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Canadian Stamp Auctions

Recent Auction Highlights

10 May, 2006 - Vance Auctions Ltd.

This proof of the 12 Pence Black Victoria is one of Canada’s loveliest stamps. The proof itself is not rare. We have recorded the sale of close to 70 copies in the last ten years at prices ranging from $700 to $1600.

Lot 4672
Unitrade 3Pi
Catalogue $2,000
Realized $1,330

Since it appears at auction so regularly, you might think that the prices would be very stable. But in the past this was not the case. Looking back to say 2004, we saw that the price varied all the way from a low of $900 to a high of $1,585. In 2005 it varied from $1045 to $1,450. However, we have the feeling that in the past 12 months the prices have been stabilizing and gradually strengthening. We’ll be watching the trend. The above price realized of $1,330 is certainly at the top end of the trend line and maybe a good indicator of things to come.

Over the years, there have been attempts to remove the “red overprint” on the proofs of this stamp so that they could be sold as a regular stamp. Since the proofs do not have any gum, it was necessary to add a fake cancellation. Those that have appeared at public auction have been identified as fakes. With a catalogue value of $50,000 for a used Scott 3, it is easy to see why someone might try.

1¢ Jubilee


Lot 4898
Scott 51
Catalogue $44
Realized $97

The above price of $97 is a good price for a 1¢ Jubilee. It represents more than two times the catalogue value. This is the third time Vance has offered this stamp in the past year and this is their best price.

2¢ Numeral Overprint

Lot 5014
Scott 88
Catalogue $42
Realized $119

Overprints of the 2¢ Maple leaf and the above 2¢ Numeral seem to be hot items these days. This year alone, the prices for both stamps, Scott 87 and Scott 88, reached new record highs. The post office printed 1,375,000 of Scott 87 and 2,745,000 of Scott 88, so these stamps aren’t exactly rare. In fact they are quite common and are often seen sold in multiples. However, like so many stamps of the period, it is usually difficult to find one that is well centered. These are the ones that collectors are paying high prices for these days.

In another recent sale, we saw some inverted overprints of these stamps. Unitrade comments “inverted overprints of the above are thought to be forgeries. Certificates of authenticity are highly recommended.” In the recent Sotheby’s auction of the Canadian collection of Sir Gawaine Baillie in New York, an inverted copy of Scott 88 was offered for sale in as part of a group of stamps in lot 1272. The auctioneer specifically noted in that case that a “certificate” accompanied the inverted surcharge stamp. We note that the lot in question sold at the low end of the auctioneer’s estimate which makes us think that the successful bidder was acting with some caution.

5¢ Arch Block– Was it an imperforate?

Lot 5216
Unitrade 170i
Catalogue $280
Realized $175

Sometimes the eye can be fooled. When one looks at the above block, one could be forgiven for thinking that it was imperforate vertically. However, the perforations on the right edge of the block clearly deny this possibility. It might have been our imagination, but we thought we could see, very faintly, the outline of perforations (blank perfs.) vertically between the stamps, and also between the stamps and the edge. We called Vance and they confirmed that the block was not imperforate.

How can we explain the price which on the surface seems to be so strong? The Scott price for a single copy of the 5¢ Arch in no hinged condition was $6 in the 2006 edition. It has moved up to $10 per stamp in the 2007 catalogue just released. This gives us a total catalogue value of either $24 or $40 for the block.

However, Vance identified the colour of the stamps in the block as the “milky blue shade” which is different from the “dull blue shade” of the regular stamp. Stamps with the rarer milky blue shade are identified as 170i in the Unitrade catalogue. A single copy of this variety is given a value of $35 per stamp by Unitrade and a premium of 100% for no hinge which means that the block has a catalogue value per Unitrade of $280. The fact that it sold for $175 means that it sold at a discount to catalogue. Sorry for being so long winded about this, but it’s interesting to go through the steps.

6¢ Caricature – Printed on gum

Lot 5398
Scott 591a
Catalogue $150
Realized $140

We have noted on a number of occasions that Canada’s stamps that are printed on gum are much sought after by collectors. It is surprising then that the above stamp sold for less than its catalogue value. On looking back, however, we noticed that the last two copies of the stamp that sold in 2005 were centered low like this one. Furthermore, the record price for this stamp is only $175. Therefore, the price of $140 is not bad for an off-centered stamp. In fact, it’s the fourth highest price since we began recording the sale of this variety in 1999.

If you would like to obtain further details, please click on the highlights button below.


This auction had one new record price:

Scott 727a
$2 Kluane– silver inscriptions omitted

(We note with interest that in the 2007 Scott catalogue just issued, the value for Scott 727a increased from $400 to $500)

Vance’s next auction will be held on July 6, 2006

©2006, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada