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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Stamp Investment Tip: Great Britain -Offices in Africa - Tripolitania 1950 Surcharged Dues (Scott #J6-10)

From 1943 through 1951, Tripolitania, a province of Libya, was under British administration. In 1950, the British overprinted their own postage dues, creating a set of surcharged dues for use in Tripolitania (Scott #J6-10). Only 10,682 sets were issued, and Scott '11 values the set at $100.25 for unused.

In my opinion, the set has been neglected because it is doubly obscure, as a weird little back-of-book item from a former colonial power's offices in Africa. Given the potential for multiple market appeal among collectors of Great Britain, British Commonwealth, and Libya, I believe the set to be grossly undervalued. Even without the development of a stamp market in Libya,the set should do well.

Libya has been in the news quite a bit lately, and it is unclear how and when the current conflict 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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