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Stamp Market Commentary

Commentary No. 117 - 17 March, 2009

The Dave Roberts Collection of Canadian Stamps
Auctionned by R. Maresch & Son
March 4, 1997

The late Bill Maresch introduced Dave Robert’s exceptional collection of the used stamps of Canada with the following comments:

“Painstakingly acquired over 20 years, usually one at a time, each stamp is in the finest quality available and has, if possible, a dated cancellation, many being “socked-on-the nose”. Shades, varieties, strong re-entries and on-cover usages were his forte, and the provenance of the material is a virtual “who’s who” of Canadian philately”.

We start our coverage with a stamp that, in our dreams, we’d all like to own:

Lot 13
Scott 3
Estimate $35,000
Realized $21,000

This copy was described as having full margins all around, sharp laid lines, a sound and fault free example. It came with a Greene Foundation Certificate.

Other Early Classics

Here are more of Mr. Robert’s outstanding early Canadian stamps:

Slate violet
Experimental perforations
Lot 11
Unitrade 2i
Catalogue $2,000
Realized $2,600
Lot 38
Unitrade 4xi var
Estimate $1,700
Realized $2,900

“Imprint at bottom”
“Finest used copy of this stamp”
Lot 67
Unitrade 10
Catalogue $4,000
Realized $3,250
Lot 77
Unitrade 13
Catalogue $6,500
Realized $6,500

“Blackish brown”
Lot 102
Scott 16
Catalogue $3,000
Realized $4,000
Lot 163
Scott 19a
Catalogue $350
Realized $575


Two Exceptional Large Queens

Lot 188
Scott 21b
Estimate $5,000+
Realized $7,750

This is the only known and dated multiple of the ½¢ watermarked Large Queen. It is a showpiece with a 1971 Royal certificate. The pair had been owned by Dr. Reford and was sold in his collection in 1950 for $340.

Lot 242
Unitrade 28iii
Estimate $2,000
Realized $2,400

This is the soft white paper variety of the 12½¢ stamp which comes in brilliant blue. Fewer than six copies of this variety are known and most of them are faulty.

Bridgetown, N.S. Bisects

As most collectors are aware, Canadian bisects were most commonly used in the Maritime Provinces. The two covers which follow are dated 1872 and 1875 respectively and both are addressed to Timothy Ruggles Esq. in Bridgetown N.S.

Lot 236
Scott 27d
Estimate $1,750
Realized $3,000

In 1950, the above cover sold for $50 in the sale of the Dr. Reford Collection.

Lot 310
Scott 39a
Catalogue $500
Realized $1,150

An article on bisect covers appeared some years ago in the July-August, 1988 edition of BNA Topics. Written by George B.Arfken, it identified Timothy D. Ruggles as the principal in a well known law firm in Bridgetown. Mr. Arfken concluded that the fact there were so many bisect covers addressed to Mr. Ruggles did not mean that he made the bisect covers or solicited them. It probably meant that, as a lawyer, he retained all his correspondence in his files. Lucky for us!

Dated Cancels

This sale had some beautifully dated cancels:

Aug. 30, 1865
July 28, 1871
Lot 86
Scott 14
Estimate $200
Realized $375
Lot 206
Scott 24ii
Estimate $200
Realized $325

August 6, 1868
June 17, 1900
Lot 218
Scott 25
Estimate $150
Realized $130
Lot 336
Scott 59i
Estimate $250
Realized $375

Newspaper or Advertising Wrappers

Maresch described this newspaper wrapper as exceedingly rare and hopelessly undervalued. The bidders certainly agreed with him.

Lot 191
Unitrade 21vi
Estimate $2,000
Realized $7,500

This advertising wrapper was described as one of the finest:

Lot 285
Scott 34
Estimate $300
Realized $350

Superb Cover

We complete our coverage of this collection by showing one of the many remarkable covers that were offered:

Lot 53
Scott 7a & 5b
Estimate $7,500
Realized $9,500

Provenance of the Collection

As mentioned in our introduction, many of Mr. Robert’s stamps and covers came from Canada’s best known collectors of the past. Here is a list of a number of them:

Dale-Lichtenstein Lubke
Denton Menich
DeVolpi Nickle
Foxbridge Dr. Reford
H. Harrison Richardson
H. Hicks Siverts
Hillmer Whitworth

To own not only one of Canada’s 12p blacks but also posses a rare pair of the ½ ¢ watermarked Large Queens really says something about the quality of this collection. And then to have a collection that included stamps from all these famous collectors must have filled Mr. Roberts with great pride. His accomplishments will be remembered.

We would like to express our sincere thanks to Dr. Jim Watt for suggesting that we review this collection.

If you would like to see our commentaries on other outstanding Canadian collections, please click here.

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