Knowledge, perseverance and luck drive ‘the hunt’

This issue’s cover story on the discovery of dramatic perforation errors on the new Pansies souvenir sheets reminds us what this hobby is about: the hunt.

Yes, we all collect for various reasons, but the common denominator all collectors share is the drive to hunt. Without it, what would fuel our passion to have the best for our collection?

So when we read discoveries like the recent one made by Michelle Levesque and Jean Dalliare, co-owners of Zimo Stamp Co., it stokes our ambition to be diligent hunters for something unique and rare.

Is there a secret to finding rarities?

Yes, I believe it’s knowledge, perseverance and luck.

We first learned about the perforation error on Canada Post’s recently released annual flora series, featuring fresh-faced pansies, thanks to an email I received in March from Michelle Levesque.

“This morning I was working on the mailing of our new stamp bulletin,” she writes. “As usual, I buy many packs of souvenir sheets to frank the large envelope mailed to all our customers. What was my surprise when I got, in the middle of a pack of the new Pansies Souvenir Sheet,  four souvenir sheets imperforated.  Perforations were upside down giving two stamps without the Canada & Values. There were only four such sheets.”

What a nice perforation error.

It’s great when dealers and collectors share their rare finds with us. It creates excitement in the stamp community. And who knows, there may be more examples of the errors out there as the Quebec dealers say some bulletins were already mailed before the error discovery was made.

The secret is definitely knowledge – knowing what to look for and, of course, luck.

These essential ingredients helped U.S. collector Michael D. Smith make one of the greatest discoveries in Canadian philately. He found the third-known example of the two-cent large queen on laid paper.

“The discovery took me by complete surprise,” Smith told CSN in a March, 2014 interview. “The first thought even before I triple-checked the stamp was this can’t be. Then after checking what I saw I was in utter disbelief, then I guess my adrenaline jumped up pretty good as I had a strange tingly feeling and I couldn’t really settle down and take it all in. I was completely overwhelmed.”

Could you imagine that feeling?

Smith eventually consigned the great stamp rarity to Eastern Auctions Ltd. It sold last October for $215,000 plus taxes and fees.

This is the dream of every collector. Whether it’s a rare stamp, an unusual error stamp or finding the stamp you’ve been trying to find for eons for your collection.

Knowledge, perseverance and luck.

You gain the knowledge through research, attending stamp shows, checking out auctions and, more importantly, sharing with your fellow collectors, especially at stamp clubs. Perseverance comes by never giving up the hunt. As for luck, I agree with Benjamin Franklin: “Diligence is the mother of good luck.”

“Enjoy the hobby the way it suits you and perhaps someday you will be lucky enough to make a fantastic find like this one for me,” Smith told CSN. “Remember, a knowledgeable collector has an edge on one who is not.”

Smith discovered the rare large queen in a circuit book provided through a philatelic organization. God only knows how many other collectors went through this circuit book, overlooking the rare stamp.

I love these discovery stories as they remind us to enjoy the hobby and never stop searching for that elusive find. Happy hunting.

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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.

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