Thursday, December 12, 2013
As part of the treaty negotiations ending the 1998-99 Kosovo War, the United Nations set up an interim administration mission (UNMIK) in Kosovo, which functioned from 1999 to 2008, when Kosovo declared its independence. The UN issued stamps for this provisional governing body, and many of the UN-Kosovo sets have topical interest and were issued in small quantities. In my opinion, the better UNMIK sets make far better investments than those issued by any of the three regular UN Offices (New York, Geneva, and Vienna).
In 2005, UNMIK issued a set of stamps picturing Archeological Artifacts (Scott #38-41). 50,000 were issued, and Scott '13 prices the unused set at $ 27.00. The set has potential multiple market appeal to collectors of Yugoslavia, United Nations, and Art Topicalists.
I continue to like the U.N. as a topic, long-term. The market for U.N.-related topicals should grow over the very long haul as institutions of world government develop in order to take on serious (and possibly existential) problems which can only be coped with globally. Despite the present inadequacy, corruption, and ineffectiveness of the U.N., I view its reform and gradual strengthening as a gradual but irresistible trend.
Kosovo is now a quasi-independent state with about 1.7 million citizens. Before Independence, it was the poorest part of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and in the 1990s its economy suffered from the combined results of political upheaval, the Yugoslav wars, Serbian dismissal of Kosovo employees, and international sanctions on Serbia, of which it was then part. After 1999, it had an economic boom as a result of post-war reconstruction and foreign assistance. In the period from 2003 to 2011, despite declining foreign assistance, growth of GDP averaged over 5% a year. This was despite the global financial crisis of 2009 and the subsequent eurozone crisis. A major deterrent to foreign manufacturing investment in Kosovo was removed in 2011 when the European Council accepted a Convention allowing Kosovo to be accepted as part of its rules for diagonal cumulative origination, allowing the label of Kosovo origination to goods which have been processed there but originated in a country elsewhere in the Convention.
Those interested in viewing a list of scarce stamps with printing quantities of 100,000 or fewer may wish to view the StampSelector Scarce Stamp Quantities Issued List, which currently contains over 9,700 entries. Researching quantities issued data is vital to determining in which stamps to invest.