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Stamp Market Commentary

Special Commentary - 22 April, 2009

A Canadian 12 Penny Black
to be sold in the upcoming
Spink Shreves’ Auction
May 8, 2009

Lot 440
Scott 3
Catalogue $75,000

Realized$120,000

Spink Shreves Galleries will be offering The Richard Collier Collection of Postally Used Stamps of the United States & the World on May 8, 2009 in New York. The Canadian section, while small, includes some excellent and rare material. It includes the above large margined 12 penny black, a stamp it describes as having long been recognized as one of the rarest and most desired stamps of the British Empire. This copy appears to have come from the sale of The Malibu Collection in May, 2006. Before that it belonged to the collections of Lees-Jones and Amundsen.

Here are a few of the other Canadian stamps in the sale:

Lot 444
Scott 10
Catalogue $5,500

Realized $5,500

Lot 446
Scott 13
Catalogue $6,750

Realized $6,500


Lot 448
Scott 17
Catalogue $160

Realized $550

One lot that fascinated us was a Penny Black cover from Great Britain, dated October 27, 1840, which contained an original letter written and signed by Charles Dickens.


It will be interesting to see how much the "celebrity factor" adds to the bidding for this item. The estimate was between $5,000 and $7,000. We were not surprised to see that the "celebrity factor" brought the final bid up to $15,000!

U.S. Stamps

Our review of the U.S. stamps that made up half of the lots, reminded us of how different the U.S. market is from that in Canada. A number the more valuable American stamps had been sent to the Professional Stamp Experts for grading. Two of the ones shown below actually received a “Supreme GEM 100 Jumbo” designation. Now one can get carried away with all these “super duper” descriptions, but we have seen clear evidence that they do affect the market. As well, the exact quantity of many of the rarest U.S. stamps seems to be known in the U.S. philatelic community and is referred to in the descriptions eg., Lot “x” is one of thirteen known copies of which only five are sound and the rest have faults.

Here are some outstanding examples:

“Superb 98 Jumbo”
“XF Superb 95”

Lot 10
Scott 8A
Catalogue $1,250

Realized $20,000

Lot 71
Scott 107
Catalogue $9,500

Realized $42,500


“Gem 100 Jumbo”

Lot 107
Scott 235
Catalogue $22

Realized $5,500


“One of the Finest Examples Known”
“Gem 100 Jumbo”

Lot 180
Scott 482A
Catalogue $65,000

Realized $35,000

Lot 186
Scott 509
Catalogue $1

Realized $675


“Hawaii – only 15 copies exist”

Lot 344
Scott 1
Catalogue $250,000

Realized $150,000


As mentioned, of particular interest to us are lots 107 and 186 above. Both of which are rated “GEM 100”. While these have only nominal catalogue prices, recent sales in the U.S. show us that the sky is the limit when determined collectors of means go after these outstanding copies. We look forward with great interest to seeing the results of the sale.

Of course, we will post these results as soon as they are known!

Please note: The prices realized for both the Canadian and U.S. stamps
are all in U.S. dollars

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