Sparks to auction rare unused variety of Canada 15¢ gray Large Queen

Feb 12, 2016, 3 AM

By Michael Baadke

A rare unused variety of the Canada 15¢ gray Large Queen stamp from the 1868 series will be offered at auction March 1 by Sparks Auctions of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

The upcoming Sparks auction is scheduled for March 1-3, and includes hundreds of lots of Canada and British North America stamps and postal history, as well as worldwide stamps and covers, Canada and worldwide lots and collections, and more.

The first session includes the 15¢ gray Large Queen variety (Scott 30d), identified as unused and showing a clear and complete letter of the rare “Alexr. Pirie & Sons” script watermark.

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“Only six unused examples of this stamp are known to exist,” according to the description offered by Sparks. “There is a thin at right and tiny stain on front of stamp, which do not detract from the great rarity, and appealing appearance.”

The stamp is accompanied by a 1987 Greene Foundation certificate confirming that it is the 11½-by-12 gauge perforation variety with script watermark, unused.

In its auction catalog listing, Sparks cites a Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps value of $15,000 Canadian (approximately US$10,800 in early February). The value given for an unused example of Canada Scott 30d in the 2016 Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940 is $25,000 in italics (signifying a stamp that trades infrequently or which can be difficult to value accurately).

However, like many of the items in the Sparks auction, the rarity was listed on the Stamp Auction Network website with an opening bid of $5 Canadian.

The auction includes a selection of Canada Queen Elizabeth II-era stamps that involve perforation errors and varieties, color shifts, and more.

Two lots feature the 2015 recalled design error of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites issue.

As reported by Fred Baumann in the July 27, 2015, Linn’s Stamp News, Canada Post issued five stamps July 3 celebrating UNESCO World Heritage sites in Canada, but one $1.20 stamp featured an inscription for Dinosaur Provincial Park while showing an image from a different location.

Canada Post withdrew and destroyed the issue, but only after examples had been placed on sale in post offices and purchased by postal customers.

The two lots in the Sparks auction are an unused souvenir sheet of five stamps containing one example of the $1.20 stamp with the withdrawn design error, and an unused booklet of six stamps containing two of the design error stamps (and featuring the same erroneous image on the booklet cover).

Both issues are listed by Sparks with an estimate of $100 Canadian (approximately US$72).

Among the worldwide stamps and covers on offer is a mint, never-hinged example of China’s 1980 8-fen Year of the Monkey stamp (Scott 1586) described by Sparks as “a nice fresh example of this very popular stamp, slight black offset on gum from sheet below as normal. Very fine.”

The Scott catalog value for the never-hinged Monkey stamp is $1,875 in italics; the opening bid in this auction is $1,450 Canadian (approximately US$1,040).

Some 68 lots of this auction comprise the extensive Obie collection of mint and used worldwide stamps, which includes some almost complete countries hinged and mounted in albums.

For additional information about this auction, contact Sparks Auctions, 1550 Carling Ave., Suite 202, Ottawa, Ontario, K1Z 8S8 Canada.