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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Stamp Investment Tip: Azerbaijan 2001 Olympic Medalists Souvenir Sheet (Scott #713)

In January of 2001, Azerbaijan issued a flashy souvenir sheet honoring the Azerbaijani Olympic medalists of the Sydney, Australia Olympics of the previous year (Scott #713). 25,000 were issued, and Scott '12 prices the unused souvenir sheet at $5.75.

The sheet has obvious topical appeal for Sports and Olympics collectors, as well as being an inexpensive bet on the growth of Azerbaijan's economy. Recommending it is consistent with my belief that one of the best ways to play the new and newly resurrected countries of Europe and Asia is to focus on popular topicals with low printings.

Azerbaijan is an oil-rich nation of about 9 million people, which also has significant reserves of natural gas and various minerals. Agriculture and tourism are also important to the Azerbaijani economy. The country shares all the problems of the former Soviet republics in making the transition from a command to a market economy, but its energy resources brighten its long-term prospects. It has begun making progress on economic reform, and old economic ties and structures are slowly being replaced. Annual GDP growth has averaged a stellar 16% over the last 5 years, largely based on the frenetic development of the country's oil wealth - an estimated 7 billion barrels of reserves.

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