Monday, May 5, 2008

Stamp Issuers - Algeria

Algeria, 1924 (Scott #2)
Overprinted French Stamp
Algeria is the second largest country in Africa. It is located on the northern part of Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and is surrounded by a total of seven other countries around its perimeter. The Sahara Desert claims much of the land of Algeria.

Algeria's 19th and 20th century political history, like much of Africa, was dominated by colonization. France began colonization efforts in 1830 by invading its capital city, Algiers. Fierce resistance prevented an orderly takeover of the country. By 1850 the northern parts of Algeria had been taken over, but it took about seventy years, into the 1900s, for France to fully conquer the land and peoples of Algeria.

In 1849, stamps of France were used for mail in Algeria. The cancellation is the only way to identify that the stamp was posted in Algeria.

In 1924, French stamps overprinted with "Algerie" were issued for the country. These stamps are very affordable, with the entire set of 32 Scott-recognized issues cataloging under $10 US. The Scott #1 stamp catalogs a measly 20 cents for either mint, never hinged, or postally used.

By 1926 the first stamps were issued bearing the country's name. The stamps of the early years were inscribed with "Algerie" and bear the tell-tale appearance of French design.

On Sept 1, 1958, Algeria became a part of France and French stamps were used. Four years later, on July 3, 1962, Algeria became an independent country and started issuing their own stamps.

Algeria, 1927 (Scott #66)
Highest Catalog Value
Regular Issue Stamp
Almost every collector should be able to buy the regular issue stamps of Algeria, if you exclude the errors and variations. For example, the regular stamp with the highest catalog value tops out at about $50 for the 10-franc "Marabout [tomb] of Sidi Yacoub" stamp. The second highest catalog value for a regular issued stamp is half of that amount for the 1958 Coat of Arms stamp inscribed "Republique Francaise". How many countries are there where you can purchase the two highest valued stamps for a total of $75? Most of the other stamps, especially those pre-1970 are under $1 with a very high number being at the minimum catalog value.

Once you get into the 1970s and beyond, this changes slightly as higher denominated stamps become more prevalent. But even then the high values in most sets are only a couple of dollars. This country might be a great choice for a budding world-wide collector to start. By using internet auction sites or stamp circuit books, these stamps should be very affordable.

Algeria's semi-postal stamp issues break that trend, though. Many of these stamps are valued at $5 and above. The total catalog value for the semi-postal issues, calculated off-the-cuff, is about $325 for about 115 stamps. For comparison purposes, that same amount would purchase all the regular stamps issued prior to Algerian independence in 1962, which includes the $75 for the two highest value stamps!

The Air Post stamps of Algeria are similarly expensive, although, with one exception, not as bad as the semi-postal stamps. Excluding a variation of the 20-franc "Plane over Algiers" semi-postal stamp that catalogs for $150 in MNH condition (the key stamp for all Scott-recognized stamps of Algeria), the Air Post stamps average about $3 each. Many are around $6, but quite a few are under $1, which helps to lower the average.

Algeria also issued 3 Air Post Semi-Postal stamps, 68 Postage Due stamps, and 2 Newspaper stamps. All of these have low to medium catalog values as well.

All in all, Algeria presents an affordable option for someone wanting to attempt to start a country collection.

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1 comment:

W. W├╝thrich said...

The best and nicest stamps Algeria issued, where the ones who were printed at Courvoisier SA in Switzerland from 1963 up to 2000. Like the watchmaking industry in the same area Courvoisier attached a lot of importance to precision, high quality, best artists and the will to be outstanding. 113 countries were clients during the period 1932 - 2001 when they had to close. Courvoisier was known as the Rolls Royce of the stamp printers worldwide.