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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Stamp Investment Tip: Cuba 1956 Birds (Scott #C136-46)


In 1956, Cuba issued a set of eleven stamps picturing birds (Scott #C136-46). 50,000 were issued, and Scott '12 prices the unused set at $75.00.

Aside from the set's appeal to Bird Topicalists, I believe that it will do very well when Cuba rejoins the crassly commercial, capitalist world, perhaps retaining a bit of a socialist safety net to keep the masses complacent. The set will also benefit from the long-term stealth bull market in better Latin American sets, which began around twenty years ago after the region's oligarchical dictatorships went out of style.

Note that "gloppy" or toned gum are typical defects found on many of these sets, so select for those that have clean gum.

I believe it inevitable that Cuba will join the fold of more-or-less free nations, and that tourism and trade will explode as a result. Currently, the average wage of each of the 11 1/2 million people living in this "socialist utopia" is under $20 per month, and GDP per capita is 107th in the world. Annual GDP growth has been high, averaging 6.4% over the last 5 years, but given the levels of corruption and favoritism shown to high ranking Communist Party members, it's an open question whether much of that new wealth has been filtering downward. Eventually, something will have to give. The current market for Cuban stamps, especially of the Pre-Castro Period, is bolstered by interest of stamp collectors within Cuban-American community, currently about 1.6 million strong, and far wealthier than their compatriots on the island. Interest in Cuban stamps is likely to increase, especially given the likely prospect of a replacement of the stale, "gerontocratic" regime within a decade or so.

I have begun a new blog, " The Stamp Specialist ", featuring my buy lists for stamps which I wish to purchase, including some Cuban stamps. Periodically viewing dealers' buy lists is an excellent way to remained informed about the state of the stamp market.

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

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