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Stamp Market Commentary

Commentary No. 76 - 17 October, 2005

The 2006 Unitrade Catalogue

We offer our congratulations to the new editor of the Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps. Robin Harris and his associates have introduced many improvements in the latest edition just released. They have made an already excellent catalogue an even better one.

The names of the associates who helped put this year's edition together reads like the Who's Who of Canadian dealers and auctioneers. We thank them for their efforts and also those who provided the new colour illustrations. We the readers are the lucky beneficiaries of their hard work.

Changes in this year's catalogue

Let's go to the heart of the changes. There is an expanded introduction with much helpful information for all collectors, both old and new. There are an amazing number of new varieties added with excellent colour illustrations. All of the booklet covers are now illustrated and their prices have jumped considerably (see BK3, BK8, BK20 & BK29). Newly catalogued are a number of pairs of stamps with "gutter between" (see 1956i, 1993i and 2008i) and coil starter and ending in strips (see 2008ii and 2008iii). For postal history buffs and others, the editors have added details of postal rates throughout the years. Prices have been added for a number of very rare stamps which previously went unpriced. Suggested stamp literature is illustrated beside many of the sets. There are many more small but helpful changes.

Many new varieties

If we thought there were a lot of new varieties in last year's catalogue, we were at least able to record all of them. Not so this year. The number of new varieties in this year's catalogue are far too numerous to itemize. We started listing them but had to give up. Between the years 1972 and 2003 we counted 264 new varieties alone. This didn't even include a major new category of varieties that has been introduced called "untagged stamps". There were too many of these to count and the prices for most of them were in the $100 plus range which surprised us. Most of them we have never heard of. For more details, please click here for a selective list of this year's new varieties that caught our attention.

Price changes

The positive pricing trend in last year's catalogue not only continued in this year's edition, but has accelerated. We provide some highlights in the paragraphs which follow.


There were few price changes in the classics section. By way of exception, however, there were noticeable increases in some postal history as well as with several stamps with stitch watermarks (see 7vi & 12v) and major re-entry's (see 11ii & 16ii). There were very few new varieties amongst the classics. What stood out, however, was an increase in the catalogue value of Scott 13:

2005 Catalogue $15,000
2006 Catalogue $20,000

Large Queens

There were numerous increases in the mint stamps but not amongst the used. There were no new varieties. The biggest increase was in Scott 31, the 1¢ mint Large Queen on laid paper:

2005 Catalogue $16,500
2006 Catalogue $25,000

While this is an impressive price, it comes nowhere near the $250,000 catalogue value for the 2¢ Large Queen on laid paper, Canada’s rarest and most valuable stamp.

Small Queens

There were numerous increases amongst the mint Small Queens but few changes in the used. There were a number of new varieties. There were price increases for two stamps in this set that really stood out:

2005 Catalogue $10,000
2006 Catalogue $12,000

2005 Catalogue $175
2006 Catalogue $250


There were increases in the ½ ¢, 5¢ and 8¢ and $1 stamps. The best increase was in the 8¢ stamp:

2005 Catalogue $75
2006 Catalogue $100

Maple Leafs

This set probably saw the biggest increase of any. The total value rose 26 % from $ 920 to $1157. Here are some of the best performers:

2005 Catalogue $50
2006 Catalogue $60

2005 Catalogue $100
2006 Catalogue $125


In similar fashion, the stamps in this set rose sharply. The set was up 24% from $2,056 to $2,548. Most notable were the followingtwo varieties:

2005 Catalogue $1,000
2006 Catalogue $1,500

2005 Catalogue $15,000
2006 Catalogue $20,000


Edward VII

All stamps in the set were up except for the 20¢ and 50¢. The most notable increase was Scott 93:

2005 Catalogue $400
2006 Catalogue $550

The imperforates from this set were also up strongly, rising 19% from $4100 to $4900.

Quebec Tercentenary

Most prices were up 10% as the total value of the set rose from $1032 to $1137. Most noticeable were the increases amongst the imperforates which increased in total from $5,000 to $6,400.

Scroll set

This set increased from $942 to $1101 for a total of 17 %. It has been some time since we’ve seen a noticeable change in the catalogue values of this set. This year’s increase reflects the fact that this set has been enjoying great popularity lately and good prices at auction.

Modern stamps

Price increases are hard to find after the Scroll set except, as usual, among some of the rare varieties. Here are some of the bright spots:

2005 Catalogue $4,000
2006 Catalogue $5,000

2005 Catalogue $3,500
2006 Catalogue $8,000

2005 Catalogue $3,500
2006 Catalogue $6,700

2005 Catalogue $1,000
2006 Catalogue $1,400

2005 Catalogue $300
2006 Catalogue $450

2005 Catalogue $400
2006 Catalogue $600

While it is exciting to see these increases, we noted that in general, few of the many modern varieties that exist moved up in value this year. This lack of any trend was quite noticeable. It is possible that this is a true reflection of the market, but another possibility is that more attention was being paid this year to getting a proper and complete list of all the varieties than was being paid to prices.

Back of the book

Increases were few amongst the back of the book stamps. However we found some winners amongst the War Tax Stamps, the Registered Stamps and, interestingly, amongst the special variety of the Official stamps with the missing period. Here are a few that did exceptionally well:

2005 Catalogue $350
2006 Catalogue $450

2005 Catalogue $40
2006 Catalogue $60

2005 Catalogue $20
2006 Catalogue $40

2005 Catalogue $400
2006 Catalogue $800


General comments

This was a good year for price increases in a number of collecting areas. If you collected mint stamps in the period that has been so hot in recent years, Scott 21 to Scott 161, you would be very happy. This would also be so if you collected coils or booklets, especially the early complete booklets.

If you enjoyed collecting modern stamps, anything after Scott 161, your happiness would be somewhat muted. If you had spent big money on modern varieties, say those issued after 1950, you would have to be very patient this year.

But regardless of what these catalogues say, the old trends don’t change and prices for the 1868- 1928 continue to rise as do the prices for imperforates, postal history and early varieties.

Were there any surprises in this catalogue? Of course and there were, mostly nice surprises relating to the expanded coverage of the many interesting Canadian stamp varieties. But one which really made us catch our breath was this item from the air post semi-officials:

2005 Catalogue $30,000
2006 Catalogue $50,000

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