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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Stamp Investment Tip: Algeria 1930 French Occupation Centenary Semi-postals (Scott #B14-26)

In 1930, the French issued a set of thirteen semi-postals celebrating the centenary of their occupation of Algeria (Scott #B14-26). 44,900 were issued, and Scott '12 prices the unused set at $ 135.75.

The set is an attractive one, picturing scenic views and historic buildings and monuments of Algeria. It appeals to collectors of French Colonies, and should also do well as Algeria's economy grows and a stamp market develops there. The set's subject, which honors the French occupation, may have dampened interest for it among Algerians due to a "resentment of the victimized" effect, but this factor usually becomes less important over time.

Note that an inverted center error of the 5fr + 5fr high value exists (Scott #B26a; Scott '12 CV= $ 750.-). Only 50 of the error were issued. , and I strongly recommend purchase of it, as it is rarer than the U.S. Inverted Jenny, for less than a thousandth of the cost. For stamp investors with deep pockets, there is much to be said for focusing on grossly undervalued rarities, rather than accumulating quantities of less expensive items.

A nation of over 35 million people, Algeria ranks 14th in petroleum reserves, containing 11.8 billion barrels of proven oil reserves with estimates suggesting that the actual amount is even more, and 8th in natural gas reserves, with 160 trillion cubic feet. Agriculture is also an important sector. Algeria is known for the fertility of its soil, and exports cereal grains, vegetables, fruits, esparto grass, and cork. Nevertheless, the country suffers from major disparities in income and high unemployment, which the government is striving to ameliorate. Annual GDP growth has averaged about 4.5% over the last 5 years.

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