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Canadian Stamp Auctions

Stamp Market Commentary

Special Commentary
25 January, 2006

"Write Me, Ring Me" Stamp Packets
(Scott 2045a-2047a)

We noticed that in the November 30, 2005 Vance Auction, a bidder paid $65 for a complete set of the "Write Me, Ring Me” stamps and telephone cards in their original sealed packets. Here is an image of one of the stamps in the set:

phone card

This is the first time we have seen a sale at auction of the special cards and this is what caught our attention. There are four packets in the set and each packet contains two stamps, a greeting card and a telephone card. The stamps have no denomination. Each telephone card had an expiry date and those dates have all expired.

At first, the catalogue publishers Scott, Unitrade and Darnell didn't know what to do with these packets. Canada Post wasn’t clear on whether the stamps qualified as stamps or were merely “products”. This led to some confusion amongst collectors. But when the Scott catalogue listed them for the first time in the 2006 edition, there was renewed interest from collectors. Dealers began buying supplies.

The cost of the four packets was $5.99 each or $23.96 in total. For awhile, Post Offices located in different parts of Canada had some of the packets, but not others. So the Central Post Office decided it had to take the following step in order to satisfy collectors. In the summer 2005 edition of "Collections Magazine" it announced that all remaining packets across the country would be sent to the National Philatelic Center in Antigonish, N.S. to be sold to collectors. In June 2005, articles appeared in the Canadian Stamp News and Linn's Stamp News advising collectors of this event. We hastily sent away for a set of the packets at a cost of $23.96 and in it came, it was very exciting. A collector we know in Montreal ordered 10 complete sets at around the same time, the maximum allowed under the new policy, and was successful in getting them.

Not to lose an opportunity, we noticed two dealers who advertised the sets in May 2005 for $99.95 per set of four packets. This was obviously much higher than paying $23.96 to buy directly from the Post Office.

When the Unitrade 2006 catalogue appeared last October, it listed the four sets at $80. The Scott catalogue has only listed values for the stamps, not the complete packets.

Hans Niedermair, a columnist for the Canadian Stamp News, wrote an article on these unusual stamps in the June 25, 2005 edition. He made a most interesting comment. "While finding the “Write Me, Ring Me” stamps has been a problem for many collectors, an even bigger challenge might be to find them postally used". How true!

To sum it all up, you could buy the 4 packets directly from the Post Office last spring for $23.96, some dealers were offering them at the same time for $99.95, Unitrade put a catalogue value on them of $80 last October and a set sold at auction last November for $65. There were very few of these packets issued, from 10,255 to 13,685 for each of the different packets in the set. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

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©2006, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada