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CSN cover Columns
ArticleStamps 'dream projects' for Vancouver designer


Looking Back
New Brunswick anniversary stamp
almost never was (Page 6)

Off the Beaten Track
One first-day cover,
but two banknote companies (Page 8)

Postcards provide way to collect
military cap badges (Page 10)

Stamping Grounds
Nevada stamp reminder of state's
rugged, beautiful outdoors (Page 16)

New Issues
From around the world (Page 18)

Philatelic Profile
Nova Scotia collector builds
his covers from scratch (Page 22)


CSN Marketplace
Are you buying
or selling? (Page 19)

Show and Bourse
Check out the shows
in your area (Page 23)


Unusual cover brings fun to philately

By Bret Evans

I am frequently reminded that one of the cool aspects of my job is that I get interesting mail.

Although most of my friends don't understand, I know my readers will understand that my use of the word interesting applies just as much to the outside, as to the cover.

I was reminded of that once again, at the recent Royal Philatelic Society of Canada convention in Halifax. Several readers will recall that a recent issue had a cover franked with a total of 85 various one-cent stamps, to make up the current rate for first-class domestic postage.

Several collectors commented on it for various reasons. One person said Canada Post didn't like envelopes stacked because it allowed people to cover up cancels, or use partial stamps. Another person said he had checked before mailing a parcel, and his postmaster said as long as the value was showing and not cancelled it was good enough.

Several other people just remarked that they found it fun and interesting. One reader even wrote a letter to the editor.

For me it was just nice to have a bit of fun around the hobby. For much of the past few months, I have been writing about a lot of valuable stamps. Some great rarities are being offered around the world and in Canada as well.

When we are talking about stamps worth tens of thousands of dollars, or even more, we are talking serious money. I don't know anybody who can drop that kind of money on a whim.

That's fine, for most of us, as the top of the hobby is populated by a few elite collectors and dealers. We never expect to own such wonders but we like to look at them, and dream.

I have also been writing a lot about Canada Post, its financial struggles and its planned postal transformation.

In this case, I have tried very hard not to promote the company side, or the union side. I think that times are changing, and future postal historians will be busy trying to put together award-winning displays about the changes in delivery and sorting that are taking place at this time.

Stamp collecting is a lot of things: a chance to build a collection, a source of knowledge, a way to compete, a way to invest, and even a business for some. But first and foremost it is a diversion and source of pleasure for thousands of Canadians.

A fun cover that makes us smile for a minute, and gives us something to talk about is a chance to have some fun with stamps.

So when I have the chance to be a bit frivolous with something like 85 stamps on a single envelope, it excites me that my readers respond with interest and humour.

Thanks guys, you made my day.

Canadian auction scene sees two major auctions in just seven days (Continued)

By Bret Evans

One of the highlights was a Mint example of Canada's first stamp, the three-penny beaver, Unitrade No. 1, on laid paper with original gum. Described as fresh with clear to large margins all around, set what may be a new record, when it was hammered down for $76,000. Usually examples appear without gum, and often sell for around $50,000. Realizations quoted in the article do not include a buyer's fee.

It has a catalogue value at $120,000.

Among the large queen series, a scarce half-cent black with Bothwell watermarked paper and perf 12, the first unused example ever offered by the firm, sold for $19,000; a strong price since it had no gum and had a pinhole.

A three-cent small queen thick soft paper lot 130 SC #37i set a very high price of $5,250.

Among the overprints, a lower left plate block of four $1 train, with OHMS overprint, Scott #O10a OHMS realized $7,000.

A set of unused one and two-cent Port Hood provisional bisects with hand stamps sold for $26,000.

Rarely seen unused, the bisects were created over a two-day period, Jan. 4 and 5, 1899, when a shortage of stamps at Port Hood, N.S., prompted the postmaster to produce lower value stamps by cutting three-cent stamps into one or two-third portions. Most known examples were used for postage. The examples in the sale both had slight flaws in the gum.

Also on the block was an imperforate pair of the famous man on the mast variety of the 50-cent Bluenose stamps, Unitrade No. 158iv. With large margins and strong colour, as well as unblemished full original gum, the pair sold for $15,000, matching the pre-sale estimate.

All prices realized from the auction are available from Eastern Auctions,

Second Brigham Sale

On June 6 and 7 Brigham Auctions held the second sale in the multi-year disposal of the Ron Brigham collection.

The sale, held at the Toronto Airport Hilton hotel, was sparsely attended, with less than 10 bidders at each of the two sessions. However, internet bidding was notably more active than the first sale, held earlier in the year.

"A lot of people chose not to come and are bidding on the Internet," Ron Brigham told Canadian Stamp News. "I think in the future I will move to a different location, I don't need as much room."

Interest was evident by the fact that the catalogue was fully subscribed before the sale.

While the first sale focussed on the specialized area of large queens, the second sale covered the later Victorian era, with jubilees, the maple leaf issue, numerals, and the Imperial penny postage stamps.

The jubilee series was created for the Diamond Jubilee. The new postmaster general, William Mulock, decided to issue 16 stamps ranging from a half cent to $5.

The sale had a large selection of proofs. Lot 3, a full set of proofs in black on India paper showing die numbers for each denomination, was the only set ever offered publicly, and sold for $47,500.

An engraver's presentation book of a set of die proofs, sold for $23,000.

Among the imperfs was a three-cent bright rose with a large lower margin. One of just two known and never hinged, it sold for $3,000.

A block of 10 $1 stamps (SC #27) with imprint, side margin, and complete top margin sold for $16,000.

The Maple Leaf issue was introduced in 1897 to replace the small queens, which had seen service for more than 25 years. The portrait of the queen was brought up to date and she was shown in old age.

Two lots, 263 and 264, were unique composite progressive die essays printed in black on India paper.

Using an uncommon bidding system, each was offered as a separate lot on a provisional basis, and then offered as a single lot, number 265. In the end they sold separately, each for $22,000.

Lots 417 and 418 are plate position blocks of the six-cent brown, the first a block of 24, the other of 30. Both show an engraver's slip variety as plate position 14. They sold for $2,800 and $600 respectively.

There were some serious flaws with the Maple Leaf issue.

In 1898, the design was altered to include large Roman numerals in the lower corners, instead of the denomination in English only in small letters. The change was made to make the stamps easier to identify. The new series is known to collectors as the numeral issue.

Lot 588 was a tête-bêche imperforate booklet pane of 12 two-cent carmine, die II. With no gum as issued and large margins, it sold for $18,000, very close to the catalogue value.

A novelty was lot 729: a mailing sleeve or wrapper with a printed return address and "Paid book post - Printed matter only," with advertising on the back. The piece was used to mail photographs, then the original stamp was partly torn off and a mailing label was applied so it could be used a second time with two one-cent numeral stamps. It was then turned inside out and used a third time with two two-cent numeral stamps. The only known triple-used wrapper, it sold for $240.

The Imperial penny postage commemorative, commonly called the map stamp, is also considered the world's first Christmas stamp. It was designed by Mulock, with a map of the world showing the British Empire in red. The penny postage rate went into effect on Christmas Day, 1898, so the stamps were printed XMAS 1898.

Lot 864 was a unique large finished hybrid die proof made from a trimmed plate proof die sunk on wove paper and mounted on card, with pencilled manuscript and inverted die number. It nearly made the estimated of $3,500, selling for $3,250.

The Brigham collection spans more than 150 years, with material ranging from the World Philatelic Champion collections of the Pence and Cents issues of 1851-68, to the sought-after varieties of the Elizabethan era. It is housed in more than 150 volumes.

For more information, visit

July 1, 2014 to July 14, 2014 issue of Canadian Coin News

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