Terms & Conditions of Sale

(Please read carefully. The placing of an auction bid by any means as an individual or agent constitutes acceptance of these terms, which have been updated since our last sale.)

1. The property described in the sale catalogue (print and online versions) will be offered at public auction by Sparks Auctions Inc. (hereinafter “Sparks Auctions”) on behalf of various consignors. By bidding on any lot, whether in person, or through an agent, via Stamp Auction Network, by mail, email, fax, telephone, website, or any other means, the bidder acknowledges and agrees to all of these Terms and Conditions of Sale.
2. The highest bidder acknowledged by the auctioneer shall be the buyer. The term “hammer price” means the last bid acknowledged by the auctioneer. The purchase price payable by the buyer will be the sum of the hammer price and a commission equal to 17% of the hammer price (“buyer’s premium”), together with any tax which may be applicable. See About Bidding for more information about how bidding is conducted in Sparks Auctions’ sales.
3. All bids are per lot as numbered in the catalogue. The auctioneer shall regulate the bidding and reserves the right to reject any bid believed by him not to be made in good faith; to withdraw any lot prior to sale; to divide a lot; or to group two or more lots and to act on behalf of the vendor. In the event of any dispute, the auctioneer’s decision shall be final. Sparks Auctions will execute bidding instructions on behalf of clients, but will not be responsible for any errors in the execution of such bids. Opening bids will be available on Stamp Auction Network and will be updated by that system.
4. Unless a bidder has established payment terms with Sparks Auctions prior to the sale, Sparks Auctions must receive payment in full before the lots will be delivered. Buyers not known to Sparks Auctions must make payment in full within five days from the date of sale. Accounts more than thirty days in arrears will be subject to a late payment charge of 2% per month. All expenses incurred in securing payment from delinquent accounts will be charged to the defaulter. A fee of $100.00 will be charged for any cheque returned for insufficient funds.
5. All sales are in Canadian Funds. Payment may be made by e-transfer, bank draft, bank wire transfer, cheque drawn on a Canadian or U.S. bank, Canadian or International postal money order, cash or credit card. There is a 2.5% convenience fee to process credit card payments. Cash/Cheque payment in U.S. funds is acceptable at the same rate which Sparks Auctions can purchase Canadian Funds at our bank (2.5% percent above the midmarket rate). Contact us if you require the exact amount owed in U.S. funds. Credit cards will be processed in Canadian Funds. Buyers from Canada will be charged the taxes applicable in their home province. Bidders resident outside Canada are not liable for Canadian taxes if purchases are delivered outside of Canada. See Shipping Information for Sparks Auctions’ shipping policies. Buyers outside Canada are responsible for all customs duties applied by their home country.
6. Until paid in full, all lots remain the property of Sparks Auctions on behalf of the seller.
7. The buyer assumes all risk for delivery of purchased lots and agrees to pay for prescribed shipping costs. See Shipping Information below for Sparks Auctions’ shipping policies.
8. Because the auction catalogue is available in multiple formats (print, online at sparks-auctions.com and StampAuctionNetwork.com) there is a possibility of technical or other error. In that event the auctioneer’s decision will be final. If discovered before the sale, corrections will be posted on www.sparks-auctions.com. These are only provided as a service to bidders and Sparks Auctions does not guarantee their completeness or accuracy. See Valuation of Lots for an overview of Sparks Auctions’ use of catalogue values and estimates.
9. Any lot, the description of which is obviously incorrect, is returnable, but only if the lot is returned to us within 14 days of receipt. All disputed lots must be returned intact with the original packing material. The following lots may not be returned for any reason:

a) Lots containing ten or more items;
b) Any lot described with “faults” or “defects” may not be returned because of any fault or defect;
c) No lots illustrated in our printed catalogue or online may be returned because of centering, margins or other factors shown in the illustrations, including easily visible flaws. It is the bidder’s responsibility to view images of the lots online before bidding;
d) No lot shall be returned due to subsequent numerical grading unless the graded certificate describes faults not already described by us;
e) It is normal for postal history items to have small faults including but not limited to minor nicks, pencil notations on back, edge and backflap tears, and slight reductions consistent with commercial usage. Folded letters should be expected to have at least one file fold. While we strive to mention more significant flaws, condition issues such as the aforementioned are not grounds for return. Items being offered primarily on the basis of the postmark are not returnable on the basis of flaws to the underlying item;
f) If electronic media are included with a lot (for example, CD, DVD, USB device, etc.) we cannot take any responsibility for the contents or integrity of such media and the buyer assumes any and all risk associated with use of it, including any damage to electronic devices by such use.

10. All lots are sold as genuine, unless otherwise noted. If a purchaser wishes to obtain an expert opinion on a lot, an extension for expertization may be granted provided that the following conditions are met:

a) Notice of this intent is given prior to finalizing the purchase;
b) The purchase price of the lot is paid in full, including any expertizing fees;
c) All lots to be sent out on extension must be paid in advance and submitted by Sparks, directly. Sparks will use one of the following expertizing services:

i) Vincent Graves Greene Foundation (Canada and BNA); or
ii) BPA or RPSL (British Commonwealth); or
iii) Philatelic Foundation or PSE (USA and territories); or
iv) Another authority mutually agreeable to both parties.

d) Extensions are granted for the reasonable period of time required by the expertizing authority;
e) If in the opinion of the authority the lot is not genuine or was grossly misdescribed, the purchaser shall receive a full reimbursement of the purchase price including the expertization fee;
f) If a purchased item has a recognized certificate dated within the last seven years, extensions will not usually be granted.

11. Lots which include the notation ‘Rsv.’ are offered subject to a minimum bid (“reserve”), agreed to between the consignor and Sparks, below which the lot will not be sold in the auction. Any lot which does not meet the reserve will be stated to have been “passed” during auction proceedings.
12. Should any dispute arise over these Terms and Conditions, such dispute will be settled according to the laws and regulations of the Province of Ontario, Canada, with options for resolution being negotiation between the parties, followed by mediation, followed by action in the most appropriate legal venue in Ontario.

About Bidding

Bidding in a Sparks Auction takes place in accordance with our Terms and Conditions and can happen in several ways:

1. Advance Bidding
We accept bids in various ways before the auction starts:

  • You can mail us a printed bidsheet (included with the print catalogue and also available for download from our site). If you use mail to send us a bid sheet, please call at least the day before the sale begins to confirm that we have received it.
  • You can fax us a printed bidsheet (included with the print catalogue and also available for download from our site) to 613-567-2972.
  • You can call our office at 613-567-3336 or use our North American toll-free number is 844-252-2032.
  • You can email your bids to info@sparks-auctions.com. Simply provide the lot number and your maximum bid in Canadian dollars.
Please use the following BIDDING INCREMENTS
$10-$200 $10 $7000-$15,000 $500
$200-$800 $25 $15,000-$30,000 $1,000
$800-$1500 $50 $30,000-$100,000 $2,000
$1500-$3000 $100 $100,000-$500,000 $5,000
$3000-$7000 $200 above $500,000 $10,000

All bids not conforming to these increments will be rounded down to the previous increment. If two identical bids are received for a particular lot, the bid received earliest will prevail, regardless of how the bid was received.

2. Telephone Bidding
We can arrange for you to participate in the sale via telephone. Phone bidding must be arranged at least one day in advance so we can assign a staff person to call you at the time the lots you want come up for sale. In general, telephone bidding is best for more expensive items. If telephone bidding is not convenient for you, we encourage bidders to engage an agent, or to use live bidding on Stamp Auction Network to make sure their bids are executed in the way they would like. Please see below for more information about live bidding or contact us for more information at 613-567-3336.

Sparks Auctions reserves the right to refuse telephone bidding at any time. Sparks Auctions will not be held responsible in the event that a telephone bidder cannot be contacted or does not have reliable service.

3. Auction Agents
Having an agent act for you is a good way to make sure your bidding intentions are well-represented if you cannot participate in person or through live bidding via Stamp Auction Network. Auction agents can view material, when public viewing is an option. The following agents are knowledgeable, experienced auction buyers known to Sparks Auctions and familiar with our sales. Please contact one of them, or your own existing agent directly to make arrangements suitable to both parties. Sparks Auctions is not responsible for a bidder’s relationship with any agent.

Agents: please contact our office at least two days before the start of a sale to make arrangements for your clients to be billed and to have their winnings shipped.

Jamie Hennebury
Frank Mandel
Nick Martin, LoveAuctions UK
(44) 0120546 0968
Jean-Claude Michaud
902-443-5912, 902-456-0950 (cell)

4. Live Internet Bidding
For the most satisfying and realistic experience akin to being on the auction floor, we invite you to participate via live Internet bidding, which allows bidders anywhere in the world to participate in the auction. Sparks Auctions is pleased to make the auction available through Stamp Auction Network, an independent provider of philatelic auction services for auction houses and bidders. We will do everything we can for our customers to make the process simple, trustworthy and fun. To access Sparks Auctions live internet bidding, connect to Stamp Auction Network at:


Register once with Stamp Auction Network and create a user name, which will then allow you to choose auction firms to bid with, including Sparks Auctions. We will review your request for registration as soon as possible during normal business hours. If your application was made more than a few days ago, please contact us.

Shipping Information

Please note that items will be shipped by the least expensive method below unless other arrangements are made between the buyer and Sparks Auctions in advance of shipping.

All shipping methods are subject to the current regulations and protocols of the shipping provider, which can change from time-to-time in response to various conditions outside the control of Sparks Auctions.

To maximize shipping efficiency and minimize cost to the buyer, some lots may be shipped without multi-ring binders or other bulky housing mentioned in a lot description, or by combining the contents of multiple housings into fewer of them.

1. Within the National Capital Region:
a) Normally, it is expected that local residents will arrange for pick-up from our office, by appointment only.
b) Shipping can be arranged using the “Within Canada” methods described below, or by other means if specific arrangements are made between the buyer and Sparks Auctions.

2. Within Canada:
a) Single or multiple lots that fit into one or more regular Canada Post Xpresspost labeled envelopes will be shipped by that method with signature required. These lots will be charged postage only but not a handling, packaging, or insurance fee.
b) Cartons and larger lots will normally be shipped by parcel post or FedEx with signature required. If bulky lots have a value in excess of $1,000 they will be shipped by Xpresspost with signature required. This category of lots will usually be charged an additional handling or packaging fee.

3. To the USA:
a) Single or multiple lots will be sent by Canada Post with signature required and no extra handling, packaging, or insurance fees.
b) Cartons and larger lots will be shipped by Canada Post parcel post or FedEx Ground with signature required. This category of lots will usually be charged an additional handling or packaging fee.

4. Overseas:
a) Single or multiple lots will be sent by Registered or Xpress Mail with signature required and no extra handling, packaging or insurance fees.
b) Carton and larger lots will be shipped by pre-arrangement only. We reserve the right to not ship to areas of the world not served by FedEx.

Valuation of Lots

Catalogue values are listed for many lots in the sales. These are the best available guides to the retail price of a single stamp or set provided that the item(s) are the same quality as the standard described in the introduction to each catalogue. Exceptional quality will often sell above the catalogue value; inferior quality will sell for less; faulty stamps in a lot can result in a sale price of a small percentage of the catalogue price.

When cataloguing collections we use the value for the grade specified. For Scott this grade is very fine. For Unitrade we use the grade specified in the lot’s description. Thus a “fine” collection will have all stamps valued at the fine price. We do not count obvious forgeries, reprints etc. and usually do not count faulty or very ugly stamps. A lightly penciled X under a stamp in a lot means it was not counted in the catalogue value. We put a light pencil note beside more expensive stamps and often put a total catalogue value at the bottom of each page to assist viewers.

The following catalogues have been used. If there is a variance from this list, it will be mentioned in the text of the description.

2021 and 2022 Scott Catalogue Volumes 1A through 6B in US$
2021 Scott Classic and US Specialized in US$
2021 Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps in CAN$
2021 Stanley Gibbons 1840-1970 (SG), values in £
2007 or later Michel Catalogues of the World (Mi), values in €
2017 The Canadian Revenue Stamp Catalogue by E.S.J. Van Dam in CAN$
Other specialized catalogues as noted in descriptions.

The U.S. Specialized and the Scott Classic are referred to as “Scott” interchangeably with the standard 6 volumes.

The term “owner’s catalogue value” indicates a variety of approaches and may include older versions of catalogues. We will have spot-checked but not re-catalogued; hence we do not vouch for the exact total of an “owner’s catalogue value.” Likewise, we will note “owner-identified” when there are varieties or other notations included in the consignment, even if we have not verified them.

“Estimates” (“Est.”) are used when there are multiple factors to consider and to identify what we believe the lot might sell for when there is reasonable competition for it.

“Face Value” is used for entire lots when it best describes the value of the contents. From time to time, “face value” is used to identify the face value of a portion of a lot that also considers additional factors.