Tip of the Week — By Henry Gitner and Rick Miller
The Canal Zone was an unincorporated territory of the United States from 1903 until it reverted to Panama in 1979. The Canal Zone postal administration began to operate in 1904 when the postal service of the Republic of Panama ceased operations in the territory.
Stamps of the Canal Zone are popular with many American collectors, especially those who worked, served or lived there when it was a U.S. territory.
The earliest Canal Zone stamps were produced by overprinting stamps of the Republic of Panama.
In September 1920, Canal Zone postal authorities issued an overprinted 50-centesimo Drydock at Balboa stamp (Scott 58). The overprint “Canal Zone” was applied vertically in relation to the stamp design and reads upward.
The 2019 Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue values the stamp at $250 in unused hinged condition and $160 in used condition.
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This stamp is surprisingly difficult to find without flaws in grades of very fine or better. Stamps in fine-very fine grade and unused hinged condition bring about 80 percent of Scott catalog value. Examples in mint never-hinged condition are extremely difficult to find and bring a hefty premium.