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Canadian Stamp Auctions

Recent Auction Highlights

7 May, 2008 - Vance Auctions Ltd.

It must be frustrating for Vance Carmichael to read our reviews of his sales. In the space available, just a few pages, we find we have to focus on just the portion of his sale that includes the Canadian stamps. This comprises 1087 of the 7652 lots in the sale or less than 15% of the total.

What are we missing then? The answer is that we are missing all kinds of worldwide collections and individual U.S. and UK, British Commonwealth and foreign stamps. Some of these are very valuable with individual items selling in the thousands of dollars. One collection of U.S. stamps sold for $8,500 against an estimate of $10,000. A Russian collection sold for $1,150 and an East German one for $1,075. A couple of early UK stamps sold for $1,155 and $1,255 respectively. An Austrian souvenir sheet sold for $1,525, the German Graf Zepplin flight cover for $1,265 and a Mariana Island overprint for $1,600. In the U.S., a Scott 400 plate block went for $1,525 and a Scott 573 plate block of 10 with a “top arrow” sold for $2,010.

If we were to cover the world like this, our report would go on forever. Still we hope we have shown a bit of the scope of a typical Vance auction. It’s impressive!

Now back to Canada. Much attention has been paid in recent years to the “stitch watermarks” on Canada’s early stamps. You can’t plan a stitch watermark; it just happens at random as the stamp paper rolls over the papermaking equipment and from time to time touches the stitching that joins the cloth the paper rides on. This Vance sale had one of those rare stamps.

Scott 9 with "Stitch watermark"


Lot 5719
Unitrade 9iii
Estimate $1,750
Realized $1,240

This wasn’t a perfect example of an early Canadian stamp as it was missing the lower right corner and was trimmed pretty close at the top. But it was only the second copy we have recorded. The other one, also with faults, sold last December for $1,700. Sometimes with these really rare stamps you have to grab what you can or else you get nothing.

Scott 17c - Imperforate single


Lot 5757
Scott 17c
Estimate $2,500
Realized $1,690

We have recorded the sale of this imperforate on five previous occasions since 1986. Two of them were singles like this one which sold for $1,600 and $2,090 respectively. This one did not come with a certificate of authentication, but Vance stated it had the correct red lilac shade and correct paper.

Most people, including the editors of the Unitrade catalogue, understand that these imperforates from 1859 came without gum. But this is not always so. In 1987, a block with large part original gum sold for $10,000 at a Maresch sale. This was one of two imperforate blocks with large part original gum that came from the Dale Lichtenstein collection.

Numeral Imperforate Plate Block

Lot 5989
Unitrade 74v
Estimate $2,000
Realized $1,850


What a spectacular plate block ! This came on vertical wove paper and had no gum. It shows the ‘OTTAWA NO-1’ PLATE IMPRINT on top and has perfect borders.

Map Imperforate Plate Block

Lot 6015
Scott 86a
Estimate $2,000
Realized $2,700

This is another impressive and very rare plate block that came with generous borders. It sold for a premium over the estimate. Quite the beauty! Vance notes that very few plate blocks exist like this. In fact, we only record one other plate block. It was offered by the Saskatoon Stamp Center in 1996 for $1,750.

Quebec Tercentenary - Imperforates at record prices

Lot 6056
Unitrade 99ii
Catalogue $650
Realized $720


This was one of five imperforate pairs of the Quebec Tercentenary set that were offered in the sale. These were the lighter shade imperforates that come with no gum. Each one set a new record price. The other copies are illustrated in the attached highlights section.

Last November, Vance offered imperforate pairs of the full set at auction. These were the earlier imperforates with full gum printed in the darker shade. All of them but one, sold for record prices. The striking results of these two sales are remarkable.


Year of the Pig - Again!

Lot 6877
Unitrade 2201i
Estimate $2,500
Realized $1,690

This stamp was issued in January, 2007. Single copies with the gold missing appeared two months later and have sold regularly at auction at prices ranging from $130 to $675.

The first full sheet of 25 appeared at a sale last April and sold for $1,515. This one sold a month later for $1,690. A third copy recently sold at auction for $2,574. Is there a trend here?

What may be driving this increase is the recent discovery that the five stamps on the right side of the sheet are different from the others. The 20 stamps to the left are missing both the gold and the rainbow foil. The 5 stamps on the right, however, are only missing the gold. This obviously makes them rarer and more desirable. But this is not been recognized on the market as yet. We suspect it will.

Whoever bought the above sheet may find he or she did very well. Recent single copies have sold for over $300. The above sheet of 25 has an average cost of $67 per stamp. As Vance noted, the acquisition of this sheet represents “A nice opportunity for any dealer or investor”. How true!

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


This sale had 5 new record prices:

Previous NRP
1/2¢ Que. Tercentennary - imperf. pair
1¢ Que. Tercentennary - imperf. pair
2¢ Que. Tercentennary - imperf. pair
5¢ Que. Tercentennary - imperf. pair
10¢ Que. Tercentennary - imperf. pair


Vance’s next auction will take place on June 26, 2008


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