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Canadian Stamp Auctions

Stamp Market Commentary

Commentary No. 77 - 17 November, 2005

A Tribute to Jim Hennok

Last May, the stamp community was saddened by the news that Jim Hennok had passed away. On October 1, 2005 his firm’s final auction took place. Jim is gone, but his memory continues. His outstanding personal collections are being sold in a series of auctions through his firm and that of Matthew Bennett International and Eastern Auctions Ltd.

As a tribute to Jim, we show below details of some of the top realizations from his firm’s October 1, 2005 sale in Toronto. You have to be a “2-Ring cancellation” specialist to fully appreciate the rarity of the stamps presented. But for those of you who, like us, are not experts in this area, simply have a look at the spread between the auctioneer’s estimates and the actual prices realized. The spread is very noticeable, which gives you a good idea of how special Jim’s collection was and how far the bidders were willing to go to get their hands on his outstanding material.

Lot 207
Estimate $500
Realized $1100

Lot 234
Estimate $200
Realized $650

Lot 301
Estimate $250
Realized $650

Lot 270
Estimate $750
Realized $6250

Lot 343
Estimate $200
Realized $650

Lot 351
Estimate $150
Realized $700

Lot 365
Estimate $175
Realized $550

Lot 337
Estimate $200
Realized $550

Lot 659
Estimate $125
Realized $500

Lot 776
Estimate $100
Realized $400

Lot 796
Estimate $150
Realized $350

Lot 636
Estimate $125
Realized $650

What can we say about these results? The first thing is that, in our experience, they are truly impressive. Not only do the prices exceed the estimates, but they’re at a level that any auction house would strive for in a sale of very fine early Canadian stamps.

We were a bit surprised that the estimates in the auction catalogue were all so similar. Each one seemed to be for $75 or $100 or $150. We can only guess that this is not a well defined market. Maybe there are only a few players in it. But whoever they are, they are pretty serious! To pay $650 for a used stamp with a number on it is not for the ordinary collector.

Perhaps these results encouraged collectors to take the auction of Jim’s stamps at the October 28, 2005 Eastern Auction sale more seriously, judging from some of the prices realized at that sale.

Thanks to Bruce Anderson and Cam Grosjean

We would like to acknowledge the role played by Jim’s two associates, Bruce Anderson and Cam Grosjean, for their support to Jim over the years and in conducting this sale. We have always enjoyed our discussions with them and found them to be very helpful. We wish them well for the future and hope that they remain active in the stamp community.

We called them after the sale to discuss the prices realized and they explained that many of the prices related to the quality of the stamp itself and its rareness, especially on cover, and not always the cancellation.

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