By Jesse Robitaille
This is the final story in a two-part auction preview.
Eastern Auctions’ next major sale, slated for April 30-May 1, will take place across three sessions, but many bidders will have their eyes locked on the Canada section.
In addition to a highly anticipated Admiral offering, described by auctioneers as one of three “standout areas,” the sale’s Canada section also includes a significant section of “Small Queen” postal history plus the Daniel Cantor Collection of King Edward VII material.
“If you do collect or have even the slightest interest in these areas, we do welcome anyone to study the lots, read the descriptions, learn something and hopefully be successful in acquiring an item or two for their collection,” Yohann Tanguay, a stamp specialist and chief describer with the New Brunswick-based auction house, told CSN.
The 215 Admiral lots comprise just over one quarter of the nearly 800-lot Canada section, which follows a 175-lot worldwide section and a more than 100-lot British North America (BNA) section.
“It is hard to gauge, after the Admirals, what can be termed as the second strongest offering,” added Tanguay, a member of the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation expert committee. “The other two standout sections, namely the Small Queen postal history and Daniel Cantor King Edward VII-era collections, do offer impressive lots.”
The Small Queen postal history (Lots 370-427) offers an “attractive selection of elusive” domestic frankings, rates, early printings, “better” cancels and non-letter mail, Tanguay wrote in the auction catalogue.
A unique Large Queen and Small Queen combined franking that includes a strip of three 1877 Small Queen 10-cent “pale milky rose lilac” shades (Scott #40e) is among the top highlights. Offered as Lot 395, the large registered cover was mailed to Toronto on Nov. 17, 1875, from Fort Garry, Man.
Tanguay noted its “outstanding mixed-issue franking” includes a single five-cent Large Queen (SC #26) from its second month of use, the above-mentioned strip of three 10-cent Small Queens plus another strip of three one-cent deep orange Small Queens (SC #35vi) with an imprint margin. The franking paid 12 times the three-cent domestic letter rate from Manitoba plus a two-cent registration fee.
Each stamp is tied by a segmented cork cancel, and a Fort Garry split-ring dispatch handstamp is near the centre, to the right of a straightline “REGISTERED” handstamp.
Tanguay explained the cover was routed through the United States via Pembina, N.D., about 100 kilometres south of Fort Garry, plus St. Paul, Minn., Chicago, Ill., and finally Windsor, Ont., before arriving in Toronto on Nov. 27, 10 days after it was mailed.
“An important cover which has graced some of the most renowned Small Queen collections of the past,” the cover is in Fine-plus condition, Tanguay said. It’s expected to bring more than $4,000.
Another intriguing piece of Small Queen postal history will cross the block as Lot 372, which offers a yellow cover endorsed “per Gunboat Rescue” and addressed to Henry Morgan at the Secretary of State’s office in Ottawa. It’s franked with a three-cent rose red Small Queen (SC #37a) and includes an eight-page handwritten letter from a Canadian Pacific Railway survey team with a dateline reading, “Camp No. 4 Sunday 16 July 1871.”
The letter offers a “long and detailed account of the grave disaster by fire at Camps 1 and 2,” Tanguay said, adding it mentions life in the remote woods, where the “Indians arrived today and brought our mail.”
Carried by local “Indians” via river post, the cover was then loaded on the Rescue, which is considered the Canadian Navy’s first boat (and was commissioned as a gunboat during the 1869-70 Red River Rebellion). The Rescue made her way to Thunder Bay before reaching Toronto a month later, Tanguay said, noting an Aug. 26, 1871-dated radial cork cancellation from the long-time Ontario capital. A split-ring datestamp applied in Ottawa the following day is also on the back.
Described by auctioneers as Fine-Very Fine, the cover is estimated at $1,500-plus.