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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Stamp Investment Tip: Mulling Over Moldova

There's an old saying in real estate investing which I believe applies to the many of the stamps of Moldova: "Buy the worst house in the best neighborhood."

Flipping through the Moldova section of a Michel Osteuropa 2009/2010 Catalog (Band 7), I've noted that the country was established in 1991, and that the sets and souvenir sheets it has produced since then have been issued in low to moderate quantities- mostly 100,000 or fewer, with many under 30,000. Furthermore, many of Moldova's issues are attractive topicals, with international appeal.

On the other hand, Moldova is the poorest country in Europe, and about a quarter of its population of 3 1/2 million live on less than $2 per day. The country has no mineral deposits but enjoys a favorable climate and good farmland, and depends heavily on agriculture (mainly fruits, vegetables, wine, and tobacco). Currently, Moldova imports all of its supplies of oil, coal, and natural gas, mostly from Russia, and consequently is extremely vulnerable to increases in energy prices. Annual GDP growth has been strong recently, averaging about 5.5% over the last five years.

My view is that the Moldovan economy will probably gradually improve, and that even if it doesn't, it doesn't have much further to fall. Development of domestic alternative forms of energy could improve its situation considerably. While I do not believe that a significant stamp collecting base will develop within the country in the near future, its scarcest popular topical sets and souvenir sheets should be considered for speculation. I've listed a few of them, along with quantities issued, and Scott '10 Catalog Values, below:

1995 Mushrooms (Scott #153-57; 22,500; Scott '10 CV = $ 16.65)

1995 Relics (Scott #161-63; 25,500; Scott '10 CV = $ 9.40)

1995 Films (Scott #187-89; 20,000; Scott '10 CV = $ 9.15 )

1996 Mushrooms (Scott #190-94; 20,000; Scott '10 CV = $ 9.00)

1996 Summer Olympics s/s (Scott #199a; 10,000; Scott '10 CV = $ 3.50)

1996 Monasteries (Scott #200-04; 17,000; Scott '10 CV = $ 10.40)

1997 Composers (Scott #232-35; 19,500; Scott '10 CV = $ 7.00)

1997 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Scott #250-55; 18,500; Scott '10 CV = $ 6.35)