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Stamp market commentary


Commentary No. 65 - 17 November, 2004

The 2005 Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps

There was mostly good news in the latest Unitrade catalogue when it made its appearance this October. The content and quality are still there. The latest price changes, though spotty, were mainly upwards. Thus the positive direction of prices in this catalogue parallels that of the Scott catalogue issued last May. Some of the increases are substantial.

In addition to the price changes, the editors have added an unusually large number of new varieties. These are found from the early classics through to the most modern stamps


The 2005 price changes

We begin our commentary with a review of the 2005 price changes.

1. Unlike the 2003 Unitrade catalogue, the 2005 Unitrade catalogue has a good number of price increases, but these were widely scattered

2. Leading off the increases were Scott No.1 & 2 which each jumped 25% – but only for VF mint copies.

3. With one or two exceptions, no other increases of note are found until the Admiral set. Here the much sought after 5¢ blue ( Scott 111) rose from $150 to $200, a 33 1/3% increase, and the set of Admiral imperforate pairs ( Scott 110a-122a) increased from $14,500 to $20,500, up 41%. There were also some increases amongst the Admiral coils and booklets.

4. In the Scroll set (Scott 149-159), the 3¢, 12¢ & 20¢ advanced as did some of the first day covers (FDCs). The $1 Parliament FDC rose from $1,500 to $2,000.

5. In the Arch set (Scott 162-191), the only increases were in the coil FDCs.

6. The next increases are found in the George VI Mufti set of imperforates (Scott 231c-236a) which advanced from $1,800 to $2,400. As well, all the coil FDCs of this set moved up.

7. From the above set until the Centennial set of 1967, there is only one significant increase, Scott 373i. This part-imperforate block rose from $3,750 to $5,000.

8. In the Centennial set (Scott 454-468), the price of four stamps of the HB DEX variety jumped sharply ( Scott 463ii 464ii 465Aii and 468Aii).

HB – Refers to the paper used in the stamp which is very bright, or “hibrite”. It can be identified with the help of an ultraviolet lamp.

DEX – this refers to the shiny gum of the original printings which was later replaced by PVA, an almost invisible matte gum

9. After the Centennial set, there are a number of significant increases, but they are scattered, and for the most part, they are only for some of the unusual varieties .


General observations on the increases

Once again, imperforates and stamps with perforation and paper varieties have received the most recognition amongst the increases. However we were surprised at the continuing rise in the prices of some of the FDCs of the stamps issued in the 1920s and 1930s. A number of modern definitive imperforates, ignored for some time, are moving up in value. We note this especially in the 1987 Wildlife set (Scott 1155-1194). We noticed price increases for the first time in a long time for some of the coils and coil FDCs.

We have wondered if the “uncut press sheets” issued in recent years would catch on with collectors. In this latest catalogue, there are a few substantial increases for these sheets. We’ll keep an eye on this in future

In general, however, the prices for most of Canada’s definitive and commemorative stamps have not changed very much in this new Unitrade catalogue. Thus, for the average collector, there is little to cheer about. Still, it is encouraging to see that the general price trend is clearly upwards for those stamps that are rare and of high quality.

Stamps that continue to rise in value

We noted 3 stamps that increased in value in both the 2003 and 2005 catalogues. These are ones to keep an eye on:

Scott 159- FDC


R. Maresch & Son
Oct 25, 1979 , lot 445
2002 $1000
2003 $1500
2004 $2000

.

Scott 1630b – “missing gold”


Eastern Auctions
Oct 23, 2004 , lot 752
2002 $2500
2003 $3000
2004 $4000

.

Scott C2 – Airmail


Eastern Auctions
Aug. 18, 2004, Lot 1046
2002 $ 85
2003 $100
2004 $120


New listings

We carefully scan each new catalogue for its new varieties and this year Unitrade had plenty, more than we can remember in reviewing their previous catalogues. Many of these varieties have been around for some time and, probably because a number of them have appeared in the past year fairly often at auction, they are now getting listed. But there were a few we have never heard of before.

In early Canada, we note in particular, the addition of stamps with “stitch watermarks” and stamps with re-entries. In modern Canada, the majority of the new listings were the imperforates pairs.

Conclusion

As usual, it was most interesting for us to review the latest Unitrade. The catalogue has maintained its standards and given collectors lots of new prices and varieties to think about. Congratulations to Unitrade and its hardworking contributors, their efforts are much appreciated.

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