Canadian Stamp Auctions

Stamp market commentary


Report No. 3 - February 17, 2000

We have just finished a brisk period of auction activity in Canada. It has
been exciting to watch the prices realized following each sale. As usual,
the premium material has attracted high prices. In the earlier stamp issues,
there appears to be no limit on the prices for the well centered no hinged
copies.

Registration stamps in No Hinged Condition
Among the more difficult stamps to obtain in well- centered condition are
Canada's registration stamps, issued during the years 1875 - 1888. These
carrying Scott numbers F1 (2 cent orange), F2 (5 cent green) and F3 (8 cent
blue). If one can also find these in no hinge condition one has found
something quite rare. This is why we find the selection of registration
stamps that came on the market in recent months quite unusual. The quality
was amazing .

Take the 2 cent orange, for instance. It has a catalog value of $85. A no
hinged copy, centered a bit low, sold at the Maresch sale on January 18 for
$130, which was 53% above catalog. A well centered no hinged copy sold at
the Eastern Auction sale on January 29 for $290, over 3 times catalog . A
similar copy sold at the Firby sale on January 15 for $360 ($250 US ) or
over 4 times catalog . Somebody liked these stamps!

The 2 cent rose carmine variety , Scott F1b, which has a Scott value of $210
dollars, sold for that amount at the January 18th Maresch sale. It was
lightly hinged . But, last September, at the Brigham auction , a beautiful
single corner copy sold for $550. These are interesting prices .

The 5 cent green has a catalog value of $125. Two copies in no hinged
condition were sold at the Brigham sale of September 27. One copy, described
as "a lovely example" sold for $325. Another copy, described as "superb",
sold for $660. That was the good news for the 5 cent green. The bad news was
reserved for the 5 cent imperforate variety , Scott F2c . A number of years
ago. Scott Catalog decided to increase its value for this variety for
reasons which were never apparent to stamp collectors. It then gradually
reduced the value so that it now stands at $650 for an imperforate pair. At
the Maresch sale on January 18th ,a pair described as "extremely fine" with
a hinge mark, sold for $400. Unfortunately, it would seem that there is no
great demand for this variety.

The 8 cent blue has a catalog value of $325. It is sold regularly at auction
but mostly in used condition. In those circumstances when it appears in mint
condition, it is usually hinged and is invariably off center. Accordingly, a
vendor is lucky to even receive the catalog value. However, at the January
15, 2000 sale of Charles Firby, a superb no hinged copy with a certificate
sold for $1730 ($1200 US). This is a remarkable price and gives testimony to
how difficult it is to obtain a superb copy of this particular stamp.

Ian Kimmerly - Supplies Opening Bids
This Ottawa based dealer and stamp auctioneer has come up with an
interesting innovation which we have only just noticed. Prior to his sale on
November 10 1999, he recorded the opening bids for the auction on his
Web Site. This allowed those participating in the auction to determine what
the competition was for a particular stamp in the days and weeks leading up
to the date of the auction. If there were no bids for a particular stamp,
Ian did not hide this fact but showed it quite clearly. If there were bids
for a particular stamp, he showed the second highest bid plus one increment.
He provided other information to bidders to help them understand how to use
this very helpful new tool. One could say that he is making the auction
process more transparent. We feel that this is a step in the right
direction. Undoubtedly, it took a fair amount of courage on Ian's part to
show all this information publicly and he is to be commended.

The Canadian Philatelist - Publishes a 70 Year Old Speech
We note a number of interesting articles in the December issue of The
Canadian Philatelist, published by the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada.
The magazine reprinted the text of a speech given by Charles J. Phillips in
the 1930s. Mr. Phillips was the Chairman of Stanley Gibbons of London for 32
years. It is a great article and we thought you might be interested in the
following comments concerning one of Canada's most sought after stamps,
the 12 penny black which presently has a catalog value of $80,000.

"Some of you will remember when the Marquis of Lorne was Governor General of
Canada. I can tell you a true story about him. Many years ago, after his
term had expired in Canada, a gentleman came into my shop in the Strand,
London, and offered a 12d black Canada for sale, unused, full gum and as
fresh as when printed. As the stamp was valuable, I went personally to
contact the business and after we had agreed upon the price I asked the name
of the vendor, he replied, "I am the Marquis of Lorne". During the next few
years, this was repeated several times. He never sold us more than one at a
time, but I had four or five copies of your most valuable stamps from him in
all."

 
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