Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Stamps of Israel are notable in that they are collected with "tabs," attached selvedge with additional information about the stamp. The first stamp albums for Israel contained spaces for the stamps themselves, but not for the stamps with tabs. Consequently, collectors often removed the tabs before mounting the stamps in the albums. The late renowned stamp dealer Jacques Minkus produced the first Israel album with spaces for the stamps with their tabs, but unfortunately, the tabs were usually torn off the early issues. As a result, many tabbed Israeli stamps of the 1948-52 period are very scarce.
In 1952, Israel issued a high value 1000 prutah Menorah Stamp (Scott #55), with emblems of the Twelve Tribes framing a menorah of the Second Temple. Informational tabs were printed on the bottom margin selvedge of each sheet. 350,000 Menorah stamps were issued, but the vast majority were used on packages, and most of the mint stamps with tabs collected were detached from their tabs by collectors trying to fit the stamps into their album spaces. Consequently, Scott '12 values the basic mint stamp at $ 16.00 and the stamp with a tab at $ 250.00 . The stamp is very attractive and relates directly to Jewish history, as well as being a Religion topical. I highly recommend investing in the Menorah stamp with tab.
A caveat applies when purchasing tabbed Israeli stamps: the tab must be complete - often (as with the '52 Menorah stamp) the tabs contained two parts of selvedge. If the marginal part of the tab has been removed, the stamp is considered to have a "part tab," and is worth a slight premium over the cost of a basic stamp. Occasionally, ignorant or dishonest sellers will quote the catalog value for a fully tabbed stamp when offering one with a part tab.
Israel is considered one of the most advanced countries in the world in terms of economic development. As a technology powerhouse which leads the world in the number of scientists and engineers per capita, it also has the second largest number of start-up companies after the U.S.. Israel's main burden is having to spend much of its GNP on defending itself from some of its more bellicose neighbors. Over the last 5 years, annual GDP growth has averaged just under 4%, reflecting a slowing in 2009 due to the global economic crisis. Should peace break out in the Mid-East, trade will grow exponentially, and Israel could serve as a model for economic development in the Mid-East and much of the Third World. In that event, the better stamps of Israel and the Palestine Mandate will increase dramatically.
Israeli stamps are popular in Israel and among Jewish collectors around the world. Those interested in learning more about Israeli stamps should consider purchasing a Bale Catalogue, which classifies and values many items not listed in Scott, including forerunners, errors, varieties, machine-vended stamps, revenues, postal stationery, and booklets.