Auction review: Imperf sheet of 100 Bluenose stamps breaks Rasdale record

Rasdale Stamp Company—one of the oldest family owned philatelic auction houses in the U.S.—recently completed the highest-priced sale of a single item in its 82-year history.

On Feb. 18-19, Rasdale hosted Public Auction #431, which was highlighted by the company’s recent acquisition of 140 cartons of material kept in storage since the early 1970s.

“The first thing we unearthed was a complete imperf sheet of 100 of the Canadian Bluenose, only two have been reported,” read the auction catalogue.

This imperforate sheet of 100 50-cent Bluenose stamps (Scott #158a) – Lot 1287 – eventually sold for $52,580 USD (including buyer’s premium).

The imperf sheet of 100 stamps was last sold in 1970. (Photo by Rasdale)

The iconic Bluenose stamp has been one of the most most sought-after stamps of Canada since the Post Office Department (now Canada Post) issued the stamp in 1929. In the past 88 years, the stamp has become one of the most rare and valuable Canadian issues.


The lot was accompanied by a 1970 letter from noted Canadian philatelist and dealer Kasimir Bileski, of Winnipeg, who writes, “… no one anywhere, collector or dealer can produce a complete post office imperforate sheet of any value … Enclosed is officially classed as a sheet comprising 2 panes of 50 each of this value.”

Bileski, who died in 2005, is remembered for his discovery of the now-famous 1959 Seaway Invert.

The imperf sheet of 100 Bluenose stamps was last sold in 1970.

The lot was accompanied by a letter from Canadian philatelist Kasimir Bileski, who discovered 1959 Seaway Invert error.

Last month, Rasdale opened bidding for the item at $13,000 and set the bid increments at $500.

“A bidder immediately upped the bid amount to $20,000, followed shortly thereafter by an increase to $30,000. Another few seconds went by before the bidding was increased by another $10,000 up to $40,000,” explained auctioneers. “At that point, the rapid, significant increases slowed and settled to around $500-$1,000 with each new bid.”

Bidding concluded with a winning bid of $45,500. The lot went from its $13,000 opening bid to its final price of $45,500 in fewer than two minutes.

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