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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Stamp Investment Tip: People's Republic of China 1961 Ping Pong Souvenir Sheet (Scott #566a)

The Chinese stamp market is white hot right now, and will continue to be so as long as the People's Republic maintains its rapid economic growth and does not experience a major political disruption. There may be over 15 million stamp collectors in China, and in the year 2000, the Chinese government made it an official policy to foster stamp collecting among its youth, by encouraging elementary and high school teachers to form stamp clubs, as a means of increasing interest in China's history. The country currently has almost 50,000 stamp clubs and philatelic organizations, and universities in Fujian and Jiangxi offer elective courses in Philately. All of this represents a complete reversal of Chairman Mao's prohibition against stamp collecting, which he viewed as a form of "reactionary cosmopolitanism." While he was alive, most stamps of the P.R.C. which were not used for postage were bought by European and American collectors. Now, the Chinese are buying them back.

Among the hottest of issues from P.R. China are many of the early souvenir sheets, produced in absurdly low quantities, and stamps of the Cultural Revolution period. The 1961 26th World Table Tennis Championship Souvenir Sheet (Scott #566a) had a printing of only 30,000. It's a great Sports topical, and as with many similarly scarce Chinese souvenir sheets, should continue to skyrocket in value as long as the P.R.C. continues to prosper and doesn't implode. Scott '10 values the unused souvenir sheet at $ 700.-, and the avid competition to acquire this and other better P.R.C. items is reflected in current buy lists.

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