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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stamp Investment Tip: Kazakhstan 2005 Hunting Dogs pair (Scott #495)

In 2005, Kazakhstan issued a pair of stamps picturing hunting dogs (Scott #495). 30,000 pairs were issued, and Scott '11 values the unused pair at $7.25.

As "Pet Topicals," Dogs are among the most popular sub-categories of Animal Topicals, and that, combined with the inexpensiveness of the pair, makes it a very low-risk speculation. Animals are the most popular stamp collecting topic in the world, and since pet ownership is growing, especially in the emerging market nations, I think that Dog and Cat topicals will become more popular as well. A recent article about pet ownership in China cited research showing that the percentage of Chinese owning dogs increased by 40% from 1999 to 2004 (from 5% to 7%). It seems reasonable to assume that as the middle class grows in developing countries, more people will be able to afford keeping a pet, and therefore more stamp collectors will collect dog and cat topicals.

Many of the new and newly resurrected nations of Central Asia and Europe have issued quite a few stamps and souvenir sheets in very modest quantities, and some of these represent interesting opportunities for speculation for those who wish to "get in on the ground floor." As these countries have only recently begun issuing stamps, their collector populations are minimal, although they are unlikely to remain so, especially if the countries prosper. The best way to play them is to target popular topicals with low issuance quantities, as these will have worldwide appeal, whether interest in these countries' stamps grows significantly or not.

A nation of 16 million, Kazakhstan is known to many outsiders from the somewhat demeaning film comedy "Borat." It is the 9th largest country in the world, with a territory greater than that of Western Europe, although its population density is less than 15 per square mile. Kazakhstan has plentiful reserves of oil, natural gas, uranium, chromium, lead, zinc, manganese, coal, iron, and gold. It also has a major agricultural sector, and is the seventh largest producer of grain. Annual GDP growth has averaged 6% over the last 5 years.

Those interested in becoming part of an international community of stamp collectors, dealers, and investors are welcome to join the "Stampselectors" group at Facebook. The group hosts lively discussions concerning stamp investment and practical aspects of collecting, as is also an excellent venue for those who wish to buy, sell, or trade stamps.

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