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Canadian Stamp Auctions

Recent Auction Highlights

25 February, 2009 - Eastern Auctions Ltd.

This was one of those quiet auctions with only a modest Canadian offering, where we struggled to find something exciting to report on. Usually we focused on the higher prices generated in a sale, but that’s only of interest to the sellers. What about the buyers? Surely they deserve a break from time to time.. Well, if they were paying attention to this sale, they would have done well. Consider these modern imperforates for example:

 



Lot 641
Scott 729a
Catalogue $160
Realized $65


Lot 642
Scott 730a
Catalogue $175
Realized $55

 



Lot 652
Scott 1194Bf
Catalogue $200
Realized $60

 


What a bargain. Five years and now, the new owners will look back and smile as they think of how they outsmarted the pack back in 2009!



Untagged stamp varieties




Lot 631
Unitrade 587T1
Catalogue $75
Realized $40



You might think that this is a bargain, but we don’t. A regular tagged copy of the stamp has a catalogue value of 20¢. But the above stamp, which is the untagged variety, sold for 53% of its Unitrade catalogue value. Based on what we have seen of the prices for untagged varieties at auction, any price that is 50% or more of catalogue value is a good price.



Plate blocks





Lot 796
Unitrade 411PB
Catalogue $90
Realized $26

Eastern regularly offers Canadian plate blocks in a separate section of its sales catalogue.
We were most interested to see how this plate block would do since it is fairly common and is not well centered. It came in at just under 36% of catalogue.

It is hard to understand this lack of interest by collectors in our plate blocks. In many cases, they may not be perfectly centered, but to our minds, they should be offset by the rarity. In any case, it is clear that plate blocks, like first day covers, have only limited appeal at auction these days. We think this is a shame but, as we have learned over the years, we can’t force our taste on other collectors.



Overprints


“Unissued Admiral Essay”



Lot 568
Scott 139var
Catalogue $900
Realized $425

 

“Triple surcharge ”
“Shifted surcharge”


Lot 571
Scott 140b
Catalogue $240
Realized $220


Lot 594
Unitrade 191aii
Catalogue $100
Realized $65

 

We have certainly seen collector interest in these early Canadian overprints. A number of new record prices have occurred for these in the past two years and generally there have been solid results.

The above stamps were far from perfect. The first one was centered high, it was hinged and there was a crease in the bottom stamp. The second was well off center, had a small tone spot and was hinged. The third was also off center and lightly hinged. Yet despite these negatives, bidders respected their rarity and offered what we think are some strong prices for stamps in this condition.

 

Other Areas of collecting

We like to look at a few of the special areas that Eastern regularly offers in its mail sales to look for trends. Here are a few of the results:

Canadian Mini-Panes

Lot
Catalogue
Realized
824
1972 Earth Science tagged/untagged mini panes
105
75
826
13 mini panes from between 1954-1967
191
61
828
1970 Expo Sheet
191
55
830
1972 Earth Science mini pane
60
32

 

We were both surprised and impressed by these results for a group of modern Canadian stamps. Normally, stamps like these which are sold in bulk only realize a portion of their face value. However these sheets were not being treated that way, but rather as a single stamp whose value was not to be discounted. We find this very interesting.

 

Canada Press Sheets

Lot
Estimate
Realized
831
1591-94iv 1996 Birds of Canada, signed
250
150
832
1594a 1996 Birds of Canada
175
85
836
1634a 1997 Birds of Canada, signed
200
90
839
1767ii 1999 Year of the Rabbit
75
50
842
1812ii 1999 Millennium
130
75
849
2158-59i 2006 Snowbirds, signed
250
130


These results were not impressive, but as we have written in the past, these press sheets will, we think, climb in price considerably in future. Collectors would be wise to buy them today. They will be valuable for a least two reasons. First, these press sheets have been issued in very limited numbers. Second, some of them will likely be cut up in future to form "gutter" pairs and blocks which will be just as scarce and very unusual.


Conclusion

This completes our review of Eastern’s latest mail sale. There have been winners and losers as bidders choose the stamps and areas of collecting they prefer. At this time of uncertainty in the world economy, we see opportunities to acquire stamps at prices that haven’t been available to collectors for least a decade. For those bold and courageous bidders with a longer time horizon, it will be a time of opportunity.

We encourage collectors to take hold of this opportunity, but stick to the areas of greatest potential. This will usually be those stamps that have outstanding qualities and those that are rare, whether issued 100 years ago or yesterday. We will do our best to help you identify the trends; the rest is up to you.


©2009, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada