A rare and unused variety of the Canada 15¢ gray Large Queen stamp from the 1868 series will be offered for auctions in Ottowa in Canada on the 1st of March. The auctions will also include hundreds of lots of Canadian and British North America stamps and other items from postal history. It will also include other worldwide stamps and covers from collections.
The Canada 15¢ gray Large Queen stamp from the 1868 is unused and shows a cleans and complete letter of the rare “Alexr. Pirie & Sons” script watermark. It is believed that this stamp is just one if six unused examples known to exist. It is accompanied by a 1987 Greene Foundation certificate confirming that it is the unused 11½-by-12 gauge perforation variety with script watermark.
The stamp is listed at a value of $15,000 Canadian dollars (approximately £7468) in the auction house´s catalog listing. It is listed with an opening bid of $5 Canadian.
The Queen featured on the stamp is, of course, Queen Victoria, who reigned from 20 June 1837 to her death on 22 January 1901). The Victoria era saw an explosion of experimentation with postage stamps. The inefficient use of scissors to cut stamps from the sheet inspired trials with rouletting and also with perforation, which was then used as the standard practice. Surface-printed stamps appeared in the form of 4d stamps in 1855 and later became the standard type. All the surface-printed stamps of the 1860’s and 1870’s used the very same profile of Queen Victoria, though they did vary in frames and watermarks.
The Penny Lilac stamp was the standard letter stamp for the remainder of Queen Victoria’s reign and they were printed in vast quantities. The last major issue of Queen Victoria’s image was the Jubilee issue of 1887, which was a set of twelve designs ranging from ½d. to 1s. and most printed in two colours or on coloured paper. They are not considered commemoratives as they were not issued specifically for the occasion.