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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Stamp Investment Tip: Madagascar 1884-86 British Consular Mail Stamps (Scott #1-58)

Between 1884 and 1886, the British Consulate in Madagascar, then a French protectorate, produced stamps for use by British citizens residing there (Scott #1-58). At the time, the island was rife with disputes between the two colonial powers and also with the native population which, oddly enough, wished to govern itself.

The Consular Mail stamps were gummed in one corner shortly before they were used, and often torn off of envelopes by postal clerks, as they were not accepted as legitimate postage by the Universal Postal Union. Most of the remaining unused examples do not have gum, and most of the used are faulty to some degree. Estimates of quantities produced range from under 100 for the rarest of these stamps to about 4,000 for the most common, and Scott values range from $ 90.00 to
$ 12,000.-. Covers are extremely rare.

These stamps are highly prized by British Commonwealth collectors, and should be considered a conservative investment. There is the possibility that there might eventually be a demand for them in Madagascar, but probably not for a long while. Were a stamp market to develop there, however, the values for these stamps would soar.

A nation of 20.6 million people, the Republic of Madagascar remains a poor, though rapidly developing, nation with considerable growth potential. It is still heavily reliant on agriculture, although potential sources of growth include mining, petroleum, light manufacturing, and tourism. The government has embarked on a course of financial reform, including aggressively seeking foreign investment. Annual GDP growth has averaged 3% over the last 5 years.


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