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Recent Auction Highlights

17 June, 2008 - R. Maresch & Son

We were so sorry to learn of the death of Bill Maresch in Toronto on June 13, 2008. Bill was a friend and mentor who taught us much about the stamp business, about auctions and quality. When a stamp was of a quality beyond description, he would use his well known expression “catalogue values irrelevant!” and we would all chuckle because he was so right. Bill left many legacies, but certainly the best was bringing his two sons, Tony and Peter, into the business. We know how proud he was of them.

This latest Maresch sale contained many beautiful and rare stamps as we have come to expect from this auction house. But it also included the first part of the Casimir Bileski Estate. The catalogue stated:

“ We believe this to be the largest remaining philatelic stock in Canada, ( it arrived in many hundreds of huge cartons) and its contents will be suitably broken down and offered over the next few sales. It contains many better individual lots as well as wholesale quantities of stamps, varieties, revenues, collections etc., and there were days when we could hardly walk between boxes to get around the office. We have paused on more than one occasion to think of how excited having these many cartons in the middle of the office for months would have made Bill Maresch before he retired from the business.”

Record Prices

We found five new record prices and, not surprisingly, these were all in the most popular in area between the Small Queens and the Scroll set. Here they are:


Lot 694
Unitrade 59ii re-entry
Catalogue $3,500
Realized $2,100

Lot 751
Scott 71
Catalogue $325
Realized $475


Lot 827
Scott 92
Catalogue $500
Realized $1,250

Lot 842
Scott 97
Catalogue $47
Realized $525


Lot 911
Unitrade 149d-159b
Catalogue $5,625
Realized $3,250

Of all the above new prices, the one that tops them all is the $525 paid for Scott 97, the 1¢ Quebec Tercentenary. What an amazing stamp. As Maresch modestly put it “possibly the nicest such copy known.” When a stamp sells for more than 10 times catalogue, you know that something unusual has happened.

5¢ Jubilee – 2 shades

Lot 681
Scott 54
Catalogue $150
Realized $425

Lot 682
Scott 54
Catalogue $150
Realized $270

We always perk up when an auctioneer presents colour variations of a particular stamp. This is a very difficult exercise for most collectors, and so interesting.

These two stamps, one a “slate blue” and the other a “deep blue” seem so similar. We would never have guessed they represent different shades, but Maresch did.

Both were described as brilliant, fresh, well centered, n.h., superb, yet one sold for almost double the other.


20¢ Numeral – Which one is best?

Lot 789
Scott 84
Catalogue $1,100
Realized $2,300

Lot 790
Scott 84
Catalogue $1,100
Realized $1,900

Here we go again. In this case, the colours are the same, but the width of the margins is different as is the centering. We were a bit surprised at the level of the prices. They were very high, but a predictable outcome, i.e., that the first one was clearly better. It had the wider margins and the better centering. It’s not often you find two VF NH Scott 84s in the same sale!

7¢ Edward VII – An amazing half sheet


Lot 828
Unitrade 92iii
Catalogue $12,000
Realized $6,250

Described as a UNIQUE SHOWPIECE, this amazing half sheet contained 50 stamps including a plate block. The colour of the 7¢ stamps from the Edward VII set are usually “ olive bistre”, but the above stamps were of the less common “straw” shade.

This type of material is of great assistance to researchers of the set as it gives them the helpful plate numbers that go with the rare shade

We checked our records and found that this is the third time this particular half sheet of 50 stamps has come to market. In 1999, it sold for $6,750 at a Maresch sale and then in 2006, it sold for $4,000, also at a Maresch sale.

St. Lawrence Seaway Stamp of 1959

There are two well known varieties of the seaway stamp which are the “inverted seaway” and the “double red printed” varieties. Excellent examples were offered in the sale:

"Inverted Seaway "
"Double Red Printed"

Lot 979
Scott 387a
Catalogue $10,000
Realized $9,500

Lot 980
Unitrade 387i
Catalogue $7,500
Realized $2,800


It isn’t often a used copy of the inverted seaway appears at auction and we can’t remember a used copy quite as perfect as this. It has the sheet margin and an absolutely perfect cancellation. Philatelic material doesn’t come much better!

The second example was described as probably being a unique multiple. According to our records We have a record of a block of four selling back in 2001, but no multiple since then and certainly no previous record of a strip of three. What is also special about this strip is that the top of stamp shows the kiss print to the right of Canada, whereas it is found on the left of Canada in the bottom stamp.


Scott F2i – imprint block of 8

Lot 1187
Unitrade F2i
Catalogue $4,000
Realized $2,200


This block is quite the beauty. It was described as “left margin IMPRINT BLOCK OF THE EIGHT, brilliant, fresh and very well centered, top pair v.l.h., others n.h., some separation, very fine and an exceedingly RARE MULTIPLE.”

We checked back to see when it last appeared at auction and found that it sold at a Maresch sale in 2006 for $900.

Multiple copies – Sold for less than face value

We always keep an eye out for lots that contain multiple copies of common stamps that sell at a discount. These are usually bought for postage and go for around 70% - 80% of face value. There was a fair amount of this material in this sale and here’s how it did:

Face Value
10¢ sheets
15¢/25¢ sheets
8¢/15¢ sheets
8¢ sheets
8¢ sheets
$1.25 Capex sheets
36¢/72¢ sheets
45¢ press sheets

As can be seen, most of the sheets went for less than 50% of face value. The likely reason is that, because most of them were of a low value, it would take perhaps too much effort using them for postage, all that separating licking and sticking!

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


This sale had 5 New Record Prices:


Previous NRP
20 Jubilee re-entry
6 Maple leaf
7 Edward VII
1 Que. Tercentenary
1-$1 Scroll set imperf.

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