Commentary No. 59 - 17 May, 2004
Those Beautiful Commemorative Imperforates of 1933-1934
Over the years Canada has issued many beautiful stamps. Amongst the loveliest, to us, are the commemoratives that were issued in the mid-1930s which include the following:
Many of these stamps have a larger format than usual and their steel engravings are very attractive. Here is a list, showing the quantities of the regular stamps that were issued and the changes in their catalogue values over the past 30 years:
Regular Stamps Quantity Issued 1974 Prices 2004 Prices Scott 202 5.1 million $2.50 $5.75 Scott 203 1.5 million $10.00 $25.00 Scott 204 4.8 million $2.50 $5.75 Scott 208 12.3 million $1.25 $2.75 Scott 209 3.0 million $6.00 $19.00 Scott 210 5.0 million $0.75 $1.75
But while the catalogue values of these commemorative stamps have increased during the past 30 years, there has been little demand for them. The same cannot be said however for their imperforate counterparts. The demand for these has increased in recent years, driving the prices up, particularly in the past year. This could be a reflection of their beauty which draws collectors to them, or their condition which is generally excellent, or it could be a reflection of the relatively small numbers which were printed. Here is a 30 year perspective on the catalogue values for very fine (VF) copies that are lightly hinged (LH):
Scott 202a 75 pairs $175 $425 Scott 203a 75 pairs $175 $425 Scott 204a 75 pairs $175 $425 Scott 208a 125 pairs $175 $425 Scott 209a 50 pairs $250 $1,100 Scott 210a 75 pairs $175 $500
Over the years, the prices of these imperforate varieties have steadily increased, except for the period 1984 – 1991 when most Canadian stamp prices were depressed. The past three years have seen no catalogue increases. We believe this is about to change. Here is a comparison of the catalogue prices for no-hinged copies since 1995, the first year Scotts began to provide prices for VF copies of these stamps in no-hinged condition:
Scott 202a 375 650 650 650 725 Scott 203a 375 650 650 650 725 Scott 204a 375 650 650 650 725 Scott 208a 375 650 650 650 725 Scott 209a 700 1650 1650 1650 1800 Scott 210a 375 750 750 750 775
We will fill in the 2005 catalogue prices when they become available, expected sometime later this month..
Why is the United Empire Loyalist stamp (Scott 209a) so much more valuable than the others? Perhaps it is because of a story that’s been around for awhile that many years ago, 20 pairs were lost at sea. We have not been able to track this down.
Some Interesting Statistics
Here is further data about these 1930 imperforate stamps :
1995-2004 Varieties that have
sold in this period
No. of pairs sold Lowest
$ $ Year Scott 202a 8 413 1150 (2003) None Scott 203a 11 400 660 (1995) Broken “x” variety Scott 204a 10 425 820 (2000) None Scott 208a 9 400 890 (2003) None Scott 209a 11 950 2000 (2003) None Scott 210a 12 357 950 (2003) Broken frame line variety
If one were to look at many of the auction catalogues from the 1970s and 1980s, one would see copies of these imperforates being regularly offered back then. We expect that with the rise in demand we are presently witnessing, we may see them offered for sale less frequently. On the other hand, the higher prices may bring more of these imperforates to auction. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.
©2004, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada