Garcelon sale nets ‘strong’ bids

Lot 465 featured a well-centered block of eight 1897 eight-cent orange (Unitrade #72) on vertical wove paper. With original gum and never hinged, it sold for $4,000, compared to a pre-sale estimate of $3,000-plus.

The Garcelon sale brings to a close a stamp story that started in 1932 when Ralph O. Garcelon, a collector who discovered he liked buying and selling stamps more than collecting them, opened up the Garcelon Stamp Company, in St. Stephen, N.B. At first he worked out of a room on the family farm, but by the 1950s the company had its own building and more than 60 employees. The company continued to grow, moving into a larger building in 1962. Much of Garcelon’s business was done in the United States. St. Stephen is a border town, and Garcelon used a post office box in Calais, Maine, to sell US stamps to customers. He was an aggressive advertiser, appearing in newspapers, magazines, and comic books all over North America. Continue reading →

Eastern Auctions features Garcelon Stamp Company

Lot 357 features a group of 34 Toronto geometric fancy cancelled covers and six postcards, all from 1870 to 1874. It has an estimate of $1,000.

The final chapter in a Canadian stamp story will come to a close Feb. 25, when Eastern Auctions sells the final inventory of the Garcelon Stamp Company of St. Stephen, N.B. The business, familiar to most old-time collectors, was formed in 1932 by Ralph O. Garcelon, a collector who discovered he enjoyed buying and selling stamps more than collecting them. At first he worked out of a room on the family farm, but by the 1950s the company had its own building and more than 60 employees. The company continued to grow, moving into a larger building in 1962. Much of Garcelon's business was done in the United States. St. Stephen is a border town, and Garcelon used a post office box in Calais, Maine, to sell U.S. stamps to customers. He was an aggressive advertiser, appearing in newspapers, magazines, and comic books all over North America. Continue reading →

Diversity is welcome on Canada’s stamps

After looking over the 2017 stamp program, or at least what we've seen of it, it would be kind of easy to throw a few rocks at Canada Post. There's a lot of same old, same old: hockey, flowers, more hockey, birds, UNESCO sites and even photography are all getting a bit tired. But these are valid issues, and face it, sports subjects sell stamps to fans and that can be good both for sales and exposing new people to stamp collecting. Much of the really cool Canada 150 stuff has yet to be announced, so I am reserving judgement on that. But I am really excited about the new holiday stamps. That's right, I think the Eid, Diwali and Hanukkah stamps are just plain fantastic and long overdue. Continue reading →

Stamp auction results pushing strong market

While it has become somewhat fashionable to talk about how stamp collecting is a dying hobby, the actual market has a very different indication. Logic would tell us that since the number of stamps isn’t going down, a smaller collector base would mean less competition for stamps, and a weak market with prices dropping like a rock. That’s not what I have seen. Recent stamp auctions, such as Eastern Auctions’ sale a few months ago, and Daniel F. Kelleher Auction’s recent New York sale, show us that demand is strong for high quality stamps, with great prices being seen on both sides of the border. It would be easy to dismiss this as investors just getting excited, but investors usually don’t get excited about such obscure fields as postal history and Maritime bisects. They want the flashy stamps with high rarity and predictable demand along with some liquidity. When a collector buys high end stamps, he may be hoping for a payback when he sells, but that is secondary to his collecting goals. Continue reading →

Canada 150 an opportunity for collectors to shine

We are just a few months away from 2017, the 150th anniversary of Confederation. We will probably use that title, since the official name of a 150th anniversary is sesquicentennial, not something that rolls off the tongue. While the peak of the celebration will be tied to July 1, the government has already made it clear that this will be yearlong event. For me, this brings back memories of 1967. I wasn't very old then, but I remember it as a yearlong celebration. It was also, for many of us, the first time we started to express pride in being Canadians, and in Canada as a country. From a collecting viewpoint, 1967 was marked by a pretty awesome coin set, and a not-so-spectacular response from what was then the government post office. Continue reading →

Both classic and modern material hotly contested in Halifax

The highest price of the October Eastern Auctions sale was paid for a set of die proofs of 1875 Registration stamps. The three lots, sold as a single item, realized more than $50,000.

Bidding was strong at two auctions held in Halifax in late October by Eastern Auctions Ltd. The first sale featured collections formed by the late Mel Baron. According to auctioneer Gary Lyon, demand from mail, phone, and floor bidders was strong throughout the sale, with many lots bringing prices well over the estimates. “The section of imperforates was the most complete ever offered,” he said. A set of tete-beche Admiral issue booklet panes sold for $40,250. An imperf pair of the two-cent green Arch issue realized $16,100, while a block of four of the three-cent Medallion die II realized $9,775. Modern issues included an imperforate four-cent Cameo coil strip that brought an astounding $24,150. Continue reading →

Witnessing the evolution of stamps in Canada

While the collector in us tends to have a conservative nature, stamps themselves continue to evolve. Today's postage stamps are dramatically different from those that I stuck into album pages as a young boy, which is to be expected. Back then most stamps were printed in one or two colours, self-adhesives just didn't seem to exist, and designs were relatively plain. But today's stamps are also a far cry from even about a dozen years ago, when I first got involved with Canadian Stamp News. By then stamps had already changed quite a bit, from the days of my little stamp album. They were much more colourful, self-adhesive issues were common, and we had even seen unusual shapes and holograms, but some things just didn't seem likely to happen. Continue reading →

Baron collection offers ‘great number of rarities’

One of the covers in a complete set of King George VI war effort stamps, with a block of four $1 destroyers and a warship cachet, sent by registered mail from Toronto terminal A.

For the first time in years, a seminal collection of first-day covers (FDCs) will go on the block when Eastern Auctions sells the Baron Collections on Oct. 28. Yohann Tanguay, of Eastern, said the collection was assembled over decades – as early as the late 1960s – and was then held and enjoyed by the family for many years before being consigned. “When you go through the binders, the comments were all put in using a typewriter,” Tanguay said. Melvin Baron was particularly interested in first-day covers. His collection formed the basis of a series of articles written with Stan Lum from 1977 to 1982. Continue reading →

Semi-postals serve to help communities

Canada’s first semi-postal stamps were issued to help pay for Canada’s first Olympic games, hosted by Montreal in 1976.

he main purpose of stamps, of course, is to prove pre-payment of postage, but sometimes they can do good work for society as well. That is the case of semi-postals, a special sort of stamp that also raises money for good causes. The concept goes back much further than many collectors realize. In 1890, Great Britain issued the first semi-postal, a postcard with a five penny surcharge over the penny postage rate. The extra money was put into a fund to benefit postal workers. The idea caught on quick, and by the early 1900s they were becoming quite popular in Europe. In 1913 Switzerland issued the first semi-postal in the Pro Juvente series. The series, which supports a charity of the same name which provides programs for children with mental and physical handicaps, continues to this day. The first stamps in the series go back even further, to a group of three 10-centime labels with no postage value, sold through the post office. Continue reading →

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