Commentary No. 40 - Issued November, 2002
The New 2003 Darnell Catalogue
The new 2003 Darnell "Stamps of Canada" was issued last month. It has been three years since the last edition and so it was with great anticipation that we picked the new catalogue up for review.
The layout of the new edition is much like the old one with easy to read pages and excellent images. As Lyse Rousseau the publisher points out in her preface, the illustrated section of varieties in the previous edition has been dropped and will be included in a separate catalogue to be published in early 2003. Of course, being a specialized catalogue, all those varieties are still included in this edition with accompanying prices; it's just the images that have been removed.
It took us many hours to analyze the pattern of price changes and we found those changes extensive. Most of them are upwards, reflecting the fact that during the period since the last catalogue there has been a major advance in the prices of Canadian stamps. Despite this, we couldn't help notice that for the most part, the price increases were restricted to the pre-1935 period. Furthermore, in those years before 1935, it was mostly only the very fine stamps (which Darnell refers to as Ni for mint and Ui for used) that advanced, while the other categories of lesser quality, increased very little, if at all. This is the cruel reality of the marketplace for Canadian stamps, where only the finest examples get recognition.
Classics (1851 to 1868)
The mint stamps of this period advanced only modestly. The one exception was the well-known 12 Penny Black that jumped from $65000 to $95000. The used stamps of this period, by contrast, advanced strongly, including both the first, and surprisingly, the second categories of quality. Amongst the used stamps the biggest gains were for the varieties such as the re-entries and plate flaws.
Large and Small Queens (1868 to 1897)
The Large and Small Queens were strongly up. The Large Queen set mint advanced 54 % and the Small Queen set mint was up an impressive 113%, making it the set with the largest increase in the new catalogue. The prices for the Small Queen set were up so strongly that even the stamps of second quality advanced, making these latter price increases quite an exception to the general rule.
The largest increases amongst the Large Queen prices were for the 6˘ and 12 1/2˘ stamps and for the watermarked varieties. The largest increases in the Small Queen prices were for the 2˘, the 5˘gray, the 6˘ red brown and the 10˘ of all colors. We also noticed a strong showing for the Small Queen imperforates.
Jubilees to Admirals (1897-1935)
There were solid advances, but only for the first quality stamps. The prices for second quality material did not change. Here are some details:
% Increase Jubilees
Particularly strong in these sets were the imperforates, the re-entries and the die varieties. But the stand-out by far was the amazing increase in the values of the first day covers in the period 1917 to 1932. This does not include the admirals for which first day cover prices are not yet published. Here are a few examples:
First day covers 2000 2003 Darnell No. 2¢ Overprint
50¢ Grand Pré
10¢ Etienne Cartier
After 1932 there are a few scattered increases in the first day cover prices. After 1950 there are practically no changes although we noticed that the prices for a number of first day covers that were previously missing have now been added
Modern (1936 to date)
There were few changes in the more modern sets and commemoratives. Most of the expensive varieties, including the modern imperforates, did not change in value.
The exceptions are found principally in the definitive sets issued during the 1980s and the 1990s where there were strong advances in some of the varieties, principally the stamps printed on gum and those with perforation varieties.
Printed on gum 2000 2003 Darnell No. 1¢ Caricature
1¢ Flower precancelled
Perforation varieties 2000 2003 Darnell No. 10¢ Skunk
61¢ Timber wolf
We would like to end our commentary by saying how pleased we are that Darnell has once again brought its prices and varieties up to date. We invite our viewers to click on the buttons below for more information on the changes in the new catalogue.
©2002, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada