Most people think Vancouver started in Gastown. But the early city actually sprang up a few blocks east, at the foot of Dunlevy Avenue.

That was where Capt. Edward Stamp decided to build a lumber mill in 1865. Incredibly, Stamp’s accounting ledger for the mill still exists, 155 years later. And on Feb. 29 it will go up for sale at an All Nations Stamp and Coin online auction. writes John Mackie in the Vancouver Sun.

“I view this as a foundational document for the B.C. forest industry and for the city of Vancouver,” said Brian Grant Duff of All Nations Stamp and Coin. “It’s Edward Stamp’s accounting journal from 1865 to 1869, listing out all his expenses for his English investors establishing lumber mills on Vancouver Island and the first main lumber mill in the Vancouver area.”

Top part of Stamp's Ledger

 closeup of the top of the first page of Capt. Edward Stamp’s ledger. PNG

Pioneer Vancouverites called it Stamp’s Mill, but the ledger shows the official name was the British Columbia and Vancouver Island Spar Lumber and Sawmill Co. Ltd. Stamp left the mill in 1869 after a dispute with investors and it was sold and renamed Hastings Mill in 1870. (It closed in 1930.)

detail from Stamp's Ledger

Detail from Capt. Edward Stamp’s ledger showing payments to colonial B.C. Gov. Frederick Seymour / PNG

Read more about Captain Stamp and the Hastings Mill ledger here in John Mackie’s Vancouver Sun article.
bw photo of Captain Edward Stamp

Capt. Edward Stamp, circa 1860s / PNG

The Feb. 29 auction — the last day of a leap year — also includes a medal for a soldier who fought in the Riel Rebellion and a letter from poet Pauline Johnson.

It’s the 1,250th All Nations Stamp and Coin auction, so Brian Grant Duff has placed several historically important B.C. items in the sale.

See more images in the Vancouver Sun article here