Stamp characteristics and long‐term return after issuance: evidence from new China stamps

Xin Chen (Department of Accounting and Finance, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)
Xian Chen (Department of Business Administration, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)

China Finance Review International

ISSN: 2044-1398

Publication date: 17 August 2012



The purpose of this paper is to examine long‐term return of new China collectible stamps after their issuance and how stamp characteristics affect the return.


The authors construct a model to analyze the determinants of stamps' long‐term return and test their hypotheses empirically in a sample of 1,201 sets of Chinese collectible stamps issued between 1949 and 2008.


The paper finds Chinese stamps provide decent returns for collectors in terms of exceeding comparable one‐year savings rates. Among factors affecting annual excess returns of Chinese stamps, variables related to usage are the most important; quantity issued has significantly negative impact on returns of early stamps, but its coefficient has weak economic implications and it is not significant for BianNian stamps issued in more recent years. In general, variables related to topic have weak influence on stamp returns, but the topics about the most significant events of China in recent years have huge impact on stamp returns; in addition, variables related to design and printing can influence stamp returns to some extent.

Research limitations/implications

Overall, the results reveal that variables related to usage are the most important determinants of long‐term stamp return.

Practical implications

There have been fierce disputes among stamp collectors about how stamp features affect returns. Nevertheless, no systematic empirical studies exist about the issue. This paper sheds light on the disputes by providing the first piece of empirical evidence.


Moreover, existing studies of stamps treat them as one asset, but often ignore different characteristics within the group. This paper systematically investigates the influence of stamp characteristics to stamp return, and thus fills the caveat in the literature.



Chen, X. and Chen, X. (2012), "Stamp characteristics and long‐term return after issuance: evidence from new China stamps", China Finance Review International, Vol. 2 No. 4, pp. 351-376.

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