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Stamp market commentary

Commentary No. 52 - 17 October, 2003

The Small Queen Colours

The Small Queen set was in use for almost 30 years. Many books and articles have been written about the varieties that occurred during this period. These include varieties of colour, size, paper and perforations. Then there were the Montreal and Ottawa printings and the re-entries as the plates became worn.

For many years, collectors have been fascinated by the many colour variations that have existed. Some try to understand them by acquiring other peoples' specialized collections. This is a very effective way to get a quick education if you can afford it. Others buy some of the excellent books and illustration cards that provide examples of the Small Queen colours. Still again, some approach the task by obtaining dated copies of the stamp for each year it existed over the 30 years which show how the colours changed over time.

We have recently come across a number of stamps, found in two separate auctions, that show a most curious thing about the colours of the 3¢ Small Queen. This is that they were sometimes identical to other denominations in the set and even with some of the Large Queens, Registration and Revenue stamps that were current at the time. In the rest of this commentary, we show some interesting material which illustrates this.

From the Robert A. Lee Auction - October 25, 2003:
We first noticed the coincidence of colours in lot 41 which is offered in the upcoming Robert A. Lee auction.

Although only 4 stamps from lot 41 are illustrated in the auction catalogue, there are other similar stamps in the lot as explained by Mr. Lee in his description:

"Interesting lot showing similarity of shades of Small Queens, Third Bill Issue & R.L.S.'s inc. 2x unused 2¢ orange R.L.S. & unused 3¢ orange sm.qn.; mint 2¢ vermillion R.L.S.; mint 2¢ rose carmine R.L.S. & mint 3¢ rose carmine sm.qn.: a mint & unused orange red R.L.S. & unused 3¢ orange red sm. qn.: used 8¢ blue & used 8¢ bright blue R.L.S. & & 10 ¢ blue 3rd Bill Issue. Mint H VG-VF centred. " ( R.L.S. means Registered Letter Stamp).

These stamps all come from the Horace W. Harrison collection of registered stamps. This amazing collection is being offered by Mr. Lee at his auction in Kelowna B.C. a week from now. There aren't many auctions that can offer a full set of the imperforate stamps from the registration set in one auction. This is the first in our experience.

From the R. Maresch & Son Auction - April 3 2001:
As we reviewed the material, we remembered that a similar offering of Small Queen colours had been offered a few years ago and after a certain amount of research we found it in the above 2001 Maresch sale. We remember that sale well because it featured an absolutely amazing group of used Small Queens each with huge jumbo borders. But the sale also included a number of remarkable lots, described by Mr. Maresch as follows:

"The following 12 lots of pairs and triplets in MATCHING SHADES of the 3¢ and 10¢ values (plus the 3¢ Large Queen in a few cases) have been painstakingly assembled from tens of thousands of copies for over 25 years, and are the best copies available in all cases. Impossible to duplicate."

Here are the images of some of those lots, illustrating the similarity of colour:

We hope that those of you who are interested in the Small Queen set, and there are many collectors in this category, will find the above comments and illustrations helpful.

If any of our viewers would like to share with us their knowledge of other commentaries on the Internet which illustrate the Small Queen colours, we would be happy to hear from you and pass on this information.

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©2003, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada