Thursday, December 30, 2010
With this article, I am initiating coverage of stamps of the Straits Settlements, a former British colony which once comprised the settlements of Malacca, Singapore, and Penang.
In 1907, the Brits issued an overprinted set (Scott #134A-44) for the Straits Settlements by overprinting eleven stamps from their 1902-03 set issued for Labuan, an island possession off the Northwest coast of Borneo. Only 4,000 sets were issued, and Scott '11 values the set unused at $553.25 .
Better stamps of the Straits Settlements are attractive because they have multiple market appeal to collectors of British Commonwealth, Singapore, and Malaya/Malaysia- all of which represent growing markets. I expect that over the long-term, the Malaysian stamp market will contribute the most to strengthening demand for stamps of the Straits Settlements and the Malayan States. In an earlier blog article, I commented on a Price, Waterhouse report which projected which countries' economies would grow the fastest over the next 40 years. Malaysia came in tenth on that list.
With a population of over 28 million, Malaysia is an emerging market nation and the 29th largest economy in the world. It has abundant minerals and petroleum, vast forests, as well as a thriving agricultural sector. Nevertheless, over the last four decades, the Malaysian government has committed the nation to a transition from reliance on mining and agriculture to manufacturing, and is moving to conserve its remaining forests and reforest the overcut areas. The government has recently taken steps to make Malaysia more business-friendly, and the number of Malaysians living in poverty has also decreased. As of 2007, average wages were around $34 per day, up from about $9 per day in 1999. Annual GDP growth has averaged almost 6% over the last five years, although the country is taking a hit in 2010 as a result of the global financial crisis.
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.