Saturday, March 17, 2012
In 1965, Pope Paul VI visited Lebanon, which commemorated the event by issuing a stamp and souvenir sheet picturing the Holy Pontiff and Lebanese President Chehab (Scott #C437,C437a). 50,000 of the stamp and 5,000 of the souvenir sheet were issued, and Scott '12 prices them unused at $5.25 and $52.50, respectively.
I recommend the purchase of both. While the quantity issued of the souvenir sheet was only a tenth that of the stamp, it is very likely that many of the stamps were used as postage and discarded. The souvenir sheet was sold at a slight premium over face value, so virtually all of them were probably saved, either mint or first day-canceled.
The issue has dual market appeal among collectors of both Lebanon and Catholicism Topicals. There are approximately 1.2 billion Catholic Christians in the world, and many live in the emerging market nations of Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Topicals related to the Catholic Church should be bolstered by economic growth in these areas.
Lebanon, a nation of 4.2 million people, is noted for its commercial enterprise. Over the course of time, emigration has yielded Lebanese "commercial networks" throughout the world. As a result, remittances from Lebanese abroad to family members within the country total $8.2 billion and account for one fifth of the country's economy. The country has the largest proportion of skilled labor among Arab States. The tourism and banking sectors are the the most important pillars of the Lebanese economy, though they have at times been disrupted by political instability. Annual GDP growth has averaged about 4.8% over the last 5 years.
Those interested in becoming part of an international community of stamp collectors, dealers, and investors are welcome to join the "Stampselectors" group at Facebook. The group hosts lively discussions concerning stamp investment and practical aspects of collecting, as is also an excellent venue for those who wish to buy, sell, or trade stamps.