So Many Stamps

A short excerpt from the Scott Stamps Monthly, Vol. 28, No.10, October 2010. Online Edition. We have listed only the countries that issued in 2009 stamps with a total catalogue value of over $ 200.

Country 2009 Scott Champions 2009
  Number Value ($) Number Value
Australia 200 278 1  
Belgium 68 266    
Fiji 14 342   3
France 191 468 2 2
Gambia 34 201    
Great Britain 123 274 3  
Korea (North) 78 215    
Liberia 91 491   1
Micronesia 65 263    
Netherlands Antilles 41 264    
Papua New Guinea 75 337    
Peru 55 290    
Portugal 100 247    
Sierra Leone 52 210    
Surinam 9 223    

The figures are so amazing and speak so well for themselves that we won't comment on them!
We will only notice that our hope that the WNS registrations will reduce the number of excessive stamps (see below the posting from 2002) was not fulfilled. Liberia, a country listed by the WNS, issued in 2009, after the same WNS, 76 stamps. We prefer to trust Scott and its 91 stamps estimate but anyway $ 491 for a single year is a lot, especially for a country that: "suffer[s] with poor economic performance due to a fragile security situation, the devastation wrought by its long war, its lack of infrastructure, and necessary human capital to help the country recover from the scourges of conflict and corruption." Source

Link: The 11th Commandment: Thou shalst not use statistics

In the year 2000, the number of new stamps and souvenir sheets released worldwide outrun for the first time the US$ 17,000 limit. It is Liberia that released a new record number of stamps for a single "national" stamp issuer. This African country, suffering from a civil war, issued not less than 771stamps during only one year, 2000.

Actually, a total of 17,836 stamps and souvenir sheets were released in 2000, according to Linn's calculations, which are based on the new-issue survey prepared by the editors of the German-language stamp magazine Michel-Rundschau.

The Michel survey also reported that it would cost $8,876 to purchase all of the worldwide stamps at face value and $35,050 to buy them at catalog value. So that an American family with a median household income would be left with only $7,000 if it buys all these stamps. Hopefully, such a family doesn't exist.

The annual stamp totals have reached new heights for eight (!) years in a row. The previous record of 16,107 stamps and souvenir sheets was set in 1999.

The Michel-Rundschau survey reports that Liberia's 771 total comprises 677 stamps and 94 souvenir sheets, with a total Michel catalog value of $1,415. Liberia is one of the few countries for which the survey did not include a figure for the face value of the stamps.

The Gambia, second on the 100-or-more list, issued an impressive 632 stamps and souvenir sheets for the year. This is the third highest total ever, with only the aforementioned Liberia of 2000 and Madagascar of 1993 releasing more stamps in a single year.

Tanzania, the leader in 1999 for the biggest quantity of stamps and souvenir sheets, dropped to 61st place in 2000, with only (!!) 82 stamps and souvenir sheets, compared to 581 the previous year. Tanzania, Liberia and The Gambia are among the more than 70 countries represented by IGPC. As a new-issue agency, IGPC is responsible for the design, production and promotion of most of these countries' stamps.

Amazing? Shameful? Both? Even stronger, non-printable words? :-)

Interestingly enough, there is a certain fight against illegal stamps, but what will be done against this exaggerations? Maybe the hope is the introduction of the WADP Numbering System (WNS), by which companies and countries could be limited, at least a bit. Liberia and Tanzania have already adhered to WNS, but not (yet?) The Gambia.

Published on May 25th, 2002, on the RCSD newsgroup

   Fujeira is one of the Trucial States in the Persian Gulf. With six other sheikdoms it formed the State of the United Arab Emirates on 18 July 1971. Fujeira stamps were replaced by issues of UAE on 1 January 1973.

   Stanley Gibbons (1977) fully lists 166 stamps, issued between 1964 and 1967. For stamps issued between 1967 - 1972 it writes: The following stamps have either been issued in excess of postal needs or have not been available to the public in reasonable quantities at face value. Such stamps may later be given full listing if there is evidence of regular postal use. SG notes also that "During 1970 a number of other sets came on the market, but their official status is in doubt".

   The Michel Catalogue (Naher Osten 1999) lists 1542 stamps and 207 sheets (with prices), issued between 1964 and 1972. Michel writes that on 9 May 1970 the Fujeira PA terminated its contract with an agency and charged another agency with issuing of stamps. The old agency still brought on the market other stamps, that weren't accepted as official ones by the Fujeira PA.   In its most prolific year, 1972, Fujeira issued about 700 stamps and 200 sheets (!). Comparing these figures with Liberia's 2000 high of 677 stamps and 94 sheets, the quantity of stamps issued by Fujeira is really impressive, and indicates when the big problems of the topical philately actually begun.  

Amazingly enough, in souvenir boutiques in Egypt were sold fakes of Ajman, Sharjah and Fujeira stamps, showing old Egyptian topics.

Published on July 7th, 2002, on the RCSD newsgroup

Just for fun, a stamp from a kindred country, the Kingdom of Yemen, Olympic Games 1968 in Grenoble, Mi. 454. Unnecessary to mention that such an Olympic discipline, bobsled for three, never existed. Or have they lost the fourth sportsman?

Comment received:
> Sometimes the academia or intelligentsia, in charge, issue "shit" to fit their view of life or propaganda.
> It would be truly amazing to see USPS listen to the people of the country when issuing stamps.

The big problem, at least of the topical philately, was that different limitations of PAs (some strict rules about what may they issue, how, when and how much), combined with the propaganda that you mentioned, made that interesting stamps were rarely issued, and this opened the way to all sort of illegal or excessive issues. Now we still bear the consequences of this not so distant past.

One can just wonder how could an agency issue, in the name of Ajman, and sell between 1967 and 1972 some 620 different paintings on stamps (and many, many other topics).  You have my short explanation above.

Even more shortly, the markets, like the nature, have horror of vacuum, and this is filled ASAP either by quality products, or, if this possibility is blocked, by all kind of minishits

Published on July 25th, 2002, on the RCSD NG.


Published: 05/25/2002. Revised: 09/03/2010
Copyright 2001 - 2010 by PWO and
by Victor Manta, Switzerland.
All rights reserved worldwide.