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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Stamp Investment Tip: Bushire 1915 Issues (Scott #N1-29)

In 1915, the British briefly occupied the strategically located Iranian port of Bushire, and issued stamps by overprinting stamps of Iran (then known as Persia). The city had initially been occupied by the British during the Anglo-Persian War (1856-57), returned to Iran in 1913, and then re-occupied by the British who were attempting to counter the efforts by a German spy, Wilhelm Wassmuss (also known as the "Lawrence of Persia"), to foment a guerrilla war against Britain. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Persia had been subjected to the "Great Game" - a geopolitical competition between Britain and Russia for supremacy in Central Asia.

The stamps of Bushire are scarce to rare, and quantities issued are known for the September, 1915 set (see the SSSSQIL- British Asia List). They have dual market appeal for collectors of both British Commonwealth and Iran, and as they are overprints, should be purchased conditional on obtaining expertization from either the Royal Philatelic Society of London or the British Philatelic Association.

Stamps of Iran are not widely collected at present, partly for political reasons and partly because of the ubiquity of fakes among the early overprinted issues. Nevertheless, it is an oil-rich nation (ranked second in both oil and natural gas reserves) of 76 million people, and there are signs that many of them are becoming fed up with the corrupt and reactionary theocracy that is isolating Iran from the rest of the world. Furthermore, it is beginning to diversify away from its dependence on oil into other industries, such as biotech, nanotech, and pharmaceuticals, and it has the potential to develop a thriving tourism sector, should it institute reforms and begin to improve its image.


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