Canadian Stamp Auctions

Stamp market commentary

Report No. 4 - March 17, 2000

Most collectors of Canadian stamps, especially in their earlier years, like to buy plate blocks in quantities and put them aside. They believe that some day those stamps will go up in value. Therefore, the more you buy the more you will eventually gain. In some cases, they will be correct, but more often, there will be little appreciation and the stamps will eventually have to be sold at a discount, given way or used for postage.

Back in the 1970s when there was much speculation in new stamp issues, some collectors bought plate blocks and souvenir sheets by the thousands. They bought so many that to eventually dispose of them, they had to sell them on the market. A recent example of this took place at the R. Maresch & Son auction held on January 18, 2000.  Each of lots 2180-2183 consisted of 2500 1978 Capex souvenir sheets . The face value of each lot was $4,225. The price realized for each lot was approximately $3,000. After taking into account the auctioneer's 10 percent commission, this left $2,700 in net proceeds to the vendor. Multiply this by the 4 lots and one can see that over the 20 year period of ownership, an investment of $16,900 resulted in a loss of $6,100.

Those who have been in the stamp business a long time warn new collectors that it is unlikely they will profit from speculating in new stamp issues. The above experience certainly supports that advice.

The 2 Cent Map Stamp
One of the more interesting catalogues we received on regular basis comes from Saskatoon Stamp Centre in Saskatchewan []. It offers a considerable amount of detailed information about the selection of stamps being offered. A typical issue runs 55 pages, including illustrations. John Jamieson is the owner and is supported by a staff of five. We have learned much from reading his catalogues over the years.  Amongst his special interests are imperforate stamps, stamp varieties and philatelic literature.  Saskatoon Stamp Centre is a stamp dealer, not an auctioneer.

In the company's latest catalogue [No. 212 issued Feb., 2000] a full imperforate sheet of the 2 cent Map stamp of 1898 is offered at $12,500. This is a special price since the sheet contains a number of faults as described in the catalogue.  John Jamieson hopes that the full sheet will be sold to a new owner so that it may be preserved intact. If this doesn't happen by March 31, 2000, he plans to break it up into pairs and blocks and sell them separately.  We certainly hope he will be successful in keeping the sheet in one piece and will let you know the outcome.

24 April, 2000

We received an e-mail from John Jamieson today. 

He confirms that he has sold this sheet in one piece
to a buyer in the United States. 

Stamps with values missing
We recently received an e-mail from an individual who advised us that they had come across some modern Canadian stamps on which the denomination was missing. As you might imagine, this caused a fair amount of excitement. We received a copy of the stamp by fax and discovered that the stamps in question were Scott nos. 1547-1551, issued in 1995 to celebrate the 275th anniversary of the Fortress of Louisbourg. That set of stamps and the issue immediately preceding, Scott no. 1546 , were all issued without any denomination. The only other similar stamp we can recall without denomination was Scott no. 907, the "A" stamp issued in 1981. It had no denomination printed on it because the Post Office was trying to obtain approval to increase the postal rate from 17 cents to 30 cents.

A quick review of the Scott catalogue for the past 8 years does not reveal any other stamps in this period in which the denomination is missing. The specialized Canadian catalogues do however. As with so many modern Canadian stamp varieties, their origin is unclear and "steeped in mystery".  A review of the catalogues issued by some of the dealers and auctioneers reveals that a number of modern Canadian stamps are readily available to the public with denominations missing. All you need are deep pockets!  Here are some details of recent VF NH offerings:

Auctioneer Lot No.
Description Price
50¢ Street Scene None reported
15 January, 2000
$1 Fundy None reported
$2 Kluane $138 (US $)
17¢ Mandora $1495 (US $)
$1 Yorkton $345 (US $)

25¢ Silver Jubilee $600
18 Jan., 2000
$1 Fundy $400
$2 Kluane $260
50¢ Diving $775

Saskatoon Stamp
$1 Fundy $595
11 Feb., 2000
$2 Kluane $495
$1 Glacier $995
$1 Yorkton $1650

Eastern Auctions (Mail)      
19 Jan., 2000
$1 Fundy $390
We would welcome your comments on this and any other matter relating to Stamps in Canada. 
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