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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Stamp Investment Tip: Ethiopia 1947 Franklin D. Roosevelt Issue (Scott #278-80/C21-22)

In 1947, Ethiopia issued a compound set of stamps honoring Emperor Haile Selassie and Franklin D. Roosevelt (Scott #278-80/C21-22). 20,000 sets were issued, and Scott '10 values the set at $ 15.20 for unused). The set has obvious dual market appeal, and represents a very low-risk bet on Ethiopia's future economic development.

Ethiopia is still a poor country, with an estimated population of over 85 million people. However, it has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with annual GDP growth of 9%-11%. It has the greatest water reserves in Africa, and is one of its most fertile countries. According to the New York Times, it has the potential "to become the breadbasket for much of Europe if its agriculture were better organized."

Ethiopia has a fascinating philatelic history, and most serious collectors who specialize in Ethiopia are Europeans and Americans. I expect that this will change over the long-term, as it has for so many countries which have risen out of poverty. It doesn't take much imagination to envision how prices for scarce, inexpensive issues of Ethiopia will be affected if more of a middle class develops and more Ethiopians begin collecting their own stamps.

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