Maresch bringing auction action back to Royal Convention

By Jesse Robitaille

For the first time in years, an auction will be held this June at the annual convention of The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC).

It will be R. Maresch and Son Auctions’ third sale at a show, its previous two being the Capex shows in 1987 and 1996, according to auctioneer Peter Maresch, the grandson of philatelic collector and dealer Richard Maresch. The elder Maresch was a collector since 1904 before establishing the business in Vienna, Austria, in 1924. His son, Bill Maresch – Peter’s father – joined in on the business in the ’50s before entering the auction business in 1957.

An 1870 Large Queen cover paying 10 times the domestic rate is expected to bring $1,500 as Lot 1595.

“It’s been a while – we haven’t done any shows for quite a while – but we’re starting to get back to it,” said the younger Maresch, who was about 10 years old when he began collecting stamps under the guidance of his father.

After learning this year’s RPSC Convention (also known as Royal*2019*Royale) would be held in Mississauga – close to the company’s headquarters in Aurora, Ont. – he approached organizers to express his interest in offering an auction.

“We’re trying to help promote getting more people to the show,” he said, adding an auction should help boost overall attendance.

But with the company’s “comfort zone” being at its offices about 30 minutes north of downtown Toronto, in unit six of 2 Vata Ct., there has been no shortage of planning to ensure the off-site auction is a success.

A large engraved vignette die proof (shown above) produced by the American Bank Note Company in New York is expected to bring $7,500-plus as one of three pieces offered as Lot 1611.

“We’re planning for every possibility,” he said, citing potential power failures, security concerns and insurance issues.

“When something happens fast, you need to know what you have to do ahead of time – you know, the worst-case scenarios.”


The 197-lot auction will offer “a little bit of everything,” Maresch said, citing “some beautiful, superb items that are very desirable and some rarer items.”

“We wanted a wide range of everything.”

Highlights include:

  • a pair of mourning covers dated 1855 and 1857 (Lots 1741 and 1754);
  • a “rare” 1860 Cape of Good Hope cover with multi-coloured franking (Lot 1729);
  • a used Seaway Invert in Fine condition (Lot 1687);
  • “nicely centred” large Jubilees (Lots 1617-29);
  • three unique pieces of proof material from the American Bank Note Company (ABNC) in New York (Lot 1611); and
  • a Large Queen cover paying 10 times the domestic rate (Lot 1595).

One of only seven known, the “somewhat reduced blue envelope” was mailed from Fredericton, N.B., on Nov. 7, 1870, about 55 kilometres southeast to Gagetown paying 10 times the domestic rate. With next-day arrival on the back, the cover is franked on the front by a “very fine pair” of 1868-dated 15-cent greyish purple Queen Victoria stamps (SC #29i) tied by two strikes of a two-ring cancel.

“Outstanding cover and extremely rare,” said Maresch, who added there’s a pre-sale estimate of $1,500.

Lot 1611 also includes a ‘picture engraving index’ card (shown above) plus a hardened steel engraved die.


Lot 1611 will offer a large engraved vignette die proof; a picture engraving index card; and a hardened steel engraved die from the ABNC depicting Queen Victoria as Empress of India.

The die proof is a “Die No C 71” imprint on India paper and affixed to a large card and stamped twice with “INDEX COPY 676.” Pencil notations read, “Destroyed by Mr Haar per Mr Gow 12/8/60” plus the new “Die No V 42821.”

The matching picture engraving index card lists the engraver for “Die C 71” (identified as V 42821 on the card) as “F. Smillie” with a date of May 16, 1883.

Lastly, a hardened steel engraved die features “C 71,” which is struck-through above the added inscription, “V 42821.”

Described by Maresch as “a remarkable showpiece, rare and unique,” this three-piece lot has a pre-sale estimate of $7,500-plus.


An 1857 mourning cover to Liverpool, England, has a pre-sale estimate of $3,500 as Lot 1751.

The auction’s first of two mourning covers, this from 1857, will cross the block as Lot 1571.

It’s franked with an 1855-dated 10-pence blue Jacques Cartier stamp (Scott #7) on thin paper with “full to jumbo margins,” according to Maresch, and tied by a four-ring cancel and red “PKTLETTER PAID LIVERPOOL MY 17 A57* cancel.

Accompanied by a 2013 Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation expertizing certificate, it has a pre-sale estimate of $3,500.

The second mourning cover, this from 1859 and offered as Lot 1574, is franked with an 1857-dated 7.5-pence green Queen Victoria stamp (SC #9). The trans-Atlantic cover was mailed from Hamilton, Ont., to London, England, and has a “31 MY 1859″ circular date stamp (CDS), a light red “LONDON PAID JU 15 59” arrival CDS and a manuscript reading “P North American, Quebec” at the top.

Accompanied by contents plus two expertization certificates, this lot has a catalogue value of $6,000.

Lot 1754, an 1859 trans-Atlantic mourning cover from Hamilton, Ont., to London, England, has a catalogue value of $6,000.


Two specialized Latvian collections – one of regular issues and another of revenues – will be offered as Lots 1741 and 1742, both with pre-sale estimates of $750.

Instead of lot viewing before the sale, the collections will be displayed throughout the weekend in the show’s court of honour to celebrate the life of late collector William Apsit, who died in 2016.

The collections assembled by Apsit, a long-time resident of Guelph, Ont., include an award-winning exhibit of Latvia’s 1918 map stamps, including 48 complete sheets on 39 different maps, and a 96-page exhibit ranging from 1916-43.


Lot 1687, a used 1959 St. Lawrence Seaway Invert in Fine condition, has a catalogue value of $10,000.

The auction will begin following the final lot-viewing session on Friday, June 21 at Royal*2019*Royale.

The three-day show will continue throughout the weekend, until June 23, at the Hilton Mississauga on 6750 Mississauga Rd.

Prior to the show, lot viewing will be held at Maresch office in Aurora on June 10-15 and June 17-18 – plus in Mississauga on June 21 – from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The auction will begin soon after lot viewing, and Maresch expects it’ll only take “a couple of hours” to get through the nearly 200 lots.

“It won’t make for a long day for everyone – especially the dealers – because we want everyone to participate, and you can’t always participate if you’re on the bourse working all day.”

For more information about the upcoming sale, visit

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