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Canadian Stamp Auctions

Recent Auction Highlights

16 October, 2008 - Vance Auctions Ltd.

In 1851, Canada issued its first stamps on “laid paper”. A year later, an 1852, it issued a second set of stamps on “wove paper” and it is this wove paper that the post office stayed with thereafter. Scott 5 was one of the first wove stamps issued in 1852 and here are 2 of them:

Lot 6074
Scott 5a
Catalogue $2,000
Realized $800

Lot 6077
Scott 5b
Catalogue $1,500
Realized $1,210


There something a bit odd about the above results. It almost seems as though they should be reversed!

The two stamps seem to be of equal quality to our eyes. Scott 5a is very rare. In fact we have recorded no mint copies of this stamp at auction in the past 10 years and only 7 used copies.

Scott 5b on the other hand is not that rare. We have recorded 4 mint and 28 used copies.

Why then was only $800 paid for Scott 5a. The 7 used copies of this stamp have sold at auction for prices ranging from $1,250 to $4,059. This is a decent looking stamp and should attract a decent price, but it didn’t.We can only conclude that the bidders lost their concentration and let a very rare stamp slipped through their hands to the low bidder. Our congratulations to that person. You should have a smile on your face because you are a real winner!


1¢ Large Queen on Laid Paper


Lot 6204
Scott 31
Catalogue $6,500
Realized $4,200

This 1¢ Large Queen was printed on the rare laid paper, just like Canada’s first stamps. Someone at the printers slipped in a sheet of laid paper, instead of the normal wove paper and created the variety. Was it intentional? Who knows!

This beautiful stamp is clearly what Vance calls a “choice copy”, nicely centered and with a relatively light target cancel.

It’s too bad the postal employees in those days had orders to cancel each stamp squarely, in the middle of the stamp instead of on the edge. Cancelling stamps in the middle made it more difficult for individuals to reuse the stamp, a major preoccupation of the Post Office in those days. Clearly a penny was worth a lot more then than now.

The price realized of $4,200 is not a strong one compared to the catalogue price. This is a bit surprising for such a very rare stamp in this excellent condition. But, as noted by Vance in its auction catalogue, there is a minor corner crease and this probably explains the price. Despite all this, the price was still one of the best for a used Scott 31 in the past 10 years.


Collections of early cancelled stamps

Serious collectors of Canada’s stamps have always placed great value on nicely cancelled examples. The prices realized for the following lots show this clearly:

Lot 6265
Estimate $100
Realized $133
1¢ Large Queens – 23 stamps with fully dated cancels


Lot 6268
Estimate $125
Realized $121
1¢ & 3¢ Large Queens – 36 stamps, all selected for their postmarks. Primarily fancy, cork segments including segmented stars, grids, cog wheels, etc.


Lot 6275
Estimate $125
Realized $152
3¢ Large Queen – 38 stamps with fully dated cancels, having both CDS’s and squared circles with many SON strikes



Lot 7184
Estimate $600
Realized $930
2¢ Map – 101 stamps in a specialized collection of fancy cork cancels. These came from the Whit Bradley collection of map stamps. A scarce lot that has not been on the market for years.


If you’ve forgotten what “CDS” means like we did, it means “Circular Dated Cancel”.

It is clear from this and other auctions that these small specialized collections of early Canadian stamps are very popular with collectors.


The "Weeping Princess"

Lot 6670
Unitrade 211i
Catalogue $300
Realized $115


This is been one of our favorite Canadian varieties. But judging from the prices paid in the past, it hasn’t been everyone’s favorite. It simply does not attract strong bidding as the above price clearly demonstrates.

This block of 6 is as nice an example as one could obtain. A printing fault, which is found just beneath the princess’ eye in the lower left stamp, has resulted in what looks like a small tear.

We have recently seen a number of programs on PBS television about the Royal Family and can only marvel at the extraordinary life this princess has had. She has become a Royal Queen in a way that continues to fascinate many North Americans.

3¢ Registration Stamp - with Plate Imprint


Lot 6940
Scott F3
Catalogue $450
Realized $485


This is what we would call a first class stamp, one we would give our eye teeth to own. The plate imprint in the selvage on the bottom adds to its attraction.

The description doesn’t mention whether the stamp has any gum, which probably means that it doesn’t and this likely explains the less than stellar price. Still, it is a beauty and certainly has the admiration of this collector.


Other Countries - High Prices

We have only covered a small part of what was offered and would like to finish with a couple of select stamps of special interest:

“Penny black Official”

Lot 1243
Scott O1
Catalogue $10,000
Realized $7,850

Lot 2174
Scott 1
Catalogue $1,600
Realized $1,700


For more details concerning this sale, please click on the highlights bottom.

This sale had 3 new record prices:

1¢ Maple Leaf - imperforate pair
43¢ QEII - imperforate pair
20¢ Special Delivery - imperf. pair

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