Canadian Stamp Auctions

Stamp market commentary

Report No. 2 - January 17, 2000

The current year is starting off with a bang.  We note at least five auctions taking place over the last two months involving investment quality Canadian stamps.  These are:
Dec. 3  Brigham
Dec. 18  Hennok
Jan.  15  Firby
Jan.  18  Maresch
Jan.  29 Eastern Auctions
The quality of some of the Canadian material offered in the January auctions is remarkable.  The Firby sale offered a 3¢ Large Queen described as the finest the firm has ever handled (lot 551).That sale also featured some gorgeous registration stamps for those who appreciate these rare beauties.  The Maresch sale offered one of the most beautiful 6¢ small Queens (Scott 39) we have ever seen and in NH condition which is most unusual (lot 1280 ). It also had a strong showing of registration stamps and imperforates.  Not to be outdone, Eastern Auctions offered some exceptionally well centered NH Maple Leafs, Numerals and Admirals.  We look forward with great interest to the outcome of these sales and suspect there will be some happy owners.  Further details of these sales may be found on our Web page under the heading "News of Upcoming Auctions".

We envy those in other countries who bid in our Canadian auctions using their stronger foreign currencies.  In the Firby sale of September 8, 1999 in the U.S., a 20¢ Widow's Weeds (Scott 46) having a catalog value of $300 sold for $575 U.S. It would have taken $855 Canadian to match that successful bid. A 10¢ plum Admiral (Scott 116) cataloging at $350 in NH condition sold for $546 U.S. One would have needed $812 Canadian to match that winning bid. It's not easy for our bidders as that was the highest price paid for a Scott 116 we have recorded since 1987.   Let's look at the Ian Kimmerly sale of August 25 1999. There, a 1¢ Edward VII (lot 188) sold for $130 Canadian, again one of the highest prices ever paid for this stamp. An American could have picked that up for a mere $90 U.S. A 1¢ Numeral (lot 169) with a catalogue value of $37.50 sold for a very pricey $135 Canadian.  An American could have had this choice item for only $93  U.S.

A review of the Scott catalog over the last three years shows some interesting price increases.  The catalog price for Canada's rarest stamp, the 2¢ Large Queen on laid paper (Scott 32) increased from $125,000 to $175,000 between 1998 and 2000.  The 8¢ Maple Leaf (Scott 72) increased from $85 to $150. The 2¢ Map (Scott 85) increased from $19 to $30.  The 7¢ Edward VII (Scott 92) increased from $55 to $75. The 10¢ Edward VII (Scott 93) increased from $110 to $150.  The 4¢ Scroll (Scott 152) increased from $11 to $17.  There were many other changes that took place in the Scott , Unitrade and in Darnell catalogs.  For further details see "Stamp Catalog Price Changes" on our Web page.

Most of us assume that when the catalogs are updated each year, the only modifications are the pricing changes.  We might be surprised in comparing the catalogs from year to year at the number of new entries that are added by the editors.  In the Scott 2000 catalog, for example, there were 35 new varieties added.  In the case of the 5¢ Large Queen, two varieties were added.  Scott 26a was a perf 12 variety and Scott 26b was an imperforate pair. This imperforate pair was quite well known and it was good to see it officially recognized by Scott - see further comments below.  Numerous new imperforate varieties were added for the period 1930 to the present day.  A number of tete beche varieties were added for the first time to the booklets.  Finally, in the George V issues, distinctions were made between certain of the die I and die II varieties.  For further details of additions to the Scott, Unitrade and the Darnell catalogs in the current year, please refer to "New Catalog Listings" on our Web page.

The 5¢ Large Queen Imperforate
The new listing of Scott 26b is of particular interest.  The 5¢ imperforate pair had once been owned by the well known philatelist Julian Smith who provided the following details in a letter.  The pair of stamps has no gum.  He bought them at a Sissons sale in 1975 at which time he was assured by Jim Sissons and other dealers that, as far as they knew, the pair was unique.  Mr. Smith paid $ 2,900 for the pair.  They had been illustrated on page 247 of Bogg's "The Postage Stamps and Postal History of Canada".  But the pair illustrated in Bogg's had been trimmed by the time Mr. Smith bought them in order  to remove a small pinhole from the margin.  In 1986, they were sold again at a Maresch sale with a "Vincent Greene certificate".  Maresch put a $2,500 estimate on the pair , but they realized $5,750.  In 1995, Ian Kimmerly sold what was described as a single copy of the imperforate. The price realized was $650. This particular variety has had quite a history!

Charles Verge comments.
It what appears to be a first, Charles Verge has been given a full page in each Brigham auction catalog to provide his comments and those of the readers.  What a great idea!  It is called the Philatelic Bulletin Board.  Some of the interesting pieces of information he reports are the existence of the Brigham Auctions Youth Philately Development Fund as well as details of the Canadian Philatelic Society of Great Britain.

Maresch's New Look Catalog
Bill Maresch is making a big splash in celebrating his firm's 75th anniversary.  Besides offering some pretty exceptional material in his recent sales, he has decided to adopt a larger format for his auction catalogs.  For those of us whose eyes aren't what they used to be, this is a welcome change.  But, large or small format, the quality of the material offered by the Maresch family remains high. We are particularly impressed by the very helpful detail which Bill and his staff offer in describing the stamps in each of the catalogs.

Darnell's new premises in Montreal
Lyse Rousseau , the editor of " Darnell's Stamps of Canada Catalogue" looks quite happy sitting at her desk on the second floor of her firm's new premises at 230 Saint Jacques Street West in Old Montreal.  Well she might, as she very prudently left her previous location in the Eaton's store in the center of the city before its untimely closure. Her newly opened store is truly beautiful with lots of space for displays.  The Darnell catalog continues to contribute in an important way in providing Canadian collectors with considerable information on each stamp. The Darnell catalog is unique in using its own numbering system which differs from Scott's.  It has an impressive list of individuals from across Canada on its pricing committee.  In recent years, Lyse has added many new modern stamp varieties to her catalog.  We wish her well in her new location.

We would welcome your comments on this and any other matter relating to Stamps in Canada. 
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