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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Stamp Investment Tip: Canada 1857 7 1/2p Green (Scott #9)

In 1857, Canada issued a 7 1/2p stamp portraying a young Queen Victoria for use on packet mail (Scott #9). 82,140 were issued, and Scott '11 prices the stamp at $10,000.- for unused, and $3,500.- for used. As 7 1/2p was almost half of an average worker's daily wage back then, the vast majority of stamps were probably used and discarded. There were far fewer collectors in the early days of stamp collecting, and I estimate that no more than a few thousand Canada #9s were saved, in any condition.

Accordingly, I recommend purchase of the stamp, either used or unused. The unused stamps are pricey, but it might be possible to locate a sound four-margin used example at 50-60% of Scott. Even those with minor defects (such as creases or thins) which appear F-VF or better are worth buying, if priced at between 8%-15% of catalog value. Since the stamp isn't cheap, as it climbs in value, the more affordable nice-appearing seconds may rise at a faster rate (see my earlier article "Practical Advice: When Do Seconds Come in First?" ).

I continue to favor all better stamps of British North America as worthy of consideration. The area is very popular among collectors of both Canada and British Commonwealth, and the better items represent solid investments, as interest in stamp collecting in Canada is much stronger than it is in the U.S. .

With a population of about 31 million, Canada is one of the world's wealthiest countries, and is one of the world's top ten trading nations. GDP growth has averaged 2.2% over the past five years, which takes into account the 0% growth of 2009 due to the global financial crisis. Canada's population is expected to age significantly over the next decades. Canadians over 60 are projected to increase from 16.7% of the population in 2000 to 27.9% in 2025, and 30.5% in 2050. Consequently, in the future, many more Canadians will be spending time working on their stamp collections on cold winter days.

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