Market Watch: Sparks Auction No. 21

Prices include 15 per cent buyer’s fee.

On May 25-26, Ottawa’s Sparks Auctions hosted a two-day, five-session sale with a range of material for “all budgets and collecting interests.”

Auctioneer and Sparks President Ian Kimmerly offered some insight into the recent sale and the Canadian philatelic market at large.

“There were some good, strong realizations,” said Kimmerly, who wrote a weekly stamp column for the Ottawa Citizen and Globe and Mail for more than 14 years from 1976-91. “I’m happy with the results.”

HIGHLIGHTS

Lot 3, this 1859-78 12-pence Queen Victoria “Scar” trial colour die proof, realized $6,440.

Lot 3, this 1859-78 12-pence Queen Victoria “Scar” trial colour die proof, realized $6,440—a ‘fairly high percentage’ of Unitrade, added auctioneer and Sparks President Ian Kimmerly.

The first highlight – found in the Pence Issues (SC #1-13) section – was Lot 3, a “rare and desirable” 1859-78 12-pence Queen Victoria “Scar” trial colour die proof with a Unitrade catalogue value of $8,500. It realized $6,440.

“That’s a fairly high percentage of Unitrade, and Unitrade is only suggested retail price,” explained Kimmerly, who added most dealers’ prices range from half of catalogue value to upwards of 80 per cent. “No retailer will try to get full Unitrade on hinged stamps. Sometimes it depends on the stamp and overall quality.”

Another Pence Issue highlight was Lot 27, a “very nice” 1859 10-cent black brown Consort (SC #16). This unused (no gum) stamp with “lovely colour and intact perforations” was accompanied by a 2000 Greene Foundation certificate and a Unitrade catalogue value of $8,000. It realized $5,060.

Lot 27, this 1859 10-cent black brown Consort, realized $5,060.

Lot 27, this 1859 10-cent black brown Consort, realized $5,060.

“It’s unused—no gum,” said Kimmerly. “The catalogue assigns a large premium for having gum, but it would only apply if it had full, original gum, which almost none of them do. Some of them have a trace of gum.”

The lot is also “described as Fine, but it’s Fine for the issue,” added the long-time auctioneer. “For the modern issues, it’s Very Good. If it was better-centred, it would catalogue a lot more because Unitrade prices stamps in different grades.”

Lot 99, this 1899 two-cent carmine Queen Victoria Numeral, realized $575.

Lot 99, this 1899 two-cent carmine Queen Victoria Numeral, realized $575.

Another highlight, this in the Numeral Issues (SC #74-84) section, was Lot 95, an 1898 one-cent to 20-cent Queen Victoria (SC #74P-84P) plate proof set in upper marginal blocks of four. This “fresh and very fine” lot on card-mounted India paper has a Unitrade catalogue value of $16,000. It realized $9,200.

“I think $8,000 is a very respectable [hammer] price,” said Kimmerly. “It’s very much in line with what the market suggests it sells for.”

Another respectable price was realized by Lot 99, an 1899 two-cent carmine Queen Victoria Numeral (SC #77), which has a Unitrade catalogue value of $270. This Extremely Fine “mint never hinged, quite fresh” example was accompanied by a 2015 Greene Foundation certificate and realized $575.

Lot 399, this unnumbered die proof produced by the British North America Bank Note Company, realized $862.50.

Lot 399, this unnumbered die proof produced by the British North America Bank Note Company, realized $862.50.

“That’s a great stamp, and it’ll get competition anywhere,” said Kimmerly. “If that was hinged, it would only catalogue $90, and if a stamp like that was Fine/Very Fine and never hinged, it would be a small fraction of what it sold for. The reason for the strong price is because of exceptional quality.”

MODERN ERRORS

Rounding out the Canadian highlights was a pair of modern errors issued last year, since which time there has been an upward trend in the error stamps’ value.

Both Lots 293 and 294 offered souvenir sheets of five stamps, one of which is the sought-after hoodoo stamp that erroneously depicts rock formations from East Coulee, Alta., rather than Dinosaur Provincial Park. Canada Post recalled the booklets and souvenir sheets, making for a desirable collectible.

“The decision to recall stocks and cancel customers’ standing mail orders guarantees the flub version will be listed at a much higher price in catalogues than its replacement,” wrote CSN managing editor Ian Robertson last summer, following the recall.

 Lot 293 was this souvenir sheet of five stamps, one of which is the sought-after hoodoo error stamp. It realized $184.


Lot 293 was this souvenir sheet of five stamps, one of which is the sought-after hoodoo error stamp. It realized $184.

Both lots realized $184 after pre-sale estimates of $120.

“Both lots were bid up to $160—exactly the same price,” said Kimmerly, who added the same error sheet realized about $120 in previous Sparks sales. “The fact we had two lots built up to exactly the same amount shows we had a lot of bidding – and there is a lot of bidding on them – and the prices have held up.”

For more information on Sparks Auction No. 21, click here.

“The next auction is in September, and we already have wonderful material,” said Kimmerly. “It’ll be a good, strong sale.”

To learn more about Sparks Auctions, visit sparks-auctions.com.

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