Sunday, September 7, 2014
Stamp Investment Tip: South Korea 1956 3rd Inauguration of Syngman Rhee Presentation Sheets (Michel Block 98-99, Scott #228Note)
From 1948 to 1958, South Korea issued presentation sheets featuring the designs of its regular postage stamps. These ungummed, often crudely produced sheets were issued in very low quantities and given to dignitaries, including friends of the President, as the country was not completely devoid of cronyism. The Michel catalog lists these sheets, but Scott does not, although it mentions them. They frequently sell at auction for between 10% and 20% of Michel, and I consider them grossly undervalued due to the uncertainty about their legitimacy. They were issued during a period of war and the gradual recovery from it, when the country was very poor, and they are as scarce as hen's teeth. Despite the fact that Scott only notes Korean presentation sheets generally and doesn't list them individually, thereby implicitly questioning their legitimacy, they're so scarce and their potential market so large that they represent interesting and low-risk investments.
In 1955, South Korea issued a set of two presentation sheets celebrating the President Syngman Rhee's 3rd Inauguration (Michel Block 98-99). 1,000 sets were issued, and Michel prices the set at 700.- Euros (about $ 950.-). I recommend purchase of the set if it offered at around $95.- to $190.- (about 10%-20% of Michel CV).
A nation of about 50 million people, South Korea is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Currently, it is the world's 13th largest economy and eighth largest exporter. It's export-fueled economic growth has led to a miraculous explosion in its GDP, from almost nothing 50 years ago to about $1 trillion today. Annual GDP growth has averaged about 4% over the last 5 years, reflecting a slowdown in 2009 due to the global financial crisis. Furthermore, South Korea may be the most rapidly aging nation on earth, as its 65+ population is expected to more than quadruple from 9% in 2005 to 38% in 2050. Obviously, this could pose economic challenges for the country, but it will almost certainly add to its stamp collecting population.
Those interested in becoming part of an international community of stamp collectors, dealers, and investors are encouraged to join the "Stampselectors" group at Facebook. The group hosts lively discussions concerning stamp investment and practical aspects of collecting, and provides a useful venue for those who wish to buy, sell, or trade stamps.