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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Stamp Investment Tip: Azerbaijan 2007 Polar Bear Souvenir Sheets (Scott #860a, 861)

In 2007, Azerbaijan issued two souvenir sheets picturing Polar Bears (Scott #860a, 861). 10,000 of the first and 30,000 of the second were issued, and Scott '13 prices the unused sheets at $ 15.00 and $ 6.00, respectively.

The topic selection is a bit asinine, since Polar Bears are not native to Azerbaijan. Nevertheless, these sheets make interesting and low-risk speculations based on their appeal as Animal topicals, and as  bets on the economic growth of Azerbaijan and the development of a stamp market there. This recommendation is consistent with my belief that one of the best ways to play the new and newly resurrected countries of Europe and Asia is to focus on popular topicals with low printings.

Azerbaijan is an oil-rich nation of about 9 million people, which also has significant reserves of natural gas and various minerals. Agriculture and tourism are also important to the Azerbaijani economy. The country shares all the problems of the former Soviet republics in making the transition from a command to a market economy, but its energy resources brighten its long-term prospects. It has begun making progress on economic reform, and old economic ties and structures are slowly being replaced. Annual GDP growth has averaged a stellar 16% over the last 5 years, largely based on the frenetic development of the country's oil wealth - an estimated 7 billion barrels of reserves.

Those interested in learning more about investing in stamps are encouraged to read the Philatelic Investment Guide ($5), available on Kindle, and accessible from any computer.

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