Sunday, November 11, 2012
Most of the early definitive sets of the Spanish Colonies picturing King Alfonso XIII (as an infant, boy, or young man) are very scarce, and they are overlooked by the market because the colonies are often obscure and the sets are seldom seen. The condition of these sets is often far from ideal, and the stamps within frequently have rough perfs or poor centering. If found in F-VF+ LH condition and reasonably priced, they should be purchased and held as long-term investments.
Such is the case with many of the sets of Elobey, Annobon, and Corisco, a group of islands administered by the Spanish which issued 60 postage stamps (all of which are good) between 1903 and 1910. The islands are now part of the nation of Equatorial Guinea.
In 1905, the Spanish colonial administration of the islands issued a set of 16 stamps portraying Alfonso XIII (Scott #19-34). Only 2,000 of the 10p Claret high value were issued, and Scott '13 prices the unused set at $ 811.60 ($1,500.- for NH) . I recommend purchase of either the entire set or the 10p if found in either F-VF+ NH, LH or used condition.
I view the issue as a conservative investment based on the growth in popularity of Spanish Colonies stamps. Also, though the development of a significant stamp collecting population in Equatorial Guinea in the foreseeable future is unlikely, should that happen, it could dramatically boost the value of all of the stamps of Elobey, Annobon, and Corisco.
Equatorial Guinea is one of the smallest nations in Africa, with a population of just under 700,000. It is one of the richest nations on a per capita basis due to significant oil reserves; however, the the wealth is distributed very unevenly and benefits a tiny elite, and 70% of the population lives on about $2 per day. The country's brutal regime protects the wealthy and maintains the inequity, as Equatorial Guinea has one of the worst human rights records in the world, consistently ranking among the "worst of the worst" in Freedom House's annual survey of political and civil rights.
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.