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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Stamp Investment Tip: Gabon 1886 Surcharges (Scott #1-5)


In 1886, Gabon, then a French colony, issued its first postage stamps, by handstamping surcharges on French Colonies general issue stamps of 1881-86 (Scott #1-5). All five stamps are scarce, and as with most valuable overprinted issues, should be purchased conditional on obtaining expertization. I've listed the stamps, along with their printing quantities and Scott '10 Catalog Values below:


- 1886 5c on 20c Red on green (Scott #1; 900: $ 525.00 unused, $425.00 used)
- 1886 10c on 20c Red on green (Scott #2; 900;$ 525.00 unused, $425.00 used)
- 1886 25c on 20c Red on green (Scott #3; 10,500; $ 87.50 unused; $75.00 used)
- 1886 50c on 15c Blue (Scott #4; 300; $ 1,450.00 unused, $ 1,900.00 used)
- 1886 75c on 15c Blue (Scott #5; 300; $ 1,800.00 unused, $ 2,000.00 used)

Stamps of this issue tend to have terrible centering, so try to select examples which are centered Fine or better, if possible, or else discount for average centering. Mediocre centering is commonplace for many early stamps of the French Colonies, to such an extent that Average-centered stamps are often called "Fine for issue."

These stamps should do well based upon increasing demand for French Colonies, but they also make an interesting play on Gabon as a developing economy. With a population of 1.5 million, Gabon has a per capita income of four times the average for Sub-Saharan Africa. The low population density together with abundant natural resources and foreign private investment have helped make Gabon one of the most prosperous countries in the region. Annual GDP growth has averaged just under 3% over the last 5 years.











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