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Friday, February 5, 2010

Stamp Investment Tip: Austria 1933 WIPA Issue (Scott #B110-11)

In 1933, Austria issued several semi-postal stamps and a souvenir sheet in celebration of the Vienna International Philatelic Exhibition (WIPA). These stamps, which pictured an engraving of a stagecoach after a painting by Moritz von Schwind, are listed below, along with quantities issued and Scott '10 Catalog Values for unused:

Scott #B110: 50g Deep Ultramarine, Perf. 12 1/2 (40,000: $ 150.00- $260.00 for NH)

Scott #B110a: 50g Deep Ultramarine, Perf. 12 1/2 on granite paper (20,000; $ 325.00- $625.00 for NH)

Scott #B111: 50g, Perf. 12, Souvenir sheet of 4 on granite paper (10,000; $ 2,500.00-$ 3,250.00 for NH)

Scott #B111a: 50g, Perf 12 on granite paper, single from s/s (40,000; $ 500.00-$ 650.00 for NH)

I view this issue as a conservative investment, which should do well over the long haul as Austria's economy and stamp collecting population grows. The global aging trend should boost the number of serious Austrian philatelists, as the proportion of Austrians over 60 is projected to grow from 20.7% in 2000 to 33% in 2025, and 41% in 2050, according to a UN Report on Global Aging.

Austria, a nation of 8.3 million people, is one of the 12 richest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita, with a well-developed social market economy and a high standard of living. Alongside its highly developed industries, international tourism is the most important part of the national economy. Germany has historically been the main trading partner of Austria, making it vulnerable to rapid changes in the German economy. However, since Austria became a member state of the European Union it has gained closer ties to other European Union economies, reducing its economic dependence on Germany. In addition, membership in the EU has drawn an influx of foreign investors attracted by Austria's access to the single European market and proximity to the emerging economies of the European Union. Annual GDP growth has averaged 2.4% over the past 5 years, reflecting a recent slowdown due to the global financial crisis.

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