Famous discovery to be offered in Halifax auction

For the second time in less than 12 months an example of the two-cent large queen on laid paper will go on the auction block.

The stamp will appear in Eastern Auctions’ general sale, being held Oct. 17-18.

The stamp is the greatest rarity in Canadian philately, with only three known examples. The stamp being sold this month is the third, and was only discovered in 2013.

At that time the discovery made front page news. U.S. collector Michael D. Smith found the stamp in an American Philatelic Society sales book, where it was listed as the common version, printed on wove paper.

One of the other two examples went on the block in February of this year. It was part of the Brigham Collection, having previously been in the famous Ferrary collection, and sold for $475,000. The second-known example, once part of the famed du Pont collection, has been in a private collection since 1986.

All three examples are postally used, and all appear linked to Hamilton, Ont. The one appearing in the action has a Hamilton cancel, with full perforations. It is estimated at $300,000 to $400,000.

In addition to Canadian stamps, the auction has world stamps, British North America and Newfoundland issues.

It also includes the Joel Stern collection of Canadian used multiples. Other collections represented include the George Arfken small queen postal history collection, and the Ian McTaggart-Cowan collection of Canadian revenues and wildlife conservation stamps.

One of the most colourful periods of Canadian postal history is the story of Charles Connell, the postmaster general of New Brunswick.

In 1859 Connell authorized the issue of new postage stamps, to match the colony’s switch to a decimal currency. Rather than place Queen Victoria’s image on the five-cent stamp, Connell used his portrait. Accused of everything from conceit to treason, Connell purchased the stamps and burned them on the front lawn of his house, and also resigned his office.

Some stamps remained, and several examples are in the sale including a Specimen strip and corner block, a trial colour plate proof, and a single Mint example with original gum. Considered the finest known example, it is estimated at $36,000.

Connell remained a member of the Executive Council of New Brunswick, was appointed Surveyor General, and after confederation served as a Member of Parliament for two terms.

Among the commonwealth issues is a Falkland Islands six-pence, from 1964 marking the 50th anniversary of the First World War Battle of the Falkland Islands, with the HMS Glasgow vignette error, Scott 151a. With only 25 known examples, all from a single sheet, the stamp is highly sought after. Described as VF with original gum, it is estimated at $35,000 plus.

A well-travelled cover appears as lot 803. Mailed in 1923 from the United States to France, it was short paid. It was redirected to Belgium and the Netherlands, and then crossed back to Montreal where it was placed in the dead letter office, and finally returned to the U.S. The original address is almost obliterated with a range of dispatch and arrival markings, including postage dues from three different countries. It is estimated at $200.

An imperforate pair of Nova Scotia shilling stamps, violet on bluish paper from the first printing, Unitrade 7, shows a fine oval mute grid cancellation and a portion of a transit mark from 1852, is estimated at $8,000.

The Newfoundland section has a large selection of air mail overprints.

Among them is a 35-cent red, Unitrade C3c, with an inverted overprint to Halifax, N.S. error, and the wide spacing between the words Air and Mail. Described as fresh and well centred with original gum, it is estimated at $10,000.

Another scarce mail is a 1930 Trail of the Caribou 36-cents, with 50-cents overprint from the Columbia flight, Unitrade C5. Only 300 stamps were printed and many were used on mail, making the Mint examples such as this one scarce. It carried an estimate of $17,500.

Lot 997 is a strip of three Prince Consort six-pence stamps, Unitrade 10. The horizontal strip is on the scarce thick soft paper, printed in reddish purple with each stamp cancelled with a pen and ink X. Once in the du Pont “Foxbridge” collection, it received a Green Foundation Certificate in 1994. At that time it was attached to a cover fragment addressed to France. The strip has been lifted, but the lot still includes the fragment. It has an estimate of $27,000.

A modern error is an example of the famous 1959 five-cent Seaway invert, Unitrade 387a. With original gum which has been “overall sweated and lightly redistributed,” it is described at F to VF, and estimated at $12,500.

The sale is being held in two sessions at the Lord Nelson Hotel, Halifax. For more information, go to www.easternauctions.com.

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