AFRAID TO WALK
Being afraid to walk is life-changing. The fear might be physical harm from a mugger or traffic, but in my case it was ice. A sudden crash landing is seldom fatal but as one ages the consequences can be very serious. The increasingly common thaws, then flash freezes of an Ottawa winter meant physical danger.
Moving to Victoria was the right decision for ice-free winters. And after three decades of too many hours each day at the stamp store, a definitive closing of the door was right for me personally. The move was more complicated with respect to Sparks Auctions.
Sparks Auctions is a limited company created in 2007 and presently owned by 10 (soon to be 12) shareholders. About 98% of the shares are held by employees or members of the Board of Directors, so any decision about the future of Sparks was not mine alone. But because of its history, and shared premises with the retail store, there may have been a belief in the philatelic community that without my presence, Sparks likely could not survive.
I was confident that we were developing strong, competent describers which is traditionally the most difficult position to fill. From the beginning our technical requirements, artful catalogue layout and distribution, the efficient organization of viewing, the smooth running of the auction, and timely shipping were all in very capable hands.
A move from 62 Sparks to 1550 Carling Avenue was also a concern, partly because of much higher rent. But there were clear benefits in separating the identity of Sparks Auctions from Ian Kimmerly Stamps.
The hours which I devoted to Sparks especially in later years were primarily spent talking with potential consignors, often appraising and accepting consignments. This is a role I will continue in from my base in Victoria for the foreseeable future. But for Sparks’ survival there would need to be a successful transference of confidence in myself to confidence in Sparks.
All these concerns are as nothing when you view Sparks’ upcoming January 27-29th auction. The single lots of exceptional quality throughout Canada and British Commonwealth will obviously impress. A more in-depth reading will reveal the strength and interest of the postal history as well as in the country lots and collections. For those of you who have viewed either the printed or online catalogue of the sale the verdict must be this: SPARKS SPARKLES!
Sparks conducts a traditional public floor auction with simultaneous live internet bidding. Information can be found at www.sparks-auctions.com. We offer stamps from about a hundred consignors each auction and future consignments are always welcome. In order to properly describe your collection in time for the upcoming May auction we should receive it before February 20th.
And, personally, I will brave the ice to be in Ottawa from Monday through Sunday, so I can participate in the sale and help out at the auctioneer’s microphone. I can be contacted by email or through Sparks.