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Commentary No. 106 - 17 April, 2008

Scott 2201i - Year of The Pig

According to “Details”, the publication of Canada Post, people born in the Year the Pig are considered to be kind and caring in nature, with a jovial and easy going character that belies their resistance and tenacity. Pig people are dependable, extremely determined and perfect friends. But beware - pigs love luxury and can be susceptible to excesses of pleasure!

On January 5, 2007 Canada Post issued the Year of The Pig stamp as part of its series honoring the Chinese New Year. Two denominations were issued as shown in this souvenir sheet:


In addition to the 52¢ and $1.55 singles and the above souvenir sheet, there was an uncut press sheet of 12 souvenir sheets.

The Missing Gold & Rainbow Foil Colour Variety

This commentary focuses on The Missing Gold and Rainbow Foil Colour Variety of the 52¢ stamp and the history of prices it received at auction during the past year. As you’ll see in the details that follow, the prices have varied considerably. Trending down for most of 2007 and then seeming to recover during the first part of 2008.

Here is an illustration of the variety and the prices paid for it at auction:

Single copy

Prices Paid at Auction

$675
Eastern
Mar 24 2007
$475
Vance
May 9 2007
$410
Eastern
May 16 2007
$250
Maresch
Jun 19 2007
$300
Eastern
Jun 27 2007
$130
Maresch
Oct 23 2007
$230
Longley
Dec 8 2007
$314
Vance
Jan 23 2008
$205
Eastern
Jan 30 2008
$260
Eastern
Mar 12 2008
$360
Vance
Mar 19 2008
$379
Firby
Apr 4 2008


What we see by way of a trend is a steady decline through most of 2007, with the price falling from $675 to $130, followed by a recovery starting in December, 2007 from $230 to the most recent price in 2008 of $379.


Inscription Blocks

Prices Paid at Auction

$925
Eastern
May 16 2007
$1,005
Eastern
Jun 27 2007
$510
Eastern
Aug 15 2007
$850
Eastern
Jan 30 2008
$650
Eastern
Mar 12 2008

There seems to be little trend here. The average price at auction for an inscription block during the past year was $788. This works out to $197 per stamp. It doesn’t make a lot of sense that the stamps in the inscription blocks would sell for less than the single stamps, but strange as it may seem, that is the case.

Adding to the story is the fact that there seems to be an additional reason why imprint blocks on the right hand side of the sheet should have extra value. The postscript below, which you will find after the conclusion, explains this.

Complete Sheet

Price Paid at Auction

$1,515
Firby
Apr 4 2008

There are 25 copies in each sheet which means that each of the copies in the sheet sold for about $60. This is quite the bargain, considering that there were 4 inscription blocks in the sheet and these would normally command a premium. But as shown above, the stamps in these inscription blocks seem to sell at a discount to the individual stamps, at least for now.

Conclusion

We think Unitrade states it best in its 2008 Catalogue when it states:

"Copies exist missing the gold and rainbow foil colours; the editors are unable to put a price on them at present due to confusion in the market. Beware of fakes."

We couldn’t put it better, but hopefully the above analysis will help collectors place their bids for this variety in future with a better idea of what is happening in the market.

Postscript - is there another new variety (missing gold only)?

After the above commentary appeared on our website, we received a note from one of our viewers who advised us as follows:

"What about the last vertical row of 5? It came missing gold but not the rainbow foil. Only 5 stamps per sheet and very different from the rest…. only 1/10 as common. Better yet, no known way to fake them with solvents. Removing the gold foil with solvents would destroy the fragile underlying rainbow foil colour. Just wait until the catalogues realize the sub-variant. The fifth vertical row was the only place on the genuine sheets that did not have a misregistration of the rainbow foil, whereas the missing gold was completely misregistered."

What this means is that anyone buying a UR, UL plate block or in a sheet may have struck gold. We had a look at the varieties shown above to try to see the difference between the stamps on the right hand side and the rest. We couldn’t spot it. However, our viewer provided a few clues:

“The missing colour only error may not be seen that well on the monitor …. You have to hold the stamps up at eye level and look obliquely across to see the difference:

a. On both of the colours missing errors, you will see nothing.
b. But on the east marginal stamps in the sheet, the gold is missing, but not the rainbow hologram."

So it seems that only those who own the stamps from the right hand side of the sheet will be able to perform the above tests. If we were they, we’d send them off to be authenticated.

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