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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Stamp Investment Tip: Papua 1906-07 Overprints

In 1905, the British transferred the administration of British New Guinea to Australia, which changed the name of the territory to "Papua." In 1906 and '07, the Australians overprinted the original British New Guinea 1901 Lakatoi stamps with the territory's new name. Two different overprints were used, creating two sets - the 1906 set with the large overprint (Scott #11-18), and the 1907 set with the small overprint (Scott #19-26). Both are scarce, and in my opinion, grossly undervalued, as only 2,730 of #11-18 and 5,135 of #19-26 were issued, and Scott '11 prices them unused at $604.50 and $242.00, respectively.

Papua New Guinea is richly endowed with natural resources, but exploitation has been hampered by the rugged terrain and the high cost of developing infrastructure. Agriculture provides a subsistence livelihood for most of the population of about 7 million. Annual GDP growth has increased dramatically over the last 5 years, from 1% in 2005 to about 7% in 2009. Still, the majority of the population is extremely poor, and I do not foresee the development of a significant collecting population within the country for some time.

Most of the collectors of Papua New Guinea are British Commonwealth collectors or Australians, because the country was administered by Australia until 1975, and maintains close ties with that nation. I recommend purchase of the better stamps of Papua, New Guinea, and Papua New Guinea based on the probable growth in interest among Australian collectors, and collectors of British Commonwealth.

Those interested in becoming part of an international community of stamp collectors, dealers, and investors are welcome to join the "Stampselectors" group and organization page at Facebook. The group and page host lively discussions concerning stamp investment and practical aspects of collecting, and provide a useful venue for those who wish to buy, sell, or trade stamps.

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