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Collecting Stamps: Foreign Monetary Units
BECAUSE OF THE NUMBER OF requests for values of foreign currency in terms of the United States dollar Western Stamp Collector published a table which has much reference value.
Since this table shows the par values of foreign money, as set by the International Monetary Fund, it cannot be taken too literally in determining how much U.S. money a particular stamp represents. There is considerable fluctuation in the value of many foreign currencies, so par quotations can only reflect approximate equivalent values.
These nominal values of foreign currencies are quoted from a folder issued by Deak & Company Inc. of New York City. Par values of foreign monetary units are quoted in U.S. dollars (or decimal fractions).
Selling prices for new issues will often appear to bear little or no relation to the face value of the stamps. Frequently a new issue will be offered for sale at a figure actually less than the face value of the stamps, as calculated by the par value of the monetary unit. This can be either the result of "black market" operations or fluctuation in exchange.
Often stamps will be offered at retail prices which are many times the actual face value of the stamps. Generally this is the result of a "cornering" of all or part of the issue by speculators who use political influence to secure supplies of a new stamp and who will release their holding only at a high price. In many countries, too, restrictions on the export of stamps mean that supplies must literally be smuggled our of that country. Many times, a country's currency control regulations make impossible the export of stamps except at much higher rates than the nominal exchange.