Newfoundland rarities, forgeries garner interest in next Eastern sale

By Jesse Robitaille

This is the first story in a two-part series highlighting Eastern Auctions’ Oct. 2-3 public sale.

With a spotlight on British North America (BNA), including a strong section of decimal-era Newfoundland stamps and postal history, more than 400 lots will cross the block in the first session of Eastern Auctions’ next public sale.

The first of three sessions – offering Lots 1-416 – will kick off on Oct. 2 at 1:30 p.m., with another session later that evening and a final offering the following day.

“The main strength is in Newfoundland’s decimal period, which ran from 1865 to 1897,” said Yohann Tanguay, stamp specialist and chief describer with the New Brunswick-based auction house.

Following a 76-lot worldwide section, BNA will take centre stage from Lots 77-353 with a range of classic stamps, specialized large lots and collections. The Newfoundland section – running from Lots 140-353 – is highlighted by the Don Steele Collection of 1865-97 “Cents” issues, including 20th-century proofs, varieties, imperforates, revenues and pioneer airmail stamps.

“From the numerous emails and phone conversations we have had with our regular buyers as well as our consignors, they are patiently awaiting our sale,” said Tanguay. “It will be a noticeably larger auction in terms of volume thanks to the numerous specialized larger lots, collections and estates that were entrusted to us since March.”

Closing out the first session is a 63-lot offering of BNA fakes and forgeries running from Lots 354-416. Again, the Steele Collection, which was formed over the past 30 years, comprises many of these items. Originating from past reference collections, some of the items’ provenances include the “Reval” Collection offered by Toronto auctioneer Jim Hennok in 1990; the Carl Walske Collection offered by California’s Schuyler Rumsey Philatelic Auctions in 2010; and the Ed Wener Collection offered by Eastern Auctions in 2012.

“This is the strongest and most comprehensive showing of fakes and forgeries we will have ever offered at auction – and in a separate section in the catalogue,” said Tanguay. “In addition to the crude and more run-of-the-mill lithographed forgeries produced by the Spiro brothers, of Hamburg, the collection has many not-often-seen engraved Oneglia and many dangerous forgeries that are ideal for reference.”

Tanguay and his colleagues have seen similar examples “still lurking undetected in many collections out there,” he said, “highlighting the importance of studying your stamps and by having a reference collection.”

“We believe examining closely forgeries, studying their method of printings, papers, inks can someone truly appreciate and understand genuine stamps.”

RARE DIE ESSAY

An 1857 “Die II” engraved die essay for Newfoundland’s three-pence Heraldic issue (Scott #3) will be offered as Lot 147.

Printed in black on card-mounted india paper, the stamp-sized essay features the corrected lower left “3” plus other “small differences not present in the final die for the issued stamp,” Tanguay said.

“One major trait not found on the plate proofs and issued stamps is the lack of the outer delineation line surrounding the central vignette trefoil.”

“We would like to point out that no actual die proof of the final die is known in private hands,” according to the auction catalogue, which adds “only a few” Die I and Die II die essays are believed to exist.

It’s expected to bring $2,500-plus.

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2 Comments

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