Monday, September 28, 2009
In 1937, the British declared Burma separate from India, and made it a self-governing unit of the Empire. The first stamps of Burma were George V definitives of India overprinted "Burma." A set of Official stamps (Scott #O1-14), for use by governmental officials, was also created by additionally overprinting the stamps "Official." In 1939, a new set of Officials (Scott #O15-27) was issued by overprinting some of the stamps from Burma's 1938-40 George VI issue.
Issuance quantity information is unavailable for these sets, but in all probability, 10,000- 20,000 (or fewer) of each were produced. They are of current interest to British Commonwealth collectors, and Scott ' values O1-14 at $ 497.00 for unused ($825.00 for NH)and O15-27 at $ 309.10 for unused ($ 420.00 for NH).
Now called the Union of Myanmar, this country of 50 million is ruled by a ruthless military junta which oppresses its people and mismanages and isolates Myanmar from the rest of the world. The junta has committed crimes against humanity, including the forced labor of approximately 800,000 of its citizens. Previous to the coup of 1962 in which the junta seized power, Burma was one of the most prosperous nations in Southeast Asia, rich in commodities and with a highly literate, hard-working population.
I view it as inevitable that the Burmese people will cast off their oppressors and return to democracy, and eventually, prosperity, but when this will happen, or at what cost, remain open questions. Until then, I suggest purchase of both of these sets, which should gradually increase in value based solely upon demand from British Commonwealth collectors.