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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Stamp Investment Tip: Armenia 1997 1,700th Anniversary of Christianity in Armenia Souvenir Sheet (Scott #549)

In 1997, Armenia issued a set and souvenir sheet picturing Armenian churches and honoring 1,700 years of Christianity in Armenia (Scott 544-48, 549). 100,000 sets and 30,000 souvenir sheets were issued, and Scott '13 prices them unused at $7.50 and $ 5.00, respectively.

I recommend purchase of the souvenir sheet, as it is an attractive Religion and Art/Architecture topical and also appeals to Armenian nationalist sentiment.

Many of the new and newly resurrected nations of Central Asia and Europe have issued quite a few stamps and souvenir sheets in very modest quantities, and some of these represent interesting opportunities for speculation for those who wish to "get in on the ground floor." As these countries have only recently begun issuing stamps, their collector populations are minimal, although they are unlikely to remain so, especially if the countries prosper. The best way to play them is to target popular topicals with low issuance quantities, as these will have worldwide appeal, whether interest in these countries' stamps grows significantly or not.

Armenia, a nation of about 3.2 million, has made steady economic progress in the face of a number of obstacles, including its legacy of dependence on the Soviet Union as a centrally planned economy, a catastrophic earthquake, and an unresolved conflict with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Major economic sectors include agriculture, chemicals, electronics, machinery, and mining, and new industries, such as precious stone processing and jewellery making, information and communication technology, and even tourism are beginning to develop. The economy is also bolstered by investment and support from 5.7 million Armenians living abroad. Annual GDP growth has averaged just under 3% over the last 5 years, although this reflect a contraction of 14% in 2009 due to the global financial crisis.

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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