Canadian Stamp Auctions
Stamp Market Commentary
Commentary No. 116 - 17 February, 2009
Unbelievable Stamp Auction Prices!
We can remember a trip we made to visit the stamp dealers on Yonge Street in Toronto as a young collector. Their showcases highlighted the best they had to offer and we were delighted to see such excellent stamps.
But our delight was somewhat crushed as we surveyed the prices. They were well above catalogue. Some were two times catalogue, others four times and even ten times. We looked at the dealers behind the counters and would have had them arrested if we had the power.
Little did we know at the time about what the prices should be for investment grade stamps. It was only when we began to keep track of the prices realized at auction that we appreciated how very scarce some of the Canadian stamps truly were, even the low value ones, and consequently how fierce the competition would be to obtain them.
But nothing prepared us for some of the prices we have seen in the U.S. market. At the end of this commentary we give an example we came across recently. We have no way of verifying this information, but, knowing the auction firm involved, we have no reason to doubt it either.
What follows is a number of examples of extraordinary prices paid over the past 5 years for investment grade Canadian stamps. Next comes the above mentioned U.S. example that makes the Canadian ones look tame.
The Canadian Experience
Note: The above catalogue prices are those that were in effect in the year of sale. The prices realized for the auctions that took place in the U.S have been converted to Canadian dollars at the exchange rate prevailing on the date of sale.
Please click here if you would like to see our 10 year list of prices for over 800 investment quality Canadian Stamps
As a general rule, we do not review the prices realized for U.S. stamp auctions and only came across this unusual price by chance. But once we saw it and realized it was not a typo, we couldn’t get it out of our mind, it was so extraordinary. It is possible U.S. collectors will tell us this happens all the time but we doubt this.
The people at Spink Shreves would certainly get passing grades for their use of flowery English when you look at the description of the stamp shown below. They heap superlative upon superlative. And who can blame them, as they go on to explain that a year ago an even better copy sold for $47,500. Perhaps someone will write to advise us that we misunderstood the whole thing, but until then we will accept things at face value and just marvel at what we have seen.
Here’s how they described the stamp:
Well done, Spink Shreves!