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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Stamp Investment Tip: Venezuela 1944 Baseball Issue (Scott #C189-97)

In 1944, Venezuela issued an airmail set commemorating the 7th World Amateur Baseball Championship Games, held in Caracas (Scott #C189-97). Only 10,000 sets were issued, and Scott '12 prices it at $ 42.50 for unused.

This overlooked issue is extremely attractive as an investment, as it combines scarcity, low price, a growing worldwide topical interest in Baseball, and an issuance country which is prospering and likely to continue to prosper for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, there is a general tendency among many stamp collectors to focus on Latin America as a region, which further adds to its appeal.

With a population of about 26 million, Venezuela is resource-rich, and consistently ranks among the top ten oil producers in the world. Annual GDP growth has averaged 3.5% over the last 5 years, which reflects a deceleration due to the recent global financial crisis. Under Chavez-style quasi-socialism, the percentage of Venezuelans living below the poverty line decreased from 48% in 2002 to 30% in 2006. The country has begun diversifying its economy away from its current near-total dependence on petroleum exports, and has spawned a rapidly growing manufacturing sector.

Varieties exist for stamps of this set, including imperforates and overprint varieties. Perhaps the rarest is the double overprint of "AEREO" on the 45 centavo Rose Violet (Scott #C193), which is listed in Michel, but not in Scott. These varieties are considerably rarer than the normal stamps, but since they are not Scott-listed, it is possible that you will find them priced at only a modest premium.

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