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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Stamp Investment Tip: Ireland 1922 2sh6p to 10sh Overprints (Scott #12-14, 36-38)

In 1922, the Republic of Ireland issued its first postage stamps by applying a black Gaelic overprint (meaning "Provisional Government of Ireland...1922") to 1912-19 stamps of Great Britain. These are known as the Dollard Overprints, because the stamps were overprinted by Dollard, Ltd.. Of this first issue, the scarcest stamps are the 2shilling 6 penny, 5 shilling, and 10 shilling high values, which Scott lists as a set (Scott #12-14). 20,000 were issued, and Scott '12 prices it unused set at $407.50 ($ 800.- for NH) .

A second set of the high values (Scott #36-38) was also issued in 1922, overprinted in bluish black by Alexander Thom and Company. This second set (CV = $ 2,550.- for unused, $ 4,125.- for NH) is far scarcer than the first and was on sale for only a few days, but quantities issued are not known. While I do not feel that it is necessary to obtain expertization when purchasing the first set (#12-14) because the basic British stamps are also expensive, I advise doing so when purchasing the 10 shilling high value (#38) of the second one.

Both sets represent excellent investments, as stamps of Ireland have a dual market among collectors of both Ireland and British Commonwealth in general. While there are about 6 million people in the Republic of Ireland, there are about 80 million of Irish descent overseas, including over 36 million Irish Americans.

From the 1990s until 2007, the Irish government instituted economic policies which boosted its information technology sector and the country experienced rapid economic growth and became known as the "Celtic Tiger." Currently, Ireland is experiencing a severe recession due to banking scandals and the reverberations of the global financial crisis. As a result, Ireland has averaged zero GDP growth over the last 5 years, the worst of which was 2009, during which its economy experienced a 7% contraction. While it may take years to recover, there are some indications that the worst is over. The European Commission has forecast that the Irish economy will grow by 3% in 2011, which is one of the fastest growth rates predicted for any EU member state.

Those interested in learning more about investing in stamps are encouraged to read the Philatelic Investment Guide ($5), available on Kindle, and accessible from any computer.

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