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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stamp Investment Tip: U.S. 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Imperforate (Scott #371)

In 1909, the U.S. issued a stamp in celebration of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (Scott #370), along with an imperforate version (Scott #371), which is far more scarce. Both stamps portray William H. Seward, who, as Secretary of State, purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million (about 2c per acre). At the time, some Americans scoffed at the purchase, and called it "Seward's Folly."

525,400 of the imperforate stamps were issued, and Scott '10 prices the stamp unused at $17.50 ($37.50 for NH). I believe that the best format in which to purchase these is as plate blocks of 6 (Scott '10 CV=$225.00 for unused, $350.00 for NH) or as centerline blocks of 4 (Scott '10 CV=$175.00 for unused, $300.00 for NH). As these were issued in panes of 70, only about 7,500 of each of these positional blocks were issued, and many were probably broken up.

This issue is interesting because as an Alaska Topical and item of interest for Alaska memorabilia collectors, it represents a bet on the economic development of the state, America's "final frontier"- rich in natural resources and with vast potential for economic growth.

As with the Hudson-Fulton imperforate recommended earlier, gum bends are a common condition problem with this issue, so endeavor to select blocks that are free of them.

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