The recent issue from Canada Post celebrating UNESCO World Heritage sites contained a design error. The $1.20 stamp depicting the hoodoos from supposedly the Dinosaur Provincial Park was instead depicting formations from East Coluee. As soon as the stamp was issued, people questioned the image. Canada Post recognized the design error and recalled the issue from sale, but not before some quantity of stamps had already been sold.

Not all post offices received the message to pull their stock from sale. Even after the recall was made, some post offices were still selling the issue.

Overnight, some of these stamps started showing up on online auction sites such as eBay. Sale prices ranged from a few dollars up to $100 for a copy of this stamp. If you collect Canadian stamps, how much would you pay for a copy for your collection?

This is a teachable moment for several reasons.

The stamp was recalled very quickly, but some copies were already sold to the public. How many were sold? Is the number in the hundreds of copies? A few thousand copies? As of this writing, no one knows yet approximately how many stamps were sold. The supply of this stamp is unknown.

Will the stamp be issued in stamp catalogs? The answer is: probably. It was a legitimately issued stamp (even if for a very short time). There is a chance that the stamp may not be listed in stamp catalogs. Stamps that have an assigned catalog number are in more demand than stamps that are not listed in the catalog.

Is it possible that Canada Post will reverse its decision and sell more of the stamps anyway? They say that they will destroy the unsold copies. There is a chance though that someone makes a decision that because some copies were sold and this created a scarce/rare item, they should release more so that everyone has an opportunity to own this stamp. If you donít think this is possible, you should read the history behind US Scott #1204, the Dag HammarskjŲld issue.

What will the demand be for this stamp? Will all collectors of Canadian stamps want a copy for their collection? Will they ignore it because it was recalled from sale? Demand for this issue is too early to determine.

If you were a dealer in Canadian stamps, how much would you pay for a copy of this issue? The supply is unknown. A catalog listing is probable, but not guaranteed. There is a chance that Canada Post decides to put more copies on the market. Demand is too early to determine.

Now you see the teachable moment. There are a lot of unknowns and a certain degree of risk here.

If you buy copies at, say, $100 and the supply is much larger than you expected, the price could settle at, say, $20 per copy. Ouch! You just overpaid. If you overpaid on a few copies, it hurts. If you overpaid on, say, 100 copies, you are looking at a large financial loss.

If the price goes to $1000 per copy, you just hit the jackpot.

In time, the supply, demand, and price will stabilize. At this early stage though, there are a lot of unknowns.

I doubt any dealer would pay a large sum of money for any copies of these stamps. Itís just too risky that you could lose money. Dealers may pay several dollars per copy, say, $10 or $20 per copy. There is a high probability that the price of the stamp will at least be worth this much. If you could buy 100 copies at $10 each, your investment is $1000. If the price goes way down, you lost at most $1000. You hope to not lose money, but if you do, itís a sum that wonít put you out of business.