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Dominoes from Spain

The Stamp Collecting Report, I'm Lloyd de Vries. 

A police raid on a stamp dealer -- not exactly a headline you'd expect to see. Yet last 
spring, that's what happened in Madrid. Two companies were accused of operating a pyramid 
scheme to bilk thousands of investors.

The case is dragging on in Spanish courts, but its effects are already being felt here. 
One of the companies, Afinsa, is the majority owner of Escala, which includes some big 
stamp-collecting auction houses and dealers in the U-S.

A few months ago, the president of Escala's North American operations, a major figure in 
U-S stamp collecting, resigned his post. Earlier this month, Escala's stock was de-listed 
by Nasdaq. And Virginia's public-employee retirement system is suing Escala on behalf of 
all shareholders.

Escala's North American subsidiaries are major advertisers in the philatelic press here, 
and smaller dealers often sell off excess stock through Escala auctions. If Escala folds, 
stamp collectors could suffer.

I'm Lloyd de Vries of The Virtual Stamp Club. For more about stamps and stamp collecting, 
and the latest on Escala, visit virtual-stamp-club-dot-com

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