Auction recap: Sparks Auctions No. 21

Prices include 15 per cent buyer’s fee.

Last week, Ottawa’s Sparks Auctions hosted a two-day, five-session sale with a range of material for “all budgets and collecting interests.”

Sparks Senior Describer Stéphane Cloutier, who’s also a national-level philatelic judge, said the highlights of Sale No. 21 are in its Canadian material, which includes “nice quality” classics, modern varieties, and a wide selection of postal history, which remains “very popular to our customers.” An “important” 125-lot consignment of Canada Admirals (Scott #104-140) was also featured in the sale, which took place May 25-26.

“There were some good, strong realizations,” added auctioneer and Sparks President Ian Kimmerly. “I’m happy with the results.”

PENCE ISSUES

One highlight in the Pence Issues (SC #1-13) section was Lot 3, a “rare and desirable” 1859-78 12-pence Queen Victoria “Scar” trial colour die proof (in deep vermilion) with a Unitrade catalogue value of $8,500. It realized $6,440.

Lot 3, this 1859-78 12-pence Queen Victoria “Scar” trial colour die proof, realized $6,440.

Lot 3, this 1859-78 12-pence Queen Victoria “Scar” trial colour die proof, realized $6,440.

Another Pence Issue highlight was Lot 27, a “very nice” 1859 10-cent black brown Consort (SC #16). This unused (no gum) stamp with “lovely colour and intact perforations” was accompanied by a 2000 Greene Foundation certificate and a Unitrade catalogue value of $8,000. It realized $5,060.

NUMERAL ISSUES

Moving on to the Numeral Issues (SC #74-84), there was Lot 95, an 1898 one-cent to 20-cent Queen Victoria (SC #74P-84P) plate proof set in upper marginal blocks of four. This “fresh and very fine” lot on card-mounted India paper has a Unitrade catalogue value of $16,000. It realized $9,200.

Another highlight was Lot 99, an 1899 two-cent carmine Queen Victoria Numeral (SC #77) with a Unitrade catalogue value of $270. This “mint never hinged, quite fresh” example was accompanied by a 2015 Greene Foundation certificate and realized $575.

Lot 27 was an 1859 10-cent black brown Consort accompanied with a Greene Foundation certificate. It realized $5,060.

Lot 27 was an 1859 10-cent black brown Consort accompanied with a Greene Foundation certificate. It realized $5,060.

ANTIQUE DEALER

As an interesting aside, Kimmerly said one of the sale’s consignors acquired and handful of interesting material (Lots 113, 120-125, 399) from an antique dealer for only $20.

The first, Lot 113, included two matching engravings of British Army General James Wolfe and French Commander Louis-Joseph de Montcalm, the latter with the inscription “MONTCALM”. The Wolfe engraving measure 86 mm x 90 mm and the Montcalm engraving measure 86 mm x 96 mm. This “lovely addition to a Québec Tercentenary collection” realized $184 after a pre-sale estimate of $100.

The remainder of these lots (Lots 120-125, 399) included a series of Canada die proofs that earned the consignor a very nice return on his original $20 investment.

Lot 99 was an 1899 two-cent carmine Queen Victoria Numeral accompanied with a Greene Foundation certificate. It realized $575.

Lot 99 was an 1899 two-cent carmine Queen Victoria Numeral accompanied with a Greene Foundation certificate. It realized $575.

“For the least interesting, we got an average of $55,” said Kimmerly, of the prices realized by the die proofs.

However, the more interesting lots told a different story as they crossed the auction block.

Lot 399, an unnumbered die proof produced by the British North America Bank Note Company, depicts the famous image of the Newfoundland dog based on the painting by Sir Edwin Landseer and found on a number of Newfoundland stamps and banknotes.

Lot 113, featuring two matching engravings of British Army General James Wolfe and French Commander Louis-Joseph de Montcalm (shown above), realized $184.

Lot 113, featuring two matching engravings of British Army General James Wolfe and French Commander Louis-Joseph de Montcalm (shown above), realized $184.

“We got a hammer price of $750 [$862.50 with buyer’s premium],” said Kimmerly, who added the lot had a pre-sale estimate of $400. “So he has turned $20 into nearly $1,000—not bad at all.”

MODERN ERRORS

Rounding out the Canadian highlights was a pair of modern errors issued last year.

Both Lots 293 and 294 offered souvenir sheets of five stamps, one of which is the sought-after hoodoo stamp that erroneously depicts rock formations from East Coulee, Alta., rather than Dinosaur Provincial Park. Canada Post recalled the booklets and souvenir sheets, making for a desirable collectible.

“The decision to recall stocks and cancel customers’ standing mail orders guarantees the flub version will be listed at a much higher price in catalogues than its replacement,” wrote CSN managing editor Ian Robertson last summer, following the recall.

Lot 399, this unnumbered die proof produced by the British North America Bank Note Company, realized $862.50.

Lot 399, this unnumbered die proof produced by the British North America Bank Note Company, realized $862.50.

Both lots realized $184 after pre-sale estimates of $120.

“Both lots were bid up to $160—exactly the same price,” said Kimmerly, who added the same error sheet realized about $120 in previous Sparks sales. “The fact we had two lots built up to exactly the same amount shows we had a lot of bidding – and there is a lot of bidding on them – and the prices have held up.”

For more information on Sparks Auction No. 21, click here.

“The next auction is in September, and we already have wonderful material,” said Kimmerly, who wrote a weekly stamp column for the Ottawa Citizen and Globe and Mail for more than 14 years from 1976-91. “It’ll be a good, strong sale.”

To learn more about Sparks Auctions, visit sparks-auctions.com.

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