A PRC Classic

Mei Lan who took the stage name Mei Lanfang was an opera and performance artist who has the philatelic distinction of being commemorated on the most valuable regularly issued world wide philatelic item (not an error or special issue) since World war II. The sheet itself is lovely and Mei is very deserving of the honor of commemoration. He was a Chinese war hero who, having gained widespread Japanese accolades for his performances before the war, refused to perform for the Japanese once they occupied China. He lived in great privation as a result of his decision, nearly starving. After the Revolution he was a People’s Republic hero and after his death was commemorated on this lovely Souvenir sheet. The sheet, like most PRC items has enjoyed meteoric growth, going from a $5000 selling price just three years ago for mint to over $22000 in our last sale. As a new issue in 1962 it sold for a few dollars. Even as a used sheet, mostly from First day Covers, it sells for over $12000. The question for me is not whether PRC can continue its meteoric gains. I don’t think it can. The question is whether or not as demand from China slows down and as the Chinese economy slows its stupendous growth rate whether the stamps of PRC can maintain their current or similar price levels. My own read is this rise in price in PRC stamps is a classic bubble and we all know what happens to bubbles when people perceive that the item in question is overvalued.

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