Sale #2 Summary

Sparks Auction #2 on June 6-7th, 2008 built on the success of our inaugural sale, with even more bidders and many exceptional realizations. The auction floor in Ottawa saw strong action from local bidders and agents, and again the advantages of international bidding were in evidence, with 160 internet bidders contributing to some good bidding wars and notable prices.

Three items merit special attention:

• A key set of our South West Africa section, Lot 210, the South Africa Forerunners, Scott 1-16 in blocks of four (missing #12) used in South West Africa, and which catalogues $1942, sold for $4600 including buyer’s premium,

• Lot 1453, the Amherst NS precancel (#1-110) on 4¢ bistre Admiral has not been offered in perhaps 10 years, and is missing from most collections. Despite a trivial thin on the back, and not being well-centered, our example sold for $4830 including premium. We are told that this is likely a record price for a single Canadian pre-cancel,

• A postal history collection of early Halifax, neatly written up on album pages, was estimated by us at $1500. Lot 1502 was pursued by multiple telephone bidders when the bidding opened at $2400. Bidding progressed until we were finally able to sell the lot for a final price of $10,350 with premium.

Other strong prices were seen on the South West Africa Pictorial Issue (Sc. #108-120), and Vatican City #33a used. In Canada, the 3¢ Large Queen watermarked mint strip of three, mint 1¢ blue-green Leaf issue, 5¢ numeral on bluish paper, and 10¢ pale lilac Edward all did well. In the Admirals, the mint 4¢ yellow ochre in the dry printing, mint 10¢ plum, and #MR7 all reached prices near or in excess of their catalogue values. Mint NH dollar values of Parliament and Mount Edith Cavell were notably strong, as was an unused Newfoundland #2. Postal history and postcards were very popular, with large cartons selling for three times the estimate in some cases.

We will feature these and more in separate illustrated entries in the coming weeks, so be sure to check back here each day.

Introduction to Auction 2

The overwhelming first impression of this sale is its sheer physical size; hundreds of albums in rows on shelves; many storage units filled with cartons which are in turn filled with collections, postcards, envelopes, stamps in bundles, stamps organized in glassines, "102" cards, stockbooks, Post Office new issues, postal artifacts, and more stamps. We have spent hundreds of hours describing these lots – and we have described them fairly and in a consistent manner. The overall quality is quite high for this great mass of philatelic collectibles that are the property of several dozen estates and collections.

Some of the bulk lots have a retail value well in excess of $10,000, others are estimated to be worth less than the cost of shipping. Most fall somewhere in between. We do know that thorough viewing will be rewarded because there will be hidden treasures.

While the body of the auction occupies hundreds of square feet, its heart is in the vaults – interesting postal history, superb stamps, items that are scarce, rare or even unique, valuable stamps and covers are found throughout the catalogue.

We make special note of some exceptional items in each session:

The exceptional collection of South West Africa has many rarities. A personal favourite is the used 10/- block from the first setting with two WESi errors. The Sparks catalogue will serve as a reference for the scarce items for decades to come. The rest of British Africa is of interest with Mafia Island and East Africa among the features.

The Second session has a number of lots with essays, proofs and other artwork for stamp issues which are both fascinating and very rare, often unique.

The Canada and BNA sessions have numerous exceptional lots. Lovely Pence issues are complemented by the interesting group of half-pennys which include a pair and two lots with an imperforate and perforated half-penny with the same major re-entry. The Large Queen section of 61 lots is strong with mints, blocks and re-entries and includes what is believed to be the largest mint multiple of the watermarked Three cent value. The Small Queens through to the Quebecs offer many stamps of exceptional quality as well as interesting items for the specialist. The 68 lots of the Admiral Issue will fill many holes for discriminating collectors who have been searching for just the right stamp for their collection.

Large Die Proofs and great rarities are featured in the later KGV and QEII Issues. We note a missing hologram full sheet, a very rare imperforate between booklet, the Missing Moose, and the 1998 Christmas perf change matched set of plate blocks. The Registration issues include lovely re-entries and a strong Precancel section is high-lighted by an Amherst on the 4¢ Admiral.

Nova Scotia features a mint #1 and a superb three penny. One of the most exceptional items in the sale is a mint Newfoundland two penny scarlet vermilion, very fine with huge margins.

Session Five has wonderful postal history, much of it from collector/dealer Roger Greer’s collections of Nova Scotia. Several lovely pence and 1859 covers are highlighted by a ten penny cover; a ten cent rate to Sweden and a gorgeous six penny cover are highlights of the Large Queens. British Columbia, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia all have at least one cover waiting for a Gold Medal Exhibit.

Newfoundland has a magnificent De Pinedo cover, a Columbia cover and a diagonally bisect eight penny cover. Over 350 lots of foreign covers, cover lots and postcards have numerous items awaiting a place in your collection.

We have referred elsewhere to the Sixth Session of lots and collections. One collection of Large Queens has a catalogue over $47,000. We invite you to view this and to note how few stamps have short perfs. A similar story can be told many, many times for the 486 lots in this session.

Featured Item #5

Lot #298 Canada #108a – King George V – 3c Yellow Brown – Wet Printing. One of the toughest shade and printing combinations within this issue, we offer an example of outstanding quality. Very large, symmetrical margins and distinct, strong colour. Flawless full original never hinged gum. Unitrade Cat. $75

Ian remarks: "I could probably pick several dozen items from the nearly 200 lots of Admirals. I was undecided between the very scarce wet printing of the one dollar (Lot 378) and the three cent brown which combines a scarce shade with exceptional margins. There might be very stiff competition for lot 298. "