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Canadian Stamp Auctions

Stamp Market Commentary

Commentary No. 79 - 17 January, 2006

The Market for Canada’s Stamp Booklets

For some reason, Canada’s stamp booklet prices have not advanced in a noticeable way over the years. This is the general case for which, as usual, there are some exceptions, particularly amongst the varieties. For example, take this booklet pane that sold at Charles G. Firby’s sale of the James W. Goss collection on June 29, 2003:



Lot 18
Estimate $2500 U.S.
Realized $3000 U.S. ($4050 Cdn)

This booklet would ordinarily have a catalogue value of $180, but with the No. 6 inscribed in the tab, the price realized jumped to $4050. This was clearly an exceptional variety.

Canadian booklet prices

We have carried out a general review of the prices recorded for Canadian booklets in both the Scott and Unitrade catalogues and can summarize our conclusions as follows:

With rare exception, the prices shown in recent years in the Scott catalogue for booklet panes issued between 1898 and 2005 show little or no change.

   

Around 1995, Scott expanded its coverage of booklets and began to show prices for complete booklets as well. However even these prices have shown little or no change since their introduction.

   
The Unitrade catalogue, on the other hand, has a completely separate section for complete booklets, ie, those still in their cover. It has tracked the values of these booklets from the start ie from 1898 to today. What we have found is that those prices remained unchanged in Unitrade’s catalogues for most recent years up to and including the 2005 edition. But when the 2006 catalogue was issued, the prices for many if not most of the complete booklets issued before 1953 saw substantial gains.

Examples of Scott Prices for Booklet Panes

Here are the figures showing the changes in the prices of booklets in the past 5 years:

Scott
Description
2002
2006
   
$
$
77 b
2 Victoria
2000
2350
90 b
2 Edward
1500
1500
104 a
1 Admiral
35
35
105 a
1 Admiral
90
90
107 b
2 Admiral
100
105
149 a
1 Scroll
30
30
153 a
5 Scroll
160
160
163 a
1 Arch
130
130
164 a
2 Arch
35
35
195 a
1 Cameo
105
105
196 a
2 Cameo
105
95
217 a
2 1935 issue
75
70
232 a
2 Mufti
15
16
249 a
1 War
4
4
341 a
5 Wilding
1
1
458 a
5 Centennial
4
4
459 a
6 Centennial
6
6
543 a
7 Centennial
2
2
923 a
30 Artifacts
10
10
926 d
34 Artifacts
12
12
1163 b
37 Definitive
18
18
1189 c
39 Definitive
50
50
1315 b
40 Gardens
6
6
1359 b
43 Flag
20
20
1515 b
43 Rivers
7
7
1696 a
95 Maple leaf
6
7
1705 a
46 Flag
18
21
1715 a
45 Fishing
7
10
1765 a
52 Christmas
9
12
1879 a
60 Red fox
5
8

We could only find two exceptions in all this period of time where the values increased in a noticeable way. The difference was sufficient to merit special mention and these were as follows:



Scott 1356b
2002 Scott $35
2006 Scott $70


Scott 1373c
2002 Scott $10
2006 Scott $14

Until the end of the 1980s, Canada Post issued booklets sparingly. They were found almost exclusively amongst the definitive sets. However, beginning in the 1990s, booklets began to be issued containing not only definitive but also commemorative stamps. Here is an example of a commemorative booklet:



Scott 1273b

Unitrade Catalogue prices

The Unitrade catalogue provides far greater detail than Scott in its coverage of the booklet prices. The experience here is that, like Scott, the prices of the regular booklets have not advanced. However Unitrade covers two aspects of these booklets that are not found in Scott. First, it provides prices for complete booklets from 1898 to date whereas, as mentioned above, Scott only starts this process around 1995. Furthermore, for the earlier years, Unitrade provides prices for many booklet varieties not found in Scott. As will be shown below, the prices for the pre-1953 complete booklets have shown good advances in Unitrade this year as have the prices for a few of the booklet varieties.

Examples of Unitrade Prices for complete booklets

Unitrade
Description
2002
2005
2006
   
$
$
$
BK 2
2 Edward VII
3000
3000
4750
BK3c
1 Admiral
45
45
250
BK 4a
1 Admiral
200
200
700
BK 5a
2 Admiral
250
250
750
BK 11
1 Scroll
150
150
200
BK 14
1 Arch
175
175
250
BK 20
1 Medallion
150
150
325
BK 21a
2 Medallion
100
100
500
BK 27
1 1935 issue
200
200
300
BK 28a
1 Mufti issue
20
20
55
BK 29a
2 Mufti issue
20
20
60
BK 32a
1 War issue
12
12
35
BK 34a
3 War issue
5
5
14
BK 39a
3 War issue
20
20
44
BK 40a
3 Geo. VI
7
7
11
BK 41a
4 Geo. VI
14
14
30


Examples of Unitrade Prices for booklet varieties

Unitrade
Description
2002
2006
   
$
$
104 ai
1 Admiral-hairlines
35
100
107 bi
2 Admiral-pyramid guidelines
3500
4200
163 cii
1 Arch-tab 4
75
140
164 aii
2 Arch-tab PLATE
75
200
164 aiii
2 Arch-perforations on right
150
400
165 bi
2 Arch-tab PLATE
75
120
166 cii
2 Arch-tab 4
75
150
195 bi
1 Cameo-tab PLATE
75
125
196 bi
2 Cameo-tab PLATE
75
200
254 ai
2 War-larger tab
3
10
287 bi
4 George-stitched
75
90
460 aiii
6 Centennial- HB DEX
2000
3500


Conclusion

What does all this mean for the average collector? Unfortunately it means that all the money spent to buy booklets in the past 50 years will not bring much reward. This is similar to the conclusion we reached when we did a review of the prices for Canada’s First Day Covers in our Commentary No. 46. However, for those collectors who have carefully acquired complete booklets issued before 1953 or have invested in some of the more valuable varieties of the earlier booklets such as those listed above, the returns may have been very good.

It took a long time for the increases in the earlier complete booklets to be recognized in the catalogues. One obviously has to be very patient. It took over 50 years in some cases for the rarity of some of the booklets to attract collectors’ attention at auction. It may take decades before some of the booklets that are around today will become recognized as rare in future. It is this hope that keeps us all going but we sure have to be patient!

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©2006, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada