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Stamp Market Commentary

Commentary No. 104 - 17 February, 2008

Canada’s Rarest Modern Stamps

In the past 20 years, a few astute collectors have discovered some unbelievably rare varieties amongst our Canadian stamps. We sometimes wonder how it is possible to spot these unusual items amongst the millions of stamps that are issued every year.

It’s one thing to discover a constant variety in a sheet of stamps. It’s quite another to spot a single unusual feature in one stamp amongst hundreds of thousands of stamps. We have only been involved with the discovery of one rare variety and this took place in Montreal a number of years ago when one of our viewers advised us that he had bought five blocks of Unitrade 1679b at the local post office. He sold some of those blocks subsequently for over $1,000 each.

If we think that the existence of modern varieties only takes place in Canada, then one only has to look at a specialized catalogue of US or UK stamps to see the same phenomenon in other countries. There are great numbers of them and the types are the same as here, with missing colours, imperforates, stamps printed on gum etc.

One of the things that amazes us as we look at auction results over the years is the fact that there seems to be no direct relationship between the number of rare stamps in existence and their prices realized. This will be evident in the data shown in the schedule at the end of the commentary.

What follows below is a summary of Canada’s rarest modern stamps issued in the past 20 years, based on data in the 2008 Unitrade catalogue.

Number of known copies in existence

1 pane

Unitrade 1259ai

Imperforate vertically


1 copy
1 pane
Unitrade 1452
Unitrade 1508
Incorrect accent
No die cutting

 

1 souvenir sheet

2 copies
Unitrade 1837a
Unitrade 1608-12
Missing colour
Missing silver rings

 

2 panes

Unitrade 1811

Printed on gum

 

2 copies
Unitrade 1932i
Missing gold

 

4 panes

5 blocks

Unitrade 1601b

Unitrade 1679b
No die cutting
Top stamps imperforate

 

8-12 copies

Unitrade 1701a

Missing Moose

 

17 copies

Unitrade 1848b

Missing silver


It is interesting to note where these stamps originated and what their present values are in the Unitrade Catalogue. We provide this information below:

2008
Unitrade

Description
No. of copies
Origin
Catalogue
Value
1259ai 32¢ Bklt.- Part imperforate
1
2007 Saskatoon
15,000
1452 42¢ Xmas- Incorrect accent
1
2005 Firby
1,000
1508 43¢ Bklt. - No die cut
1
2002 Saskatoon
2,000
1837a 95¢ SS - Missing colour
1
2005 Cdn. Stamp News
2,000
1608/12 45¢ Olympic - Missing rings
2
2007 Unitrade
1,500
1811 46¢ Bklt.- Printed on gum
2
2007 Longley
-
1932i 48¢ QE II -Missing gold
2
2007 Longley
2,000
1601b 45¢ Bklt.- No die cut
4
2005 Firby
4,000
1679b 10¢ Definitive imperf. at top
5
2003 Cdn. Stamp News
-
1701a $5 Missing moose
8-12
2004 Cdn. Stamp News
7,500
1848b 46¢ Engineer missing colour
17
2003 Saskatoon
3,000

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