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:
Feb. 28, 2008
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
Oct. 27 2006
Jan. 25 2006
Scott 44a - Blue gray
Sept. 28 1999
Sept. 30 2006
Jul. 18 2001
Scott 44b – Slate
Jun. 29 2004
Feb. 21 2007
Mar. 2 2004
Scott 44c – Gray
Jun. 23 1998
Jun. 23 1998
Jan. 18 2000
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:
Mar. 19, 1996
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
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
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.
©2008, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada