a collector wants information on a particular stamp, he or she can turn
on a computer, select a search engine and put in a question. Let's try
"Small Queens". Doing this turns up some wonderful sources
this information, while useful, is limited when compared to what is
available in some of the auction catalogues that have been issued over
the years. This is especially true when a specialized collection is
put up for sale by a knowledgeable collector.
recent examples of specialized catalogues
During the past two or three years, a number of specialized collections
have come to market. Here are a few:
A. Firby, January 24, 2004
" Horace W. Harrison" Registration Collection
A. Lee, October 23, 2003
"James W. Goss" Canadian Arch Issue
A. Firby, June 29, 2003
"John J. Gaudio" Collection of Revenue Stamps
A. Lee, June 22, 2002
Fournelle's" Fancy Cancellations of Canada
& Son, April 30,2002
above type of information is not generally available over the Internet.
A few auction houses, such as John H. Talman in Toronto, archive each
of their sales catalogues on the Internet and make them available to
collectors for number of years. This is very helpful, but unfortunately
not everyone has a computer and, even if they do, it is hard for some
of us to absorb information spread out over multiple pages on the computer
screen. Compare this to having an auction catalogue in front of you
giving instant access to images and prices realized. Not many people
can comfortably read a book on a computer screen.
may still be possible to obtain copies of recent catalogues from the
auction houses in question, but our viewers would have to call them
to find out. Some auctioneers warn their clients not to throw out catalogues
that contain information on specialized collections. We would strongly
support this and, in fact, we would go further. We'd suggest you don't
throw away any of your auction catalogues. The information in them is
Some older examples of specialized catalogues
number of years ago, we were able to acquire the complete set of catalogues
from the sales of " The Fred Jarrett B.N.A.Collection" that
took place on various dates between 1959 and 1961. Those individual
sales catalogues are all contained in one hardbound volume. We still
marvel as we look at this wonderful collection and the wealth of material
it contained on Canadian stamps. Unfortunately, in those days, the descriptions
were less detailed than now, there was no clear indication whether the
stamps were hinged are not and the images, though plentiful, were not
other specialized collections have been sold by auction houses over
the past couple of decades. Here are some of the more interesting ones:
Canadian Postal History
Charles G. Firby
of the Canadian Maritime Provinces
"Dave Roberts" Used Stamps of Canada
Maresch & Son
" Ten " Auction
"Sam C. Nickle" Pence and 1859 Issues
Des Rivieres QC" Pre-stamp Postal History
"Senator Henry D. Hicks" Collection
Maresch & Son
"Reval" Collection of BNA Forgeries
Arfkin's" Large and Small Queens
Sivert's" Canadian Cancellations
Maresch & Son
"Gerald E. Wellburn" Vancouver Island and BC
"John Foxbridge" collection of BNA Pence Issues
"Professor Julian C. Smith" Collection
Maresch & Son
Oct 23, 1986
Lussey's" Special Deliveries and Postage Dues
Maresch & Son
"Simpson" Small Queens
are a few examples of the kind of specialized material that can be found
in these catalogues:
Scott No. 29iii
Jim A. Hennok
Feb. 23, 2002
15¢ Major Re-entry, a fabulous face-free cancelled
copy of the reddish purple shade showing the rare major re-entry,
see figure 39A, page 126 "The Large Queen Stamps of Canada
and their use 1868-1872" HE & HW Duckworth. The finest
copy of this major re-entry we have ever seen. From a new find and
with a 2002 Greene Certificate. Extremely Fine
June 22, 2002
6¢ Red Brown, the very Rare 5¢
on 6¢ Major Re-entry excellent colour & with
large balanced margins. A remarkable copy that is considered the
finest of the few known to exist. This is the rarest of all Canadian
re-entries & one of Canada's most significant errors. A showpiece
for the finest of collections which transcends the UCS catalogue
value. 1997 VG Greene cert. #8369 & 1999 D. Brandon cert. #23822
accompanies. Ex: Dennis Dunn.
Scott No. 40d
Jan 24., 2004
10¢ Magenta, earliest shade, perf. 11½
x 12, with excellent strike of a barred precancellation. Note:
D. Bowen believes this to be the only Magenta 11½ x 12 precancel
extant. A showpiece. XF-SUPERB. Ex: Bowen
Scott No. C1
Feb. 21, 2004
Flight. Well centred and fresh mint
single, with full original gum, faint trace of a hinge mark and
unusually well centred, initialled with the usual J.A.R. (Dr. J.
Alex Robinson, Postmaster General) on back and signed by Sanabria.
Amongst the most famous and desirable Airmail stamps of the World.
Only 200 stamps were printed and the majority of these were used
on covers for the attempted flight. A beautiful stamp, the nicest
we have handled, XF LH 1978 BPA cert and 1994 PF certs.
to get access to these catalogues
access to these catalogues is no easy task. We are not aware of large
accumulations of back issues being available for the various Canadian
auction houses, except in the hands of a few private collectors. This
is a shame as the information, once lost is beyond retrieval. But when
it is available to collectors, it can be priceless.
is it so important? The main reason is that for most Canadian stamps,
there are a number of varieties. Auction catalogues can provide complete
descriptions and images of these varieties. This information can be
valuable. Have a look at a recent Unitrade catalogue to see how much
more valuable the varieties are than the regular stamps. But how can
one identify these varieties? It certainly helps if one has an auction
catalogue with the proper description and image. Let's look at a few:
Scott No. 3
Oct. 29, 1988
the "Sam C. Nickle Collection
12d. Brownish Black on laid paper. The Magnificent Horizontal Pair,
deep rich color, huge margins and with full sheet margin at bottom.
Very sharp impression, fresh and full original gum. A great classic
rarity -- the finest of the three surviving mint pairs and believed
by many to be the Most Important Philatelic Treasure of Canada.
A Superb Gem from the Dale-Lichenstein Collection. Photo in R. Lowe
Encyclopedia, Vol. 5.
Scott No. 7
20 Nov., 1987
the "John Foxbridge" Collection
1855, 10p Blue on Hard Wove Paper, Unusual block of 4. Ample to
huge margins, including the Bottom Sheet Margin. Exceptionally Fresh.
Full Original Gum. The Bottom Pair is Never Hinged. The bottom right
stamp has a small surface scuff not detracting from the Awesome
Beauty of this Great Rarity of Which This is the Only Recorded Unused
Scott No. 1
Eaton & Sons
6 Oct., 1988
1859 2½d dull rose,
British Columbia & Vancouver Island, a marginal strip of six,
from the bottom of the right pane. -Imperforate- The serial number
"147" showed that this 2½d B.C. & V.I. plate
was the 147th. surface-printed plate made by De La Rue & Co.
since 1855. The unique strip was removed from the only known complete
sheet which is in the collection of the British Postal Museum. It
is unknown how this strip came about being removed, but it has been
suggested that the piece may have been a gift to one of the members
of the Royal Family. AN OUTSTANDING ITEM and certainly one of the
Gems of this collection.
thought about how the average collector could build such an accumulation
of catalogues, either on his own or together with others. Here are a
The collector can save all his current catalogues and build up his
own library over a period of years. This means subscribing for catalogues
from a number of auctioneers and paying the required fees.
To "quick start" this, the collector can bid on collections
of catalogues offered by many auction houses as lots during their
regular sales under the title Philatelic Literature.
As well, the collector can purchase collections of catalogues from
providers of stamp literature, such as the following:
4. It would be possible for a group of collectors who belong to a
local stamp club to form their own library by donating their individual
catalogues and grouping them together.
The National Postal Archives has a collection of auction catalogues
at its office in Ottawa. These are available to the general public.
at Canadian Stamp Auctions have formed a general collection of auction
catalogues that dates back to 1973. We have added to it by purchasing
additional catalogues of specialized collections from some of the sources
listed above. We consider this material our most valuable asset. If
more collectors built up such libraries, it would ensure there was a
greater knowledge of Canada's stamps, more articles would be written
on philatelic topics and more people would be encouraged to display
both their stamps and specialized material at our stamp exhibitions.
It's a win-win situation !