161-year-old mourning cover to highlight upcoming Maresch sale

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this March 25-26 auction was postponed until April 22-23.

By Jesse Robitaille

An 1859 mourning cover mailed to England from Hamilton, Ont., is among the top highlights of R. Maresch and Son Auctions’ 557th unreserved public auction.

The cover, which is franked with a 7.5-pence deep green stamp (Scott #9a), will cross the block as Lot 241 of the three-session sale on March 25-26.

Mailed to Liverpool, England, the cover includes a Hamilton split-circle cancel dated “10 NOV 1859” plus a red handstamp reading “PAID / LIVERPOOL / COL PACKET / NO 21 59.” There’s also a manuscript, “Per mail Steamer,” near the cover’s top-right corner.

With a torn flap but “otherwise clean (and) very fine,” according to auctioneer Peter Maresch, the cover is accompanied by a 2016 Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation certificate. It has a catalogue value of $6,250.

1,734-LOT SALE

The mourning cover is one of 1,734 lots to be offered during the sale, which features an extensive selection of Canadian material, including more than 170 lots of “Admiral” series with “a large section of lathework and imperforates 1930 to modern,” added Maresch.

Among the worldwide offerings are “good sections” of Great Britain plus other Commonwealth countries with large lots and collections from the Cape of Good Hope, Falkland Island, New Zealand and more.

The Herbert Myers Collection of Great Britain features sections from the stampless period – ranging from the 1600s to the 1840s – plus more than 120 lots of Penny Blacks, the world’s first adhesive stamp, among other offerings.

A used block of four Penny Black stamps from printing plate five, with the ‘QC/QD’ and ‘RC/RD’ letters, is expected to bring $4,000-plus as Lot 904.


Among the Penny Blacks is a “very rare and fine” used block of four from printing plate five.

To be offered as Lot 904, the block features the “QC/QD” letters as the top horizontal pair and “RC/RD” as the bottom.

“Its upper left and right corners featured two star-like designs, with the lower left and right corners containing letters, which helped to designate the position of the stamp in relation to the sheet on which it was printed,” reads an article published by Warwick & Warwick, a U.K.-based auction house.

More than 68 million Penny Black stamps were produced during its one-year print run from April 15, 1840, to Jan. 27, 1841. Printed in sheets of 240 by Perkins Bacon, Penny Blacks vary in value based on plate – with plate 11 being the rarest – plus condition and margins.

With “some overall staining,” the block of four slated for auction this March has a pre-sale estimate of $4,000-plus.


Maresch will be hosting lot viewing on March 16-21 as well as March 23-25 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The first session is slated to kick off on March 25 at 6:30 p.m., with Lots 1-607. It will be followed on March 26 by session two at 1:30 p.m., with Lots 608-1156, plus session three at 6:30 p.m., with Lots 1157-1734.

“As usual our shelves are stacked with hundreds of cartons as well as the many better individual items photographed in the catalogue or online,” said Maresch, who was about 10 years old when he began collecting stamps under the guidance of his father.

“Please come and spend time to carefully view the sale. Early viewing can be arranged; please contact us and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.”

The auction house is located in unit six of 2 Vata Ct., in Aurora, which is about 30 minutes north of downtown Toronto.

For more information about the upcoming sale, visit maresch.com.

Leave a Reply

Canadian Stamp News


Canadian Stamp News is Canada's premier source of information about stamp collecting and related fields.

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.

Send Us Your Event

Running an event? Send it to us and we will display it on Canadian Stamp News!

Submit Event →

Subscribe To 26 Issues For Just $59.99/year

Subscribe today to receive Canada's premier stamp publication. Canadian Stamp News is available in both paper and digital forms.

Subscribe Now