Spectacular 1918 Canadian Forces in North Russia covers

Spectacular 1918 Canadian Forces in North Russia covers

Cherry Stone Auctions has a trio of Canadian Forces covers that should generate interest from military collectors, especially those specializing in WW1 pieces. These are rare items. The 3 covers were mailed by members of the Canadian Military Expedition North Russia during Canada’s short-lived fight with the Red Army.  These types of covers don’t see the light of day often and are listed at a decent price of $500 (US). After watching so many stamp auctions since the pandemic hit, I’m betting they go for substantially less.

Screen capture of 3 postal covers sent from Siberia by Canadian Forces troops

1918-19 three covers to Canada, “Field Post Office 201” On Active Service

The covers appear in their December 15-16, 2020 auction and are set to sell on the first day. Cherry Stone has a full pdf catalogue you can download or, if you haven’t stripped Flash out of your computer yet, use their flip catalogue. You can find both on their home page at https://www.cherrystoneauctions.com/ However, you really need to remove Flash before the new year. I posted an article about the security issues surrounding Flash in Oct. Read it here -> Uninstall Adobe Flash Now

UPDATE – price realized

Updated Dec 30, 2020

I just checked and this lot sold for $450, slightly under the catalogue value.

About the North Russia Expedition

These Canadian Forces covers would be an extraordinary addition to any collection. Covers like these are rarely offered. The three have historical and military significance that goes beyond the Canadian Forces aspect. The North Russia Expedition is a little-known chapter in Canadian history, often neglected because of the larger battles being fought across Europe.  Ostensibly, the joint international expedition was to ensure no German troops landed in the Murmansk region, but it quickly turned into a fight between the Red and White armies, with international troops supporting the Czarist White Army.

Here’s a brief geography lesson. Murmansk (where Arkangel is located) is above the arctic circle, bordering Finland, hence the concern Germany might cut up through the area. Murmansk was of strategic importance to both the Germans and the allies because of the open port and abundance of minerals. When German troops arrived in Finland, alarms went off throughout the allied forces about the possibility of Germany seizing the Port of Murmansk and the rails used to move vital supplies. Canada sent 4,192 troops from the Canadian Field Artillery (67th and 68th Batteries of the 16th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery). They arrived in the fall of 1918 and withdrew June 1919. If you have information you’d like to add (or correct what I’ve written) feel free to leave it in the comments field below. Always happy to have more information on these posts.

Three Canadian Forces Covers

Each cover has a military cancel and marked “On Active Service” (OAS). The top left was sent Dec 8,1919 and backstamped Jan 10, 1920. This came from one of 53 soldiers transferred to British command when Canadian troops left Russia for home in June 1919. No mention of the soldier’s name, but a little research into which of the 53 were from New Brunswick might bear fruit.

The second, top right, was sent Nov 1918 to Markham Ontario. Markham, at the time, was a small agricultural township, and a search of Canadian records for soldiers from the Siberian Expedition might lead to a possible identify.

The bottom right cover was sent March 1919. It has a cancel from a Royal Army Medical Corps Hospital Ship anchored off Archangel. The address is here in the heart of Toronto, at near Wellesley Streets and Sherbourne. I did a quick record check for the recipient and came up empty. A deep dive into Toronto churches would be required to find more information.

Despite their obvious faults, these 3 covers are still highly collectable.

A few resources to check out

If you’d like to learn more about the North Russian Expedition aka the Siberian Expedition, hop over to the University of Victoria, BC website on this chapter of Canadian history. It’s titled Canada’s Siberian Expedition.

This brief trailer is also worth a look. It packs a lot of info into a short clip.

If you’re interested in Canadian military related stamps and covers, check out this article I published last month.

Amazing German FDC – Tag der Briefmarke 2020

As always, you can follow me with any of the social media links listed below. Cheers.

2020 spring stamp auctions

2020 spring stamp auctions

The pandemic has many of the 2020 spring stamp auctions on hold. The few slated will be online only and no floor bidding.  My favourite Canadian auction houses – Sparks, Vance and Talman’s have postponed everything right through May, although they still have single sales available.

I confess, I can’t wait to see Sparks offerings. Their #33 auction is going to have some delicious Indian airmails from Leon Victor Pont collection. Pont was a friend of Stephen Smith, the man who pioneered Indian rocket mail. Some of the items will include correspondence with Smith along with signed stamps and other items. I call sales like this “dream auctions” because most items tend to be on the high end. I enjoy flitting through the catalogues creating wish lists. Half the fun of collecting is window shopping.

Canadian Stamp Auctions

There is no word on any auction from Talman Stamps here in Toronto. They tend to spring the auctions on us when they have enough stock ready. I imagine we won’t see anything until late summer or possibly fall.  Vance is always a good bet for some early Canadian airmail and semi-postals, but they announced a postponement as well, with no date available. It’s hard to set dates when no one is sure when this pandemic will subside.

R. Maresch & Son Auctions Ltd., in Toronto, is going ahead with their auction on the 22 – 23 of April. You can see their catalogue here. There will be no live floor auction (for obvious reasons). The auction will be live via the internet instead. They have used some ingenuity in allowing people to see some of the lots. Because of social distancing, potential bidders can’t drop in and preview lots. Maresch have posted videos here.  Scroll down below the videos for the catalogue.

If you’re an airmail collector check out lot 621. It’s a rare offering of cachet proofs. It’s 5 pages of Flight Cachet proofs from between 1928 to 1932. In all the auctions I’ve watched, this is the first time I’ve seen cachet proofs. A bit exciting.

Sheet of early Canadian airmail flight cachets

Lot 621a – SEMI-OFFICIAL AIRMAILS: Old time 1928 to 1932 FLIGHT CACHET PROOFS lot on pages, with KINGSTON to QUEBEC, OTTAWA to QUEBEC, OTTAWA to VANCOUVER, GREAT BEAR LAKE to FORT RESOLUTION, FORT FITZGERALD to FORT McMURRAY, etc,

International 2020 Spring Auctions

Looking beyond Canada, Cherrystone has a few interesting auctions coming up. I occasionally lurk around their site  because they have wonderful high end items that make my palms itch. They have two auctions – April 22, US stamps & postal history and May 12, rare stamps and postal history. I’m not a big collector of US stamps so it’s the second one that I find interesting. You might want to take a look at their PRC Cultural Revolution stamps.

PRC Cultural Revolution stamps 1969

1967 Thoughts of Mao Tse-tung 

1968 Literature & Art  

1968 Directives of Chairman Mao

I haven’t seen these come up before. Though I don’t collect PRC (aside from airmails), the 1960s propaganda stamps are amazing pieces of Chinese history. They are also fine examples of philatelic propaganda. It’ll be fun to watch the prices on this trio. Expect them to go in the thousands. Although with the severe economic downturn, we might be surprised.

If you collect Canadian semi-official airmail, then check out the grouping of Patricia Airways in the same auction. These are all pretty affordable (depending on who wants to compete for them). Again, with the economy in turmoil, they might go for far less than expected.

Photo of Patricia Airways semi-postal stamps

1926 10c on 50c purple overprint inverted, upper left sheet corner margin vertical pair

Scattered throughout the May auction are other airmail lots, so a careful search of both catalogues will be rewarding.

I’m still looking around other auction houses, so I’ll post an update on them soon.

Talman auction set for sometime in the fall

John H. Talman stamps will have an auction sometime this fall.  At last. I’ve been waiting months for the announcement.

He’s going to keep us waiting for the date, but I expect it’ll be sometime the end of Sept.  It’s been awhile since his last auction and I’m really looking forward to it. If you’re in Toronto, it’s a chance to attend a friendly, relaxed auction with some nice people in attendance. I enjoy his auctions, but don’t get down to them often.  Hopefully I’ll be able to go this fall. Auctions are usually held at the Eagle’s Club at  17 Elm, Toronto ON M5G 1H1, downtown but check back closer to auction day to be sure.

There are only 17 items posted to date, and no images.  Talman usually has a good selection of airmails, and superb Canadian covers on offer but we’ll have to be patient until the rest of the items are listed. It’ll be interesting to see how the catalogue shakes out -> http://talmanstamps.com/

And before I forget,  check out Talman’s page over at Hipstamp for ongoing online auctions -> https://www.hipstamp.com/store/john-talman-stamps-collectibles. If you aren’t familiar with HipStamp, it’s a safe and saner alternative to eBay, which is so rife with scammers I turn a cynical eye to pretty much most sales now.  There is also a section for postcards (HipCard) and comics (HipComics) which I’m going to start looking thoroughly examining. Yes, I collect comics – well only Scrooge McDuck comics, but I enjoy looking through the selection. I’ll throw interesting items up, from both postcards and comics, as I see them. Lots of fun!

For those  following my previous post on Vance Auction’s Hindenburg salvaged mail, that auction is tomorrow.  Results usually take a couple of weeks before they’re posted, but I’ll keep an eye open for realised prices. I can’t wait to see if it comes close to the 8 grand listed.

 

 

 

Psst – have a spare 8 grand for a slightly damaged postal cover?

Psst – have a spare 8 grand for a slightly damaged postal cover?

Here’s something you don’t see every day:

Photo of a badly burned salvaged cover from the Hindenburg Zeppelin disaster - cover courtesy Vance Auctions

A badly burned salvaged cover from the Hindenburg Zeppelin disaster

Have you figured out what it is? Here’s a hint: Think Zeppelin mail.  This chance to own a piece of history is coming up at the next Vance sale Aug 22, 2018. (Auction item 687)

C54, Tied on part of a charred cover from the 6 May, 1937 HINDENBURG ZEPPELIN DISASTER. Addr to C. Ford in San Francisco with centrally struck red Zeppelin flight cachet. Wrapped in the original cellophane by the Post Office and with P.O. Department Officially Sealed label on reverse. Has 1993 Germany Philatelic Society Certificate and 1993 Dr J. Simon Certificate. A VERY RARE EXAMPLE OF A HINDENBURG CRASH COVER FROM THE MOST FAMOUS AIR DISASTER IN HISTORY

The cover, from one of the most famous air disasters in history, was one of only 372 salvaged from the 17,000 letters the Hindenburg carried on it’s last flight. Out of those 372, 176 suffered no damaged because they were being held in protective pouches. The rest (this one included) were pieced together afterwards by diligent US postal officials, sealed and  sent on to their destination.  This one has an authentication certificate, which is mandatory given the high number of forgeries about.  It’s unusual to see one come for auction and it’ll be interesting to see what the final price is.

If you look closely, you can just make out an address and post mark. The original US post Officially Sealed stamp is in place along with the salvage wrapping. It originally carried the C54 Swastika, Sun, Globe and Eagle German airmail stamp – 100pf, like the one below, but I couldn’t spot it. I think it’ll take a careful examination to see the remnants.

Scan of 1934 German airmail stamp

Note: the number of covers that survived varies between 358 to 372.  Zeppelin authority Dieter Leder from the Zeppelin Study Group pegs the number at 372, which is the one I use in the article.

Bibliography:
Hindenburg Crash Mail – https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/found-letters-from-the-hindenburg-61380742/ 
Burned mail from Hindenburg crash to be auctioned (link no longer available. Looking for another one)
Zeppelin Post Journal is the one of the best magazines on the market for Zeppelin related information – http://www.ezep.de/zpj/zpj.html

Good value lots at Sparks early Canadian pence issue auction

Good value lots at Sparks early Canadian pence issue auction

Sparks Auctions in Ottawa, Ontario has 41 lots of early Canadian pence issues up for auction at the end of May. There are the usual “out of my league” offerings I enjoy mooning over, like lot 40 showcasing a  #10 6d Consort Imperforate on cover, dating to 1858. Sent from Montreal to Boston, the cover has a crisp stamp and two clear cancels and considered Very Fine.  The catalogue price is $10,000, so yea, just a bit out of my price range but enjoyable to look at even from afar.

About half the pence issues are the early beaver stamps #1 & 4 including this imperf pair:

1851 3d red Beaver Imperforate, on Laid Paper - courtesy Sparks Auctions

Any cancel hound will appreciate the centering and clearness of the target cancels.  Combined with the strong, visible margins, this a real score. (see page six of Part 1 — Canada & British North America catalogue). It’s listed for $1,600, and will be interesting to see what it actually goes for.

There are some value lots in this listing. Lot 17 offers a #4ii 1852 3d orange/red Beaver imperforate with a great 4-ring #8 (Chatham, Ontario) cancel and large margins. As with the others, the cancel is well centred but not so heavy as to obliterate the beaver offering a nice balance. The 8 is still sharp and attractive. The stamp has some flaws, two pinholes, so that hurts the price a bit. Doubtful the pin holes will even be noticeable and offers a real chance for new or budget collectors to snag a true Canadian classic. It’s valued at $50.  See page 7 in the same catalogue.

8 #4ii 1852 3d orange red Beaver Imperforate, used with ideal strike of 4-ring #8 . image courtesy Sparks Auctions
For small Queen collectors, there are quite a few lots, each containing hundreds of stamps ranging from $100 to the thousands. For me, the standout is 119:

“#37, 41 1870s to 1890s 3c Small Queen Lot, in a thick stock book, with well over 2,000 used stamps plus about 13 (mostly faulty) covers. We note more than usual early 1870-72 shades than is usually seen in this type of lot, with pages full. We also note several carmine rose shades from 1888-89, many 11½x12 perfs, 15 copies with imprints, many town cancels, and more. ”

Listed at $300, and over 2000 stamps, this could supply hours of investigating fun.

Check out all the lots at https://sparks-auctions.com/ sale 27 on May 29th-30th, 2018.

** all images courtesy Sparks Auctions