For nearly 80 years, there have been only two known examples of Canada's rarest stamp: the two-cent, 1868 "large queen" on laid paper, also called by collectors a "large-queen-on-laid".
The third example of every Canadian stamp collector's wildest dream was discovered in a circuit book (instead of just pictures and prices of products available for order, a circuit book contains actual stamps and other postal items and is passed between collectors, who can examine and purchase any of the artifacts). It was bought by an unnamed collector for roughly five dollars. When the hobbyist revealed his discovery, a serious stir among postage specialists across North America has been revealed.
The idea that a new "large-queen-on-laid" had been found was so startling to the Canadian stamp collecting community, that it prompted to the Vincent Graves Green Philatelic Research Foundation, a postal history research organization based in Toronto, which conducted an exhaustive probe. The 10-page report issued by the organization verified the artifact's authenticity.
The two-cent large queen from 1868 was part of the first series of Canadian stamps after Confederation in 1867, lending it special significance in the country's postal heritage. The green-hued stamp features a profile of Queen Victoria, and the rare, ultra-valuable versions were printed - almost certainly by mistake - on a heavier, rougher sheet of "laid" paper in contrast to the run-of-the-mill large queens that were reproduced on more common "wove" paper, examples of which are worth $20 today.
The value of the new-found "large queen" is difficult to determine. Earlier this year, when it was announced Canadian stamp collector Ron Brigham would begin selling his set this fall, the value of the "large-queen-on-laid" in his possession - thought to be one of two in existence - was estimated at $1 million.