Saturday, May 7, 2011
In 1935, Bulgaria issued a set of six stamps commemorating the 5th Balkan Soccer Tournament (Scott #267-72). Only 7,000 sets were issued, and Scott '11 prices the unused set at $ 326.-.
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, with a following of billions of fanatical fans, many of whom live in emerging market nations. Philatelic investors who focus on better Soccer topicals will certainly get more out of it than a kick in the shins.
Since the fall of communism, Bulgaria, with a population of about 7.6 million, has experienced rapid economic growth, although its GDP per capita is only about $13,000, about 40% of the European Union average. It has an industrialized, open free-market economy, with a large, moderately advanced private sector and a number of strategic state-owned enterprises. The World Bank classifies it as an "upper-middle-income economy." Tourism is a steadily growing, and the country also benefits from rich natural resources, a highly educated population and an export-oriented agricultural sector. Annual GDP growth has averaged 2.5% over the last 5 years, reflecting a recent major contraction due to the European debt mess.