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Recent Auction Highlights

17 October, 2007 - Vance Auctions Ltd.

This sale had a number of unusually fine and rare early Canadian stamps. In 1858, Canada issued its first perforated stamps. The science of making nice neat even perforations was not well known at the time and so most stamps of the period are off-center. Add to this the fact that the Postmaster was probably trying to save money on paper costs gives the result that the borders of the stamps were very narrow. It follows that it’s almost a miracle to find a well centered stamp from that period. The question is, how badly off-center a stamp is and how the market will react to the degree of centering. An interesting example follows.

Scott 13 - A Rare mint copy

Lot 5211
Scott 13
Catalogue $11,000
Realized $11,900

Vance described the above stamp as F-VF with a deep rich colour. On the plus side, it had “full clean OG”, something quite rare in the early Canadian stamps of this vintage. On the negative side, and this is serious, some perfs. on the top of the stamp had a bit of toning. We can imagine the bidders mulling these factors in their minds, but then being drawn to the stamp’s overall quality and rarity.

In the past twenty years, we have recorded nineteen copies of Scott 13 sold in mint condition, but only five of them beat the above price. This makes this one of the best examples. The successful bidder did the right thing and should be happy with his or her acquisition.

Scott 20 - Some Interesting Examples

Lot 5255
Scott 20
Catalogue $250
Realized $102

Lot 5256
Scott 20
Catalogue $250
Realized $171

Lot 5257
Scott 20
Catalogue $250
Realized $210


We found these three examples of the 2¢ from 1864 so interesting. The first two had such clear date stamps, showing 1865 and 1866 in the middle of the stamps. The third one has the Ottawa four-ring “27” cancel and comes with beautiful centering, much better than we usually see for the stamp.

You may have noticed the nice progression in prices as you move from the first to the third one. But surprisingly, none of their prices met or exceeded the catalogue value.

Scott 59 - An Interesting 20¢ Jubilee

Lot 5462
Scott 59
Catalogue $160
Realized $310

Well, this stamp had no problem meeting or exceeding its catalogue value. In fact it almost doubled it. What a gorgeous copy with deep rich colour. Besides its excellent centering and colour, it had only the lightest of cancels in the corner; a wonderful combination in a used stamp from one of Canada’s most popular sets.

Surcharges Doing Well

Lot 5514
Scott 87
Catalogue $40
Realized $91

Lot 5761
Unitrade 191ii
Catalogue $225
Realized $288

We have noticed some surprisingly strong results for a number of Canada’s early overprints that are never hinged. For years, their prices have languished. In 2003, the catalogue price for Scott 87 was $27. By 2006, it had only advanced to $29. But then, in 2007, it popped up to $40. The above copy is not that well centered and yet it sold for over two times catalogue.

The second stamp, Unitrade 191ii, featured a “shifted” surcharge. It also was not that well centered, and yet it sold for well over its catalogue value.

These overprints seem to do well as singles, but for some reason, they don’t do so well when sold in multiples. Very few come well centered and those that do, now seem to be coming into their own.

Modern varieties - New record prices

Lot 5950
Scott 726b
Catalogue $650
Realized $900

Lot 5994
Unitrade 1177i
Catalogue $900
Realized $900

Lot 6031
Scott 1764b
Catalogue $325
Realized $440

Lot 6032
Scott 1767i
Catalogue $1,250
Realized $1040

Lot 6033
Unitrade 1768iv
Catalogue $1,250
Realized $985

It’s been awhile since we’ve seen so many new record prices amongst Canada’s modern varieties. Every time we think that not much is happening in the modern area, along comes an auction like this and surprises is. A nice surprise, of course!

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

This sale had 5 new record prices:

Scott No.
$1 Prairie – inscriptions omitted
74¢ Wapiti on Rolland paper
45¢ Christmas, perf. 13 x 13½
46¢ Rabbit, missing red
46¢ Rabbit Sht. missing red

©2007, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada