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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Stamp Investment Tip: Turkmenistan 1993 Caspian Seal Issue (Scott #34-38, 38a)

  In 1993, Turkmenistan issued a set of 6 stamps honoring the World Wildlife Fund, and picturing Caspian Seals (Scott # 34-38, 38a). 30,000 sets were issued, as well as 5,000 booklets (Scott #38a). Scott '13 prices these unused at $10.15  and $32.50, respectively.

   I recommend purchase of both the set and the booklet, although the booklet is certainly the more alluring of the two from an investment perspective. The stamps picturing these cute aquatic mammals appeal to Animal topicalists and Eco-topicalists. According to the American Topical Association, Animals are the most popular topical subject among stamp collectors, and there are quite a few who specialize in WWF issues.

I believe that focusing on scarce popular topicals is a prudent means of speculating on stamps of the newly independent nations of Central Asia. Whether or not demand develops within these countries for the stamps that they issue, there will always be worldwide demand for their most popular topicals.

A nation of 5.1 million, Turkmenistan is a largely desert country with nomadic cattle raising, intensive agriculture in irrigated oases, and huge gas and oil resources. It possesses the world's fourth largest reserves of natural gas, and is also the world's tenth largest producer of cotton. As in the Soviet era, central planning and state control pervade the system, although there is gradual progress toward greater privatization. Annual GDP growth has averaged over 8% over the last 5 years, mostly due to increasing demand for the country's oil.
 The Stamp Auction Bidders and Consignors Union (SABACU)  serves as  a forum for discussing stamp auctions and also represents the interests of stamp auction bidders and consignors. All stamp collectors and stamp dealers are welcome to join.

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