Cantor collection sale ‘far above expectations’

Rare 1877 Small Queen cover sells for $29,900

By Jeff Fournier

Over $600,000 in sales was the final tally for the Nov. 24, 2015 auction sale of the Daniel Cantor Small Queen Collection held by Sparks Auctions of Ottawa, Ont. The first, one day single owner sale held by Sparks, saw nearly 300 bids received prior to the auction and over 1,333 internet bids on the day of the sale, with a busy floor of collectors, agents and phone bidders.

Bids were received from around the world, but most were from Canada, the United Kingdom, Great Britain and the Pacific Region.

“Virtually every important item sold for far above expectations,” says Ian Kimmerly, president of Sparks Auctions. “We had set relatively aggressive estimates… but 100 per cent of the lots sold, with about 16 per cent going over the top estimate for the hammer price.”

Interestingly, there were about a half dozen or so lower priced lots which sold for 50 per cent of the estimate, but because most of the best items sold for such a good percentage above expectations, the overall result was a strong one.

Among the items expected to do well that didn’t disappoint was lot 145, with a pre-sale estimate of $3,000 and a final sale price of $4,830. (All prices listed included buyer’s premium.)  This lot featured an 1890s, six-cent chocolate imperforate, ungummed pair, with clearly visible major re-entry on the right stamp.

Lot 155 featured an 1872, six-cent yellow-brown cover, bisected diagonally. Six-cent bisect covers are quite scarce. This one was in an outstanding overall state of preservation that is almost never found on an early bisected cover. Along with its excellent provenance, it may well have been the finest recorded, six-cent bisect cover.  The lot had a pre-sale estimate of $3,000 and sold for $3,680.


Another noteworthy lot and likely the highlight of the auction was lot 350. Although the pre-sale estimate was $15,000, it sold for $29,900. The lot contained an 1877, 13-cent, pre-UPU registered letter-rate cover to England, franked with a five-cent, olive-green and an eight-cent blue RLS, both tied by straight-line registration handstamps, paying the pre-UPU five-cent preferred rate plus eight-cent registration fee. It was mailed from Goderich, Ont. to London, England through Toronto and Lothbury. This piece had a red crown registered cancel on front and a very clean cover, with clear postmarks – one of only 16 known – franked with an eight-cent RLS (Unitrade 38, F3).

Eight-cent registered letter stamp covers are rarities of the highest calibre, with only 16 covers having been recorded with the eight-cent RLS used for its intended purpose. Of these 16 covers, many have faults or are otherwise unattractive. The cover offered in this sale was in pristine condition and it graced the collections of many illustrious collectors over the years. This was certainly one of the key items from the Cantor collection and one of the most important Small Queen covers to England.

Lot 215 – a block of 15, ten-cent small Queens – was originally estimated at $15,000 and sold for $23,000. The 10-cent die-proof, which was offered in lot 193, was estimated at $20,000, and sold for a hammer price of $27,600.

“The general feeling on the floor was a good one, with a lot of camaraderie being shown both before and after the sale. There weren’t any hard feelings if someone bid someone else up,” says Kimmerly. “It was a really good philatelic experience and for me as the auctioneer, it was made even better with the fantastic results!”

Sparks’ regular winter auction will take place in early 2016.

For further results of the Cantor sale, go to

Leave a Reply

Canadian Stamp News


Canadian Stamp News is Canada's premier source of information about stamp collecting and related fields.

Although we cover the entire world of philatelics, the majority of our readers are Canadian, and we concentrate on the unique circumstances surrounding collecting in our native land.

Send Us Your Event

Running an event? Send it to us and we will display it on Canadian Stamp News!

Submit Event →

Subscribe To 26 Issues For Just $59.99/year

Subscribe today to receive Canada's premier stamp publication. Canadian Stamp News is available in both paper and digital forms.

Subscribe Now