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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Stamp Investment Tip: Russia 2002 Booklet Panes

Russia has issued a number of scarce booklet panes in recent years, some of which have topical appeal. Booklet issues are often ignored when they're first released, especially if the stamp designs duplicate those issued in regular sheet format. After a while, however, collectors begin to get that horrible empty feeling from seeing blank spaces in their albums, and desperately hurry to their favorite dealers to lap up the supply.

In 2002, Russia issued four scarce booklets- three of which are attractive and have topical appeal, and one of which is boring, but worth buying anyway. I've listed them, along with their topic categories, quantities issued, and Scott '10 Catalog Values, below:

-2002 New Hermitage, 150th Anniversary (Art/Paintings; Scott #6684a-88a bklt.; 10,000; $ 40.00)

-2002 St. Petersburg, 300th Anniversary (Art/Architecture; Scott #6695a-99a bklt.; 10,000; $ 80.00)

-2002 Carriages (Transportation; Scott #6705f-05j bklt.; 10,000; $ 46.00)

-2002 Census (Scott # 6718a bklt; 12,000; $ 75.00)

With 142 million people, Russia is the 8th or 9th largest economy in the world, with vast reserves of natural resources and a highly educated population. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has experienced several major economic crises in its transition to capitalism. Annual GDP growth has averaged 3.2% over the last 5 years, which takes into account an 8% contraction in 2009, due to the global financial crisis. The country is still plagued by corruption and organized crime, making it somewhat reminiscent of America during its "Wild West" and Robber-Baron periods. Nevertheless, the middle class has grown from just 8 million people in 2000 to 55 million in 2006.

Those interested in joining a community of philatelic investors are welcome to join the "StampSelectors" group on Facebook. This lively group engages in trading as well as discussions of issues related to stamp investment and Philately in general.

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