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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Stamp Investment Tip: German States- Wurttemberg 1906 Centenary Officials (Scott #O109-18)

Before Otto von Bismarck unified Germany in 1871, the country was divided into individual states, some of which issued their own stamps. A few of these stamps are rare and extremely valuable, but in many cases, prices of German States stamps have lagged, because as a collecting area it is a minefield of reprints, fakes, and forgeries. With the exception of the rarities, many German States stamps often can be purchased in F-VF+ condition for 25%-35% of Scott. Better items which seem questionable should be purchased conditional on obtaining expertization, preferably by a reputable German expert.

Some of the German States continued to maintain their postal autonomy and issue their own stamps after Unification, and two of them, Bavaria and Wurttemberg, issued stamps well into the 20th Century. There is less incidence of fakery with the more modern issues, especially with those items which are not rarities.

In 1906, Wurttemberg issued a set of overprinted official stamps commemorating its centennial as a kingdom (Scott #O109-18). 22,000 sets were issued, and Scott '11 prices the set at $188.75 for unused. I feel that it has been neglected because it is a German States back-of-book issue.

Germany, an affluent nation of about 82 million people, is the world's fourth largest economy, and both the second largest importer and second largest exporter of goods. Since the age of industrialisation, the country has been a driver, innovator, and beneficiary of an ever more globalised economy, and is recognised as a scientific and technological leader in several fields. Annual GDP growth has averaged about 2% over the last five years, reflecting the recent global slowdown, and the gradual progress being made in absorbing the less developed former DDR.

Germany has long been known as a center of philately, and both the hobby and the stamp business there exhibit a markedly higher level of sophistication than what exists in the U.S.. There are three million philatelists in Germany, which makes it the second biggest stamp collecting nation in the world.

Those interested in learning about investing in stamps should read the Guide to Philatelic Investing ($5), available on Kindle and easily accessible from any computer, at

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