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Canadian Stamp Auctions

Commentary No. 105 - 17 March, 2008

Scott 44 – The Beautiful 8¢ Small Queen

They say that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder and, to us, the 8¢ Small Queen is elegant, captivating and decidedly beautiful. According to Boggs, three new denominations were added to the Small Queen set in 1893; the 8¢ for postage plus registration and the 20¢ and 50¢ for parcels.

In his book, the Small Queens of Canada, John Hillson states “the 8¢ value is the same size as the usual Small Queens, but the Queen’s profile faces to the left instead of to the right. It comes in a wide variety of shades ranging from Pale Blue-Gray through Slate to Slate-Purple and Violet-Black. These are equally common, but there is one scare shade in Greenish-Blue.”

The recent copy that sold in the Spink Shreve’s sale in New York epitomizes for us the attractions of this stamp:

Spink Shreves
Feb. 28, 2008
Lot 966

Colour Varieties

The stamp comes in four basic colours with examples provided below. These examples come from auction catalogues which are not consistent in how they reproduce their colours so that if you find that each of the following examples is not exactly the same as its neighbor, please keep this in mind.

Scott 44 - Violet black

Nov. 4 2006
Lot 434

Oct. 27 2006
Lot 1106

Jan. 25 2006
Lot 890

Scott 44a - Blue gray

Sept. 28 1999
Lot 1788

Sept. 30 2006
Lot 750

Bow City
Jul. 18 2001
Lot 1992

Scott 44b – Slate

Jun. 29 2004
Lot 2196

Feb. 21 2007
Lot 1624

Mar. 2 2004
Lot 2036


Scott 44c – Gray

Jun. 23 1998
Lot 1502

Jun. 23 1998
Lot 1503

Jan. 18 2000
Lot 1389

There is no clear answer as to why these colour variations exist. They may have been produced at different locations or the paint mixer may not have paid a whole lot of attention to the consistency of his colours. Both Holmes and Jarrett describe the various colours in ways that are not consistent. They agree that the first 8¢ was issued in August, 1893 and it then seems that every two years or so a new colour would appear. Besides the above colours, Jarrett refers to a very rare variety which he calls a greenish slate. We have not seen any examples of this colour.


Imperforate stamps were issued in only two of the above colours:

Blue Gray
With Gum

Scott 44d
Sept. 30,2006
Lot 751

Violet Black
No Gum

Unitrade 44i
Mar. 19, 1996
Lot 283



On occasion, the perforation equipment which had so much trouble producing a well centered copy of the stamps in those days, would go overboard and produce a jumbo:

Apr. 1, 2001
Lot 381


We have recorded only a few multiples of the stamp, mostly blocks of four. This block of eight, which appeared in a Shreve’s sale in 2006, is the largest of which we are aware:


Sept. 30 2006
Lot 749

We hope you have enjoyed this review of the above examples of this beautiful stamp. It took a lot of digging to find them, which impressed on us just how rare they are.

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©2008, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada