On July 16th, 2013, the Vincent Graves Greene Foundation announced that it had issued a certificate of authenticity for a newly discovered 2¢ Large Queen on Laid Paper (Scott #32). Previously, it was thought that only two examples of this rare Canada stamp existed.
According to the VGG Foundation: “The submitted stamp was purchased by the collector early in 2013. It came from a sales circuit book (a book containing stamps for sale which is passed among prospective buyers in a geographical circuit). “The cost was very modest” (thought to be $5). It was simply a Hamilton dated copy with creases and a tear. He was checking Large Queens for watermarks using back lighting. This has been confirmed by the submitter who is known to a member of our Expert Committee. The submitter believes he was not the first person to see the particular circuit book.” (Italics ours)
It is thought that only a few hundred of these 2¢ Large Queens were accidentally printed on laid paper (all the other issues were printed on wove paper). Out of these few hundred stamps, the first seems to have been noticed in 1925. Up until this year, only two copies were known to exist: one is in the collection of an American collector and the other is the property of Ron Brigham (a Canadian businessman who apparently hopes to sell his copy for $1 million). The Unitrade Catalogue lists a used fine copy of this stamp to be worth $250 000.
The VGG Foundation scrupulously examined at least a dozen of the stamp’s characteristics, including its measurements, thickness and texture of paper, color and perforations. The most critical analysis however, had to do with whether or not the stamp was printed on genuine laid paper, or if it was faked (faked laid paper stamps are often produced by re-backing existing stamps, done by attaching very thin laid paper to the front and back of a stamp).
One of the determining factors in proclaiming this stamp the real McCcoy was that when it was soaked in water, the sides of the stamp curled up and then flattened out as the water was absorbed. This is proper behavior for an authentic, vertically meshed, Large Queen on laid paper.
So now we have to wait and see whether or not any of these stamps will be sold in the near future. Who knows, we may have to add this Canada rarity to our list of the Top 5 Most Valuable Single Stamps in the World!