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Canadian Stamp Auctions

Recent Auction Highlights

6 May, 2009 - Vance Auctions Ltd.

There were a couple of interesting things we noted in the flyer that accompanied Vance’s catalogue for this auction. First were their comments on today’s stamp market:

“Many thanks to all of the bidders who made our May auction a success. The market for fine stamps and postal history remains strong and stable despite the economic turbulence that we have seen lately. Auction realizations seem to be as firm as ever.”

The second item of note was the list of winners of Vance’s Spring Fever Give-Away contest. What was interesting to us was seeing where the firm’s clients are located. Here they are the winners’ locations:

Grand prize:
Second prize:
Alberta , Florida, Ontario and B.C.
Third prize:
Michigan, Quebec, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Belgium, Ontario, Alberta, New Jersey, Washington, North Carolina, Indiana and Colorado

Once again, this tells us how broad the world of stamps is and that’s one of the things that make it so interesting.


Quebec Tercentenary Set


Lot 5901
Scott 98a OG
Catalogue $1,150
Realized $670

Lot 5918
Scott 102 NH
Catalogue $500
Realized $970

It surprised us how few of these 5¢ Quebec Tercentenary imperforate pairs with gum have been recorded by us in the past five years, only four of them, including the one above. A year ago, an NH copy sold at a Vance sale for $1,625 but it was NH and that is exceedingly rare for imperforates in this set. Still, the above $670 was a nice price for the buyer. Only 50 pairs exist with gum.

By way of contrast, we have recorded the sale at auction of 12 copies of the above 15¢ red orange stamp of which 300,000 were issued. Prices have ranged from $516 to $1,525. The above $970 is one of the stronger prices and this is not surprising given its generous borders. It probably would have realized a higher price but for the fact that it was centered a bit low.

$1 Parliament

Lot 6085
Scott 159
Catalogue $600
Realized $530

Lot 6090
Unitrade 159c
Catalogue $1,350
Realized $875

Up to the end of 2008, this $1.00 parliament was on a roll. But starting this year, its prices been retreating modestly as can be seen above. We also note that the stamp is slightly centered to the right. The $1.00 parliament imperforate pair on the other hand, is a beautiful copy with all the best attributes. It is well centered, VF NH, and includes a selvedge on the right hand side with a cutting guideline arrow. Whoever bought it at this price did well.

Modern Varieties

Lot 6265
Scott 591a
Catalogue $200
Realized $115

Lot 6309
Scott 924c
Catalogue $1,200
Realized $710


The above price of $115 for the 6¢ Pearson stamp, printed on gum, is about average. Most copies we have seen are centered low like this one. Only twice in the past ten years has it reached its catalogue value.

The 32¢ maple leaf stamp is a variety in which the beige background and tagging have been omitted. This stamp has appeared regularly at auction over the past ten years and, interestingly, the best price of $1,200 was realized way back in 2001. The above price of $710 is the best price in the last two years.

Lot 6357
Scott 1693a
Catalogue $6,000
Realized $5,180

According to Unitrade, the above “Missing Moose” variety is quite rare. Between 8 and 12 panes were found and most have been broken up into singles. Each pane contains 4 stamps. The stamp was issued in 2003 and the variety only surfaced for the first time, according to our records, at a Vance sale in 2005 where it sold for $6,250. This was the best price ever recorded. The above price of $5,180 is the best price in the past 3 years.


Lot 6358
Unitrade 1694i
Estimate $4,500+
Realized $3,310

This pane of 4 of the $8.00 bear with the imperforate top margin is equally rare. This is only the fourth time we have recorded a sale and the price realized is very close to the $3,712 record price.

Neither Scott nor Unitrade provide a price for this variety so that, in presenting it, Vance had to come up with an estimate which, as it turns out, was a bit on the high side. But they had the right idea as the price turned out to be a strong one.

This stamp was issued in 1997 and we find it quite surprising that the variety only appeared for the first time seven years later in 2004. We always wonder how these things happen and suspect there must be an interesting story. However, in stamp land, we hardly ever hear those stories.


5¢ Registered - Imperforate pair

Lot 6417
Scott F2c
Catalogue $1,200
Realized $1,020


This is one of the nicest copies we have seen of this 5¢ registered stamp in its imperforate form. Vance described it as XF, which we think translates into extremely fine or gem quality. We have to agree, it is a lovely example of this variety. It is not that scarce, with about 24 copies having sold in the past ten years. You might think that the above price is not that strong, but in fact it is. This copy has no gum on the back and amongst the 5 similar NG copies that sold in the past 10 years, it realized the best price.

In 1999, an NH copy sold for $1,350 and created a record price which has not subsequently been beaten. The fact that this copy with no gum came even close to the above record price says something about how strong this price really is.

Mini collections

Lot 7401
Estimate $225
Realized $170


We like to keep an eye on the sales of these mini-collections. We know that they represent something quite special for the collector who put them together with care and attention. We often see these mini collections sell for better than their estimates which means that the auctioneers tend to underestimate their value. Not that this is a problem, because it’s always nice to see the bidders work their way past the estimate to a higher value. This is something nice for the owners who are disposing of their treasures.

The above image from lot 7401 is part of a group of 50th anniversary covers from 1977-78 honouring the famous pilot Charles Lindbergh.

Here’s how a number of the other mini-collections did in the sale:

Small Queen Collection
Alaska Sled Dog Covers
Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympics
Barcelona 1992 Olympic Topicals
World Soccer Topical Collection

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


This auction had one new record price:

Scott No.
Previous NRP
1¢ postage due imperf. pair

Vance’s next sale will take place on June 25, 2009.


©2009, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada