Three-penny beaver block stars in sale of Brigham collection

Many items haven’t been on market since ’80s, says Eastern Auctions

Eastern Auctions’ Part II of the Ron Brigham Estate Province of Canada auction on Aug. 19 features many rarities and material that hasn’t “surfaced” at auction for more than 40 years.

“Many of these have not surfaced at auction since the 1980s, to our surprise more than 40 years ago,” says Yohann Tanguay, Eastern’s chief describer. “The second instalment features 157 lots, from proofs, stamps and postal history from the three-pence beaver to the last issued decimal, the two-cent stamp.”

In this sale, Tanguay says “the spotlight will be shining on the six-pence and 10-pence Prince Albert, namely Scott/Unitrade (catalogue) numbers two, five, 10, 13, 16 and 17 including their varieties, printings, proofs, stamps, and postal history.”

Tanguay says of the 157 lots, “we’ve counted over 30 lots valued into the five figures, four of which reaching the mark of $100,000 or more.” 

The sale offers great appeal to collectors of all levels and budgets, he adds.

“Brigham was fond of advertising covers and there are a fair number being offered in Part II,” Tanguay says. “Several of these bearing cents issues are quite affordable and are very appealing to the eye. A nice collection can be gathered with patience without breaking the bank, so to speak.”

The August Brigham sale is the second of four parts to be offered by Eastern Auctions, featuring the Grand Prix collection of the Province of Canada that Brigham collected over decades. Brigham died on Aug. 4, 2022.

“Like all great collectors, Brigham began early in acquiring important pieces, laying the foundation of what was to become one of the very best Canadian collections ever assembled,” states a biography on Brigham in the auction catalogue.  “His rapid progress in acquiring rarities has become legendary.”

A more detailed account of Brigham, his collection and contributions to Canadian philately is available on page three of the catalogue, available to view and download as of July 21 at

In addition to the great rarities, many of which are of unique status, Tanguay says “collectors will find beautiful proofs often showing well-documented plate varieties, single stamps and multiples in the highest quality attainable, noteworthy postal history with rare frankings, beautiful advertising covers, and much more.”


While there are numerous fascinating lots in the sale, Lot 44 represents what the catalogue describes as, “the largest Canada pence issue franking known to exist.”

Tanguay explains: “In 1977, during the dispersal of the Ralph Hart collection, this cover was heralded as ‘the most outstanding piece in Canadian pence.’ In the vast field of Canadian postal history, this cover bearing a block of 12 and a single of the six-pence on wove paper, represents a franking of six shilling, six pence (or 78 pence), a huge franking.”

Tanguay says the second-largest pence franking is only half the size at 40 pence. “There are about six covers rated between 37½ pence and 40 pence all addressed to the United Kingdom franked with pence stamps – and, all are world-class rarities.”

Mailed from Cobourg, Upper Canada to a legal firm in Toronto, the postage represented is 26 times the domestic letter rate at the time. The cover features “peripheral faults mainly confined to edges of the envelope, subsequently folded for presentation with a large circular Toronto Feb. 4 date stamp receiver on the back. The description adds, “displaying deep rich colour with sharp impression on fresh paper, scissor cut in top right stamp touching stamp below, very large margins to just in outer frame line on four stamps, all with neatly struck concentric rings cancellations to dramatic effect.”

Tanguay calls it “a glorious cover of illustrious pedigree which has graced the Brigham collection for more than 25 years. Without question, one of the most important and significant pieces of his entire collection.”

Lot 44 has a pre-sale estimate of $100,000-plus.

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