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Canadian Stamp Auctions

Recent Auction Highlights

15 August, 2007 - Eastern Auctions Ltd.

This was one of the few Canadian stamp auctions that took place in the month of August. We noticed the large group of plate blocks that were offered. Here’s how some of them did at auction.

Plate blocks

"Year of the Pig"

Lot 455
Scott 2201
Estimate $2000
Realized $510

This plate block, issued in January 2007, is not representative of our plate block values because the prices paid for it and single copies of the stamp have been all over the place this year. To date, inscription blocks of The Year of the Pig have sold for prices ranging from $925 to $1,005. The above price of $510 is an indication that the demand for this variety with its missing gold colour will likely continue to vary considerably before settling down.

Other plate blocks from the 1930 – 1950 period did as follows:

$1 Ferry
13¢ Britannia
20¢ Niagara
$1 War
50¢ Lumber
$1 Ferry
$1 Fish
$1 Totem


It is discouraging to see prices such as these which are well below catalogue. But at least they are well above their face values, if this is any consolation. This is probably because they are higher value stamps. Note the large markdowns for the three blocks that are less than perfect. Our conclusion is that these prices reflect the fact that there is a great supply and only moderate demand for most modern plate blocks.

Stamp sheets

The auction contained 3 lots of stamp sheets. Lot 973 was a collection over 40 full Canadian sheets from the 1970s era with denominations ranging from 8¢ to 12¢ ie, the lower values. Here’s how it did:

40 Canadian Sheets

Face value $212
Estimate $425
Realized $150

The fact they realized only 70% of face value must have been a real downer for the seller. There are many collectors out there who have accumulated sheets and they must be asking themselves whether it is worthwhile. There is no easy answer. Options include keeping the sheets for a long time in hopes of appreciation versus using them now for postage. Our guess is that in the above case, they will be used by the new owner for postage. But he or she will have to spend a lot of time licking and pasting the stamps onto the envelopes.

Those of us who are advising new collectors might suggest they stay away from stamp sheets and focus instead on very fine copies of individual stamps. These take up less space and will likely have greater chances of appreciation. There aren’t many collectors of sheets, but there are many collectors of very fine individual stamps. That is where the real market is.

VF Hinged Stamps

Lot 558
Scott 79
Estimate $200
Realized $130

Here’s a stamp that catches the eye. Its two key features are its unusually wide margins and its fair centering. We found that by holding the stamp upside down, we could clearly spot that it was a bit centered to the right. To bad!! But even worse (in today’s market) was the fact that it was not described as “never hinged”. We, of course, wondered how it would do with all these pluses and minuses.

The price ultimately paid of $130 reflects how hard our markets are on stamps that are less than perfect, even a little bit less. It seems the minuses prevailed. Nevertheless, this is a rare stamp in this condition. We feel the new owner should be happy to have it in his or her collection.

Animal Imperforates

Lot 792
Unitrade 1155iii
Estimate $1000
Realized $515

Lot 793
Unitrade 1156a
Catalogue $1000
Realized $325

Lot 794
Unitrade 1160iv
Catalogue $1000
Realized $350


We find it hard to understand why these animal imperforates have been doing so poorly at auction in the past year. This seems to reflect an unusual combination of low supply together with low demand. Because the 2¢ stamp shown above is cut close to the margin, its low price is perhaps understandable.

As we look through these results, we realize how difficult it is to guess what our current market will do when modern stamps are offered. We look back at the stamps issued 80 years ago and think about how well the very fine copies of even the most common stamps from that period are doing today. It encourages us and gives us hope that if today’s collectors concentrate on quality and rarity, they will eventually reap the benefits despite what happens in the short term. But it takes great patience and a total focus on quality.

Postal literature

Collectors are fortunate that Eastern has been offering so much philatelic literature in its recent mail sales. We were able to buy 2 important lots of auction catalogues last spring in Eastern’s June mail sale. These contained the Dr. Lewis Reford collection sold in 1950 and the Dale-Lichtenstein collection sold in 1970. In all, there were seven auction catalogues, crammed with some of the greatest treasures of Canadian philately.

This sale offered more of the same. It included the “Hicks” Small Queen Collection (Estim. $20 – Real. $16)…….the “Hinde” name sale of 1958 (didn’t sell) and the “Robert Laird” sale of 1981 (didn’t sell). Also included was Daman’s “Victoria” sale of 1981 with 440 lots of Large & Small Queens (Estim.$50 – Real. $38)…Eastern was practically giving them away.

Still interested, then just call Eastern. If they didn’t sell the old auction catalogues, they may still be available at a fairly low price. That is how we obtained our catalogues.

For further details, please click on the Highlights button.


Eastern’s next sale will be held on September 26, 2007


©2007, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada