Montreal Madness

Friday was a long and cold day.

It started with a dental appointment then a drive to Montreal. I went to look at a large collection. It was quite unlike most collections I usually see.

First a few words about my vehicle – 13 years old nearly 300,000 kilometres – the engine and running parts should be good for some time to come. My Ford Explorer has never complained about weight and its capacity is 43 Archive boxes. I’ve learned how to pack so as to maximize the available space. Nevertheless I was concerned that I would not have enough room for the collection. Also this was likely to be the last major haul for the Ford because rust on the car and also on me (a painful hip because of the position of my right leg when driving) necessitate a new vehicle.

To get back to the stamps. I spent several hours going through what was (for the most part) very nice quality stamps contained in about 200 volumes and miscellaneous boxes. One group of four “red boxes” contained thousands of lovely fresh French Colonies stamps and varieties with a retail value of more than $20,000. What was unusual is that the value of the Canada, USA, Great Britain, France, Benelux, Scandinavia combined was perhaps one percent of the total value of the collection. The value of Germany, Italy, Spain, the rest of Europe, and most of Africa except French Colonies would be measured in the single digits as a percent of the total value.

How can it be, you might ask, that one can buy a vast accumulation of fresh, mostly modern, mostly never hinged collections without these countries. The answer: Latin America, the Caribbean, Central America, Indonesia and several Asian countries. Best is a collection of Colombia in five volumes.

In addition to this massive group there was a major collection of fish and marine life. Wow, this collection really impressed me. It must be very nearly complete for all sets of the world up to a value of about $500; and apparently the only hinged stamps are few pre-World War II issues which the collector never found in never hinged condition. It took about 30 years to assemble. We can probably help fill almost any want list in this topic (it includes shells – and has many non-Scott listed varieties).

I did the arithmetic and made my best offer. It was accepted… and now to continue the loading story…

Usually I like to pack albums into boxes for transporting. It turned out to be fortuitous that there were no boxes. No matter how carefully one packs boxes there is always wasted space. if I had used boxes there would not have been room for everything. Instead each volume was carefully arranged in the back cargo area so as not to waste ANY space. This winter the weather has been kind for the most part – but Friday it was about MINUS 25 degrees. Eventually it was all packed and I headed back to Ottawa.

We’re going to have fun with this impressive collection. We hope our customers appreciate it as much as we do.

Why the title of Montreal Madness. Part of the collection includes cartons of commercial covers and cartons of stamps which are loose, or on album pages etc. We have been packing these in cartons and boxes priced from about $25 and up. Each has a label reading MONTREAL MADNESS. Currently we have fifteen of these lots. I will try to double that quantity before I leave today.

– Ian Kimmerly