Tips for Auction Day

We are exceptionally pleased with the bids that have been coming in and the publicity that Auction #3 has generated both in the philatelic world and in mainstream media. We believe that such interest bodes well for our hobby during a time when other businesses are not so fortunate.

If you are planning to bid online today, please make sure you are registered with us, and return to the auction once you are approved for bidding.

Online bidders can help the process by turning off "Show Images" if they are do not need to see the scan while watching the sale, by clicking the PASS button when they are bidding on a lot and the price has gone beyond what they are willing to pay, and by listening to the audio feed on their computers so they can follow the auction as it happens. Audio via Stamp Auction Network is PC-only. We expect to have an audio source that will also work for our Macintosh-dependent customers in place for the next auction. (Please let us know by e-mail if you are among that contingent so we have an idea how many people may be interested.)

Good luck in the auction!

Auction #3 Attracting Attention

Our third public auction begins tomorrow, and we are very pleased to note that we are receiving attention beyond the philatelic press and auction calendars. Today’s edition of the Fredericton Daily Gleaner has an article about New Brunswick’s infamous Charles Connell stamp (lot 864; see also lots 861-863). A comment piece even asks readers whether they think the New Brunswick government should purchase the stamp for the Provincial Archives.

This afternoon we had a visit from local CTV news, who were also interested in hearing about the Connell stamp (we will provide a direct link if the story is posted to their site).

Bidding has been strong, especially in the last 24 hours, so be sure to check Opening Bids via the link at Stamp Auction Network (see Auction #3 in our right sidebar).  Remember, Openings show only the amount that is one increment greater than the second highest bid (ie., the underbid).  Keep in mind when you place your bids that many lots showing $2 openings have top bids that are closer to the estimate or that are worth a substantial part of the catalogue value.

Paddle numbers for Internet live bidders (ie., "I13" etc.) are now being assigned. The number is automatically given the next time you sign in to Stamp Auction Network; your advance bids continue to be cross referenced to your regular customer number with us, as always.

Session One (Commonwealth) begins Tuesday, January 13th at 1pm EST, followed by Worldwide. Session Three (Canada & BNA) will begin immediately after Worldwide, but not earlier than 4pm.

Sessions Four (Postal History) and Five (Lots & Collections) will take place Wednesday, January 14th beginning again at 1pm EST.

Contact us if you need any assistance with bidding.

Good Luck in the auction!

As Auction Day Approaches

With a week to go until the sale, we invite you to contact us with your questions or concerns:

  • Haven’t received your printed auction catalogue? Bidders are encouraged to use the online auction PDF files to read the catalogue, and to check Stamp Auction Network and our Image Gallery for additional illustrations. There is still time for us to send you a priority-shipped copy of the catalogue if you are unable to see it using the means outlined above. E-mail or call us for details.
  • Looking for opening bids? Stamp Auction Network provides up-to-date openings. Advance bids have been arriving steadily and it is amazing how many have one high bid and no other bid. Remember that an opening bid will show as $2 unless there are multiple bids on the lot, in which case the amount you see represents one increment over the second highest bid (the "underbid").
  • Found an error or need clarification of a description? Please let us know and we will have our lotting staff check for you and provide corrections on our Updates Page as necessary.
  • Need more images? As time permits, we will send new scans of unphotographed lots, and provide them on our Updates Page as well for other interested bidders.
  • Want us to approve you for on-line bidding (either Live bidding or advance bidding through Stamp Auction Network)? Go to, create an account (if you are not already registered there) and choose Sparks Auctions as one of your preferred firms. If you don’t receive your approval notification within one day’s time, let us know by e-mail and we will look into it.  For more information on the bidder approval process, see our Bidding Information page.

Other Interests: Hammers, newspapers and a massive collection

The auction includes more than stamps and envelopes. One section offers more than 2000 postal hammers. They fill many cartons and are mostly separated by province with more than 750 from British Columbia alone. We always have a literature section and this auction we have some books with prints, posters, historical letters, and especially newspapers which include many historically important stories from the 1700s and 1800s. You can read original contemporary accounts of the Battle of Waterloo, the births and deaths of English monarchs etc. The offering includes a fair number of USA papers including nine issues (1794-1807) of the Columbian Centinel from Boston (lots 1179-1236).

The single lot with the greatest volume and certainly the greatest weight is one man’s lifetime collection (lot 1502). The collection is housed in 52 volumes, 49 of these Scott Internationals covering the period 1840 to 2002.  These massive volumes range from about 10 to about 13 cm in thickness.  You need to be a weightlifter with large hands to pull one out from the shelf.  All this plus two cartons of duplicates and supplies is offered as one lot.