Auction Information


(Please read carefully. Placing of an auction bid indicates your acceptance of these terms.)

1. The property described in the catalogue and on the internet will be offered at public auction by Sparks Auctions Inc. (Sparks) 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 the following Terms and Conditions of Sale, which are subject to change without notice.
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 sales tax which may be due on the sale.
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 will execute bidding instructions on behalf of clients, but will not be responsible for any errors in the execution of such bids.
4. Unless a bidder has established payment terms with Sparks prior to the sale, Sparks must receive payment in full before the lots will be delivered. Buyers not known to Sparks 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 bank draft, bank 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 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.
6. Buyers from Canada will be charged Federal GST or HST as applicable in their home province. Bidders resident outside Canada are not liable for Canadian taxes if purchases are delivered outside of Canada. See shipping instructions.
7. Until paid for in full, all lots remain the property of Sparks on behalf of the seller.
8. The buyer assumes all risk for delivery of purchased lots and agrees to pay for prescribed shipping costs.
9. Because the descriptions and scans of the auction will be available in a printed catalogue, on our website and on Stamp Auction Network, 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 Opening bids will be available on the websites and will be updated. These are only provided as a service to bidders and Sparks does not guarantee their completeness or accuracy.
10. 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:
Lots containing ten or more items;
Any lot described with “faults” or “defects” may not be returned because of any fault or defect;
No lots illustrated either in our printed catalogue or online may be returned because of centering, margins or other factors shown in the illustrations, including easily visible flaws;
No lot should be returned due to subsequent numerical grading unless the graded certificate describes faults not already described by us;
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.
11. All lots are sold as genuine, unless otherwise noted. If a prospective purchaser wishes to obtain other expert opinion from a mutually acceptable authority, an extension for expertization may be granted on a lot provided that the following conditions are met:
(1) The purchase price of the lot must be paid in full;
(2) The item must be submitted to an acceptable expertizing committee with a properly executed application form within 14 days of the sale. Canadian material must be sent to the V.G. Greene Foundation for certification only. Certification by any other issuing entity may not qualify for returning incorrectly described Canadian material;
(3) A copy of the application form must be given to Sparks Auctions;
(4) Unless prior arrangements are made, extensions are granted for a period of up to 100 days;
(5) 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 plus costs of certification up to $100;
(6) Lots back-stamped or marked by the expertizing committee are not returnable. It is the purchaser’s responsibility not to let this happen;
(7) If a purchased item has a recognized certificate dated 15 years or older, extensions will be granted.
12. Lots which include the notation ‘Rsv.’ are offered subject to a minimum bid (“reserve”), agreed to between the consignor and Sparks Auctions Inc., below which the lot will not be sold. Any lot which does not meet the reserve will be stated to have been “passed.”
13. 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.


Please note that due to worldwide COVID-19 restrictions, some shipping delays may be expected.

Unless specific other arrangements are made between the buyer and Sparks Auctions, lots will be shipped in the safest and most economical method available at the time.


** Never Hinged with original gum (NH also used)
* Hinged with original gum
(*)/UN Unused without gum as issued or having gum fully re moved.
o.g./OG Original Gum (p.o.g.= part original gum)
Used (includes full range of postally used, cancel-to-order, precancels)
XF Extremely Fine applies to stamps with exceptional quality and margins well in excess of what would typically be found. This term is used rarely and is not applied for modern stamps. The term “Superb” is occasionally used as an adjective in the text of a description.
VF Very Fine A stamp in superior condition which is well-centered and without fault.
F-VF Fine-Very Fine Applied to stamps that are somewhat less well-centered than very fine, while taking into account what may considered as typical margins of classic material. The term has also been applied to multiples with individual stamps with range of grade or for larger lots/collections.
F(ine) Fine Stamps having perforations that do not cut into the design and without damaging faults. Items described as such may have slight detracting features such as short perforation tips or natural inclusion. Many better classic material naturally falls into this category and may be expected to command prices similar to those ascribed by catalogue values.
VG Very Good Equivalent to “average”. Typically with poor centering, heavy cancellation or faults such as minor thins, light creases, etc.
Faulty Applied to an item with tears, heavy crease(s), unsightly postmarks, serious thins or surface scuffs.
Cover, which here embraces stampless folded letters (SFL), mailed envelopes, first day covers (FDC’s) etc.
FDC First Day Cover
E/P Essay, Proof, Die Proof
UL “Upper Left” and used in conjunction with corner of sheet, block or individual stamp. The abbreviations UR LR and LL are used similarly.
c.d.s. “Circular date stamp” postmark
l.h. lightly hinged
v.l.h. very lightly hinged
h.r. hinge remnant
perf “Perforation” tooth descriptor in the context of “short perfs” or perforation measurement in the context of “perf 12.0 x 11.5”
Est Our estimate of the final hammer price if there is average competition for the lot.
PR Prices Realized
Scan can be found online

Notes on catalogue values and reference

Catalogue values are listed for most lots offered. 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 at the start of the textual description. Thus a “Fine” collection will have all stamps added at the Fine price. We do not count obvious forgeries, reprints etc. and usually do not count faulty or ugly stamps. A lightly penciled X under a stamp means it was not counted in the catalogue value. We put a light pencil note beside more expensive stamps and 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, this will be mentioned in the text of the description. The term “owner’s catalogue value” indicates a variety of approaches and may include older versions of catalogues. We will have inspected and reviewed the result but not re-catalogued; hence we do not vouch for the exact total of catalogue value.

2020/2021 Scott Catalogue Volumes 1 through 12
2020 Scott Classic and US Specialized
2020 Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps
2020 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
Other Specialized catalogues as noted in descriptions.

The U.S. Specialized and the Scott Classic are referred to as Scott interchangeably with the standard 12 volumes.

About Bidding

Please bid using these increments. All bids are in Canadian dollars.
$10-$200 $10 $7500-$15,000 $500
$225-$750 $25 $16,000-$30,000 $1,000
$800-$1500 $50 $32,000-$100,000 $2,000
$1600-$3100 $100 $105,000-$500,000 $5,000
$3200-$7000 $200 above $500,000 $10,000

1) Please bid using the increments above. All bids not conforming to these increments will be rounded to the nearest amount.
2) You have the option to break ties or increase your bids if needed by checking the appropriate box on the bid sheet.
3) Bid Confirmation & Outbid Notices If you are bidding through the internet, after you have entered your bids you will receive a computer generated email describing each lot you bid on and, without divulging the high bid, telling you which lots you are winning on at that moment. You then have the option of updating your bids. If you have bid by mail or fax you have the option of asking to receive this email by checking the appropriate box and including your email address.
4) If you give your bids to Stamp Auction Network, or to Sparks Auctions you will only pay one increment over the second highest bid. Your top (maximum) bid will be used only if another bid is one increment below yours, or exactly the same as your bid but was received after yours. In the event of tie bids, the earliest bid received by us will be successful. We do not accept “buy” bids.
5) The auctioneer may permit telephone bidding during the auction. This must be arranged before the day of the auction. Sparks reserves the right to refuse telephone bidding at any time. Sparks will not be held responsible in the event that a telephone bidder cannot be contacted or does not have reliable service. Long distance telephone expenses may be charged to telephone bidders outside of North America.
6) Opening Bids will be available on Stamp Auction Network and are updated in real-time. These show the bid that is one increment over the underbid (second-highest bid). In our experience, most of these will be well below the eventual hammer price, even immediately before the sale. Opening bids are updated constantly as new underbids are received. They are provided as bidding advice only; if you see that an opening bid is higher than you wish to bid for a lot you would like to buy, this knowledge allows you to focus on other items of interest. Opening bids are not final or audited and Sparks Auctions will not be held responsible in the event of errors in the opening bids provided before the sale.
7) You have the option of limiting your purchases to a specified dollar figure (e.g. $500). This feature allows you to bid with the confidence that you will not overspend your budget if you are very successful in the auction. It also allows you to use a strategy of bidding on many lots with the expectation of winning only some of them.
8) Because of currency fluctuations, we are not able to offer bidding in U.S. dollars. See for current Canadian dollar rates.