Stamp Detective: 1921 Liberian definitives

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Our philatelic private eye spies an intriguing stamp that looks set to increase in value, this time focussing on Liberian stamps that have long been popular with collectors.

All of Liberia’s classic pictorial stamps are popular with worldwide collectors. 

In 1921, the German State Printing Works in Berlin replaced Perkins Bacon as the printer of Liberia’s postage stamps. The new set of twelve values from 1 cent to $5 featured mostly local scenery and African wildlife. Shown here is the top value of $5 depicting an elephant. The stamps were extremely popular with collectors almost a century ago.

Massive quantities of this set were sold to the trade in cancelled-to-order condition and retailed to juvenile collectors (and others, too) by approval dealers. Complete CTO sets sell for under £5 and they are easily obtainable.

However, finding a mint set is extremely difficult and especially so in unmounted mint condition. Single values are sometimes offered in Internet auctions but offers of complete sets are far between. 

Expect to have to pay as much as £30-40 for a complete set in mint condition and more for unmounted mint.

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The set also exists overprinted 1921 and this version is considerably scarcer than the unoverprinted one. Dealers will probably ask more than £100 for such a set.
Both the basic set and the 1921 overprints also exist overprinted 'O S' to serve as official stamps. For some reason they are less difficult to locate in mint condition. Very possibly official stamps lack the popularity of regularly issued postage stamps.

Not all dealers are aware of the scarcity of these 1921 Liberian stamps in mint condition.

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