Canadian Stamp Auctions
Stamp Market Commentary
Commentary No. 90 - 17 December, 2006
The 2007 Unitrade Catalogue
A columnist for the Canadian Stamp News, Mr. Michael Nowlan, wrote about the new Unitrade Specialized Catalogue and its editor, Mr. Robin Harris in the December 12, 2006 edition of the paper. He made the following comments:
“In 2004, the Unitrade Press made a huge decision to hire Robin Harris to edit the Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps … it was the most significant step that has resulted in the production of a strong Canadian catalogue.
The dividends from Harris’ expertise and attention to detail are obvious. This is a catalogue of which Canadians can be extremely proud. Unitrade is moving in the right direction and Harris is recognized as one of the foremost authorities on Canadian stamps.”
These positive comments about the role of Robin Harris in upgrading the Unitrade Catalogue are well merited. The last two editions have seen huge improvements.
Changes in this year’s catalogue
The changes in last year’s catalogue were too numerous to mention and, while the pace of change has slowed down in this year’s, improvements continue with many new illustrations. In the introduction, there is a new section on “grading” stamps. It would appear that a stamp used to be called VF is now considered to be XF. In other words the standard seems to be slipping and this is something we have noticed in many of today’s auction catalogues. According to the new standard, “VERY FINE stamps will be just a bit off center on one or two sides, but the design will be well clear of the edge”.
We regret that VF stamps no longer have to be centered as had been the standard for many years. This is our only regret about the new catalogue however, as in all other areas we see nothing but improvements.
With rare exception, the only price changes in this year’s catalogue are increases. These increases are generally found from Scott 1 to 122. After that, there are few increases, especially amongst the expensive varieties.
There were a fair number of increases amongst the classics, including some of the early imperforate pairs. There were good increases for Scott 14 and 15.
A few of the large Queens increased but there was nothing noticeable among the regular issue. However there are some interesting increases in the watermarked, script watermarked and laid paper varieties. Here are some examples:
Last year we featured Scott 31 when the price jumped from $16,500 to $25,000. With this year’s increase to $30,000, one can imagine how hard it would be to get a copy of this stamp in anything like VF condition. Over the past 30 years, we have only recorded the sale of four copies and the highest price paid was $8250. None of those stamps were in very fine condition. This means that if there is one, it has not come to the market for some time.
There were a few increases amongst the Small Queens. Here are a couple that stood out:
With the exception of the two stamps below, there were few increases of note. What surprised us was that there were no increases amongst the $1 - $5 high value stamps in the set which have been in great demand lately. Earlier this year a copy of the $3 stamp sold for $12,100 and a copy of the $4 sold for $7,945. VF NH copies of these stamps catalogue for $6,000 in Unitrade. Here are two stamps in the set that did very well:
After rising 26% last year, the set increased a further 17% this year.
After rising 24% last year, the set rose 9% this year. Here is a stamp that seems to be doing well.
This set is doing exceptionally well. Last year it increased 43% and this year a further 78%. Here’s an item that illustrates this:
The set was up 13% this year on top of a 10% increase last year. Most noticeable were the low value 1¢ and 2¢ stamps:
The set which has seen so many new record prices in the current year, moved up by only 9%. There were no changes in the values of the imperforate pairs. As with the other earlier sets, it was the low value stamps that stood out:
There were few increases in the values of Canada’s modern stamps. There was no movement at all in the Scroll set (Scott 149-159) or the Arch set (Scott 162-177). But there were two exceptions. First, there were large increases in the values of the First Day Covers between Scott 141 and 159. There were comparable increases in a wide range of plate blocks from Scott 163 to 227.
As usual there were exceptions and here are a few of the outstanding ones:
We will repeat the general comments we made last year in our review of the 2006 Unitrade catalogue. We stated that while it is exciting to see these increases, we noted that in general, few of the many modern stamps moved up in value this year. This lack of any trend was quite noticeable. It is possibly a reflection of the market and the fact that the supply of modern stamps in the hands of collectors and dealers exceeds the demand.
Back of the Book
There were a few scattered increases amongst the air mails, and registration stamps. This is equally true of the postage due stamps, with the exception of the first set, Scott J1-4, which was up 48%.
There is little doubt that the Canadian stamp market has enjoyed a very successful year. There have been more new record prices set this year than any year we can recall and the trend has not been slowing down. With these high prices, much rare and valuable material has been attracted to the market and buyers are willing to pay the price. The stamps issued between 1851 and 1926 continue to be the most sought after. Demand for the stamps issued after that period is somewhat spotty.
©2006, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada