Vancouver Island 5c Rose totals $32,500 in Fordwater auction

One of the finest examples of the 1865 Vancouver Island 5c Rose has sold as part of Spink Shreves' auction of the Fordwater Collection of Canada and BNA Colonies.

The classic rarity crossed the block on June 27 in New York, selling for $32,500.

Vancouver Island 5c Rose stamp
The unified stamp was eventually issued in 2½d, 3d, 5c, 6¼c, and 7½c without ever having a surcharge to indicate the change in value

The stamp's story begins in 1860, when British Columbia and Vancouver Island jointly issued stamps that were valid in both colonies. Originally denominated at 2½d, the stamps were printed by De La Rue in a rose colour depicting Queen Victoria in profile.

In 1862, Vancouver Island changed its currency to a decimal format and began selling the unified stamp at 5c, alongside British Columbia's 2½d example.

In 1864, British Columbia increased its postal rate to 3d and the stamp was subsequently sold at that rate.

Pairs were also issued at 15c to pay a special rate to Vancouver Island, making the value of a single stamp 7½c.

In 1867, despite the stamp being invalid as of 1865, some were made available at a 6¼c rate to express mail operators.

All this upheaval resulted in the single type being sold for 2½d, 3d, 5c, 6¼c and 7½c, without ever having received a surcharge to indicate the change in value.

The variations of these early stamps from British Columbia and Vancouver Island are extremely popular with collectors.

The example at auction is in surprisingly fresh mint condition, with margins all around and a rich colour. Retaining its full original gum, it is considered the second finest in existence.

Newfoundland Transatlantic 3c 1919 stamp
Hawker never completed his flight as the aircraft's engine over heated and he was forced to land

A superb example of the 1919 Newfoundland First Trans-Atlantic Air Post "Hawker" stamp brought the second highest bids, selling for $16,000.

There were just 200 examples of the stamp produced for Harry Hawker's 1919 attempt to fly across the Atlantic, with 19 destroyed and 95 used on flight cover frankings.

A further 11 were given as presentation copies and the remaining 76 were sold to benefit the Marine Disasters Fund, mean that only 87 mint examples are available (at most).

Paul Fraser Collectibles is currently offering the greatest Canadian rarity, The Black Empress. A unique copy of the 1851 12d Black, Charles Shreve said of this example: "I've been in the business my whole life, four decades and I've never seen a stamp of that rarity or that age, a classic stamp, in that perfect a condition."

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