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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Stamp Investment Tip: People's Republic of China 1980 Exhibitions Miniature Sheets (Scott #1627Note)

In 1980, the People's Republic of China issued two rather prosaic stamps celebrating the Exhibitions of the P.R.C. held in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York (Scott #1626-27). Miniature sheets of 12 of these two stamps (Scott #1627Note) were sold only at these exhibitions at increasing prices. Only 27,000 sets of the two sheets were sold, and Scott '11 prices the unused set at $500..

Lately, I've hesitated to recommend any issues of the P.R.C. because the stamp market there is so overheated that it's nearly impossible to keep up with it. Attempting to place a value on the '80 Exhibition sheets, one is faced with the dilemna that is so typical of the market for better P.R.C. issues - dealers are currently buy-listing the issue at over twice Scott, and presumably selling it for 30%-60% more.

Does this mean that an investor should try to acquire the sheets for what dealers are paying? Are the sheets a bargain even at full retail, given the prospect that the current retail price might be the new wholesale price in a few months? It's impossible to say, since the Chinese stamp market is like a game of musical chairs, with the music sped up and playing at full blast.

Nevertheless, I think it unwise to bet against the momentum of the Chinese economic miracle, because the major threats to it- war, an epidemic, political upheaval, or a massive environmental catastrophe - seem unlikely to be realized in the near future. The 1980 Exhibition sheets look like a good value when compared to many comparably priced P.R.C. issues with far greater quantities issued, especially if purchased at or near the current buy prices.

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, and is also an excellent venue for those who wish to buy, sell, or trade stamps.

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