Canadian Flag

Canadian Stamp Auctions

Recent Auction Highlights

1 December , 2010 - Vance Auctions Ltd.

Vance noted the following:

“This sale marks our 38th Anniversary of auctions. It does not seem like 38 years have passed since we ran Mail Auction #1 in November of 1972. The entire catalogue (one page!) is framed on my office wall as a memento. Back in the early days, I did all of the buying, lotting, typing, and shipping myself, but now that we offer over 50,000 lots every year, I need a little help. Over the years our staff has grown to 14, and our offices have expanded three times. We are very proud of the fact that many bidders from the early days are still with us. We are working hard to make sure that we celebrate many more anniversaries with you.”


Early classics

The Canadian section of the sale started off with these rare stamps:

Lot 5271
Scott 3
Estimate $50,000
Realized $34,000


This was a less than perfect example of Canada’s most famous stamp, the 12 Penny Black. It had repairs on the right side and a tiny pinhole above “W”. Still, there are few Canadian stamps that come anywhere near the price level achieved by a stamp in this condition.

Between 1995 and 2010, we recorded the sale of 14 used copies of Scott 3, with prices ranging from $11,000 to $220,600. Five of these, including the above, had faults. The above $34,000 is, by far, the best price for a faulty copy.

The above Scott 3 was printed on laid paper as are all known copies. But pick up an old Scott catalogue, say from the year 1900, and you will find a Scott 3 listed on both laid and wove paper. What was the Scott number for the wove paper copy, it was Scott 6. Ever wonder why that number is missing from the catalogue today. It seems Scott is still waiting for a copy on wove paper to be discovered.

It wasn’t at all clear to collectors in the early 1900s that there was a Scott 3 on wove paper. In fact, the Stanley Gibbons 1913 catalogue listed a copy stating “This stamp on wove paper is now believed to have been issued”, and it quoted Howes’ Handbook on Canada as its authority.

We don’t know when in the 1920s or 1930s the catalogue publishers decided there was no such stamp as a Scott 3 on wove paper. We only discovered the reason for the missing Scott 6 in a recent conversation with the well known Canadian philatelist John McIntyre.


Lot 5270
Scott 2
Catalogue $1,750
Realized $1,440

We have seldom seen a “sheet margin” copy of a Scott 2. It’s a shame it had such a heavy cancellation; otherwise the price could easily have doubled.


Lot 5295
Scott 4d
Catalogue $1,500
Realized $1,185


How rare it is to see a mint copy of a 3 pence beaver. It was printed on fine wove paper and came without gum. The price was on the low side.


Lot 5311
Scott 7a
Catalogue $10,000
Realized $9,300


This was a lovely copy of this classic Canadian rarity. It was described as VF OG with some slight gum adhesion. We were truly struck by its fine appearance. Not surprisingly, it recorded a strong price, the third best we have on record.


Lot 5316
Scott 8
Estimate $4,500
Realized $3,500

It truly amazes us that mint blocks like this with almost full original gum still exist. There was some gum disturbance and two vertical creases and this would explain the relatively low price for such a rare item.


Large Queens – Very Fine Copies

We show below four Large Queens, all mint, whose qualities we admired.

Lot 5392
Scott 21a LH
Catalogue $125
Realized $275

Lot 5425
Unitrade 26iv OG
Catalogue $2,000
Realized $3,280


Lot 5426
Scott 27 OG
Catalogue $2,700
Realized $2,740

Lot 5435
Scott 28 OG
Catalogue $1,200
Realized $1,170


We find it surprising that we have only one record of a sale of a Scott 21a. Undoubtedly a number of others have been sold in the past 10 years that we have overlooked. The 5¢ Large Queen was particularly fine and sold for a new record price. Again, our records show that only four other mint copies of this stamp have been sold at auction in this period, and only two of these with full gum. This rarity and the quality of this stamp must help explain the demand from the bidders for such a prize at this auction.


3¢ Small Queen – Fancy Cancel

Lot 5464
Scott 35
Estimate $100
Realized $137

Collectors continue to show great interest in early Canadian stamps with fancy cancels. One of their favourites is this example with the cancel in the form of a “Bogey Head”. A number of these have been presented at auction in the past year and have received strong bids similar to the above.


6¢ Small Queen – New Record Price

Lot 5496
Scott 43
Catalogue $190
Realized $1,465


We find it exciting to see a Small Queen sold at auction for a record price that is 40% higher than the previous record. Here it is, described as VF NH with brilliant fresh colour. The previous record, set in 2005, was $1050.


1927 Historical Set – Imperforate Corner Blocks

Lot 5845
Scott 146a-148a
Catalogue $1,000
Realized $835



They don’t come much nicer than this set of 3 imperforate corner blocks, all VF NH. The set includes a 5¢, 12¢ and the above 20¢. A similar set of corner blocks sold in 2008 for $940. Whoever acquired the above stamps clearly did well.


Conclusion – 38th Anniversary

This completes our review of Vance’s sale #278, marking 38 years of auctions. We see this firm’s sales as being very solid, reflecting a high standard. The material is well presented and the descriptions carefully given. We congratulate them on 38 years of service, offering philatelic material that they can be proud of.


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



This sale had two new record prices:

Previous NRP
5¢ Large Queen 11 1/2 x 12
6¢ Small Queen

Vance's next auction will take place on January 26, 2011

©2010, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada