World Stamps

Lebanese 1957 souvenir sheet

Jun 19, 2014, 3 AM

Lebanon — The Lebanese diaspora has grown exponentially in recent years thanks to the chaos in the Middle East. In 1926, the population of Lebanon was 84 percent Christian. Today, it is about 40 percent Christian. As these refugees become settled and established in new lands, some, especially among the older generations, have turned to collecting stamps of their homeland as a link to what they have lost.

There has always been a sizeable Lebanese community in the United States, and they have been well-represented in both the collector and dealer communities.

On Sept. 12, 1957, Lebanon issued a set of two regular postage stamps and two airmail stamps (Scott 313-314 and C243-C244) commemorating the Second Pan-Arab Games held in Beirut. The 2014 Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue notes but does not list or value a souvenir sheet containing one each of the four stamps. This souvenir sheet benefits from crossover interest from sports topical collectors. It is very scarce and well worth $100 to $150 in mint never-hinged condition, if you can find it.

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Tip of the week

United States — In 1898, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service issued a set of 12 Battleship proprietary and documentary revenue stamps (Scott R161-R172). The taxes collected by these stamps were used in funding the expense of the Spanish-American War. They are beautifully engraved and historically significant.

The 2014 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers does not value them as a set, and they are not often sold that way. You will probably have to assemble a set one stamp purchase at a time.

Collectively, their Scott catalog value in unused original gum condition is $283.50. The major-number listed stamps are rouletted gauge 5½, but the Scott catalog also lists with minor numbers and values 10 of the stamps with gauge 7 hyphen-hole perforations.

The 40¢, 50¢ and 80¢ stamps (Scott R170-R172) are the key stamps in the issue and comprise 95 percent of the set’s value. The rest of the stamps in the set are easy to find.

Take your time, pay attention to grade and look for attractive examples with sound gum. If you are on a modest budget, you can stick to the less expensive stamps and dream of Admiral Dewey and the Battle of Manila Bay: “You may fire when ready, Gridley!” — H.G.