The first complete set of South Sudan stamps to be auctioned on E Bay was sold yesterday for an astonishing $231 (£145.45p). The first set of three stamps was prepared and donated to the new country, whose application to join The Commonwealth is currently under consideration, by the government of The People's Republic of China and, as mentioned in a previous blog, consisted of three stamps issued in the country's new currency, the South Sudan pound. The values are 1ssp, 2.5ssp and 3.5ssp and respectively feature the new national flag, the national coat of arms and an image of the president. They were probably issued on the 18 July 2011 when the new currency became available. In all, the Chinese authorities donated 100,000 copies of each value for use in South Sudan. I have not yet seen any professional dealer offering these stamps but one can not help but imagine, given the number of stamps issued, that they will eventually come on to the market to fill the requirements of collectors in sufficient numbers to ensure that they are sold at sensible new issue prices. The person who paid $231 may feel that their impatience to possess these stamps has resulted in them spending at least $200 more than they need have done.
The fact that South Sudan will probably be admitted to membership of The Commonwealth in the next couple of years makes this first issue very interesting to Commonwealth stamps collectors since even though they were issued before membership began, it would be wholly impractical for a catalogue publisher - that is - Stanley Gibbons, to omit them from the Commonwealth catalogue and start at a later issue since that would leave this first issue, and any more that come along in the next couple of years, floating around in a catalogue limbo. Thus collectors would be wise to buy a set of these stamps when they become available at sensible prices (not £145 however).
The international recognition of South Sudan contrasts sharply with the international community's reluctance to recognise Somaliland which at least had the status of being a separate independent state (albeit for 4 days) in 1960 before it joined the former Italian Somaliland as part of The Somali Republic. Somaliland remains the one de facto independent country in the world to have not operated a postal service since it reasserted its independence in the 1990's and therefore not to have issued any postage stamps although, as described in a previous blog, a large number of bogus stamps have been released with the country's name on them. Perhaps the Chinese could prepare a stamp issue for Somaliland and help them to establish a postal service. That would be interesting.