I’m back lurking around Vance Auction’s October listings, this time looking at the airmails. Oh, and be still my beating heart! The first offerings in Canadian semi-postals knocked my socks off. Now is the time to dig up some extra cash and go wild. What has my pulse racing? Check them out:
I’m always blown away by them when I see them. They are on my fantasy “one day I’ll own them” list. The first is an Aug 1918 CLP2 tete beche pair. Vance describes them as VF, OG and well centred. Estimate on this is $1,500 (lot #6759). I went to a stamp show (quite a few years ago) and one of the sellers had a couple singles on display. That was the only time I’ve been able to get so close I could see all the detail. Great propaganda pieces.
Moving on through the list – 3 CPL3 AUG 25, 1919 Aeroclub Canada stamps, including a used with a good cachet estimated $900.
The cachet is strong and doesn’t look like it’s suffered any fading over time – ‘AERIAL MAIL AUG 25, 1919 TORONTO CANADA’. All three are worth checking out if you’re a semi-official collector. Check out lots 6760 to 6762.
Rounding out the list are two beautiful deep red Estevan – Winnipeg FF semis from Oct 1 1924.
If you have an eye for cachets, CLP5 and CLP5i are the ones to look at. Both have a little biplane stamped under the By Air Mail | First Flight, but CLP5i version is picture perfect and still strong 94 year later. Estimates $250 and $275.
Vance Auctions #333 Oct 11 catalogue is online now – http://www.vanceauctions.com. While over there don’t forget to check out their blog. They recently posted an interesting bit on the lathe work on Canadian Admirals.
Here’s something you don’t see every day:
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.
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.
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
Time to ogle the latest Vance Auction catalogue for Wednesday, March 21, 2018!. A cursory look popped up dozens of gems. One of my favourite categories is First Flight covers (FFC) ad as expected, there are a number of lots offering Canadian FFC from the 1920s to late 30s. Many are reasonably priced for airmail fans on budgets. One lot, in particular, that caught my eye is a shoe box full of covers and postcards, including “multi-franked airmail, mainly from Vatican City & USA but has many other countries incl Malta, Br. Africa, Peru, etc”. Est price is only $100 and would be a fun sorter box. (lot 971). Most of the covers are too recent for my tastes, but if you collect post-1980s covers, this may be the pick of the lot. Here’s one that I have my eyes on: Beautiful Denmark cover “Horsens to Copenhagen / North Europe Philatelic Exhibition 7 Sept 1936”. This one hits all the marks – cancels are crisp, colours, vivid, clean stamps. Overall a fun cover estimated price $75. (lot 2029). I realised today I don’t have any Danish airmail! So, this is on my list to watch. But this one sets my heart beating: No one does airmail like the French. The early stamps and postcards were works of art in themselves. This 1922 exhibition card is perfect example and expected to fetch $125. (lot 2129) I’m still sifting through the Canadian semi-officials and airmails, so I’ll post my favourites later.
You can follow auction results and upcoming sales at Vance Auction website.
I look forward to ogling the latest auction catalogue from Vance Auctions. Their Aug 23, 2017 offering is now online and hosts the usual excellent offerings. Some items are beyond my reach, but in previous auctions, I’ve managed to snag a few bargains that scratched specific itches, so I enjoy paging through their catalogue.
Something a bit different caught my eye this time. If you are a salvaged mail collector, they have a gem – stampless, but a gem nonetheless. Check out item #4446 – “Salved from the sea” RMS Nascopie. The stamp floated off into the ocean somewhere but doesn’t detract from this cover:
R.M.S. Nascopie WRECK cover with 2 Eastern Arctic Patrol / R.M.S. / Canada 1 Aug 1947 violet oval cancel to Richmond Hill, Ont. Has s/l “SALVED FROM THE SEA” violet h/s. Has lovely multi-colour World Map design. Salvaged from the wreck of the R.M.S. “Nascopie” lost at Cape Dorset, July 1947. F-VF, stamp floated off ….Est 500.00+ (from Vance Auction catalogue)
This is a must see for anyone interested in Canadian and maritime history, Hudson’s Bay Company, maritime mail and salvaged/wreck mail. The RMS Nascopie went down near Baffin Island, in the Canadian arctic while on a regular run. This is the Nascopie, somewhere in the Canadian north:
And docked in Montreal a few years before it sank:
The ship had an fascinating life starting in 1911. The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC)1 sailed the ship, plying a trade route along the Hudson Straight, stopping at HBC outposts along the way. That’s that the bit between Nunavut and Baffin Island way north in Canada in case you’re curious:
During WW1, the ship was leased to the French government who ran wheat to Murmansk, Russia and supplies back to France. It was a dangerous run, which saw the Nascopie exchanging fire with a German sub during one of the trips.
After the war, it returned to the Hudson’s Bay Company control and returned to the familiar waters of the Canadian arctic. It pushed deep into the north waters dropping off scientists and surveyors, rescued passengers from sinking ships, moved supplies to and from HBC posts, transported reindeer from Norway to the Canadian arctic (an odd story in itself2) and carried tourists to the north. One of the most well known tourist was Fredrick Varley of the Group of Seven3. Check out the link below for the Torontoists’ fabulous write up of the trip he took. In 1935, it received the designation RMS – Royal Mail Steamer and was designated to carry mail to and from HBC outposts. You can find covers with the RMS Nascopie cancel at auctions occasionally. Check out Postal History Corner’s page on the Nascopie (link below) for more images of Nascopie cancels4.
When WW2 broke out, the Nascopie returned to war duties, fitted with both anti-aircraft and naval guns, running raw materials from Greenland and Canada. It survived it’s second tour of duty, only to hit an uncharted reef off Cape Dorset, on the southern tip of Baffin Island five years later.
Part of its last mail cargo was salvaged. The cover above was one such item. The original Eastern Arctic Patrol hand cancels applied after the ship sank are still crisp and clear, as is the “salved from the sea” mark. It’s worth a look. Estimated to go for about $500, but who knows. Auctions are quirky beasts. Have to keep an eye on it.
1 The Hudson’s Bay Company webpage on the Nascopie http://www.hbcheritage.ca/things/technology/rms-nascopie
2 CBC article on the HBC’s attempt to import reindeer to the Canadian north http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/norwegian-researches-baffin-island-reindeer-experiment-1.718885
3 The Torontoist rarely lets me down when it comes to stories about Canadian history. Check out their tale of Varley aboard the Nascopie – http://torontoist.com/2013/02/historicist-north-aboard-the-nascopie/
4 Postal History Corner is one of my favourite sites when it comes to stamps. They have a good page showing various cancels from the Nascopie. http://postalhistorycorner.blogspot.ca/search?q=nascopie