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Canadian Stamp Auctions

Stamp Market Commentary

Special Commentary - 8 September, 2009

The “Harbour” Collection of Canada’s Pence Set
Sold by Charles G. Firby
May 7, 1996

The “Pence” stamps of Canada were issued between 1851 and 1859. They include both imperforate (1851-1857) and perforated stamps (1858-1859). It is quite rare to find perforated stamps from this period that are centered because the margins are so very narrow.

It should be remembered that the Scott and Unitrade catalogue prices had been in decline from 1984 to 1991, before leveling out. Only in 1998 did they begin to recover. They then increased noticeably until 2008 when there was a clear pause in the market as a result of the worldwide economic slowdown. At the end of this commentary, we compare some of the 1996 catalogue prices with those of today.

Our sincere thanks to Mr. John Cooper of Montreal for letting us have the use of his catalogues for this review of an exceptional collection from the past.

(The prices realized have been converted at the rate of $1U.S. = $1.37 Cdn.)

Here are some of the treasures to be admired from the sale:

Imperforate Stamps

1var
Orange Vermillion
Lot 7
Superb, sheet margin at left
Realized $1,233

2
Brown Purple
2
Brown Purple
Lot 16
Superb, large margins
Realized $2,192
Lot 17
Superb, next stamp showing
Realized $2,603

4
Red
Lot 20
Full OG
Realized $480

4a
Brown Red
4c
On soft ribbed paper
Lot 25
XF, Part OG
Realized $1,780
Lot 32
VF NG, huge margin on right
Realized $1,233

4d
Orange Red
4iv
Red on thin oily paper
Lot 38
XF Superb, full OG. large margins
Realized $890
Lot 55
Vertical “Stitch” Watermark
Realized $309

5
Slate Grey
5a
Brownish Grey
Lot 63
Suberb, enormous margins
Realized $2,329
Lot 66
Superb gem,”the rarest 6d variety”
Realized $2,603

5b
Greenish Grey
5d
Grey Violet
Lot 69
Superb gem, huge margins
Realized $3,082
Lot 73
Superb gem, showing imprint
Realized $3,767

7
Blue
7a
Bright Blue
Lot 75
Gem, huge margins
Realized $1,780
Lot 81
Superb gem
Realized $1,233

8
Rose
8i
Lilac Rose
Lot 83
Superb, Full OG LH, Ex-Nickle
Realized $980
Lot 90
Choice gem, huge margins
Realized $828

10
Reddish Purple
Lot 99
Huge margins, one of finest extant
Realized $6,028

12
Red
Lot 101
XF, well centred, rare for this.
Realized $1,280

13
Brown Violet
Lot 107
Full OG. showpiece, one of the finest
Realized $13,563

What a beautiful collection! It was relatively modest without a Scott 3 and blocks of four etc.. but it was comprehensive, with a great many varieties, Its quality was evident throughout, with many in the XF and GEM category. It clearly would have taken any collector years and years and a great deal of discipline to put together.

One of the more interesting comments in the auction catalogue concerned lots 73 and 99, shown above. These two lots had been sent to the V.G. Greene Foundation for authentication. When they were returned to their owner with the certificate, the Secretary of the Foundation stated: “the Scott 5d and 10 are two of the finest stamps I have seen in some time”. Now for most collectors, that would be the ultimate compliment!

How could one compare the catalogue values today with those in 1996? Here are some examples that illustrate this:

Scott Number
Price Realized
in 1996
Catalogue
1996
Catalogue
2010
1(u) pair
1,233
1,500
2,300
2(u)
2,129
1,400
1,850
4(m)
480
1,250
1,500
4a(m)
1,780
1,300
1,600
4c(m)
1,233
2,750
4,000
4d(m)
890
1,250
1,500
4iv(u)
309
350
350
5(u)
2,329
1,000
1,500
5a(u)
2,603
1,450
2,000
5b(u)
3,082
1,200
1,500
5d(u)
3,767
1,900
3,000
7(u)
1,780
1,150
1,750
7a(u)
1,233
1,300
2,250
8(m)
980
650
1,000
8i(u)
828
800
1,000
10(u)
6,028
3,000
5,500
12(u)
1,280
500
1,000
13(m)
13,563
7,500
17,500

If you would like to see our commentaries on other outstanding Canadian collections, please click here.

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