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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Stamp Investment Tip: Iran 1959 ILO 40th Anniversary (Scott #1136-37)

   In 1959, Iran issued a set of stamps celebrating the 40th anniversary of the International Labor Organization (I.L.O.), an agency of the United Nations (Scott #1136-37). 50,000 sets were issued, and Scott '14 prices the unused set at just $3.50.

   The set has appeal as a United Nations topical.

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.

    I believe that the I.L.O. set is undervalued due to the unpopularity of Iran's stamps, a consequence of its pariah status. Currently, Iranian stamps of the pre-revolutionary period are primarily of interest to collectors among the Iranians living abroad, a relatively affluent group, of whom there are about 1.3 million.

  Note that a common defect found on many Iranian stamps of the '50s is badly toned, "gloppy" gum. When purchasing #1047, endeavor to select examples with clean gum.

   Stamps of Iran are not widely collected at present, partly for political reasons and partly because of the ubiquity of fakes among the early overprinted issues. Nevertheless, it is an oil-rich nation (ranked second in both oil and natural gas reserves) of 76 million people, and there are signs that many of them are becoming fed up with the corrupt and reactionary theocracy that is isolating Iran from the rest of the world. Furthermore, it is beginning to diversify away from its dependence on oil into other industries, such as biotech, nanotech, and pharmaceuticals, and it has the potential to develop a thriving tourism sector, should it institute reforms and begin to improve its image.

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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