Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Be Careful When Investing in Russian Stamps

Reporter Vladimir Kozlov writes in the Moscow News, "In times of economic uncertainty, people look for unconventional investment vehicles. Investment in postage stamps can bring you a return of 15 to 20 percent a year, but you have to be careful, as philately involves many subtleties."

"It's difficult for an ordinary person with little or no knowledge of philately to understand all the nuances and see if a stamp is really worth the price listed in a catalogue. A stamp could look the same but be made of different paper, or it could have an adhesive layer of a different type or a different kind of perforation, and that could have a large impact on its value," according to Sergei Yevtushenko, executive director of the Russian Union of Philatelists.

Alexei Zubov, head of the Gelos auction house's antique book and philately department points out in the article,"Philately involves a huge amount of information, and there are no pundits that would know all kinds of stamps equally well. You should try to find experts on exactly the same type of period you are looking at."

Zubov says those planning to make their first investment in Russian postage stamps should look at those issued before the 1950s or, more preferably, before 1917.

Yevtushenko disagrees.

He believes, "There is no point looking at a particular period. Stamps have been issued in huge quantities, and even not every stamp from the first batch that went into circulation in Russia in 1858 is valuable. On the other hand, even a recently issued stamp could become valuable if it is unique in any way, if for instance, it differs from the entire batch. Also, to be valuable, a stamp should be in pristine condition."

Shown above, a 2008 stamp-on-stamp commemorative marking the 150th anniversary of the first Russian postage stamp.

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM