Of particular note to collectors of Canadian material are Lots 455-465.
Lot 455 of the Gems of Philately sale is an 1851 12-pence black Queen Victoria on laid paper (Scott #3) with a “neat target cancel, ample to clear margins, rich bold colour.” According to the auction catalogue, the stamp has been “expertly repaired and mounted (rebacked).” The lot is accompanied by a 1983 Friedl certificate and has a Scott catalogue value of $135,000.
“On May 14, 1851, a package containing 51,000 twelve pence stamps was sent by the printers Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson of New York to Postmaster General James Morris in Toronto. From this first and only consignment of twelve pence stamps, only 1,510 stamps where issued to 14 different post offices between June 14th of 1851 and December 4th of 1854,” reads the auction catalogue.
“With the Ingersoll Post Office return sixty examples, only a mere 1,450 examples where ever sold through the post office, with the remaining backstock eventually destroyed. This issue is considered among the rarest of the British Commonwealth issues.”
Lot 456 is an 1853 three-penny red Beaver major re-entry variety (SC #4a). This stamp—position 61 of pane B with a major re-entry showing doubling of almost all lettering, all four numerals, and the horizontal frame lines at upper left and lower centre—has “large to huge margins showing part imprint at left, rich colour, lightly cancelled by ’39’ four-ring cancel of St. Hyacinthe,” according to auctioneers.
It has a catalogue value of $1,200.
Lot 457 is an 1852 three-penny orange red Beaver on thin paper (SC #4d). This bottom-left corner margin single has “full to mostly huge margins, beautiful colour” and a light target cancel, according to auctioneers. It’s accompanied by a 1970 BPA Expertising certificate, a 1973 Bolaffi certificate and a 2016 Eichele certificate.
This lot has a catalogue value of $300.
Lot 458 is an 1853 three-penny brown red Beaver (SC #4a) with a catalogue value of $350. According to auctioneers, this top-left margin single has “deep rich colour, large margins including huge sheet margins, bold ’21’ four-ring cancel of Montreal.” The lot is accompanied by a 1964 Diena certificate; both a 1965 and 1966 Bolaffi certificate; and a 2016 Eichele certificate.
Lot 459 is another 1853 three-penny brown red Beaver (SC #4a), this with “large margins all around, rich colour on bright paper, [and a] blue target cancel.” The lot is accompanied by a 1976 Bolaffi and 2016 Eichele certificates. It has a catalogue value of $350.
Lot 460 is a horizontal pair of two 1852 three-penny orange red Beaver stamps (SC #4d). From positions 69 and 70 of plate two, each stamp is cancelled by concentric rings. This “Extremely Fine and choice pair” is accompanied by a 1976 Bolaffi certificate and a 2016 Eichele certificate. There’s a catalogue value of $450 as singles and $600 as pairs.
Lot 461 is an 1855 six-penny slate gray stamp (SC #5) with a “large margin single neatly tied by target cancel on cover to Braintree, Vt.” With a “Montreal, L.C., Ju 11, 1855” circular date stamp at left, this Extremely Fine lot has an estimate of $1,000-$1,500.
Lot 462 is an 1898 10-cent brown violet stamp (SC #83) with original gum. This never hinged stamp is “nearly perfectly centred with large margins and razor sharp impression. This “fresh and Extremely Fine” lot has a catalogue value of $1,500.
Lot 463 is a 1959 five-cent St. Lawrence Seaway invert error (SC #387a). With original gum, this never hinged stamp is “well centred amid wide margins.” Described by auctioneers as “bright and Post Office fresh” this Extremely Fine lot is accompanied by a 2013 Richard Gratton certificate.
The famed St. Lawrence Seaway stamp was issued on June 26, 1959, coinciding with the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway by Queen Elizabeth II and U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The planning and production of the stamps to commemorate the event took almost as long as the construction of the seaway itself with proposals coming forward in 1954 in the U.S. and in 1956 in Canada.
The first report of the discovery of the Seaway Inverts was when a young office boy from the Marlborough Hotel in Winnipeg purchased 30 stamps from a post office outlet in the Eaton store on Aug. 20, 1959. It’s believed about 200 examples exist today.
This lot has a pre-sale estimate of $9,500.
Lot 464 is another Seaway invert error (SC #387a), this tied on a small piece by a wavy line machine cancel. With “exceptional centring and margins [and] rich bright colours,” this Extremely Fine lot is accompanied by a 1969 BPA Expertising certificate.
According to auctioneers, there are about 200 mint Seaway Inverts in private hands.
“Quite a few of the Seaway Inverts were actually used by the public before they realized what they had,” reads the auction catalogue. “With only 16 examples recorded on cover, it would seem even a used example would be far rarer than mint however catalog values seem to indicate to the contrary.”
This lot has a pre-sale estimate of $7,500.
Rounding out the highlights of the upcoming Gems of Philately sale is another Seaway invert, this a vertical pair of never hinged stamps with original gum. Described by auctioneers as “bright and fresh with strong bold colours,” this Very Fine offering has a pre-sale estimate of $19,000.
According to auctioneers, the known five-cent St. Lawrence Seaway inverts are believed to come from two sheets of 200 stamps. Of these, more than 100 stamps were found in postal stock and return to Ottawa for destruction. The remaining examples were released to the public, leaving a small number of used examples (with only 16 usages on cover known) and about 200 mint examples.
“Very few multiples are still existence,” reads the auction catalogue.