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It's Difficult to Predict the Great Philatelic Investments

March 12, 1987|BARRY KRAUSE

Question: Since 1985, I have collected all the Canadian commemorative stamps in blocks of four with color marks, steel plate numbers and the paper type used in printing indicated at their corners. Do these stamps have potential for future price appreciation?--R.K.

Answer: Every month I get some letters that are quite investment oriented: What's the best buy? What's going to go up in price? Should I sell now or hold onto these issues for a couple more years?

If I could foresee the future, I would be better able to answer these questions. The only thing we can do is look at past track records of stamp values and try to estimate what might happen if similar trends continue.

For example, Canadian stamps have always been very popular among collectors both in Canada and the United States. Specialty items (such as inscription margin blocks) appeal to a dedicated but limited group of philatelists. Because modern (post-World War II) Canadian stamps have in general been printed in large enough quantities to satisfy collector demand, it seems unlikely that the indiscriminate purchase of sheets of recent Canadian stamps will result in great profits.

I recommend that you collect Canada's postal issues for their beauty and historical interest, either in singles or blocks, and enjoy the fun and knowledge that you get from them. If you really want investment advice, I recommend 19th-Century Canadian stamps in very fine mint or used condition, bought at fair current-market prices, with the intention of holding them until the year 2000 for a decent profit potential.

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