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Canadian Stamp Auctions

Stamp Market Commentary


Commentary No. 73 - 17 July, 2005

Canada's Small Queens
The Dream Collection - Part I

Almost any collection of Canadian stamps will include at least one Small Queen. There are literally millions of these stamps still in existence. Issued from 1870 until the Jubilees appeared in 1897, the Small Queen set has always been popular. Varieties abound. These include numerous colour variations, different papers, perforations, imprints, re-entries, bisects, gutter pairs and imperforates. One can imagine being a collector in the 1890s whose Canadian collection consisted of early Canada, plus the Large and Small Queens and that’s all. They must have known all aspects of these stamps very well.

But then, as now, our printers lacked the ability to produce well centered stamps. Young collectors put aside everything with little regard to the quality of the stamp. All collectors, both amateur and specialist, attached their stamps to the album pages with hinges.

The government policies at the time were evolving. The Small Queens were initially printed in Ottawa. Then, following a fire, production was transferred to Montreal. Eventually, at government insistence, production was moved back to Ottawa. These days, only a few experts can knowledgeably identify the different plates, paper and gums of the issue. Fortunately there are numerous publications available in Canada describing the set and some very helpful web sites including one of our favorites on the Small Queen set, that of the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada:
http://www.rpsc.org/Library/SmallQueen/Small_Queens.htm

To give our postal authorities credit, they did manage on occasion to produce some extraordinarily nice copies of each of the stamps. When one combines the beauty of the engraved image of Queen Victoria with the vivid colours that were used, together with well balanced borders and even perforations, some very special copies did result. We show a number of these in Part I of this special presentation of our dream collection of the Small Queens.

½ black (34)

Maresch - Lot 1915
March 2, 2004
$220
½ grey black (34i)

Maresch - Lot 1729
June 3, 2003
$280
1 yellow (35)

Firby - Lot 144
Jan. 12, 2002
$797
1 orange (Ottawa) (35ii)

Maresch - Lot 850
Oct. 12, 2004
$450
1 yellow - 11½x12 (35vii)

Montreal Stamp - Lot 99
Dec. 12, 2004
$340
1 orange (Montreal) (35a)

Firby - Lot 370
June 22, 2002
$722
1 lemon yellow (35iii)

Maresch - Lot 1166
Jan. 18, 2000
$1750
1 red orange (35iv)

Maresch - Lot 36
March 19, 1996
$270
2 green (36)

Maresch - Lot 1235
June 30, 1999
$475
2 greenish blue (36i)

Bow City - Lot 1352
April 16, 2005
$230
2 blue green (36d)

Brigham - Lot 469
March 21, 2001
$230
3 dull red (37)

Maresch - Lot 1449
Oct. 8, 1996
$475
3 rose (37a)

Kimmerly - Lot 1527
April 19, 1993
$1250
3 copper red (37b)

Maresch - Lot 104
May 14, 1996
$750
3 orange red (37c)

Eastern - Lot 515
March 16, 2002
$450
3 India red 12½x12 (37d)

Maresch - Lot 107
March 19, 1996
$5750
3 dark rose (37i)

Maresch - Lot 1457
Oct. 8, 1996
$775
3 rose, double printed (37iv)

Vance - Lot 3922
Sept. 25, 2002
$4020
5 slate green(38)

Firby - Lot 235
Jan. 24, 2004
$3602
5 11½x12 (38a)

Maresch - Lot 1278
Jan. 18, 2000
$4500
5 deep olive green (38i)

Brigham - Lot 442
Sept. 10, 2003
$442
6 yellow brown (39)

Maresch - Lot 1280
Jan. 18, 2000
$1850
6 11½x12 (39b)

Maresch - Lot 1779
Sept. 28, 1999
$3250
6 brown (39d)

Montreal Stamps - Lot 101
Dec. 12, 2004
$1700

Some of the prices realized at auction are truly amazing. To fully understand their significance, we provide below a schedule comparing the prices paid for the above stamps v.s. their catalogue values.

Unitrade  
Catalogue
value
Price
realized
34
black
NH
50
220
34i
grey black
NH
50
280
35
1 yellow
NH
180
797
35ii
1 orange
NH
375
450
35vii
1 yellow
NH
900
340
35a
1 orange
NH
450
722
35iii
1 lemon
LH
900
1750
35iv
1 red orange
LH
200
270
36
2 green
NH
225
475
36i
2 greenish blue
NH
225
230
36d
2 blue green
NH
375
230
37
3 dull red
NH
450
475
37a
3 rose
NH
2250
1250
37b
3 copper red
NH
4500
750
37c
3 orange red
NH
375
450
37d
3 Indian red
NH
6250
5750
37i
3 dark rose
H
100
775
37iv
3 double print
USED
4000
4020
38
5 slate green
NH
2100
3602
38a
5 11 x 12
NH
2700
4500
38i
5 dp. ol. green
NH
2100
925
39
6 yellow brown
NH
1800
1850
39b
6 11 x 12
NH
3000
3250
39d
6 brown
NH
1800
1700

The above catalogue values are taken from the 2005 Unitrade catalogue. These values are generally higher than the Scott values and are then stepped up to reflect the premium for unhinged stamps which often range from 150% – 200%. If we only used the Scott values, there would be little relevance between them and the prices realized for stamps of this quality and rarity. As well, viewers should note that we are using the 2005 catalogue values which isn’t totally fair for comparison purposes since some of the prices referred to above were realized many years ago. All this proves, as Bill Maresch says, is that for some of the rare early Canadian stamps that have exceptional quality such as the above, catalogue values are irrelevant!


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©2005, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada