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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Stamp Investment Tip: Tripolitania 1933 Graf Zeppelin Issue (Scott #C21-26)

In 1933, the Italians issued a set of airmail stamps for their colony of Tripolitania, which later became part of Libya. The set (Scott #C21-26)was intended for use on flight of the Graf Zeppelin. 20,000 sets were issued, and Scott '11 prices the unused set at $48.- ($120.- for NH).

Zeppelin stamps and covers are extremely popular among collectors in Europe and the U.S., and I expect that demand will continue to be strong. The set also has potential dual market appeal to collectors of Italian Colonies/Possessions and collectors of Libya.

Libya has been in the news quite a bit lately, and it is unclear how and when the current crisis will be resolved. A nation of about 6.4 million people, it depends mostly upon oil exports, and has reserves in excess of 44 billion barrels of oil and 54 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. However, the country's not so lovably eccentric authoritarian dictator has siphoned off much of the wealth and distributed it to family members and allies, while keeping his subjects in line by giving free expression to a minimalist conception of human rights. Annual GDP growth has averaged 5% over the last 5 years, and with a little luck, more of that prosperity will be spread among the Libyan people in the future.

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