Stamp detective: Canal Zone variety in demand

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In our regular market guide, our philatelic private eye spies another stamp set that’s likely to go up in value, this time detailing an intriguing stamp from the Panama Canal Zone.

The United States ran the Panama Canal Zone from 1904 until 1979 and then jointly with Panama until 1999 when it was returned to the Panamanian authorities. Stamps were issued for the Canal Zone. The first issues were Panamanian stamps suitably overprinted.

In 1928 a set of postage stamps was released featuring persons involved in the construction of the canal.

Chief engineer honoured on stamp

The 2-cent value shows Major General George Washington Goethals (1858-1928) who was the chief engineer and supervisor of the construction of the canal. He also served as the first governor of the Canal Zone.

This stamp was overprinted ‘AIR MAIL’ along with the new value of 20 cents in 1929. A mounted mint copy in very fine condition sells for about £3 while an UMM example can cost as much as £6 depending on centring and gum.

'Dropped 2' variety

A rather interesting variety exists of this stamp. It is known as the dropped “2”. It is the kind of variety that can easily be spotted without the need of a magnifying glass. Shown above is a pair where the stamp to the left exhibits the dropped “2”.

Such a variety catapults the value to some £30 to 40 depending on the quality.

Most philatelic bargains are picked up by knowledgeable collectors who know what to look for.


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