Ethiopia — Ethiopia is one of those exotic countries with a small but dedicated and enthusiastic following in the United States. There are also avid Ethiopian collectors in England, the Scandinavian countries, Germany and France.
Ethiopia has a long and fascinating history. It is mentioned in Biblical accounts and was one of the first countries in the world to convert to Christianity.
It also was one of only two African countries that were independent in the 19th century. There is collector interest in all periods of Ethiopian stamps, from the first issue of 1895 to modern new issues.
Disaster struck in 1974 when the Derg, a communist junta with international communist backing, deposed the long-reigning Emperor Haile Selassie and imposed a one-party communist state. At least 500,000 Ethiopians died in the Red Terror and enforced famine.
After the Soviet Union withdrew military and economic support, the communist government collapsed in 1991. The leader of the Derg was convicted of genocide in 2006.
While the communists were in power, there was generally less interest in new Ethiopian issues.
Once the communists had been ousted, many collectors began looking for the sets they had ignored while the communists still held sway. Most are still very affordable, but prices have been rising for some.
One such is the July 12, 1982, set of five commemorating German bacteriologist Robert Koch and the centenary of his identification of the tuberculosis bacillus (Scott 1043-1047).
The United States National Institutes of Health reported in 2010 that Ethiopia has had a long struggle with tuberculosis. The Centers for Disease Control noted in 2012 that Ethiopia has one of the highest tuberculosis mortality rates in the world.
The 2014 Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue values the stamp set in mint never-hinged condition at $5.85.
I recently saw a set sell in an online auction for $24.50 after spirited bidding from five bidders.
A Linn’s editor found this week’s recommended stamps on the zillionsofstamps.com website at the following price ranges:
Ethiopia, 1043-1077 — not found;
United States, 4377 — $10-$14.95, very fine, never hinged.
Tip of the week
United States — Saving full mint panes of 20 seems to be the way to go for many modern U.S. stamps, especially those issued in panes with large pictorial selvage to one side.
A good example is the 2009 42¢ Edgar Allan Poe stamp (Scott 4377).
The 2014 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers values the mint pane of 20 at $23.50 against a face value of $8.40.
There is some demand for this mint pane in the aftermarket, and dealers’ stock are very thin. I have seen this pane offered for as much as $26, but if you shop around, I think you can find it in the $12 to $15 price range, and it is a good buy at that price.
blogIn this column in the Aug. 24 issue of Linn’s, I referred to the American Philatelic Research Library in Bellefonte, Pa., as a “gift to stamp collectors.” The BNAPS library and the APRL are two of many libraries available to stamp collectors, and some philatelic libraries are available online. Read More ›
blogIt’s often been said that one of the salutary benefits of collecting stamps is the friendships made along one’s philatelic journey. If I were asked to place a value on the bonds thus forged with collectors in locales near and far, I would be rich beyond measure. A few of these hobby friends I have never met in person. Read More ›
blogToday, Nov. 11, 2015, is Veterans Day. Over the years, a number of United States stamps honoring those who have served in our nation’s armed forces have been issued. Read More ›
blogMy previous blog post focused on a mystery: the apparent indentations of paper clips on United States Purple Heart forever stamps that were used to mail payments to the circulation department of my employer, Amos Media in Sidney, Ohio. Read More ›
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Denise McCarty discusses Great Britain’s final stamp issue for 2015, a Star Wars prestige booklet, and reveals what is included in its stamp program for 2016.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee discusses a registered 1967 cover from Qatar that recently sold for almost $1,200 and the latest discovery of an Upright Jenny Invert pane.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News editorial director Donna Houseman announces that Linn’s has been named official daily publisher of World Stamp Show-NY 2016 and provides an update on the reorganization of the Scott catalogs.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Marty Frankevicz reports on the suspension of Canada Post’s cluster box conversion plan after the election of a new prime minister.
It is always a treat to get to see stamp dealers’ own collections.
In the recently concluded Linn’s United States Stamp Popularity Poll, the Circus Posters set of eight stamps was chosen as the overall favorite issue of 2014.
Dispersal of the splendid Daniel B. Curtis collection continued March 25, with Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries gaveling items from United States back-of-the-book and possessions.
The 175th anniversary of the first postage stamp, Great Britain's Penny Black, is May 6, but the stamp was placed on sale May 1, 1840, for mailers to use beginning on May 6, the designated issue date.