By Jesse Robitaille
Prices do not include 15 per cent buyer’s premium.
New Brunswick’s Eastern Auctions recently offered a 685-lot sale of worldwide and British North America stamps and postal history, including a number of “noteworthy” rarities.
The June 17 sale, which was held at the Lord Nelson Hotel and Suites in Halifax, N.S., saw several serious bidders drive up the hammer price on a handful of key items.
“The British Columbia section – one of the highlights of the sale – went well above expectations, especially some of the postal history,” said Yohann Tanguay, chief describer of Eastern Auctions’ public sales, who added it was “a very strong sale” overall.
“Valuable and important stamps were keenly sought-after. Several serious bidders were often contesting against each other, pushing up the prices, notably New Guinea (New Britain) G.R.I. (Georgius Rex Imperator, referring to the incumbent British King George V) stamps, early classic stamps of British North America, Canada plate multiples, choice mint NH (never hinged) singles, among others.”
Among the top worldwide offerings was a recently discovered and Choice Very Fine example of the “great rarity” of the G.R.I. Occupation issue of 1914. This used example of the surcharged five-shilling-on-five-mark stamp – “by far the finer of the only two known,” according to auctioneers – features a missing period after the “I” in the “G.R.I.” overprint. The two surcharge lines on this variety (Scott #15a) are spaced three-and-a-half to four millimetres apart.
The stamp is cancelled by two March 3, 1915 strikes of the Rabaul, New Guinea oval datestamp in violet. It’s signed in pencil on the reverse by philatelic expert Sergio Sismondo, whose 2017 expertization certificate accompanies the lot.
This example brought $25,000 as Lot 48 during the June 17 sale.
Another similar variety, this for the three-shilling-on three-mark stamp (Scott #14a), brought $11,500 as Lot 47. This example is also tied by an oval Rabaul datestamp in violet and signed by Sismondo, whose expertization certificate also accompanies this lot.
BRITISH COLUMBIA & VANCOUVER ISLAND
Other highlights included Lot 73, an unused example of the 1860 British Columbia and Vancouver Island two-and-a-half-pence bright orange-rose stamp (Scott #1). This Extremely Fine example realized $28,000.
Lot 195 was an “exceptionally storied” cover mailed from Golden, B.C. to “C. Parsons,” secretary of the Upper Columbia Tramway and Navigation Company, on July 27, 1898. The cover is franked with a three-cent Victoria Leaf stamp (Scott #69) along with a locally produced “U.C. Co. 5c.” stamp, both of which are tied by a Golden, B.C. circular datestamp. This lot realized $8,000.
Lot 246 was an 1861-62 Newfoundland one-pence red-brown stamp (Scott #16) accompanied by expertization certificates issued by The Philatelic Foundation (1951) and the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation (1991).
According to Milwaukee, Wisc.’s Col. Robert H. Pratt – the pre-eminent Newfoundland stamp and postal history collector, researcher and author – only four sheets (480 stamps) were printed in red brown, which was a colour error. A “small number” have survived, according to the auction catalogue.
Described by Tanguay as a “superlative stamp rarely found with such superior attributes,” this example realized $17,000.
Lot 580 was a 1938 $1 Château Ramezay upper-left imperforate plate No. 1 block of four stamps (Scott #245b). The only two other known imperforate plate blocks are from the upper-right and lower-right positions. This “very rare imperforate plate block” realized $5,750.
Rounding out the highlights was Lot 640, a 1916 two-cent plus one-cent “dark yellowish brown” Die I War Tax stamp (Scott #MR4a).
“A beautiful mint example of this key Admiral stamp,” this lot realized $3,500.
For more information about Eastern Auctions, visit easternauctions.com.