Canadian Stamp Auctions

Stamp market commentary

Commentary No. 27 - 17 November, 2001

More current items of interest

Ian Kimmerly - The Passing of an Era

It came as quite a shock to us to read in Ian's latest auction catalogue for his sale on November 6, 2001 that he is planning to retire from the stamp auction business. He stated in his catalogue: "This will probably be the final Ian Kimmerly stamp auction. For a great variety of reasons we are not planning to hold another after this..….this has been a wonderful and challenging 12 years but the time has come to devote our energies to the retail store and to electronic commerce"

We have been impressed by the quality of the Ian's auctions over the past decade and the many innovations that he has introduced to the benefit of his clients. On a number of occasions we have visited him at his store in Ottawa and have come away with a far better knowledge of our hobby and the Canadian stamp market. As he has indicated, he will continue to be very active in buying and selling stamps at the retail level and through the Internet. We wish him well and hope that, someday, we might see him back in the stamp auction business.

Ian may be reached by email at or by phone at 1-613-235-9119.

The Queen is missing!

It will probably come as no surprise to our readers that Canada Post has, in recent years, shown a strong reluctance to portray members of the royal family on our stamps. Last year, when the Queen Mother's 100th birthday was being celebrated around the world, it took tremendous public pressure to persuade our postal authorities to issue a stamp in her honor. Eventually they relented, and in the end, they issued a beautiful 95-cent miniature sheet featuring the Queen Mum. It was lovely and proved that when Canada Post decides to do something special, they can do a great job.

One of the better-kept secrets at your typical local Post Office in Canada is the location of any stamps featuring our present Queen Elizabeth. Although such stamps have been issued, it seems that they are rarely available.

This recently caught the attention of the Canadian Monarchist League ( This is not a group you normally want to mess around with. Besides representing its own members, it speaks for many Canadians who have strong feelings of support for The Queen. The League advised the Post Office earlier this year that many of its members had not been able to obtain definitive stamps with The Queen's picture at post offices across the country. The Post Office apparently relented and introduced a new policy that, as of July 1, 2001, all postal outlets were obliged to carry the definitive stamp bearing The Queen's portrait.

Apparently, this was a short victory. For when the Post Office subsequently announced the details of the new definitive set it planned to issue in 2002, it quickly became apparent that the Queen's image would not be included. This fact was highlighted in an article by Ian Robertson in the October 9th edition of the Canadian Stamp News.

As Mr. Robertson reported:
"But before you reach for your phone book to call the Monarchist League of Canada or your local member of Parliament…there's something special planned"

This statement was attributed to Mr. Tim McCurrin, a Canada Post spokesman. He was referring to the fact that for the first time in 151 years, the reigning monarch will not appear on a Canadian definitive. The subsequent issue of the Canadian Stamp News again quoted Mr. McCurrin to the effect that the first 2002 commemorative to be issued by Canada Post would be one honouring the 50th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's accession to the throne. Sufficient quantities will be printed to ensure that it remains on sale throughout the year.

Is this the final word or are there are more battles to be fought? We'll keep you posted!

This point was also noted by Larry McInnis, the well-known stamp columnist with the Montreal Gazette. In his column on 27 October, 2001, he noted that the new stamp for the Queen to be issued in early 2002 would be a commemorative rather than a definitive. He then explained the significance of this:

"A definitive stamp is usually one that is in continuous production, not one that is put out to commemorate a certain event and on sale for a limited time."

Further to the above, on 3 December, Canada Post made the following announcement:

Canada Post Celebrates the Queen's Golden Jubilee

OTTAWA, Dec. 3 /CNW/ - In 2002, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate the 50th anniversary of her accession to the throne, the fourth British monarch to have achieved this feat. One hundred and twenty-five years ago, Queen Victoria marked her Golden Jubilee, while the reigns of both Henry III and George III were also of 50 plus years. To mark this occasion, the Honorable André Ouellet, President and Chief Executive Officer of Canada Post, is pleased to announce that a stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Queen's accession, in 1952, will be issued on January 2, 2002. An initial printing of 15 million domestic-rate stamps will be available in panes of 16 stamps. Additional quantities will be printed as needed throughout the calendar year.

Public life started at an early age for Princess Elizabeth: she was just 14 when she made her first broadcast, in 1940. She carried out her first public engagement on her sixteenth birthday. Her official duties increased thereafter, and in 1944, she was appointed a Counsellor of State during the King's absence on a tour of the Italian battlefields. In 1947, she accompanied her parents and sister on a tour of South Africa: it was her first official overseas visit. She married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, now His Royal Highness the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on November 20, 1947, in Westminster Abbey and the Royal couple had four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward.

In 1952, Elizabeth and Philip planned to visit Australia and New Zealand, replacing her ailing father, King George VI. On February 6, in Kenya, the Princess received the news of her father's death and her own accession to the throne. Her Majesty's coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953. The ceremony which was attended by representatives of the peers, the Commons, the Commonwealth prime ministers and all the great public interests in Britain, and for the first time, was brought into the homes of many hundreds of thousands of the Queen's subjects, by a television transmission as well as a radio broadcast throughout the world. As Queen, Elizabeth has visited Canada on numerous occasions from 1957 to 1997. In 1997, she came to Newfoundland and Labrador for the ceremonies of the 500th anniversary of John Cabot's voyage, visited Manitoba to view the flood damage and attended Canada Day ceremonies in Ottawa.

Design of the stamp is by Gottschalk+Ash International, a multi-disciplinary design firm with offices in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Zurich. The stamp features the traditional symbol of Canada, the maple leaf, and an image of the Queen. Ashton-Potter will print the stamp on Tullis Russell Paper, using 8-colour lithography and metallic inks. Measuring 37.5 mm by 32 mm (horizontally), the stamp has general tagging on four sides and will be perforated at 13+. The cancellation on the Official First-Day Cover will be Ottawa, Ontario.

Stamps and Official First Day covers will be available at participating postal outlets, or by mail order from the National Philatelic Centre. From Canada and the USA call toll-free: 1-800-565-4362 and from other countries call: (902) 863-6550. Stamp information may also be found on Canada Post's Web site at:

The number of our visitors is increasing!

We watch with interest the statistics that indicate the number of people who visit our website. For most of this year, we have had approximately 1500 visitors per month who look at about 14,000 page views per month. This translates into roughly 50 visitors per day each looking at about 10 pages per visit.

However, we have noticed a clear increase in our numbers in the monthof October, when the total number of visitors has reached a record 1940, viewing a total of 15,100 pages (November figures reached a record 2,110 visitors and 18,250 pages viewed!). Our average daily count has increased to 60, and we have had a number of days of over 70 and even 80. We would like to express our appreciation to our old and new viewers and we hope you will continue to come back.
Thank you!

Who visits us?

Because of software limitations, we can only see how only a portion of the viewers who visit us got here. However, it would appear that the majority come to us through search engines such as Google, MSN, AOL, Mamma, Yahoo, Netscape and Overture.

Some viewers come from sites that list the top 50 or 100 stamp sites. Others come from web pages that have set up specific links to our web page. We are, of course, very grateful to these people who refer their viewers to us by setting up such links.

We get a number of hits from abroad, from countries such as the United Kingdom, Japan, Belgium, Finland and Italy. We find it fascinating that people in these far off countries choose to look at the information about Canadian stamps on our site.

Most of our viewers are located in North America. On a typical day, if we have 70 visitors, 35 will be from the eastern part of Canada and the US and 25 from the west. As well, 8 viewers will visit us from Europe and 2 from Asia.

When our viewers come to us through a search engine, they enter key words to find us. Here are some of the words that were used during a typical 24 hour period:

Canadian stamps
Canadian specialized stamp catalogues
Canadian stamp values
Canadian stamp auction houses
Auction results
News about the Scott catalog
Stamp booklets
Collecting stamps
The name of a particular auctioneer

We also get some hits that make us shake our heads in wonder. The most common is from people looking for information on rubber stamps! But recently, a viewer hit our site by putting in the words "Canadian Blue Book Prices". It seems that somewhere in one of our commentaries we referred to a stamp having the color blue. We are sure this viewer left us quickly shaking his head in wonder!

We get questions - and we love it!

We are so pleased when we get questions from our viewers. Many of them are relatively simple and this allows us to reply quickly with a brief explanation. Others are more complex and require us to do a bit of research in some of the excellent publications that exist on the history of Canadian stamps. If all else fails, we contact one of the people we know at one of the auction houses and they have been very generous in sharing their knowledge with us. Here are some of the questions we have received recently:

Where can I sell revenue stamps?
What is laid paper?
Are we interested in the postal history of Newfoundland?
I have Jubilees for sale
I have an old collection inherited from my grandmother
What is the value of the 74-cent Wapiti on Rolland Paper?
Do you have any information on Canadian postal notes?

If you have questions or comments, please do not hesitate to write and ask. The easiest is to use the "Please sign our guestbook" option of the front page, or one of the "mail to us" links scattered throughout the site.

E S J Van Dam - Specializing in Revenue Stamps

Recently, we received a request from one of our viewers for information on the value and the opportunities for disposing of some of his stamps. He had a small collection of revenue and bill stamps. This kind of request comes to us on a regular basis, but is usually in respect of regular postage stamps. In most cases, the stamps our viewers bring to our attention do not have great value, but in all cases, we refer them to an auctioneer or dealer in their area.

In the case of revenue stamps, we are only aware of one well-known dealer who specializes in this area and that is Mr. van Dam in Bridgenorth, Ontario. He may be reached at 1-705-292-7013 (1-866-382-6326 toll free in North America) and he has a web site at Earlier this year, Mr. Van Dam published a new edition of his well-known catalogue, the 2001 Canadian Revenue Stamp Catalogue.

Our viewers should be able to obtain a copy of his catalogue from their dealer or by email to Mr. van Dam directly.

This completes our commentary for this month. We hope our viewers will continue to enjoy this website and visit as frequently. For our part, we will continue to provide the type of information we feel will be useful to you.

As always, we welcome your comments. Please drop us a note at

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©2001, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada