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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Stamp Investment Tip: St. Pierre and Miquelon 1941-42 "France Libre" Overprints

The Territorial Collectivity of St. Pierre and Miquelon, the only remnant of the former French colonial empire in North America, is comprised of two small groups of islands off the coast of Newfoundland. From a philatelic investment perspective, it's of interest because its stamps are popular in Canada and among collectors of French Colonies - both growing markets.

In 1941 and '42, as a colony under Free French administration, St. Pierre and Miquelon overprinted many of its earlier regular and postage due stamps (as well as a Parcel Post stamp) "France Libre... F.N.F.L." Quite a few of these stamps were issued in quantities of under 100 to under 1,000, and most were quickly purchased by speculators, including the legendary Canadian stamp dealer Kasimir Bileski (1908-2005), whose owner's mark may be found on the back of some of them. Quantities issued of many of the scarcest may be found by viewing the the Scarce Stamp Quantities Issued List (under the French Colonies/Possessions category).

Despite the somewhat dubious nature of these stamps (and the fact that most of them were gobbled up within days after they were issued), I believe that collectors are increasingly accepting them, as evidenced by their high realizations at auction. This brings to mind John Huston's famous quote from the film "Chinatown": "Politicians, old buildings, and prostitutes all become respectable with age." The same often applies to stamps issued solely for the collector market.

Fake overprints exist, so I strongly advise purchasing the stamps conditional on obtaining expertization.

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

1 comment:

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