Canadian Stamp Auctions

Stamp market commentary

Commentary No. 35 - 17 July, 2002

What's New On Our Website - Part I

It's interesting for us to sit back and think about what has been accomplished during the past year on our website and we'd like to share it with you. Before starting, we present a few of the more beautiful stamps that were bid on in this period and what they realized. Premium material doesn't come much better than this:

25 May 2001

Lot 434
Scott 9
Cat. $6500
Real. $8000
11 Dec 2001

Lot 224
Scott 26
Cat. $1000
Real. $3500
Bow City
8 Dec 2001

Lot 1497
Scott 30i
Cat. $150
Real. $632

Where our viewers reside
When we started this site about three years ago, we expected our viewers to be located almost exclusively in North America. We've since had our eyes opened by the power of the Internet and its worldwide scope. On July 8, we made a survey of where our viewers resided and found that your hits are coming from more than 50% of the time zones. Here they are, showing the percentage of viewers in each area.

      • 2% 
      • Alaska 
      • 18% 
      • Western North America 
      • 8% 
      • Midwest North America 
      • 5% 
      • Central North America 
      • 38% 
      • Eastern North America 
      • 7% 
      • Canadian Maritimes 
      • 4% 
      • Iceland/ Greenland 
      • 4% 
      • Western Europe 
      • 3% 
      • Central Europe/ Africa 
      • 1% 
      • Eastern Europe 
      • 2% 
      • Middle East 
      • 3% 
      • India 
      • 1% 
      • Central Asia 
      • 3% 
      • China 
      • 1% 
      • Australia /Japan 
In total, this represents 14 out of the 24 times zones

New record prices
We weren't sure, until we looked at the figures, whether there were more new record prices in the first half of 2002, compared with the two earlier years. So we did a study and came up with the following results:

Number of new record prices 
First 6 months 

These figures show that 2002 has been a good year for new record prices. This was what we suspected, but it was nice to have it confirmed. This supports our understanding that the stamp market for premium Canadian material continues to move upwards and this despite the decline in the prices in the recently published 2003 Scott's Catalogue.

But where exactly are these new records being set. Is it in the new or the old material?
We had a further look at the figures and came up with the following analysis:

Early Cents 
Large Queens 
Small Queens 
Maple Leafs 
Edward VII 
Modern Varieties 
Back of Book 

While most of the records were made in the classical period, principally in the Small Queens and Admirals, there were a noticeable number of records made in the modern varieties as well, to a large degree amongst the modern imperforate stamps.

New Varieties
On the other hand, the number of newly discovered varieties this year has declined substantially, compared with the two earlier years.

Number of New Canadian Varieties 
First 6 months

We recently did a study of the new varieties listed in the 2002 Unitrade catalogue. We compared the number of varieties that have been identified in the past 5 years (1997-2002), compared to the previous 5 years (1991-1996) and were surprised at the rate of decline. There just weren't as many new varieties in the more recent period. Is it possible that our postal authorities are getting serious about quality control. If so, it would be a good sign.

Saskatoon Stamp Centre

Feb 6 2002
40¢ Flag, double print

New Catalogues
Where would we be without our catalogues! Each year our hopes build as we wait for the new editions to arrive. Each has its own surprise.

Last November saw the publication of two new catalogues, the 2002 van Dam Revenue Catalogue and the completely revised 2002 Unitrade. Both these showed an interesting number of price increases and many new varieties. Then in May, the new 2003 Scott arrived through the Internet. To our surprise it showed many small pricing declines. To see our reports on the changes in each of these catalogues, please click on the links below:

List of auction houses has expanded
Our coverage of Canadian auctions includes sales by a number of the better known auction houses. All are located in Canada except Charles Firby's, which is located in Michigan. We have included this American auctioneer because of his excellent presentation of rare and choice Canadian material in each of his sales.

We have expanded our list by adding two auction houses, those of Erling van Dam and Ron Leith. Van Dam is a name that most people think of when the topic of Canada's revenue stamps comes up. He conducts both retail and auction sales in this specialized area of collecting. When we reviewed his latest catalogue last February (See our Commentary No. 30), we were impressed at how closely the price increases in his revenue stamp catalogue matched the increases in the general postage stamp area.

We came across Ron Leith as a result of seeing his advertisement in the Canadian Stamp News. We sent away for one of his catalogues and, after seeing the material and prices realized, felt that his firm would fit in well with our viewers' requirements. Click here to see our review of his latest auction, the one that took place on February 9, 2002.

Who has links to us?
We learn as we work on the Internet. It would be difficult to live without the help of the many search sites. A recent discovery for us was the fact that one can go to each of these sites and find out how many links they have recorded to one's own website. The results were fascinating for us when we tried it. As an example, we went to Google, one of our favorites, put in the name of our website and discovered it had 1190 links to us. These included a number of Canadian and foreign stamp auction houses, the Canadian Stamp News where we do our advertising and many of the international search engines. Some of the links surprised us. We found links from the National Library of Canada and Encyclopaedia Britanica. We found it interesting to click on some of the other links and see who is visiting us. Don't worry, this doesn't reveal the name of the viewer, just the commercial server that is being used.

We initiated very few of these links. Most search engines browse the web and automatically pick us up because of a word or a phrase used on one of our pages. They then keep track of how many of their viewers look at our website using a particular word or phrase and that determines where we will end up on their list, ie, in first place or last. It's quite a game!

To be continued
We will continue this report in August and hope you have found it interesting.

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©2002, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada