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Canadian Stamp Auctions

Recent Auction Highlights

4 April, 2008 - Charles G. Firby Auctions

This was an impressive sale. It had strength in so many areas. Early Canada was particularly well represented as were our modern varieties. As usual for a Firby sale, there was plenty of postal history from Canada, its provinces, the U.S. and foreign countries.

Scott 4d - an exceptional copy

Lot 89
Scott 4d
Catalogue $1,250
Realized $3,788

This 3p beaver was the first of Canada’s stamps to be printed on wove paper. The original copies were red in colour and were printed on regular wove paper. The above variety is “orange red” and was printed on “thin paper”. It was lightly hinged and had full gum.

Firby described the above stamp as truly superb and undoubtedly one the finest copies extant. Ex-Caspary, it came with a 2008 V.G. Greene certificate. The bidders took it to a new record price, up from their previous record of $2,420 .

Scott 5 - a pair


Lot 130
Scott 5
Catalogue $2,500
Realized $2,272


This was such a nice pair. Firby called it a showpiece. It was a bit of a surprise to us that it sold for only $2,272. We think someone got a bargain.

Suppose you were to try to separate the pair by cutting between them. It seems to us that both stamps would end up with a very narrow margin where they had been joined. It makes us wonder, how they got such a large borders on their outer sides in the first place. Someone must have cut this pair very carefully from the sheet, sacrificing the borders of the other nearby stamps.

Superb used Scott 9

Lot 153
Scott 9
Catalogue $2,750
Realized $3,535


We haven’t seen many 7½p used stamps like this one with the extra wide margin at the top and a clear 4-Ring cancel. The combination of large margins and light postmark caused Firby to call this a superb copy of the stamp. It’s one of our favorites.

Scott 37d - One of the rarest Small Queens

Lot 210
Scott 37d
Catalogue $1,150
Realized $2,525

For years we have been intrigued by this stamp that has always been shown by itself in the Scott catalogue in small fine print. We wondered why it wasn’t included with the other stamps in the set. What is unusual about this stamp are its perforations. They are 12½ as compared to the usual 12 or the rarer 11½ x 12. But the 12½ perforation is very scarce. Undoubtedly, there are a number in people’s collections that have gone unidentified. If only their owners knew what treasures they posessed!

This copy is perfectly centered with a face free 2-Ring cancel. It sold for $2,525, a new record. How strong a price is this? In the past ten years, we have only recorded the sale of five copies. The previous best price was $850, set at a sale in 1999. The top price is now triple this.

Scott 209a

Lot 326
Scott 209a
Catalogue $1,900
Realized $1,717

Of all the imperforates produced in the mid 1930s, this one has by far the highest catalogue value. This is probably due to the story (or is it a rumour) that a number of these particular imperforates were destroyed in an accident years ago. Despite their relatively high value, they appear regularly at auction.

This copy was VF-XF NH and the price realized was the 3rd best in the past ten years.

Canada's River Heritage Booklets

Lot 356
Unitrade 1489a var
Catalogue $4,000
Realized $2,272


Lot 357
Unitrade 1489b (BK161) var
Catalogue $8,000
Realized $3,535


Both the above imperforate strips are from the same set of stamps. The top one is an imperforate strip from the regular sheet of stamps. The bottom strip is the imperforate variety of the full booklet pane of ten with its cover. Neither variety is listed in Scott or Unitrade.

According to Firby, there are only four of each of the above varieties, making it one of Canada’s rarest modern varieties. We have previously recorded pairs and a strip of 4 of these imperforates, but this is the first time we have recorded a strip of 5 from the sheet, and also the first time we have recorded a complete booklet.

The set was issued in 1993. The first imperforates appeared at auction 7 years later in 2000.

More modern varieties

"Imperforate pair – the Missing Horse variety"
"Vancouver overprint Imperforate pair"

Lot 369
Unitrade 1933i var
Estimate $2,500
Realized $1,050

Lot 375
Unitrade 1991 var
Estimate $1,500
Realized $909

"2 Imperforate Booklet panes of 6
with gutter between"

Lot 379
Unitrade 2004 a var
Estimate $3,000
Realized $808


These imperforate pairs, strips and booklet panes are very rare and are, in some cases being seen for the first time. It will be interesting to see how Unitrade handles this unusual material in its next catalogue.

For more details of this sale, and particularly regarding some of Canada’s early stamps, please click on the highlights button.


This sale had 4 new record prices.

Previous NRP
3p orange red on thin paper
3¢ SQ perf. 12 1/2
1489b var.
43¢ Heritage imperf. booklet
1991 var.
48¢ Vanc. o/print imperf. pair




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