Canadian Flag

Canadian Stamp Auctions

Recent Auction Highlights

27 September, 2008 - Charles G. Firby Auctions

The long awaited Firby auction was held in Waterford Michigan amid worldwide turmoil in the financial markets. The sale featured the David Session’s Arch Collection of Canada, the William G. Wightman Worldwide Collection and the Ron Brigham collection of U.S. stamps. Added to this was the property of 51 owners and estates.

This is the type of auction that can be difficult to review because it contains so many different parts. We will cover Canada’s postage stamps only, but there were other significant areas of strength in the Canadian issues. These would include the numerous specimen stamps, die proofs and semi-official issues.

We start off with one of our favorites, the 7½p green, issued in 1857. That was the last year Canada issued stamps without perforations.

Lot 1072
Scott 9
Catalogue $8,500
Realized $5,665

The prices for this stamp have been modest in recent years with rare exception. This one had no gum and its margins were fairly narrow, top and bottom. But we show it because, despite everything, it is a beauty and we were interested to see how a stamp in this condition would do at auction.

15¢ Large Queen- Imperforate pair


Lot 1150
Scott 29d
Catalogue $1,250
Realized $1,442

This is the only imperforate stamp in the Large Queen set that appears regularly at auction. The few others that exist only appear once in a decade at the most and are exceedingly rare. See our commentary No. 100 for a full review of the Large Queen imperforates. The above was a nice copy that was very lightly hinged.


Outstanding used Small Queens - amazing prices!

You won’t believe these prices:


Lot 1168
Scott 37
Catalogue $2
Realized $67

Lot 1177
Scott 41
Catalogue $0.80
Realized $77

Lot 1188
Scott 44
Catalogue $4.75
Realized $670

Lot 1189
Scott 44a
Catalogue $6
Realized $670


Lot 1190
Scott 44b
Catalogue $4.75
Realized $515

Lot 1191
Scott 44c
Catalogue $4.75
Realized $489

Lot 1193
Scott 44var
Catalogue $6
Realized $565


Nothing pleases us more than to see the prices paid for the above Small Queens. Most collectors seem to only place good value on Canada’s early mint stamps, when a perfectly centered used copy can be equally scarce.

We found the prices realized for the above stamps unusually high, so we called Chuck Firby to confirm that they were correct.

He said that they were and that the competition to successfully bid on the stamps was fierce, especially from the telephone bidders. Used stamps in the above condition are becoming very popular.

This part of the Firby sale will stay in our memory for a long time. We salute the buyers for having the determination to go so far in chasing these rare beauties.

We think this should encourage all collectors, young and old, to go back to their collections and see if they have any Small Queens of this quality. Everybody knows that used stamps of this set are quite common. But every so often, perfect copies like these can be found in our old time collections or inside old envelopes stuffed with a forgotten accumulation of old stamps. After looking at the results of this auction, we wouldn't be surprised that many of us will have a little checking to do.


Imperforate Pairs - NH vrs. Hinged


Lot 1432
Scott 202a ( NH)
Catalogue $950
Realized $875

Lot 1434
Scott 208a (VLH)
Catalogue $625
Realized $360

There were many imperforate pairs and sets in the sale. But only a few were NH, the rest were very lightly hinged and it showed in the prices. The prices paid for the NH copies were strong, while those paid for the VLH copies were surprisingly soft.


We haven’t seen an offering of the Arch set (Scott 162-182) like this in a long time. Only a dedicated collector could put this together and this would take decades to accomplish. The collection contained a multitude of plate blocks, imperforates, die proofs and booklets. We saw many varieties including over inked and under inked stamps, ink smears, misperfs, shade varieties, pre-print paper creases etc. We present below some interesting examples:

"Imperforate Pair"
"Printer's Waste "

Lot 1322
Scott 163d
Catalogue $2,400
Realized $2,832

Ex-Lot 1335
Scott 164
Estimate $500
Realized $670


"Degrees of Intensity"
"Perforation Varieties "

Ex-Lot 1337
Scott 165 var
Catalogue $--
Realized $232

Ex-Lot 1353
Scott 173 var
Catalogue $350
Realized $567


"Under Inking "

Ex-Lot 1359
Scott 169
Catalogue $500
Realized $438



We present below two of the many rare covers offered:

Lot 1640
Scott 4a
Catalogue $12,500
Realized $14,420

Firby Description

3d Light Brown Red, 2 singles plus a horiz strip of 3, all of excellent color, the L stamp is slightly cut into LR with the others barely touched to large margins, all are tied by target cancels to Folded Letter from STEAMBOAT LETTER QUEBEC, Sept 17, 1853 to England bs. The cover was short paid 1d for the 1/4 Packet rate & so was noted as More to Pay 1. A unique & spectacular cover that is the showpiece of Steamboat letters. Ex: W.E. Lea, Wilkinson.

Lot 1651
Scott 9 & 12
Catalogue $17,500
Realized $12,360


Firby Description

7-1/2d Green, just clear UR to good margins, plus an exceptionally well centered 3d Red, perforated 11-3/4 tied by square grids to neat cover from Toronto, May 2, 1859 to England hs. Another choice cover & exotic usage of a perforated 3d. 2002 VG Greene cert accompanies. Ex: Brouse, Dale-Lichtenstein, W.E.Lea, "Carrington", Wilkinson

Charles Firby is well known for his knowledge of Canada’s early covers. His study of this subject was published in 1996 under the title “The Canadian Posted Letter: The Classic Period 1851 – 1902.” His book helps collectors understand the details of their covers from these years and value them.


For more details of the sale, please click on the highlights button.


This sale had 2 new record prices.

Previous NRP
3¢ Confederation imperforate pair
20¢ Special delivery imperf pair

The prices shown above were converted at the rate of $1.00 U.S.=$1.03 Canadian.

Mr. Firby advised us that the prices realized were 193% of the presale estimates.


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