Since our records drew a blank, we contacted John Jamieson to see if he had previously sold a copy of this stamp. Here is a summary of what he told us:

· In 1988, Saskatoon Stamp Centre offered a fine unused copy for $6,000. It sold to a collector within a month.
· In 1994, they bought it back from the collector’s estate. They then offered it at $9,000.
· In 1998, they sold a 2nd copy which they offered at $13,000



This one was VF, unused and came with a certificate

· Now, in 2009, they are offering a third copy for $14,950. It came from the collection of a U.S. collector who bought it at a Siegel sale 30 years ago.

So John has had three unused copies pass through his hands, one “VF” and two “fine”. All three had no gum and came with certificates.

In determining how truly special this stamp is, we looked at our pricing records to see how many of the early stamps of Canada were offered at auction over the past 10 years without gum like those above. The results are a bit surprising as they showed that 33 out of 77 stamps, or 43% of the mint stamps in our pricing records, had been sold without gum:

Scott
With Gum
Without Gum
Total
1
2
6
8
2
-
4
4
2a
-
-
-
3
11
2
13
4
9
5
14
5
3
4
7
5a
-
-
-
5b
1
3
4
5d
1
-
1
7
8
1
9
9
9
8
17
44
33
77

We also wondered how the values of Scott 5a had done over the years and looked up the Scott catalogue values which were as follows:

Scott 5a Catalogue Values
1943
$350
1954
$600
1971
$2,200
1979
$6,500
1983
$9,500
1991
$10,000
1998
$12,000
2000
$13,500
2007
$13,500
2008
$20,000
2009
$27,500
2010
$32,500

It clearly took some time for the stamp’s true value to appear. At one point, from 2000 to 2007 it remained stalled at $13,500, but then in the past 3 years it took off, almost tripling in that period.

The full increase from 1943 to 2010 was almost 100 times. Is this the best there is? We had a look at a few more examples and found there were lots of others that did as well or even better. Here are a few:

Scott 84
2010 $550
1943 $5
Scott 120b
2010 $2,400

1943 $12

Scott 159
2010 $300
1943 $2
Scott E1
2010 $110
1943 60¢

Scott E2
2010 $90
1943 40¢


Scott F3
2010 $450
1943 $12
Scott J4b
2010 $400
1943 $10

Don’t you wish you could go back in time! Note that all these values are for stamps that are hinged, which is what most collectors would have collected in 1943.

We must admit that our sense of excitement at discovering a Scott 5a in the Saskatoon Stamp Centre catalogue has not diminished a bit since we first spotted it. We take our hat off to this firm and what it has accomplished over the years in bringing rare stamps of quality to collectors.

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