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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stamp Investment Tip: Haiti 1942 Our Lady of Perpetual Help Souvenir Sheets (Scott #C19-21/C21Note)

In 1942, Haiti issued a set of souvenir sheets honoring Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a title given to the Virgin Mary as portrayed on a famous Byzantine icon. The set was issued in both perforated and imperforate form (Scott #C19-21, C19a-21a). 10,000 of the perf. and 2,000 imperf. sets were issued, and Scott '11 prices them unused at $15.00 and $ 75.-, respectively.

When it comes to philatelic investing, Haiti represents a ground floor opportunity. While some of its earlier stamps have attracted interest among specialists in the U.S. and Europe, many of its scarce modern sets have been neglected. Generally, I recommend that investors focus on either key stamps or popular topical issues when speculating on stamps of desperately poor countries. The "Our Lady" set qualifies as both a Religion and an Art topical, and both areas have growing worldwide appeal. As speculations go, it's about as low-risk as they come. A nation of about 9 million people, Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas. In 2009, it had a nominal GDP of about $7 billion , with a GDP per capita of $790 - slightly over $2 per person per day. Half of all Haitians are illiterate, and 66% work in the agricultural sector, mainly as small-scale subsistence farmers. The richest 1% of the population owns about 50% of the wealth, and the country is rated among the most corrupt in the world. Not surprisingly, annual GDP growth has been low, averaging about 1.8% over the last 5 years. The devastating 2010 Earthquake resulted in increased international attention and aid, offering the hope that perhaps things can't get much worse.

I have begun a new blog, "The Stamp Specialist" , featuring buy prices for stamps which I wish to purchase, including this Haitian set. Viewing buy lists every once in a while is an excellent way to remain informed concerning the vagaries of the stamp market.


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