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Canadian Stamp Auctions

Recent Auction Highlights

1 November, 2007 - Charles G. Firby Auctions

It is not often we delve into the area of postal history, but this Firby sale had such interesting material, we couldn’t help ourselves. Mr. Firby has studied the postal history of Canada for many years and has a solid reputation in this area.

Postal History

Lot 837
Estimate $275
Realized $261

What attracts us to old covers like the above, amongst other things, is the beautiful script. This is a fur trade cover sent to John Blackwood in Quebec City on May 22, 1795. We note the sender did not use an envelope, but simply folded the letter and sealed it.
We wonder if the sender would have used a quill pen to produce the above script.

Lot 397
Scott 17 cover
Estimate $3,500
Realized $3,800


The above envelope is from an 1867 letter from Bertier, Quebec to Labrador. Firby states that this is a rare and possibly unique cover, the only example of the 1859 issue he has seen to Labrador.

Lot 410
Scott 36 cover
Estimate $1,500
Realized $2,612

This unusual cover is a sailor’s concessionary letter rate cover, much rarer than a similar soldier’s cover. It was sent on the ship H.M.S. Pheasant on January 1, 1895 from Esquimalt, BC to England. A look at the price realized gives us a good idea of how rare this cover is.

3d Beaver – Huge Borders


Lot 29
Unitrade 4ii
Estimate $400
Realized $2,137

Unitrade gives this stamp a value of $350 in very fine condition. Firby gave it an estimate of $500 and called it superb. The colour of the regular stamp is “red”. The colour of this variety is “orange red” but that doesn’t seem to give it much of a premium in the catalogues. What really made this stamp so outstanding was its huge borders. On occasion, we see large borders on maybe one or two sides of a stamp from this period, but very seldom do we see it on all four sides. When this happens and the stamp is in very fine condition like the above one, the sky’s the limit on the bidding

Scott 12iii – 3p Re-entry

Lot 32
Scott 12vi
Catalogue $1,500
Realized $4,037


We have never recorded the sale of this rare variety in the past. This one was justly described as “exceedingly well centered”. Although the Greene certificate that accompanied the stamp identified it as Unitrade 12iii, Firby says it should have been Unitrade 12vi. These are two types of re-entries. The first one is found in position 47 and the second in position 80. We had a record of the position 47 having come to auction in the past but never position 80. In fact, Unitrade doesn’t even give a value for position 80.

We assume that the bidder in this case knew exactly what he or she was doing and was willing to pay well over two times catalogue. Not only did that collector obtain a very rare item but the quality was absolutely outstanding.

A Beautiful 3¢ Small Queen


Lot 62
Scott 37
Catalogue $90
Realized $404

This is a Small Queen with Large Borders. It is so lovely we can easily sit and admire it for quite a while without losing interest. The price realized is nowhere near a record price, but we don’t care, something this good is priceless!

20¢ Scroll Imperforate

Lot 189
Scott 157c
Catalogue $225
Realized $285

This 20¢ stamp from the Scroll Set is a much sought after stamp. Twice in the past year, single copies the regular stamp with perforations have sold for over $200, almost matching the catalogue value of an imperforate pair. This certainly grabs our attention! Surprisingly, the best price for an imperforate pair, according to our records, is only $290.

The above stamp sold for $300 U.S. on November 1st. With the U.S. and Canadian dollars both bouncing back and forth around par these days, it can be just a whim that makes or breaks a record. On November 1st, the Canadian dollar was stronger than the U.S. dollar so no new record price was realized. Today, as we write this, the U.S. dollar is stronger.

Rare Medallion Imperforate

Lot 222
Scott 199a
Catalogue $1,750
Realized $3,562

Included in the sale was an outstanding collection of the Medallion Set, the property of Mr. David Sessions of England. The collection was full of singles, blocks, plate blocks, imperforates, coils and many varieties.

We chose the above partially imperforate pair to show because it is so rare and seldom seen. Firby notes that this one was NH and superb for this particular variety which is not normally well centered.

The price realized is 62% above the previous record price of $2,204, set back in 1998, and thus becomes the new record. We suspect there were some pretty determined bidders chasing this one.


King George VI – Imperforates


Lot 244
Scott 231c-236a
Catalogue $2,250
Realized $2,850

This is the second best price realized for this imperforate set in the past 10 years. Once again we see prices realized for Canada’s imperforates that exceed catalogue values.

Modern Variety – showing its two parts


Lot 277A
Scott 1679b
Estimate $3,500
Realized $1,235

Lot 277B
Scott 1679 var
Estimate $300
Realized $214


This is the first time we have seen the two parts of this variety offered in an auction. There are only 5 blocks of the imperforate pair at the top in existence. They were discovered by an alert collector in Montreal in 2003 at a local post office. This is the 4th time the blocks have appeared at auction.

What is new is to see it accompanied by the other block that belongs to it. We only hope the same collector was able to acquire both blocks at this sale!

The prices realized in this sale were converted at the rate of $1U.S. = $0.95 Cdn.

For more details, please click on the Highlights button.


There were 5 new record prices in this sale:


Scott No.
Previous NRP
3d orange red
3d red - major re-entry
5¢ - imperf. vertically
48¢ - missing horse
48¢ - imperf. souvenir sheet

The next Firby sale is expected in March


©2008, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada