Soviet Union 1964 Olympic Gymnast sheet has held its value
Stamp Market Tips by Henry Gitner and Rick Miller
Like the market for stamps of the People’s Republic of China, the market for stamps of the Soviet Union is strongly affected by investors and speculators who are not traditional stamp collectors.
Wealthy Russian businessmen are often looking for safe places to invest their money, especially now that the Russian economy has seriously tanked as a result of Vladimir Putin’s ill-advised invasion of Ukraine. While new Russian Federation stamp issues have proliferated and are generally readily available at cost, stamps issued by the former Soviet Union from 1923 to 1991 are often seen as a relatively safe and more profitable investment.
The bellwether of the market for Soviet Union stamps is the 1-ruble green Olympic Gymnast souvenir sheet of one. The souvenir sheet is noted and valued, but not listed, in the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue. The sheet is valued at $200 in mint, never-hinged condition and $300 in favor canceled condition with full gum; those values have remained unchanged for many years.
The souvenir sheet was issued in July 1964 for the Olympic Games in Tokyo along with a set of six stamps (Scott 2921-2926). Although the souvenir sheet is not listed in the Scott catalog, dealers and collectors universally refer to it as Scott 2926A. The Scott catalog editors should do us all a favor and list it, because it is a key item in any collection of Soviet stamps.
Another unlisted souvenir sheet with the same design in red was issued. It is common and is valued at just $7 in mint, never-hinged condition and $3 in favor canceled condition.
As a market indicator for Soviet Union stamps, we have previously featured the imperforate 1r green souvenir sheet in mint, never-hinged condition in Stamp Market Tips eight times. Market values are given in parentheses after the dates of the columns: April 14, 2008 ($330); May 11, 2009 ($230); Dec. 10, 2012 ($150-$175); Jan. 13, 2014 ($225); Jan. 19, 2015 ($195-$200); Sept. 26, 2016 ($150-$225); July 20, 2020 ($125-$150); and July 12, 2021 ($150-$175).
The current market value for the imperforate 1r green souvenir sheet in mint, never-hinged condition is $130 to $155. Although the value is down a bit, it seems to have held most of its value despite the rate of exchange for the ruble having tumbled to around 1¢. Some varieties and sheets with low serial numbers sell for higher prices.
Cacheted unaddressed first-day covers are uncommon and sell for more than the mint souvenir sheet. The souvenir sheet in favor canceled condition with full gum is scarcer than the mint sheet, but there is also less demand for it.
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