Unless you have been living under a rock on a remote island, it is pretty much guaranteed that you have been hearing plenty about the upcoming first Ron Brigham sale. I say first because Ron’s collection is so substantial that it will take several sales a year for several years to put it all on the block. I may be wrong here, but I have to state that this may be the largest offering of its type in Canadian philatelic history. Certainly, it is comparable to the like of the Gawaine Baillie sale of nearly 10 years ago. In the field of Canadian philately, I am quite sure it is without equal.
Look at it this way, the first part, which is just the large queens, will take up more than 600 lots and take up a day.
I’m actually looking forward to going to Toronto and spending a day hanging out with a bunch of stamp guys and listening to the drone of an auctioneer. Assuming the sale runs an average of one minute per lot, that still means pretty much 11 hours of watching people buy stamps. It is a safe bet that the room will be at capacity in the closing minutes, as we watch the first public sale in a generation of a two-cents large queen green on laid paper. With only three known examples and no idea when the others will be sold, this may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Ron’s collection is spectacular and renowned around the world. Ron himself is one of those colourful and larger-than-life people who all too rarely strides across the collecting stage. I expect that this sale will bring out not only Canadian collectors and dealers but also luminaries from south of the border and across the pond. Charles Verge, CEO of Brigham Auctions, tells me that hundreds of people have shown interest in the sale. If you’re like me, you don’t even mind it when your friends and family are amused to see you excited about stamps.
Perhaps the best news to come out of all of this is that the sale has been covered in literally dozens of Canadian mainstream publications, most of which would never consider stamp collecting newsworthy, except perhaps in a humour column. Regardless of who ends up paying however much for what, the Brigham sale will have done a great service to Canadian stamp collecting by making the hobby fun and cool to the man on the street. The idea of stamp collecting may sound dull and boring, but the idea of a stamp that cost two pennies possibly selling for a million bucks, that’s a story with legs.