SAPOA 2010 Joint Issue FIFA Soccer World Cup

Sapoa stamp sheet South Africa 2010The 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:

2004: Birds

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