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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Stamp Investment Tip: Ionian Islands 1941-43 Occupation Issues (Scott #N1-NRA5)

   The Ionian Islands were occupied by Italy in 1941 after its invasion of Greece, and in 1943 by the Germans after the Italians withdrew. The Italian and German forces issued 49 stamps during the occupation (not counting varieties) and many of these stamps are quite scarce, including some of the relatively inexpensive ones.

  Unfortunately, all are overprinted stamps of Greece, and since fake overprints exist, only the most pricey of the stamps are worth buying,
due to the necessary cost of obtaining certificates. These six stamps are from the Italian Occupation - pairs overprinted for the islands of Cephalonia and Ithaca. I've listed them below, along with quantities issued and Scott '14 values for unused:

  • 1941 30d Orange Brown (N17; 364 issued; $1,400.- )
Airmail Stamps:
  • 1941 25d Rose (NC3; 319;  $650.- )
  • 1941 50d Violet - the key stamp (NC5; 115; $4,500.- )
  • 1941 100d Brown (NC6; 245; $2,250.- )
  • 1941 50L Violet Brown (NC11; Unknown; $ 2,400.-)
Postal Tax Stamp:
  • 1941 50L Gray Green on pale green (NRA5; Unknown; $875.-)  
   I haven't listed the various overprint varieties, which should also be considered if the total cost (including expertization) is within reason.

   These stamps have remained grossly undervalued because of the inconvenience and cost of getting them expertized, but they have multiple market appeal in Italy, Greece, and possibly Germany (due to the later occupation).

   Those interested in viewing a list of scarce stamps with printing quantities of 100,000 or fewer may wish to check out 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.


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  2. How can I distinguish if the overprint of my ionian stamps is fake?