By Jesse Robitaille
Described by auctioneers as “an exceptionally fresh and well-centred mint never hinged example,” a Dornier Do X inverted surcharge error will be offered at auction in New Brunswick this February.
To cross the block as Lot 507 of Eastern Auctions’ two-day general sale, the overprinted stamp is Newfoundland’s 1931 $1 “Historic Transatlantic Flights” issue (Scott #C11) with a 50-cent surcharge (Scott #C12) that was erroneously inverted (Scott #C12a).
“This is in as good a condition as you’ll find for that stamp,” said auctioneer Gary Lyon, owner of Bathurst, N.B.-based auction house, who added the stamp is “without question, one of the finest existing examples of this rare error.”
The stamp’s reverse includes the pencil initials “H.R.H.,” which were signed by famed British auctioneer and Roll of Distinguished Philatelists signatory Henry Revell Harmer, who in 1918 founded H.R. Harmer in England.
With a catalogue value of $60,000, this “sought-after, dramatic error” is “ideal for a serious collection,” Lyon added.
The largest, heaviest and most powerful flying boat in the world when it was produced by the Dornier company of Germany in 1929, the Do X departed from New York on May 21, 1932, and flew via Newfoundland and the Azores to Berlin, where it arrived on May 24.
The surcharged stamp is one of 748 lots in the Feb. 15-16 general sale, which includes a range of classic stamps of British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, the latter of which includes sought-after rarities such as the aforementioned airmail invert; unused 1857 Pence issues; numerous proofs, varieties, imperforates and revenue stamps.
Other highlights include the 1851 issue to modern errors and back-of-book issues along with federal and provincial revenue stamps.
“It includes some of rarest unused Pence issues often missing from even advanced collections,” said auction catalogue describer Yohann Tanguay, who added there will be “hand-picked single-lot items” such as proofs, imperforates, plate imprint multiples, “better printings” and more.
“The modern era is particularly strong, including some valuable large lots, with rarely offered printing errors, missing colours and inverts available in such limited numbers it is fair to say they will become some of the great rarities of tomorrow.”
FIRST PERFORATED ISSUE
Canada’s first perforated issue – the 1859 six-penny brownish violet featuring Prince Albert (Scott #13) – will be offered as Lot 565.
“This is the kind of a stamp that’s on everybody’s want list. It’s scarce enough used, but mint examples are few and far between,” said Lyon, who added this example – with original gum and in Fine-Very Fine condition – is also “ideal for an advanced collection.”
It has a catalogue value of $50,000.
CANADA’S FIRST STAMP
Canada’s first stamp, the 1851 imperforate three-penny red on handmade laid paper (Scott #1), will cross the block as Lot 533.
Described by auctioneers as being in “flawless condition, of which there are very few indeed,” this example has a catalogue value of $45,000.
“This is always a rare stamp unused, and most people will never own one,” said Lyon, who added it’s “one of the rarest unused stamps in all of British North America philately. Only a few are known to exist in sound unused condition.”
MINT WATERMARKED LARGE QUEEN
An 1869-70 six-cent brown (plate one) on watermarked Bothwell paper (Scott #27b) will be offered as Lot 589.
Described by auctioneers as “an extremely rare mint single,” this example is one of only a handful of mint six-cent watermarked Large Queens in any condition. It displays papermaker’s watermark with “near complete” letters “LU” (of “CLUTHA”) at the bottom and a “small portion” of “& G” (of “E. & G. BOTHWELL”) along the top.
“It’s one of the great rarities of the Large Queen issue,” said Lyon, who added there’s a catalogue value of $30,000.
B.C. DUCK STAMP
A booklet pane of four 1946 50-cent azure and black rouletted duck stamps issued by British Columbia (Scott #BCD1a) will cross the block as Lot 1049.
With a tab margin at left and in a “superior state of preservation,” this pane features stamps with “full original gum, never hinged,” said Lyon, who added this lot is “a very rare intact pane and the ultimate item of all Canadian wildlife conservation stamps.”
It has a catalogue value of $21,000.
INVERTED SEAWAY ON POSTCARD
Rounding out the highlights is Lot 886, a recently discovered usage of the iconic Inverted Seaway error (Scott #387a) on a postcard, one of only three such usages known to exist.
The Smiths Falls, Ont. picture postcard bears a “remarkable” franking consisting of a five-cent Inverted Seaway tied by a Smiths Falls’ Sept. 3, 1959 machine datestamp.
The Seaway invert carries a catalogue value of $25,000; however, no distinction is given for use on cover or on a postcard.
According to a census published in 2009 by Charles Verge and John Jamieson, only 13 covers and three postcards are recorded with the error.
The card to be offered by Eastern this February was previously undocumented. It has a pre-sale estimate of $10,000-plus.
The two-day general sale will follow the sale of the second part of the Highlands Collection on Feb. 14.
The entire three-session, 1,109-lot sale will be auctioned at the Lord Nelson Hotel in Halifax, N.S.
Lot viewing will be open to the public in the hotel’s Britannia Room on Feb. 13 – one day before the sale kicks off – from 9 a.m.-7 p.m., and on Feb. 14-16 from 9 a.m.-noon (with each of the three sales beginning at 1:30 p.m.). All times are in Atlantic Standard Time.
For more information, visit easternauctions.com.