Used 12-penny black brings $91K at auction

Prices include buyer’s premium

One of the most sought-after issues in all of British Commonwealth philately – Canada’s 12-penny black Queen Victoria stamp on laid paper (Scott #3) – brought $70,000 US (nearly $91,000 Cdn.) at Spink’s Philatelic Collector’s Series auction on Sept. 12.

Described by auctioneers as “a magnificent used example of this great classic rarity, being in a condition that only a tiny number of the known used examples can boast,” this example – offered as Lot 252 of the 890-lot sale – once belonged to iconic U.S. collector Alfred Caspary (1877-1955).

A total of 51,000 12-penny blacks – 255 sheets each with 200 stamps – were issued; however, the stamp proved unpopular with the public due to its limited usage for specific postal rates to distant destinations. This issue saw limited distribution, and only 1,450 stamps were sold in fewer than four years of use. All remaining stamps were destroyed in May 1857.

The used 12-penny black is listed in the 2018 Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps as worth $180,000 in Very Fine; $80,000 in Fine; and $25,000 in Very Good.

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