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.
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 ›
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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.