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Monday, September 14, 2009

Stamp Investment Tip: Cuba 1898 Alfonso XIII Issue (Scott #156-75)

I view many of the early sets of Spain's former colonies as grossly undervalued, and highly recommend the purchase of an Edifil Catalog of Spain and Dependencies, which notes printing quantities for many of these issues.

One such set was issued by Cuba around the time of the Spanish-American War. The 1898 Alfonso XIII issue, a set of definitives featuring the boy king, had a printing of only 10,000, and has a current Scott Value of $ 89.95 for an unused set. It may be unavailable in Never Hinged condition, so aim for a nice LH set or a sound used one.

Cuba is very interesting from the point of view of philatelic history, initially having issued stamps as a Spanish Colony, then under U.S. Administration, and finally, as a republic, with importation of unused stamps of the Castro period currently prohibited by a U.S. embargo. I think it inevitable that friendly relations between the U.S. and Cuba will eventually be restored, allowing fat American tourists and new wealth to flow into the island. Even without that catalyst, however, the set should rise, as it has a dual market, and is sought by collectors of both Cuba and Spanish Colonies.

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