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Canadian Stamp Auctions

Recent Auction Highlights

18 June, 2009 - Vance Auctions Ltd.

It’s summer time and, with just over 7500 lots for sale representing stamps from all over the world, Vance Carmichael’s firm has been having a busy time.

We just can’t imagine what it would be like to have to lot 7,500 stamps every couple of months and that’s just for starters. Once this is done, Vance’s staff then has to handle the thousands of bids that come in by mail, determine the winning bidders, notify them, send out the stamps and arrange payments. That’s a massive amount of paperwork. Just as it gets this all done, and deals with any mix up’s, cheques that bounce etc. it must begin the arrangements for the next auction. To start with, more stamps must be found. It makes us tired to even think about it.

But in the end, the Vance people get it done and they do a great job!

While we always like to pour over the entire catalogue, our mandate makes us focus on the Canadian stamps Vance offers and that are so well presented. Sadly, in this sale, many of them did not sell. We think it must be the summer doldrums. But there were some real beauties that did sell and this 6¢ Small Queen was a good example:

Lot 5622
Scott 43
Catalogue $190
Realized $189

What a gorgeous stamp which includes the sheet imprint at the bottom. As Vance points out, the perforations at the bottom are not in the normal position, but are below where they should be, cutting through the imprint. What an exceptional stamp for a collector. It has a light crease unfortunately, but for a stamp this unusual, and therefore this rare, this is not a big drawback. Lucky winning bidder on this one!

Beautifully Cancelled Jubilees


Lot 5685
Scott 55
Catalogue $175
Realized $310

Lot 5707
Scott 59
Catalogue $190
Realized $310

There is a strong market for well centered used Jubilees. They appear fairly regularly at auction and are consistently sought after. Vance described the above two as gems.

We keep pricing records for over 800 stamps on our web site, showing the prices realized at auction for investment quality stamps over the past ten years. 95% of the prices are for mint stamps. If we were ever to keep prices for some of Canada’s used stamps (and this is very theoretical!) it would be for this set, because of the interest it consistently attracts.

Again we salute the discerning winning bidder. You paid a lot for the stamps, well above catalogue, but you acquired stamps to be proud of. Well done!.

When young collectors talk to dealers, auctioneers and experienced collectors, the message they get is always the same. Go for the best. The above two Jubilees are a good example of this.


Outstanding Numerals

Lot 5776
Scott 75a
Catalogue $1,200
Realized $1,110

Lot 5784
Scott 80a
Catalogue $1,200
Realized $1,070



Lot 5796
Scott 84
Catalogue $1,200
Realized $1,650


The two imperforate pairs shown above were lightly hinged and had generous margins all around. They sold for prices near catalogue, which is unusual for imperforates in the Maple Leaf and Numeral sets. Normally they sell for less.

The 20¢ Numeral was a beautiful NH copy. It was centered a bit high. Despite this, we found its appearance highly desirable and could well understand why it received such a strong bid.


Rare Port Hood Provisional

For the record, a mint copy of Scott 88B was offered for sale, showing a catalogue value of $25,000. This unusual variety was issued in 1899 by the Postmaster in Port Hood, Nova Scotia, without official authorization. He took a regular 3¢ Numeral stamp, and cut off a 1/3 portion of it to make a 1¢ stamp. The copy in this Vance auction came with three certificates of authentication. Unfortunately, it did not sell, which is a shame.


Admiral Imperfs

Lot 5911
Scott 110a
Catalogue $1,180
Realized $2,000

There were four Admiral imperforate pairs offered in the sale which is an unusually high number in just one sale. Three of them, including the above, had defects. This is the only one that sold. It was VF and had original gum, but came with a horizontal crease.

The successful bidder snapped it up for just over 50% of catalogue. We suspect that, in the long run, this will prove to be a good investment for that person.

These aren’t the first Admiral imperforates that have been offered with defects. Vance notes that only 50 pairs of each denomination exist. It makes you wonder how many perfect pairs still exist. Interesting!


A Little Treasure


Lot 6076
Scott 191var
Catalogue $100
Realized $69

Because we aren’t a specialist in the Arch set, we cannot tell how rare this variety is with a little “dot” after the 3. We do not recall ever seeing it before, which really intrigues us. Vance explains that the variety is listed in Hans Reiche’s handbook “Steel Engraved Constant Plate Varieties”. Because it doesn’t look that unusual, we were somewhat surprised that we couldn’t find it in the Unitrade catalogue. We are not sure what to make of this.



All in all, this was a wonderful auction and fun to review. It’s been a whole year now since the worldwide financial crisis descended upon us. Things seem to be getting a bit more positive these days and we hope this will be reflected in the stamp market.

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

This sale had one new record price:

Scott No.
Previous NRP
1¢ Numeral imperf. pair


Vance’s next sale will be held on August 26, 2009.


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