Canadian Stamp Auctions
Stamp Market Commentary
Last January, a brief article in Canadian Stamp News advised all its readers that the British Library web site had been redesigned, including its philatelic collections. We put the article aside for a rainy day.
And so, on a recent rainy day, we picked it up again and had a look at the website www.bl.uk/collections/philatelic and we were most impressed. In a section called “Philatelic Rarities”, we found this lovely copy of Canada’s Scott 3, the well-known 12-Penny Black, followed by some helpful comments from the Library’s staff, quoted below:
It is interesting that the Library mentioned there are 5 pairs of the stamp in existence. If this is one of them, then there must be 4 others. In our Commentary No. 88, we did a write up of this beautiful and rare stamp and we showed 3 other pairs. For the record, here they are:
The above pair was shown at the 1978 Canadian International Philatelic Exhibition held in Toronto. It was described as a lower left mint marginal pair, imperforate, on laid paper and the only known corner pair.
This pair came from the 1987 private sale of the John Foxbridge Collection of British North America Imperforate Pence Issues. It had large even margins all around and original gum. An interesting note in the catalogue is that John Foxbridge was a pseudonym for a collector who in a few short years swept all international philatelic competitions. He set a standard of excellence that has seldom been equaled in history, never surpassed.
This pair was described by Firby as the finest of the three surviving mint pairs and believed by many to be the most important philatelic treasure of Canada. A superb gem with full original gum, it came from the Sam Nickle and Dale-Lichtenstein collections.
According to a report in the January, 1989 Canadian Philatelist, the last time the pair was sold at auction which was in 1968, it was purchased jointly by Jim Sissons and Bob Lyman for $39,000 U.S., a record for any Canadian stamp. These two dealers had decided to split the pair into two singles, each to take one and go their separate ways. A last minute decision to call prominent collector, Sam Nickle, resulted in a sale, and saved the superb pair.
Postscript - August 21st.
Could this be the missing 5th Copy?
The description of this pair in the Dale Lichtenstein sale was as follows:
This may be the missing 5th pair we have been looking for but, for the moment, we can’t be certain. It was brought to our attention by Mr. Peter Stahl of Toronto who informed us that it is now in the hands of the Canadian Postal Museum. Our sincere thanks to Peter Stahl for giving us this tip.
We tried contacting the Museum in Ottawa to confirm this but were not successful in reaching them. Our uncertainty arises from the fact this might be the same as the second pair above. Both are described as being with the Postal Museum. Although the two pairs are not the same size, it is possible the image of the earlier pair was cropped for display purposes.
If anyone could help put us in touch with the Canadian Postal Museum so that we could resolve this uncertainty, it would be appreciated (See their comments below).
Clarification from Library and Archives Canada
We received the following message from Library and Archives Canada in Gatineau on August 31, 2009: