Thursday, November 25, 2010
In 1962, Laos issued a set of stamps commemorating ancient and modern forms of mail service (Scott #77-80). The basic set is common and inexpensive; however, one thousand booklets of four souvenir sheets containing the set in perf. and imperf. formats were also issued (Scott #80Note), and Scott '11 prices these at $200.- . I recommend purchase of this booklet, especially if you can find it in nice condition and with fresh gum. Many of those remaining contain sheets which have gum defects, including toning, due to poor storage in a tropical climate.
The booklet appeals to collectors of Laos, Indochina, and to collectors of French Colonies/Area. While I do not believe that demand for stamps of Laos will increase significantly among Laotians in the near future, I do foresee a growth in the number of collectors of French Colonies/former colonies and Indochina in general.
A nation of 6.3 million, Laos is a poor, though rapidly developing nation which is heavily dependent upon trade with its neighbors, China, Thailand, and Vietnam. Subsistence agriculture still accounts for half of the GDP and provides 80 percent of employment. However, the mining and tourism sectors are growing rapidly, and the government is taking steps to significantly upgrade the country's infrastructure, with the help of foreign aid. Annual GDP growth has averaged over 7% over the last 5 years.
Those interested in learning about stamps of Indochina (as a French colony), Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia should consider joining the Society of Indochina Philatelists.