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SAUDI ARABIA

Authored by: Richard Lehmann

It’s refreshing to see there are countries that still consider stamps as purposed for postage and not just as a way to publicize the people in power, promote a cause or exploit collectors. In 2005 Saudi Arabia issued only 10 stamps, 18 in in 2006, 11 in 2007, and 5 in 2008. Also, since they all had a 2 Riyal face value, it means you pay about 53 cents to mail a letter. I could not determine the outgoing Saudi postal rates, but they must be pretty low given that all the stamps are printed in the 2 Riyal denomination.

From an investment perspective, this lack of interest in marketing its stamps would seem to discourage stamp collecting, and therefore, value appreciation. However, we identified almost 500 stamps which have appreciated an average of 10.8% in the last 5 years and 40.5% in the last 10 years. These stats are for mint stamps, used investment rated stamps are far fewer and not worth considering at this time. The early mint stamps are a challenge in that numerous overprint varieties exist, overprints of a variety which are easily forged. Also, some issues were re-printed, with no catalog values proscribed. We ran into this same problem with Iranian stamps, however, this does not seem to have discouraged collectors. It often means that one can buy these in a collection where the provenance is uncertain and therefor the price reflects this. In short, one can go treasure hunting here.

Checking with the Yvert catalog, we find the pricing is comparable, but with none of the warnings found in Scott. Michel’s on line catalog tries to improve matters with giant copies of the overprints, but this too proves to be of limited help. By way of example, between January 1925 and June 1925 Scott has some 136 overprinted issues listed, with numerous inverted and double overprint sub-listings. And this for stamps priced in the hundreds of dollars! The Yvert and Michel catalogs show far fewer listings which means European dealers are at a disadvantage.

I suspect that these stamps are quite rare and collected by a few specialists in-country who can read the language and have a good feel for their relative value. The list below shows some of the price appreciation for mint stamps in the $30 to $300 catalog value range. What is telling here is that major appreciation has taken place in the last 5 years, well above that for the previous five years. This is a positive indication that more appreciation is likely. Certification is highly recommended despite the cost versus purchase price.

SCOTT    5 Yr Apprc %  10 Yr Apprc %
17a 185.71 207.69
19 180.00 211.11
16a 175.00 214.29
7 154.55 191.67
36 140.00 200.00
54 140.00 200.00
20 133.33 180.00
53 133.33 211.11
22 128.57 166.67
23 122.22 150.00
15 118.18 150.00
6 100.00 122.22
10 100.00 133.33
14 100.00 66.67
18 100.00 133.33
49 100.00 150.00
52 100.00 100.00
L51 100.00 33.33
L52 100.00 45.45
L62a 100.00 200.00
42a 83.33 100.00
L19c 78.57  
8 75.00 100.00
11 75.00 100.00
45 75.00 86.67
51 71.43 100.00
9 66.67 108.33
12 66.67 81.82
25 66.67 81.82
35 66.67 108.33
L136c 66.67 127.27
13 60.00 77.78
37 60.00 100.00
38 60.00 100.00
42 60.00 68.42
L58 57.14 100.00
L66 57.14 100.00
43 54.55 61.90
24 53.85 66.67
28 50.00 60.00
L55 50.00 140.00
L56 50.00 71.43
L57 50.00 87.50
L59 50.00 84.62
L62 50.00 100.00
L63 50.00 100.00
L64 50.00 87.50
LJ26d 50.00  
LJ29d 50.00  
LJ30d 50.00  
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