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Stamp Market Commentary

Commentary No. 162 - 17 January 2013

Eastern Auctions to Offer a Superb 12 Penny Black
On February 22, 2013



In just over another month, Eastern Auctions will hold a public auction in Halifax. It will feature one of the most beautiful copies of the 12 Penny Black in existence. We, like collectors in Canada and in other countries, will be most interested to see how it does at auction. You will find below the description provided by Eastern. This will be followed by a number of interesting references from our website in the past concerning this beautiful stamp, including the prices realized during the past 10 years for both mint and used copies.

We start off with Eastern’s detailed description:

Scott 3, 1851 12p Black on Handmade Laid Paper, Imperforate
A superlative mint example of this desirable classic stamp, full sheet margin at right and equally impressive large margins on other sides, possessing the strongest and deepest colour, unlike any other known examples (see commentary below).

Exceptionally fresh with radiant colour and an unusually bold impression on pristine fresh paper displaying strong, clearly visible laid lines. Remarkably, the stamp still retains its full undisturbed original gum with a very light hinge mark at top. Taking all of its physical attributes into consideration, we are of the opinion that this is: "The Finest Known Mint Single of the Twelve Penny Black, Canada's Most Famous Classic Stamp".

Superb in all respects, Extremely Fine, Full Original Gum, Very Lightly Hinged. AN ABSOLUTE GEM $300,000.00
Expertization: 2012 Greene Foundation certificate.

Historical Background:
It has been well documented that a single order of 51,000 stamps was placed in May 1851 with the printer Messrs. Rawdon, Wright, Hatch and Edson. The stamps were delivered to the postal authorities the same month and issued to the public on June 14, with 1,510 stamps being distributed among fourteen post offices. Only 1,450 examples were sold over a span of nearly 6 years. Those unsold were sent back and destroyed together with the unissued remainder (a total of 49,490 stamps) during the month of May 1857. It had been clear from the beginning that demand would be very
limited indeed. The only uses for the stamp were to pay the quadruple domestic rate, the double United States rate, and the single letter rate for the bimonthly mails from Montreal via Boston to Newfoundland, Bermuda or the British West Indies.

The Marquess of Lorne
The Henry Duveen Collection, Private Sale circa. 1919
Dale-Lichtenstein Collection, H.R. Harmer, Inc., Sale 7, January 29, 1970, Lot 836
London International Rarity Auction, Greg Manning Auctions, May 10, 1980, Lot 58
At the 1980 London auction sale, this stamp realized £55,000 hammer (CDN$126,500) against catalogue values of £33,000 (SG) and $40,000 (Scott). The auction description read: "A superb example of this Classic Canadian Rarity with sheet margin and full original gum. Rich colour, the finest example known. Ex. Dale-Lichtenstein".
Interestingly enough this stamp fetched $26,000, the third highest realization at the Dale auctions from the series of four sales entirely dedicated to Canada and British North America (sold November 1968 to December 1970). Scott value at the time was $15,000. It was surpassed only by the two mint pairs of the twelve penny, one of which now resides in the Canadian Postal Archives.
In a 1932 philatelic journal, famous stamp dealer Charles J. Phillips described his friend Alfred Lichtenstein’s collection of Canada Pence Issues and stated: "One single copy with the full right sheet margin is intense black, the darkest shade I have seen. This came from the Duveen collection and I believe it is one of the five copies sold to me by the late Marquis of Lorne, formerly of Canada."
The stamp was originally acquired by Charles Phillips in the early 1900s and a short account can be read in his Philatelic Classics booklet (Vol. I, No. 12, April 1930). It was bought from the Duke of Argyll, formerly Marquess of Lorne; Governor General of Canada (served 1878 to 1883). He was married to Princess Louise, fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. This stamp then graced the famous Duveen collection until the 1910s when it was privately dispersed. Alfred Lichtenstein subsequently purchased it for his collection where it remained until it was sold in 1970, over four decades later.

Past References in Our Website:

1. Stamp prices realized at auction:

Scott 3 - Mint copies
Scott 3 - Used copies

2. Commentaries

Jan 5, 2011 Special Commentary
Sept 17, 2010 Commentary No. 135
Aug 17, 2009 Commentary No. 122
Oct 17, 2006 Commentary No. 88

3. Some of Canada’s Greatest Collections

Sept 17, 2007 Dale Lichtenstein
Nov 19, 2009 Bill Gross
Sept 30, 2006 Dr. Choi-Lok Tang
May 10, 2006 Sir Gawaine Baillie – Part II

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