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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Stamp Investment Tip: Marianas 1899 Spanish Handstamped Issue (Scott 1-6)

In 1899, Spain issued stamps for the Marianas Islands, which it had claimed as its possession since 1668, the arrival of Spanish Jesuits intent on Christianizing the local natives, the Chamorro, who were nearly wiped out by wars with the Spanish and diseases introduced by colonists over the next eighty years. Stamps of the Philippines, which Spain had just lost in the Spanish-American War, were crudely handstamped "Marianas Espanolas" and were used for only a single mail shipment that was transported off the island in December of 1899, before Spain sold the Marianas to Germany in 1900.

These stamps are extremely scarce, and the covers are about as rare as hen's teeth. They are occasionally offered at auction. Expertization is a necessary condition of purchase, because forged handstamps exist. Many of the Spanish Marianas stamps are poorly centered, so attempt to either select one that has F-VF or better centering, unlike the one pictured, or discount for mediocre centering or condition problems.

The quantities issued and Scott ' 10 Catalog Values are as follows:

  • 1 2c Dark Blue Green (500 issued; $875.00 unused, $ 325.00 used)
  • 2 3c Dark Brown (500 issued; $ 675.00 unused, $ 225.00 used )
  • 3 5c Carmine Rose (500 issued; $ 1,000.00 unused, $ 350.00 used)
  • 4 6c Dark Blue (50 issued; $ 6,500.00 unused, $ 5,000.00 used)
  • 5 8c Gray Brown (700 issued; $ 500.00 unused, $ 200.00 used)
  • 6 15c Slate Green (150 issued; $ 2,500.00 unused, $ 1,300.00 used)

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