By Jesse Robitaille
Two covers – one the sole example of the rare “Martinsyde” manuscript on Newfoundland’s five-cent caribou, and the other a unique usage of Nova Scotia’s one-shilling quadrisect – are among the highlights of the third part of the Highlands Collection sale.
Offered by New Brunswick’s Eastern Auctions, each of the collection’s three parts are summarized by descriptive themes: “Opportunity” was offered last November, “Provenance” crossed the block this February, and “Quality” has its turn on June 13 at the Lord Nelson Hotel on 1515 South Park St., in Halifax, N.S.
The themes are “all equally important aspects and are invariably displayed on the material being offered,” said Eastern Auctions stamp specialist and auction catalogue co-editor Yohann Tanguay.
“Important collections of the past did very much emphasize on the strict quality of their pieces, having the satisfaction of acquiring stamps and covers in the highest quality attainable,” he said, citing the “tremendous interest” following the first two Highlands Collection sales, both of which exceeded auctioneers’ expectations.
The well-documented April 19, 1919, attempted flight cover to be offered as Lot 144 is franked with a single five-cent ultramarine caribou stamp (Scott #C1a) with the manuscript “Aerial Atlantic Mail” in dark black ink and countersigned with the initials “JAR” below.
Tied by a St. John’s, Nfld., machine cancellation reading “APR 19 4PM 1919,” the cover is endorsed by sender as “By Aerial Post Rolls – Martin – Syde Atlantic Flight” and addressed to Mrs. H.J. Powys-Keck, of London, England. It features a characteristic “LONDON F.S. 66 7 JA 20” receiver stamp.
In Very Fine condition, this lot has a pre-sale estimate of $75,000-plus.
Also from the Highlands Collection is an entire folded lettersheet written in 1858 at Baddeck, Cape Breton, and mailed to Halifax.
Offered as Lot 68, it’s franked with what auctioneers describe as “a superb quadrisect of the one-shilling purple employed to pay the three-pence domestic letter rate.” It’s tied by an oval grid cancellation and a Baddeck double-arc dispatch reading Feb. 5, 1858. There’s also a portion of an oval “H” (for Halifax) receiver backstamp.
“A spectacular and famous showpiece displaying what has been hailed as the rarest and most outstanding of all postal frankings mailed within Nova Scotia,” Tanguay said this cover – in Extremely Fine – has a pre-sale estimate of $75,000-plus.
GENERAL SALE & PATRICIA AIRWAYS
The 345-lot Highlands Collection sale will be followed by a “once-in-a-lifetime” 225-lot offering of Patricia Airways and Exploration material, many of which are unique and offered publicly for the first time since these stamps were issued more than 90 years ago.
This will be followed by a 685-lot general sale featuring what Tanguay calls “important” postal history sections covering the Maritimes, Newfoundland, Canada’s “Small Queen” period from 1870-97 plus international airmails from 1919-41.
From the general sale, the top highlight is arguably Lot 1159, referred to by Tanguay as “an exceedingly rare” intact sheet of the 1992 “Canada in Space” stamps with the missing hologram error (SC #1442b) on all 10 pairs.
In Very Fine never hinged condition, this sheet is one of “perhaps only two or three such panes still in existence. Accompanied by a letter signed by late Winnipeg dealer Kasimir Bileski, who died in 2005, this lot has a catalogue value of $25,000.
15-PENCE COVER TO U.K.
Back to the Highlands Collection, Lot 38 will offer an 1853 cover in an “excellent state of preservation, bearing a highly desirable side-by-side franking” of a three-pence dull red and one-shilling bright red violet, Tanguay said.
Both stamps – of “superb” quality, he added – are tied by centrally struck oval mute grid cancels and equivalence manuscript rates in red ink. They’re obliterated with a clear “Fredericton, NB Paid AU 14” double-arc dispatch in red.
Addressed to Dublin, Ireland, with a “PKT. LETTER PAID LIVERPOOL AU 28” transit datestamp in red and an “AU 29” arrival backstamp, the cover correctly pays the 15-pence letter rate to the U.K. via British packet from Halifax.
It’s one of only two reported to Ireland as is “an impeccable cover in flawless condition, ideal for the connoisseur,” Tanguay added.
In Extremely Fine “Gem” condition, this lot has a pre-sale estimate of $25,000-plus.
SIX-PENCE HERALDIC’S LARGEST FRANKING
From the general sale, Lot 615 offers an 1853 folded cover from St. John, Nfld., to London, England, featuring the largest franking of New Brunswick’s six-pence heraldic stamp on cover.
It bears the “remarkable” multiple franking of five single six-pence olive yellow stamps tied by clear oval grid “1” numeral cancels of St. John. There’s also a “PAID 185? 2 MR” circular datestamp in red struck at London tying lower-right stamp.
“Furthermore, this is the only known ‘Pence’ cover paying the double weight British packet letter rate to the United Kingdom.”
“A fabulous and well-documented Pence cover of New Brunswick that has graced several important collections of the past,” this cover in Very Fine condition has a pre-sale estimate of $15,000-plus.
UNIQUE REUNITED PACK-FERRARY PAIR
The Highlands Collection will also offer a reunited imperforate pair of Newfoundland’s 1860 four-pence orange on thin hard wove paper as Lot 100.
“An outstanding pair reunited by famous collector Alfred Lichtenstein, displaying a superb and complete impression of the ‘CANCELLED’ handstamp overprint in black,” both stamps are unused with the right example “remarkably and unusually with a large portion of its original gum,” Tanguay said.
The lot also comprises the only two known examples of the four-pence orange according to the census compiled by Peter Jaffé in his 1998 book Cancelled by Perkins Bacon.
It’s “the most recognizable and extraordinary ‘CANCELLED’ item in Newfoundland philately,” said Tanguay, who added there’s a pre-sale estimate of $15,000-plus.
ONLY KNOWN MINT EXAMPLES
Rounding out the highlights is Lot 488 – the only known mint Patricia Airways stamps with the horizontal Red Lake handstamp – from the Patricia Airways sale.
Described by Tanguay as “a spectacular mint pair with sheet margin at top,” the stamps (SC #CL21bi) feature the horizontal five-cent “RED LAKE” handstamp (Type D) in violet.
“Our research leads us to the conclusion that only one sheet was printed of this stamp, these being the sole surviving mint examples,” said Tanguay, who added it’s “a great addition to a serious collection.”
With full original gum and in Very Fine never hinged condition, this lot has a catalogue value of $11,250.
For more information, visit easternauctions.com.