Laos — For sheer aesthetic eye appeal, bright colors, exotic topics and beautiful engraving, it is hard to beat the stamps of the Kingdom of Laos from 1951 to 1975.
Like the rest of Southeast Asia, this beautiful country was ravaged by war and Communism in the 20th century. Between 1975 and 1996, more than a quarter of a million Laotian refugees, including 150,000 Hmong tribesmen, were resettled in the United States. Today, Laos remains under Communist domination. Although rich in natural resources, it is one of the poorest and least developed nations in the world, with one of the world’s lowest average annual incomes.
Most stamp sets from this period are inexpensive and well within an affordable range for most collectors. Much of the collector interest comes from topical stamp collectors rather than Laotian single-country collectors.
I like the set of seven Elephant stamps (Scott 41-47) issued March 17, 1958. Elephants are popular with fauna topical collectors, and these are some of the most beautiful elephant stamps ever issued.
The 2015 Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue values the set in mint never-hinged condition at $15.25. I think you can find this set for about $10, and it is a good buy at that price.
If you are collecting used, be aware that these stamps were widely sold canceled to order, and the Scott catalog values do not apply to CTO examples.
A Linn’s editor found this week’s recommended stamps on ZillionsOfStamps.com at the following prices: Laos 41-47 — $9.75-$10 mint never-hinged, very fine; United States 534B with Schermack type III perforations — not found.
Tip of the Week
United States — The imperforate 2¢ carmine George Washington type VII stamp (Scott 534B) is missing from most U.S. collections. The 2014 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers values it at $1,750 in unused hinged condition and $1,250 in used condition. Most collectors just can’t afford it. Small-margin imperforate single examples are generally not expertizeable, as the inexpensive look-alike Scott 528B with gauge 11 perforations can be cut down from large-margin examples, with or without a straight edge, to be passed off as the more expensive stamp.
However, there is another way to acquire a genuine affordable example. I have tipped this stamp twice before, in the Nov. 2, 2009, and the July 9, 2012, Stamp Market Tips columns, but I want to bring attention to it again.
Most collectors can afford this stamp with Schermack type III privately applied vending and affixing machine perforations. The Scott U.S. specialized catalog values a used example at just $85. In my opinion, it is terribly undervalued and well worth $200 to $250 or more in the grade of very fine. Even faulty examples usually sell for more than the Scott catalog value.
When selecting an example, you must be able to see the distinctive large Schermack type III perforations on at least one side of the stamp, and you must be able to verify the type VII stamp characteristics. — H.G.
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.