Clare Stewart writes for the Times of London and she pretty much has her finger on the pulse of what's happening in the world of investments. With investors seeing such pitiful returns in the stock market, many are jumping on the philately bandwagon. As Stewart says, "Today...stamp and investment are being mentioned in the same sentence."

According to Stanley Gibbons, the world renown stamp collector, who buys and sells stamps much like a fund manager deals in shares, there are now more than 30 million stamp collectors worldwide so that demand for rarities is being driven by the usual law of supply and demand. Adrian Roose at Gibbons says that in 2003, the retail and auction prices of the 100 most commonly trade stamps leapt by 15 percent and since 1997, the increase has been 51.4 percent. Actually, collecting in Europe and the Far East is big business today.

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