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Recent Auction Highlights

25 April, 2009 - Charles G. Firby Auctions

The Herbert Louis McNaught Collection of
One Half-Cent Small Queens
(Scott 34)

Mr. Firby recently offered a specialized collection of the ½¢ Small Queen at auction. This was one of those special offerings that so delight collectors. It allows us to enjoy viewing the results of years of a collector’s effort and expertise. Mr. McNaught, whose collection was offered, worked closely with Mr. Firby and the two obviously enjoyed a good relationship. There must have been a lot of respect on both sides.

Mr. Firby’s introduction set the tone:

“We are pleased to have been selected to present Herb’s exceptional, and undoubtedly, best of kind collections in existence today. Herb was a dear friend whom I had the pleasure of speaking to nearly every week for many years, in spite of the fact that we lived in different countries. I will really miss him and know that this feeling will continue. He was without doubt one of the kindest people I ever had the privilege of knowing.”

We show below a selection of some of the stamps in the sale. There were many other stamps we have not included, mainly because of their bulk. There were a fair number of plate blocks both perforate and imperforate, two complete sheets of the Small Queen Panes 1 & 2, and a great number of covers.

(The prices below have all been converted at the rate of $1US =$1.21 Cdn.)


"Die Proof"
"Plate Proof"

Lot 2103
Estimate $1,500
Realized $8,470

Lot 2104
Estimate $1,200
Realized $2,300


"Stitch Watermark "

Lot 2106
34 var
Estimate $200
Realized $230

Lot 2143
34iii var
Estimate $750
Realized $3,025

Lot 2143 is considered to be the unique example of this rare stitch watermark variety.

"Pre-printing Paper Crease"

Lot 2146
Estimate $100
Realized $194


"Imperforate Pair"
Mint NH
"Imperforate Pair"

Lot 2132
Scott $600
Realized $968

Lot 2135
Estimate $1,000
Realized $847


"Imprint Imperforate Block of 4"

Lot 2136
34a LH
Estimate $1,600
Realized $2,722


"Strip of 4, Imperf. Between"

Lot 2137
Estimate $2,000
Realized $2,722


"Gutter Block "
On thick white paper

Lot 2139
34ii,iii NH
Estimate $2,000
Realized $847



Ex Lot 2147
34 var (7 pieces)
Estimate $100
Realized $302


"Double Perfs."

Ex Lot 2149
34 var (2 Pieces)
Estimate $200
Realized $514


Unique Partially Imperforate Cover
Dated August 24, 1897


Imperforate Cover

Lot 2309
Estimate $1,000
Realized $1,815


Mr. Firby called this cover probably a unique usage, the only example he has ever seen. That made it a choice item for the bidders and they responded accordingly.

According to our records, this cover previously sold at a Maresch sale on May 23, 1985. At the time, it realized $400. Mr. Maresch also commented that it was the only one he had seen.

We would like to express our appreciation to the late Herbert McNaught for his wonderful accomplishment in putting together this very special collection. We are all the beneficiaries of his efforts. We are sure it must have given him great pleasure, and it has done the same for us.

If you would like to see our commentaries on other outstanding Canadian collections, please click here.

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