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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Stamp Investment Tip: Sweden 1920 Airmails, Wmk. 180 (Scott #C4-5)

In 1920, Sweden surcharged a portion of its 1910-19 Official stamps, issuing its first airmail stamps (Scott #C1-3, C4-5). The normal set (Scott #C1-3) is fairly common (570,000 issued), and comprised three surcharged officials of the 1910-19 issue, which bore Watermark #181 (Wavy Lines). However, a few of the officials of the 1910-12 issue, of the same design as the normal stamps but with a different watermark (Wmk. #180 - Crown) were errantly surcharged, and are extremely scarce. The 20o on 2o Orange and 50o on 4o Violet with Wmk. 180 (Scott #C4 and C5) were issued in quantities of 100 and 500, respectively, and Scott '10 values them unused at $2,250.00 and $ 160.00.

I believe these stamps to be grossly undervalued, both because they are watermark varieties and because fake surcharges exist, necessitating expertization. Nevertheless, the values of these airmails should ascend impressively as interest in stamps of Sweden and Scandinavia in general continues to grow. It is important to note that there is considerable demand for stamps of Scandinavia outside of Scandinavia. In the U.S. alone, there are approximately 11.7 million Scandinavian-Americans, including 4.4 million of Swedish ancestry.

With 9.2 million people, Sweden is an affluent, export-oriented nation, ranked by the World Economic Forum in 2009-10 as the 4th most competitive economy in the world. Annual GDP growth has averaged about 2% over the last 5 years, reflecting a contraction of over 5% in slowdown in 2009 due to the global financial catastrophe, from which Sweden, like much of the rest of the world, is slowly recovering. We all wish that life could be like Swedish magazines, but unfortunately, it's not always the case.

Those interested in learning about investing in stamps should read the Guide to Philatelic Investing ($5), available on Kindle and easily accessible from any computer.

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