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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Stamp Investment Tip: Austria 1931 Rotary Issue (Scott #B87-92)

In 1931, Austria issued a set of six semi-postal stamps in celebration of the Rotary International Convention, held in Vienna (Scott #B87-92). 50,000 sets were issued, and Scott '12 prices the unused set at $180.00 ($575.00 for NH). The non-postal portion of the set's cost went to benefit the charitable works of the Rotary International organization.

As a topical category, Rotary on Stamps is intriguing, because there are over 1.2 million Rotarians worldwide, many of whom are affluent, and there have been over 2,000 Rotary-related stamps issued by various countries. There is even a Rotary on Stamps Fellowship. The stated purpose of Rotary International is to bring together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

Even without the boost from its topical appeal, the set makes a good conservative investment, which should do well over the long run based on growth of the Austrian stamp market.

Austria, a nation of 8.3 million people, is one of the 12 richest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita, with a well-developed social market economy and a high standard of living. Alongside its highly developed industries, international tourism is the most important part of the national economy. Germany has historically been the main trading partner of Austria, making it vulnerable to rapid changes in the German economy. However, since Austria became a member state of the European Union it has gained closer ties to other European Union economies, reducing its economic dependence on Germany. In addition, membership in the EU has drawn an influx of foreign investors attracted by Austria's access to the single European market and proximity to the emerging economies of the European Union. Annual GDP growth has averaged 1.5% over the past 5 years, reflecting a recent contraction due to the global financial crisis.

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