Sunday, February 13, 2011
In 1994, Turkmenistan issued a set of stamps and a souvenir sheet honoring Repetek National Park (Scott #44-8, 49). Within the set, it issued a miniature sheet picturing a viper (Scott #46a). Only 5,000 of the Viper miniature sheet was issued, and Scott '11 prices it unused at $10.00 .
The miniature sheet is a scarce Animal topical, and I believe that focusing on scarce popular topicals is a prudent means of speculating on stamps of the newly independent nations of Central Asia. Whether or not demand develops within these countries for the stamps that they issue, there will always be worldwide demand for their most popular topicals.
A nation of 5.1 million, Turkmenistan is a largely desert country with nomadic cattle raising, intensive agriculture in irrigated oases, and huge gas and oil resources. It possesses the world's fourth largest reserves of natural gas, and is also the world's tenth largest producer of cotton. As in the Soviet era, central planning and state control pervade the system, although there is gradual progress toward greater privatization. Annual GDP growth has averaged over 8% over the last 5 years, mostly due to increasing demand for the country's oil.