Canada Flag

Canadian Stamp Auctions

Stamp market commentary


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:


Scott 202a

Scott 203a

Scott 204a


Scott 208a

Scott 209a

Scott 210a

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):

Imperforate
stamps

Quantity
Issued
1974 Prices
VFLH
2004 Prices
VFLH
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:

1995
cat.$
2002
cat.$
2003
cat.$
2004
cat.$
2005
cat. $
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
price paid
Highest
price paid
   
$
$
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.


Canada Map Logo
Return to First Page

©2004, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada