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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Stamp Investment Tip: South Korea 1948 Election (Scott #80-84)

In 1948, South Korea held its first election, commemorating the event with the issuance of a set of five stamps (Scott #80-84). 50,000 were issued, and Scott '11 values the unused set at $83.00 ($175.- for NH).

Many of the early stamps of South Korea were rather primitively produced, and mediocre centering, rough perfs, and gloppy gum are normal for these issues. Not many Koreans were collecting stamps in the late '40s and early '50s, and many that were collected unused were probably purchased by U.S. and allied soldiers during the Korean War. The stamps have increased in value over the decades as South Korea has prospered, and I expect that they will continue to do well.

South Korea, a nation of about 50 million people, is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Currently, it is the world's 13th largest economy and eighth largest exporter. It's export-fueled economic growth has led to a miraculous explosion in its GDP, from almost nothing 50 years ago to about $1 trillion today. Annual GDP growth has averaged 4.2% over the last 5 years, reflecting a slowdown in 2009 due to the global financial crisis. Furthermore, South Korea may be the most rapidly aging nation on earth, as its 65+ population is expected to more than quadruple from 9% in 2005 to 38% in 2050. Obviously, this could pose economic challenges for the country, but it will almost certainly add to its stamp collecting population.

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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