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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Stamp Investment Tip: Alexandretta

Alexandretta was a sanjak (or district) of French-controlled Syria, which was carved from the Ottoman Empire and mandated to France under the Versailles Treaty, and which issued stamps in 1938. The territory was returned to Turkey in 1939. However, it is located near the border between Turkey and Syria, and ownership of the area is disputed by the two countries.

From a philatelic investment perspective, Alexandretta is attractive because the four sets produced for it by the French were issued in modest quantities, and have multiple market appeal to collectors of French Colonies, Turkey, and Syria.

Quantities issued of two of the sets, the Death of Ataturk Mourning set (Scott #13-17; fewer than 10,000; Scott '11 CV for unused = $205.00; 375.- for NH ) and the Airmail set (Scott #C1-8; 15,000; Scott '11 CV for unused = $ 48.50; 160.- for NH) are known, but it is likely that the other two sets (Scott #1-12 and the Postage Due set- #J1-6) had comparable printings. While all are worthy of consideration, the black-bordered Death of Ataturk set is the best of the four, both because of its relative scarcity and because it honors a hero of modern Turkish nationalism.

With a population of about 72 1/2 million, Turkey is perhaps the most culturally European of the Islamic nations, and a likely model for their modernization, economic development, and democratization. The country experienced rapid economic growth between 2002 and 2007, with GDP averaging 7.4%, but this slowed in 2008 to 5% and stalled in 2009 to 1%, due to the global financial crisis, from which the country is recovering. While traditional agriculture is still a pillar of the Turkish economy, it is becoming more dependent on industry. Key sectors include tourism, banking, construction, home appliances, electronics, textiles, oil refining, petrochemical products, food, mining, iron and steel, the machine industry, automotive, and shipbuilding. It is likely that in the future, Turkey will benefit from serving as an economic and cultural nexus connecting Europe, the Near East, and the Turkic (formerly Soviet) nations of Central Asia.

Those interested in joining a community of stamp investors are welcome to join the "StampSelectors" group on Facebook. The group provides a valuable forum for those who wish discuss this blog, as well as trade or communicate with stamp collectors, dealers, and investors from all over the world.

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