Caixin
POLITICS & LAW

Why Stamp Exchanges Might Find Their Business Stamped Out

A stamp inspired by the Chinese literary classic “Dream of the Red Chamber,” with a face value of 2 yuan (30 U.S. cents), has fetched a price as high as 1,000 yuan at a stamp market in Beijing. Unregulated stamp exchanges that allowed speculators to push up the value of stamps has led to price inflation, even at brick-and-mortar stores. Photo: Yu Bokun/Caixin
A stamp inspired by the Chinese literary classic “Dream of the Red Chamber,” with a face value of 2 yuan (30 U.S. cents), has fetched a price as high as 1,000 yuan at a stamp market in Beijing. Unregulated stamp exchanges that allowed speculators to push up the value of stamps has led to price inflation, even at brick-and-mortar stores. Photo: Yu Bokun/Caixin

Beijing is a city for speculators. Its home prices today are six times higher than a decade earlier, and even the price of garlic is three times higher than two years ago. But nothing compares to the “astronomical rise” of the value of stamps traded in the city’s exchanges before an August ban temporarily halted transactions.

An investor, who has dabbled in this “stock-exchange style market” for years, said the sale price of a Spring Festival stamp issued in 2006 rose from 24 yuan ($3.63) to 5,800 yuan over 100 days when it was listed on a stamp exchange. That’s because exchanges that started off as a way for philately enthusiasts to trade stamps have turned into venues for speculation, said the investor, a member of the Beijing Philatelic Association.

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