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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stamp Investment Tip: France - Offices in China

As with the other colonial powers smuggling opium into China, bribing corrupt officials, and generally making a mockery of Chinese sovereignty during the 19th and early 20th centuries, France maintained "spheres of influence" within China, and maintained post offices there. Initially, French stamps were overprinted "Chine" and used throughout the Middle Kingdom, but after the Boxer Rebellion (1898-1901), France also issued stamps for its post offices in various Chinese cities, overprinted with the city names.

Many, if not all, of the better foreign offices in China stamps are grossly undervalued, because most Chinese collectors disdain them as relics of foreign imperialism, which they are. Nevertheless, I feel that they are excellent investments solely on the basis of growing demand in their home countries, and because I believe that eventually, the Chinese will bid them up as well. Many of these issues are undervalued to such an extent that they are currently selling for less than P.R.C. souvenir sheets and Cultural Revolution sets which are at least 30 to 100 times more common. When reticence begins to replace rage, and perhaps 1/100th of a percent of the collectors in China start buying these issues, they will zoom upward at a rate that will shock and amaze the the vast majority of collectors who unwisely neglected to read this blog.

All better foreign offices in China stamps are overprints, and should be purchased conditional on expertization. I've listed a few of the France-Offices in China general issues below (along with printing quantities and Scott '10 Catalog Values for unused and used). I'll consider some of the stamps issued for the individual cities in future articles.

France- Offices in China:

- 1900 25c on 1fr Bronze Green on straw (Scott #13; 3,000; $125.- ,$75.- )
- 1901 2c on 25c Black on rose (Scott #14; 900; $1,000.- , $ 325.-)
- 1901 4c on 25c Black on rose (Scott #15; 600; $ 1,250.-,$ 450.-)
- 1901 6c on 25c Black on rose (Scott #16; 900; $1,000.- ,$ 375.-)
- 1901 16c on 25c Black on rose (Scott#17; 2,400;$ 300.-,$ 190.-)
- 1903 Handstamped Postage Dues (Scott #J7-30; Est. fewer than 2,000 of each; all are scarce to very rare- only known used; Scott '10 CVs range from $ 225.- to $ 2,250.- for used)

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