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Stamp market commentary

Commentary No. 42 - 31 December, 2002

The New 2003 Unitrade Catalogue

The changes in the new 2003 Unitrade catalogue were rather subdued compared to those in last year's edition of the catalogue. Nonetheless, the quality of the catalogue remains. We comment below on the aspects we found noteworthy.

Price increases

Although there were some price increases, they were very limited. We noted only two increases between Scott 1 and 122. Almost all the increases that were recorded were for the varieties and not the regularly issued stamps. Three types of price increases stood out:

  • Certain early first-day covers ( Scott 158,159,184 and 190 )
  • Blocks of 4 with one margin imperforate ( Scott 341v, 343i, 715vi and B10 )
  • Stamps printed on gum ( Scott 907i )

We note these increases because of the unusually high valuations being attributed to these types of stamps, backed by strong realizations at auction over the past two years. To see our list of the more significant price increases, click on the "price increases" button below.

New varieties

Once again, many new varieties have been added in this latest edition. These include a number of engraving varieties, such as re-entries, cracked plates and plate flaws and as usual, the most recently discovered modern imperforates. More difficult to identify, however, are the latest paper and fluorescent varieties. It takes a special knowledge to be able to distinguish these from the regular items. However, as will be noted below, Unitrade has provided some helpful tools to assist collectors in identifying these varieties.

A full list of the new varieties is provided and may be viewed by clicking on the "New Listings" button below.

Other Things We Noted

There is so much helpful information in this catalogue; it's hard to pick out the most significant. So we thought we'd simply comment on a few areas:

Grading - on page 15, the editors provide examples of stamps in VF, F and VG condition. We think these examples are about the best we have seen.

Tete-beche imperforates - the imperforates of the Scroll issue of 1928 are complex and difficult to understand. Unitrade has illustrated them beautifully on page 64.

Paper manufacturers - the regular definitives of the 1980s and 1990s contain numerous varieties of paper and perforations. While the paper differences are quite subtle, understanding them can lead to valuable discoveries. A brief summary is provided on page 231of the catalogue.

Other gems -

  • detailed editorial notes throughout on each set
  • how many stamps were issued for each Stamp and also for many of the varieties
  • images of many varieties and booklets
  • in early Canada, warnings, where appropriate, against certain fakes and re-gummed stamps
  • prices for plate blocks, proofs, covers, first day covers, pre-cancelled stamps and complete booklets.

The substantial amount of knowledge in the Unitrade catalogue is not something that can be assembled overnight; it takes years to compile. Collectors are fortunate to have this wealth of specialized information available.

For more details, place click on the buttons below:

Price Increases
New Listings

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