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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Stamp Investment Tip: Somalia 1934 Airmail Semi-postals (Scott #CB1-10)

   I'm initiating coverage of Somalia with a scarce set issued by the Italians during their colonial administration, the 1934 Airmail Semi-postals celebrating the 65th birthday of their king, Victor Emmanuel III (Scott #CB1-10). 10,000 sets were issued, and Scott '14 prices the unused set at $135.- ($370.- for NH).

   Somalia is a poor nation, and I think it unlikely that a significant stamp market will develop there in the near future. From a philatelic investment perspective, it stamps of interest include the better issues of Somalia as an Italian colony, which should steadily increase in value with the growth in demand for Italy and Area, and some of the popular topical sets with printings in the low tens of thousands issued by the Republic.

   A nation of around 10 million, the Federal Republic of Somalia has maintained a healthy informal economy, based mainly on livestock and remittances from Somalis living overseas despite experiencing civil unrest. Due to a dearth of formal government statistics and the recent civil war, it is difficult to gauge the size or growth of the economy. According to the Central Bank of Somalia, the country's GDP per capita is $333. About 43% of the population live on less than one dollar a day. Somalia's economy consists of both traditional and modern production, with a gradual shift in favor of modern industrial techniques taking root. According to the Central Bank of Somalia, about 80% of the population are nomadic or semi-nomadic pastoralists, who keep goats, sheep, camels and cattle. The nomads also gather resins and gums to supplement their income. With the advantage of being located near the Arabian Peninsula, Somali traders have increasingly begun to challenge Australia's traditional dominance over the Gulf Arab livestock and meat market, offering quality animals at very low prices. In response, Gulf Arab states have started to make strategic investments in the country, with Saudi Arabia building livestock export infrastructure and the United Arab Emirates purchasing large farmlands. Somalia is also a major world supplier of frankincense and myrrh. Annual GDP growth has averaged about 2.5% over the last five years.

Those interested in learning about investing in stamps should read the Guide to Philatelic Investing ($5), available on Kindle and easily accessible from any computer.   

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