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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Stamp Investment Tip: Guatemala Inverted Quetzal Errors (Scott #22a, 23a, 25a)

In 1881, Guatemala issued an attractive set of stamps picturing its national bird, the Quetzal (Scott #21-25). Each stamp was printed in two colors, and as occasionally happens during the printing of multi-colored stamps, a few sheets went through the printing press upside-down, producing invert errors of the 2, 5, and 20 centavos denominations (Scott #22a, 23a, 25a). Quantities issued are not known, but in all probability, the stamps are extremely scarce to rare, with quantities remaining ranging from about 20-50 for #23a to a few hundred for each of #s 22a and 25a. For unused examples, Scott '11 values #22a at $400.-, #23a at $3,000.-, and #25a at $500.-.

Aside from the fact that I favor all undervalued issues of Latin America, the Quetzal Inverts also appeal to both the most affluent of Bird Topical collectors, and to Error collectors. The scarcest of the three (#23a) is rarer than an Inverted Jenny, the most famous American invert, yet may be had for less than 1% of the cost of its snobby cousin up north.

With a population of about 14 million, Guatemala is a poor but developing country. Since the end of the Civil War in 1996, the country has witnessed a successful transition from authoritarian dictatorship to democracy, although major inequities in income still need to be addressed. In recent years the export sector has grown dynamically. Some of Guatemala's main products include fruits, vegetables, flowers, handicrafts, and textiles. The 1996 peace accords that ended the decades-long Civil War removed a major obstacle to foreign investment, and tourism has become an increasing source of revenue. Annual GDP growth has averaged just under 5% over the last 5 years.

I have begun a new blog, "The Stamp Specialist", featuring my buy lists for stamps which I wish to purchase, including some sets from Guatemala. I have not buy-listed the Inverted Quetzals, but would be happy to purchase any offered at reasonable prices and with certificates. Periodically viewing dealers' buy lists is an excellent way to remained informed about the state of the stamp market.

Those interested in joining a community of stamp investors are welcome to join the "StampSelectors" group on Facebook. The group provides a valuable forum for those who wish discuss this blog, as well as trade or communicate with stamp collectors, dealers, and investors from all over the world.


  1. Hallo!
    We started to collect stamps recently and got a few boxes of stamps at a closing down sale of a store in our town. We are now going through the stamp and among them is a stamp that we identified as: GUATEMALA - CIRCA 1926: A stamp printed in Guatemala shows Justo Rufino Barrios, circa 1926.

    But the strange thing is that the stamp we have is a half a stamp in a triangle form - it was not cut in half by a person but must have been done by a machine or something similar as all three sides of the stamp is perforated.
    Do you have any knowledge about stamps like this?
    Thank you,

  2. Anon-
    No I do not, but it's possible that it's some kind of privately perforated bisect.

  3. in regard to the perforated stamps in triangle form, there are several issues that way, mainly in older ones because it took half the price of the stamp.... it is not privately but official because some are displayed in catalogues or images of them...

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