Sunday, December 5, 2010

Want a Penny Black? Try China.

If that space for Great Britain Scott #1 is still unfilled in your Blue International album, you may want to add it to your Holiday wishlist. Don Schilling's The Stamp Collectors Round-Up brought to our attention a recent press release from Stanley Gibbons. SG sold all of the Penny Blacks they took to a Beijing stamp expo in November and have an order for 10,000 more. SG says that "We normally sell no more than a hundred penny blacks in any given year so this trade order creates a demand 100 times the normal market size...We might end up with most of the penny blacks in the world going to China. The Chinese are already paying twice our catalogue price to get their hands on them."

While a non-collector might assume that the world's first stamp issued 170 years ago would be rare, the reality is that more than 68 million were printed. A textbook example of supply and demand, even though the Penny Black is readily available today (at least in China!), the demand keeps the price up. Something that Stanley Gibbons, a firm that actively promotes stamps as an investment, is no doubt happy to see.

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