Appeal, rarity a ‘lethal combination’ for postal history highlights of latest Eastern sale

An 1852 folded lettersheet mailed from Montreal to New York realized $5,250 on an estimate of $3,000-plus this November during Eastern Auctions’ final sale of 2019.

Nearly all 794 lots offered by Eastern Auctions were sold this November as they crossed the block in a two-session sale that brought a total hammer price of more than $1 million and exceeded expectations across many of its sections. The first session, which included Lots 1-401, was highlighted by a circa 1878 12-pence Queen Victoria trial colour engraved die proof (Scott #3TC). Offered as Lot 191, it originated from the composite die and includes the characteristic scar at “CE” of “PENCE.” Described by auctioneers as a “most striking coloured proof that will enhance anyone’s collection,” it brought $9,500 on an estimate of $8,500 in Very Fine condition. “Results of some of the proofs and essays did raise eyebrows on how well they sold,” said Yohann Tanguay, chief lot describer with the New Brunswick-based auction house, who added record prices “were certainly fetched on a few.” Continue reading →

Battle of Hong Kong veteran’s story explored through philately

A 1941 cover is franked with some of the six stamps issued by Hong Kong that year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of British sovereignty. Almost a year later, the Japanese Army began its occupation of Hong Kong. (Photos by Michael Souza)

In a 15-year project focusing on family history, Vancouver collector Michael Souza is using stamps and currency to tell the story of his late father, who was a veteran of the Battle of Hong Kong. Born in Hong Kong on July 12, 1921, Henry Souza joined the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps (HKVDC) at the age of 18, only a year before Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland fanned the flames of war. “I’ve been able to blend that in with the life of my father, who was one 14,000 in the ‘Defence of Hong Kong,’ so it’s a mixture of family history with a numismatic and philatelic bent to it,” said the younger Souza, who has been a member of the North Shore Numismatic Society since 1988 and currently serves as its president, secretary and treasurer. Continue reading →

Private cachet-makers stymied in early 1970s

Toronto collector Derwin Mak created a first-day cover for one of Canada Post’s 2019 holiday stamps, which were issued Nov. 4. The cachet to the left of the cover features a photograph of Mak (left), his friend Theresa (centre) and Karen Kain (right), artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada.

Today, first-day covers are issued alongside stamps by many postal services around the world, including in Canada, where the “official first-day cover” (OFDC) signalled the demise of private cachetmaking in that country. While Canada’s Post Office Department issued its first OFDC nearly 50 years ago, in 1971, its American counterpart only began selling cacheted – or illustrated – first-day covers in the early 2000s. “In fact, it took decades before the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) would sell a first-day cover,” said collector and award-winning exhibitor Derwin Mak, of Toronto. Continue reading →

Wang’s ‘Blood’ exhibit breaks thematic ‘glass ceiling’ at Canpex

At Canpex this October, Toronto philatelist Jean Wang became the first thematic exhibitor to win a Grand Award at a Canadian national-level exhibition. (Photo by Sam Chiu)

For the first time at a Canadian national-level exhibition, the Grand Award has been given to a thematic exhibit. North Toronto Stamp Club member Jean Wang took home the top honour at Canpex Oct. 19-20 for her five-frame thematic exhibit, “Blood: A Modern Medicine.” “I hope this will open the doors and encourage other thematic and topical collectors to try their hand at exhibiting,” said Wang, who’s also a member of Canada Post’s 12-person Stamp Advisory Committee. Continue reading →

Quality, provenance continue to highlight Eastern sales

An imperforate 1851 Nova Scotia one-shilling stamp (Scott #6b) carries a catalogue value of $9,000-plus in Eastern Auctions’ Nov. 15-16 general sale. Formerly part of the iconic Dale-Lichtenstein Collection, it will be offered as Lot 88.

A 168-year-old Nova Scotia rarity formerly part of the iconic Dale-Lichtenstein collection is among nearly 800 lots set to cross the block during a two-session sale by Eastern Auctions this November. Described as being “in the finest quality attainable,” the imperforate one-shilling stamp (Scott #6b) issued by Nova Scotia in 1851 has a noteworthy provenance that includes the father-and-daughter collection of Alfred Lichtenstein and Louise Boyd Dale. “When it sold in 1968, it brought over three times its catalogue value,” said Yohann Tanguay, chief lot describer with the New Brunswick-based auction house. Continue reading →

Cohen stamps celebrate somber singer’s life

Three stamps and four official first-day covers honouring late Canadian singer Leonard Cohen were issued by Canada Post on Sept. 21, a day after they were unveiled in Montréal.

A three-stamp set honouring Leonard Cohen were recently unveiled in the late singer’s hometown of Montréal by Canada Post. The veil was lifted on Sept. 20 at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts – beneath a 21-storey mural of Cohen – only hours after Sony Music Canada revealed a “continuation of the master’s work” will be posthumously released in November. “Leonard was always deeply appreciative of his Canadian heritage and would have been moved by this honour from Canada Post,” said Robert Kory, Cohen’s manager, estate trustee and friend. Continue reading →

Stamps, coins offer ‘National Show’ dealers ‘a lot of cross-marketing’

Although he doesn’t deal in coins, stamp dealer Bill Coates enjoys the combination of coins and stamps on the bourse of the National Postage Stamp and Coin Show.

Falling only a week after another major philatelic event, the Fall 2019 National Postage Stamp and Coin Show returned to the Greater Toronto Area this September, offering a glimpse into the strength of the national market. The Sept. 7-8 “National Show” kicked off only six days after this year’s British North America Philatelic Society (BNAPS) convention closed in Canada’s capital region. Despite the tight schedule – and with less than a five-hour drive separating the two regions – both shows were well-attended. “I had a lot of customers coming in, and I still had a good show even though I had the big BNAPS show last weekend,” said dealer Bill Coates, owner of William Coates Philatelist, who has attended each National Show since it began in 2015. Continue reading →

Canadian groups mark transatlantic flight anniversary with Irish philatelists

Collector, exhibitor and member of the Canadian Aerophilatelic Society Dave Bartlet organized the society’s re-enactment flight marking the 100th anniversary of the first transatlantic flight in 1919.

With this June marking the 100th anniversary of the first transatlantic flight, the Canadian Aerophilatelic Society (CAS) worked alongside other philatelic groups in Newfoundland and Ireland to commemorate the centennial. With the aviation industry burgeoning, in June 1919, British pilots Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Brown successfully completed the world’s first non-stop transatlantic flight. The duo flew a modified First World War-era Vickers Vimy bomber more than 3,000 kilometres from St. John’s, Nfld., to Clifden in County Galway, Ireland. “It was a very quick trip for me,” said CAS member Dave Bartlet, who along with CAS past president Chris Hargreaves co-ordinated a 100th anniversary re-enactment flight, complete with airmail souvenirs marking the milestone. Continue reading →

Full week of lectures, seminars coming to Canada for Stamp Collecting Month

Professor Henrik Mouritsen and his wife Iva Mouritsen, of Germany, will be the keynote speakers at the Harry Sutherland Philatelic Lecture as well as the Canadian meeting of the Royal Philatelic Society London on Oct. 11 and Oct. 12, respectively.

Toronto’s Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation is sponsoring and organizing a week of lectures and seminars to celebrate Stamp Collecting Month this October. From Oct. 11-20, working alongside the Fédération Internationale de Philatélie (FIP), Royal Philatelic Society London (RPSL) and Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada (PSSC), the Greene Foundation will offer a range of must-see philatelic events with a resounding international flavour. “There will be souvenir covers for each event franked with Picture Postage,” said Charles Verge, who’s a member of the invite-only PSSC and a Fellow of both the RPSL and Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC). Continue reading →

RPSC facing a catch-22 as membership dwindles

Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) Treasurer Stuart Keeley (left) said the society's increase in life and honorary members is 'a strain on the financial.' He is seen here at the society's annual general meeting with President Ed Kroft (right).

With paid memberships in an ongoing decline but honorary and life memberships holding strong, The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) is in peculiar financial straits. With about 300 honorary and life members throughout the past three years and another 1,200 paid members – a number that’s “slowly sinking,” according to RPSC Treasurer Stuart Keeley – the society isn’t bringing in any money from 20 per cent of its membership. This is at a time when The RPSC is reporting a $3,968 loss, although nearly $3,000 of that is from a recent inventory write-down. “Our membership is slowly declining, and those are the people who are paying,” said Keeley, who recently retired as a director of the society. “For life members and honorary members, we still have to send them The Canadian Philatelist and everything else, so it puts a strain on the financial.” Continue reading →

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