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.
blogWhen this cover was listed on eBay in mid-September, it didn't take long for some knowledgeable collectors to recognize this piece of postal history for the gem that it is: an early trans-oceanic survey cover for a Pacific route that included Midway Island, which would become famous as the location of a pivotal 1942 naval battle during World War II. Read More ›
blogThis month marks my fifth anniversary writing the monthly auction report for Linn’s Stamp News. That’s 60 columns, totaling more than 100,000 words (enough for a decent-sized novel), all about our favorite hobby. Read More ›
blogIn mid-September I traveled to London, England, to attend Autumn Stampex, one of two British national stamp shows sponsored by the Philatelic Traders’ Society, Great Britain’s national stamp dealers association. The show took place Sept. 16-19 at the Business Design Centre in Islington (central north London), a comfortable and attractive venue for a stamp show. Read More ›
September 28, 2015 03:30 AMAfter the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, postal workers not only saved the mail, they saved the new post office building. Read More ›
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Denise McCarty discusses current events that relate to the stamp hobby, including the relocation of a stamp show in Sweden due to the Syrian refugee crises, and new stamps honoring Pope Francis and the British monarchy.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News associate editor Michael Baadke talks about a record fifth win for wildlife artist Joseph Hautman in the federal duck stamp art contest, and see the painting that will appear on next year’s federal duck stamp
Watch as Scott catalog senior editor Marty Frankevicz questions Bolivia’s choice for the design of a 2013 stamp honoring the country’s efforts to protect its migrants in foreign lands.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee discusses the discovery of the upright Jenny Invert pane received in an order from Stamp Fulfillment Services in Kansas City, Mo., and also reports on the Confederate Stamp Alliance.
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.