Large Queens

Among the most interesting specializations in our hobby are the stamps of Canada and especially the issue of 1880-1890 that are called the “Large Queens”. The name that philatelists have given this set refers to their physical relationship to the set of stamps that came after them. These stamps are large-the next issues was much smaller. Large Queens have several interesting philatelic points going for them, primarily the fact that there are so many varieties to collect. The stamps themselves are well printed and attractive and the varieties ensure that a specialist never comes to end of items to acquire. There are perf varieties and paper varieties, especially three of the stamps being issued on Laid paper (all of the Laid paper varieties are rare). There are watermarked varieties as these stamps were issued on paper as it could be purchased and for different printings that sometimes meant paper that was watermarked. And there are shades galore. In fact the 15c value is printed in a color similar to the 24c 1861-67 of the United States (#70 and 78). Early inks in the violet shade were very difficult to match printing to printing and have changed color over time depending on handling and light so that is more difficult to find two 15c Large Queens that match in color than two that are different. And the price of the stamps makes them an interesting specialty as well as they are very affordable considering their age and rarity. The stamps have a high catalog value (about $800 per set) but like most of Nineteenth Century Canadian stamps can currently be bought at about 10% of catalog at reputable auctions in Fine to Very Fine condition.

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