I’m just sharing a scan of my 1948 Royal Silver Wedding Cinderella Stamps that I bought on Ebay a few years ago. I can find no information on these stamps and would love to hear from you if you know anything about them, e.g. who printed them, why, how many were made, and do they hold any value at all? I have Cinderella high value stamps for 11 (fictional) countries and only 1 low value for “British Arctic Territory”. The 11 countries are:
- Barclay Islands
- King William Land
- Principality of Hutt River
- St. Gregory
- Prince Patric Island
- British Arctic Territory
I also have a blocks of 4 of Sealand, King William Land, British Arctic Territory (low value block) and a block of 4 containing the different high value stamps of Zamunda (x2 in opposite corners), Zangaro and St. Gregory. Please contact me if you can share any information on these stamps.
Since the launch of the SAPOA 2010 Fifa World Cup golden stamp sheet the issue that have become the scarcest of them all is definitely the Mauritius sheet.
As of today, I can find almost none of the sheets available for sale online. There is one listed on a South African auction site for ZAR1200 (about $120). On Ebay I can find only one recent sale with a best offer accepted after an original listing price of around $70.
At the moment it is still very difficult to determine the correct price to buy this sheet at.
According to my records only 5000 of these Mauritius SAPOA sheets were issued. That will make them scarce for a soccer issue. What is interesting though is that according to my records only 3000 Zambia SAPOA soccer she.ets were issued and they are available in the market at much lower prices. Might me a good buy…
Let me know if you have any more information about these issues.
Update 06 January 2013
- I managed to source one of these Mauritius 2010 SAPOA soccer sheets and have put in on an Ebay auction starting at a crazy 1c. Let’s see what the market thinks about the current value. Here’s the link to the auction.
- Another user has listed one sheet on Ebay at a fixed price of $150
Update 12 January 2013
- My Mauritius 2010 SAPOA sheet that started on a 1c auction sold to a buyer in Japan for $85.
- I have listed another sheet at a fixed price of $150. This basically just covers the best price i can source the sheet at the moment.
The third joint SAPOA issue was issued on 9 April 2010 to commemorate the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup held in South Africa, the first World Cup to be held on the African continent.
This issue follows two previous SAPOA joint issues:
2007: Fauna and flora (Animals)
SAPOA stands for the Southern African Postal Operators Association and has 14 african countries as members.
The minisheet is a beautiful gold foil souvenir sheet consisting of 9 postage stamps. The designs feature a graphic image of soccer players in action, a soccer ball, the national flag of each participating country, and also Zakumi, the official mascot of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The gold foil looks similar on all issues except for the Malawi issue, where a different type of paper was used.
Nine countries participated in this joint issue with the quantities of minisheets as indicated:
- Namibia : 50,000
- South Africa : 200,000
- Botswana : 10,000
- Mauritius : 5,000
- Malawi : 50,000
- Zambia : 3,000
- Zimbabwe : 10,000
- Lesotho : 50,000
- Swaziland : 50,000
The Namibia Post Office also issued an additional minisheet commonly referred to as the composite or combination minisheet. Only a few dealers were able to get their hands on these sheets. According to my information, only 5000 of these sheets were printed and sold.
Originally it was quite difficult to determine the market value of these sheets as many collectors were trying to get their hands on them to add to their soccer collections. Many collectors paid more than what the sheets are available for in the market in 2011 market. In addition, Malawi only managed to issue their sheet a few months after the World Cup, so it only became available at the end of 2010.
As of February 2011 my opinion of the different sheets is as follows (and please note this is from my personal experience, and I cannot be held responsible for any actions based on this advice. Also, if you have any additional information, I would gladly update the article):
- Namibia is now sold out at the Philatelic bureau and will probably become scarcer, most collectors would have been able to buy this sheet at a reasonable price, however with the quantity printed it should never become too scarce.
- South Africa sheets are still sold by the Philatelic bureau, so it should still be one of the easiest and least expensive sheets to buy and a great addition to your collection, with South Africa as the host country.
- Botswana sheets are available in the market at a reasonable price, but I would buy now if this sheet was missing from my collection.
- Mauritius sheets seem scarce, and market prices are very high. It is difficult to determine the correct price to pay for these at the moment. They may get a little cheaper in future, but with only 5000 sheets issued demand should stay high.
- Malawi sheets are currently selling for much higher than face value in online auctions. I suggest waiting a bit for market to normalize. If all 50,000 have been issued and sold, this sheet shouldn’t be as scarce as Mauritius or Zambia. I think some dealers are still waiting for their stock.
- For Zambia, only 3,000 sheets were printed and the first of these were sold online at very high prices. I’d look out for bargains on this sheet at the moment, since it could become very scarce in future.
- Zimbabwe sheets can be bought online for a reasonable price.
- Strangely enough, Lesotho sheets are very difficult to find, even though 50,000 were issued. I’d buy this sheet now if you can get it at a reasonable price.
- Swaziland sheets can be bought online at a very reasonable price, bit I would buy now as I’m not sure how many of the 50,000 sheets were sold. According to my information, in the case of the 2004 issue, thousands of unsold SAPOA bird sheets were actually destroyed.
- With regards to the composite sheet, I’d buy it now if you can get it at a reasonable price. Even though this sheet was not really issued for postal usage, it is a great alternative to buying all 9 of the other sheets. Only 5000 of these were issued and it should become more scarce in future.
Varieties and errors:
- I have noticed some colour shifts on a few of the minisheets with slight misalignment of the printing. I have seen South Africa, Mauritius and composite minisheets with this error. I am not sure if these sheets may become more valuable in future but I’d suggest you keep them if you own some of these.
- Any other information on varieties or errors will be much appreciated.
Technical information of this stamp issue:
Artist: Anja Denker (Namibia), concept artwork and design
Printing: Joh Enschede Security Printer, Netherlands
Type of printing: Offset, 4 process colours + white
Size/perforation of stamps: 44mm x 44m square perforation and 37,55mm x 37,55mm round perforation
Souvenir sheet: 167mm x 188mm
Paper: 106gsm stamp paper with gold foil all over
Are stamps a suitable alternative investment?
As with any other investment, investing in stamps or philatelic material carries its own risk. Historically there are some stamps that have experienced tremendous increases in value. There have also been stamps, however, that decreased in value over time. People most suited to using stamps as alternative investments are experienced stamp collectors themselves. If you have no experience in stamp collecting you will probably have to consult a reputable and trustworthy dealer to assist you.
Premium stamps have proven themselves a strong and stable investment through times of economic turbulence. Philatelic investment was popular during the 1970s but then fell out of favour following a speculative bubble, and prices of rare stamps took many years to recover. Investing in rare stamps requires a high degree of expertise and can be very risky for the novice.
Stamps have little intrinsic value, since they do not have the raw material value of gold and they do not represent a share in a business like equities.
In some countries investing in stamps can act as an easy local currency hedge. Most stamps are catalogued in GBP or USD, so if your local currency weakens, the value of your stamps will increase in relation to your local currency.
Stamps should be considered a long term investment (at least 10 years, in my opinion). Remember that you have to recover your buying and selling fees too (auction commissions are normally between 10-20%). Remember as well that when your stamp investment reaches a certain level you it will also be necessary to take out insurance and perhaps to rent a safe. These additional costs should also be covered by any increases in the value of your stamps.
As with any other marketable product, price is determined by supply and demand. Demand can drop if trends and tastes change in the future. A sudden appearance of large quantities of a scarce item in the market can cause a problem on the supply side. We can’t accurately predict what the demand will be after 10, 20 or 50 years. There are no guarantees.
Other risks include: damage to your stamps, theft/loss of your stamps, and fakes and forgeries.
For most just enjoying your stamp hobby is best: consider increases in the value of your collection a bonus. If you decide to use stamps as an investment, only allocate an appropriate percentage of your investment portfolio to your stamp investment.
Choosing stamps for your investment?
When purchasing stamps purely for investment purposes you should choose stamps that you predict will be in demand in future years and will hold their value for a long time. Unfortunately, this is no easy task. The following tips can help, but will never guarantee success.
- Choose popular stamps that are scarce already and already growing in demand. The stamps should already have a high catalogue value that ideally increases annually. These stamps are most likely to increase in value in future.
- Some collectors and investors also try to anticipate future trends and buy low ahead of time. This is difficult to get right, however, and may go totally wrong.
- Choose stamps from bigger countries that have fairly liquid markets. Some stamps may have very high catalogue values, but there are only a few collectors in the world interested in such a stamp. Other higher value stamps are traded more regularly.
- High value stamps are the most likely to be forged. Make sure you are buying authentic stamps, and consider buying stamps with certificates or with the option to certify them. Remember that even experts may make a mistake.
- Diversify. As with all investments, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Rather, purchase a small portfolio of stamps (with different countries or themes) rather than one single high value stamp. The single stamp may show better results when you look back later, but less diversification is more risk.
- Only buy stamps that are in great condition with no faults. Make sure you understand exactly what this means.
- Make sure you don’t pay too much for your stamps, if you pay 20% above actual market value it can take years to reach breakeven. Do proper research.
Handling and storing your stamps:
Make sure you know exactly how to handle and store your stamps to prevent any possible damage.
Other things to remember:
If your stamps carry a high value you will have to start considering taking out insurance in case of theft.
You will also have to consider renting a safe.
Remember to provide for this investment in your testament. Give specific instructions to your executor to ensure the full value of your stamps is realized.
No matter what you are collecting, you will probably always be missing stamps that are just too expensive or scarce too find.
- For most countries, there will be some early issues and varieties that you may never own.
- For most themes there are some very scarce items (e.g. if you are collecting bird stamps, you would have to be a very rich man to collect 90% of all possible issues).
You can start your stamp collection with very limited funds, or you can spend thousands of dollars on this hobby. You can also buy stamps as an alternative investment. Just make sure that you don’t have unrealistic expectations.
Starting your stamp collection with zero or very limited funds:
- You don’t need funds to start your stamp collection. The easiest way to start would be to acquire as many used stamps you can lay your hands upon. Ask your family and friends to save all their envelopes with used stamps for you. In addition, ask some of the local businesses to keep their envelopes for you, as some receive hundreds of envelopes monthly.
- One of your older family members may have a stamp collection that he/she would be willing to part with if they know that you show sufficient interest and will not neglect the items they have collected over years.
- You can buy collector packs from stamp dealers. Many dealers sell stamps in bulk for a low price. You can find collectors packs with 100+ stamps sorted by theme or country for very low prices (from $1 to $5).
- Attend a stamp auction or have a look at online auctions. You will often find kiloware (many used stamps still on paper), bulk listings, or boxes containing unsorted stamps at low prices. This can give your collection a kick start.
- Starting your collection this way can be a lot of fun, but unfortunately your stamp collection will probably not have a lot of value. Sorting and classifying your stamps should add a little value however. And there are always exceptions. Finding something special and scarce is always a possibility.
- Sometimes, even a new issue can quickly accumulate in value:
- If only a few stamps were used before an issue was redrawn by the postal authority, this will become a scarce item and can immediately see its value increase dramatically.
- Some stamps contain a fault (e.g. printing or perforation error), and you may be lucky enough to acquire one of these stamps in a used condition. This will become a scarce item and can immediately increase in value.
- It is also possible to luck into a valuable stamp in an auction lot, collector’s pack, or box of bulk stamps that the previous owner ad other buyers didn’t realize the value of.
Most collectors probably fall into this category. You have identified certain areas of interest for your stamp collection and you know what to look out for. You frequently spend your extra cash acquiring new items missing from your collections. You will also buy auction lots when you notice some value, and in some instances remove items that you require and sell the balance.
You are not spending thousands of dollars on your hobby but you are building up your collection steadily. Your collection will probably be continuously accumulating in value, and you should start considering including your stamp collection in your testament.
Your stamp collection has become an investment, even though that was not your original intention. You will also start considering spending more of your income allocated for investment on high value stamps.
Collecting stamps with investment value in mind:
Stamps can be a great investment as financial return has been very good over time. If you want to acquire stamps as an investment, there are many things to consider to ensure you invest wisely. Please see the article on “Stamps as alternative investment”