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You will save time by first reviewing our Q&A database to see if your question already has been answered by the Stamp Proffessor.

If your question is not answered in our Q&A database, send your question to  TheStampProffessor@hotmail.com  for a very quick response ... and the possibility your question will be added to the database to help others in the future.
 

No.

Question

Answer

1

I have some really old stamps and postcards. One has a picture of Lincoln on it with a circle around his head. What is it worth?

Is it a stamp or postcard that you are describing? Your local library has the Scott Catalogs. In Volume1 you will find the United States at the beginning of the book. Find your Lincoln head there and the value. Condition of the item plays an important role. Read How to Learn More in the Resource Library.

2

What choices do I have for storing my stamps and covers?

Check out two articles in the ALL NATIONS STAMP CLUB Resource Library: "How to Save Stamps" and "How to Select an Album".

3

How do I get my children interested in stamp collecting? (via Postal History Foundation)

Simply share with them the fun of collecting stamps. Begin with a starter album and a whole lot of stamps. Start with an album of your own country so that they can find lots of new stamps on the incoming mail. Then go into sorting stamps, putting the stamps on an album page, etc. From the beginning, share with the children what the designs on the stamps mean: who the people or places are and why they are being honored. Make the stamps come alive. Also, associate stamps with other interests the child may have: a favorite sport, animal, places they may have visited or want to visit. With nearly 750,000 different stamps issued since 1840, you and the child have a lot to choose from.

4

Who decides what new stamps are issued?

Each country has its own policy and practice. In the United States, the Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee performs the vast bulk of that task, subject to approval by the postmaster General.

5

I'd like to contact the publishers of Michel catalogs to obtain their catalog numbers for several recent (1990's) issues of Libya. Can you supply me with the full name and address (as well as e-mail address if there is one) for this company?

The address is: Schwaneberger Verlag GmbH, Muthmanstrasse 4, D-80939 Munich, Germany. URL: http://www.briefmarken.de/michel2.htm

6

A friend of mine has acquired some of the new U.S. embossed envelopes from a friend who works in the post office (yes, he paid for them). I don't believe that they've been officially issued. Would it make them extra-collectible if he postally uses them and gets cancellations dated before the official first day of issue? Or is this just a portent to jail and hard labor?

Yes, they will be more collectible, for they are used in advance of their issue. As for value, certainly there will be a premium ... but, at the normal value of such an item, even a doubling, tripling, or increase in value by a factor of 10 is not much of an investment toward his retirement income. As for jail time, if he obtained them legally, they are his to use. Years ago, Linn's Stamp News had a long-term study of items seen and used before their actual issue date and there were a bunch!

7

I would like to purchase a world wide album and I am getting increasingly frustrated. I can't find a resource that compares the world wide albums. Do you know where I could find the following information about world wide albums for sale: Illustrated or just Scott numbers / brief descriptions; Number of spaces for stamps; 1 or 2 sides used for stamps; Cost of album; Cost of yearly supplements; Availability of album - where to buy it; Hingeless or regular.

No stamp album publishers offers all the information you require, I do not believe. Price (unless "suggested retail") is set by retailers, not the publishers. And, no publisher sets the price of an annual supplement until the number of pages for that supplement is known. Scott numbers are only found in Scott albums or the reprint of the early Scott International by another publisher. Beyond that you are left to what you can find from the individual publishers, and information certainly is not something they provide when trying to sell their albums.

8

I have approximately 157 first day covers of various stamps from May 1980 until January 1985 including the gold foil replica stamp and an information card on each stamp. They are all in albums. Is there any market for these? Can you provide me with some information on how I could sell these and what the current selling price might be?

Sounds like a set of material from one of the commercial first-day-cover providers that sell by subscription. The packaging normally is quite attractive, with a lot of information about the stamp. Resale through the philatelic secondary market normally is quite low. The Stamp Proffessor does not stay current on buy/sell prices. However, you might try searching ebay or another auction site.

9

I bought a Davy Crocket and a Chief Joseph Stamp at an estate sale. Do you know where we could get some information about them?

The Davy Crockett commemorative was issued August 17, 1967. The Chief Joseph stamp, issued November 4, 1968, to honor the American Indian. Each is listed in stamp catalogs at minimum value.

10

Which U.S. postage stamp was the first issued on the date it commemorates (what event was that)?

If The Stamp Professor understands the question properly, it was Project Mercury. Scott 1193 was issued February 20, 1962. The stamp was printed and held back from distribution to the public until that afternoon, I think 3 p.m., when it was known for certain that the flight was a success.

11

I have many U.S. postage stamps, air mail stamps and some foreign dating back to 1935-1940. Where do I go to get information on value--if any--for these stamps?

Check at your local library for the Scott Catalog to get an idea of value. Note that "catalog value" normally represents the cost to you to purchase any stamp, by itself, from a dealer. What a dealer may offer you for a large quantity of very common stamps probably will be considerably less than the sum of their individual catalog values. Many people believe that a catalog value of up to, say, $1 really represents the cost of handling by a dealer and the stamp itself has little--if any--value itself.

12

I have a postcard with a postage stamp date of 1918. The stamp is a 1-cent with a picture of George Washington in green ink. What is its worth?

Although The Stamp Proffesor does not get into valuing individual items, the key to this question is identification. The stamp appears to be part of the extensive Washington-Franklin series, which is the subject of untold studies and a wealth of identifiers. One major U.S. catalog shows 37 different varieties of the 1-cent Washington of the series! So, first start with a current stamp catalog and, if stamp sleuthing is your thing, begin to sort through the possibilities. You may want to check with one of the "philatelic libraries" listed by ALL NATIONS STAMP CLUB for a copy of a Washington-Franklin identifier. The combination of the condition of the stamp you have and WHICH stamp you have determines the value.

13

I recently bought a bag of stamps at a garage sale for my daughter to start a collection, there was one stamp that interests me: a Martha Washington 1 1/2 cent stamp. Could you tell me any thing about this stamp?

The stamp is part of the Presidential Issue of 1938-43, given its name because 29 of the 32 values of the series depict portraits of former U.S. presidents. The stamp you note was issued May 5, 1938. It has minimum value either mint or used.

14

I recently acquired a "mint unused" French Balloon Cover that I need to find more about, like rarity value and such.

There is a fair amount of literature on the French balloon covers, but perhaps a good starting point is this reference work available through the American Philatelic Research Library: Boesman, Jan: Balloonposts world catalogue, 1783-1968 : a record of all balloonposts, stamps, souvenirs and vignettes issued in 60 countries of the world.

15

I am looking for any info on a U.S. Postage Stamp with the Statue of Liberty on it. The color is purple with white; it is a 3-cent. My mother has narrowed them down to the 50's or before. They are not used.

What you have is the stamp issued in 1954 as part of the Liberty Series. Because the basic First Class Mail rate at the time was three cents, this was perhaps the most-used of the series. It has minimum value.

16

I am looking for information on the Japanese unit ID numbers used with their field post cards. These numbers appear (in Japanese) in the return addresses on the fieldpost card(in most cases). These numbers were assigned to a unit (I think that the number stayed with that unit wherever it went). I would like the same type information as the War Cover Club's U.S. APO catalog contains if possible.

This is the type of esoteric question that sends The Stamp Professor to the library card catalog, in this case the on-line catalog of the American Philatelic Research Library. Check the query page at http://www.stamps.org/cat3.htm. To get the five "hits" I got, try "Japanese military" as your keywords. Looks as if these hits will end you well on your way to what you are seeking. 

17

I have a few envelopes each with four dinosaur stamps on the outside and stamped on the first day (Oct. 2, 1989) that these stamps were issued with the name of the postal location where I purchased these stamps. Are they worth anything?

The stamps were actually released for sale October 1, 1989, in the First Day of Issue city and available for purchase the following day elsewhere in this country. Thus, what you have is a "second day" cover, which normally carries no premium over that of a regular used block of four on cover. The catalog value for what you have is in the neighborhood of $2.50, which means you will be hard-pressed to find a dealer willing to purchase just that envelope unless, of course, there is something else special about it.

18

I have come across postage due stamp, which I believe to be of the 1931 issue, and also to be used because it has no glue on the back. My question is it looks like the post office has taken a rubber stamp and stamped it "void" in red ink. Is this an odd thing to find?

Odd perhaps, but what you see is the use of a handstamp to signify that the postage due charge has been paid and, therefore, the stamp has been canceled.

10

I have a collection of 36 commemorative first day issues with silver medallions. One per month for 1975, 1976 and 1977. They are from countries across the globe and they are canceled from the country of origin. Each has a sterling silver limited edition proof medallion commemorating the event. My favorite is the 1976 July 4 Bicentennial stamps canceled from Philadelphia. They have been in protective Mylar covers in a binder for the last 20 years and are in perfect condition. Can you tell me about these and give me some idea of their worth and desirability?

These items are more of value within the coin/medals area than within philately. Normally the resale (secondary) market for this type of material within philately is quite limited.

20

I bought blocks of stamps from the US Post Office from 1960 through 1982. I'm now interested in selling them. Could you give me a direction in getting started?

U.S. stamps of that vintage, as my own purchasing habits show, normally are sold by dealers at from about 85 to 95 percent of face value. Thus, a dealer will purchase at less. You may want to use them for your own postage and be able to get full value from them.

21

I have two stamps from the WWII era. Most likely from England. The background color is light blue with a picture of a left facing, male person in the center. On the left bottom to top it says POSTAGE on the right top to bottom it says REVENUE, across the top is a flower (maybe a rose) a crown and another flower of a different type. Across the bottom is a flower a 2 1/2 in a circle and another flower. Any idea if they are worth keeping?

The item you describe is a lower-value stamp of the then-current definitive series of postage stamps. It is quite common and is listed in catalogs at minimum value. But, it is a valid postage stamp and definitely is work keeping.

22

I have a yellow background, 8-cent U.S. stamp, perf 11 x 11. It has a picture of a cardinal sitting on a tree branch with some kind of berry on it. At the bottom of the stamp it has "Wildlife conservation." I have looked in the Scott catalog until I'm blue in the face and can't find it!!! Could you please help?

You have one of the four stamps that make up the Wildlife Conservation Issue of 1972. Other creatures shown are a fur seal, brown pelican, and bighorn sheep.

23

I have just dug out a book that I began collecting in the early 1960's. Do you think it would be worth anything? I have a 1/2 cent United States stamp and also a 1 1/2 cent United states stamp, and many others.

U.S. stamps of 1960s vintage and for a few decades before are still considered "recent," and generally do not have much value. Certainly this is a broad statement, but a check of a stamp catalog will bear it out. The two items you mention are probably of the 1938 Presidential issue or the issue immediately before, and do not command much of a premium. At the same time, there always is a possibility that you have something of value and, therefore, should take a look at a recent stamp catalog at your local library for a general idea as to what you have.

24

How do you mount self-adhesive stamps that have not been posted?

Please take a look at the article at ALL NATIONS STAMP CLUB "How To Save Self-Adhesive Stamps." ALL NATIONS STAMP CLUB has a series of articles in our Resource Library that provide excellent advice on the basics.

25

A friend asked me to see if I could find any information the 1980 U.S. Olympic commemoratives that were taken out of circulation when Pres. Carter announced the boycott. I understand they were on sale for a very short time.

Yes, the U.S. 1980 Olympics commemoratives were taken off sale. But, they were returned to sale a short time later (fuzzy professor's memory says they were off sale for a month). So, the current catalog value for those stamps is no different than those issued around them in the same time frame, i.e., no premium.

26

I'm interested in finding out the value of a set of Sierra Leone stamps depicting the Face on Mars and probably dating from 1990. Where can I get this information and what/where is the best resource to track it's value over time.

Catalog value of the set you note has not appreciated much at all in its first eight years, using the 1998 Scott catalog as a reference. It continues to be listed at about double face value. Stamp collectors have not been affected by the hype that has surrounded this issue since it was released. The Stamp Professor has seen sets trade for a considerable discount over catalog value.

27

We have a batch of postcards which have been "taxed" for various reasons and wonder if you can explain the markings which consist of a hexagon with either a capital letter T inside and initial letters underneath such as "SF," "LS" and "WDI" The T in the hexagon is sometimes on its own or with the figures 10 or 10c as well. The cards also have a circular cancel 'Due 2 cents' and they all have a 2c postage due stamp attached.

The "T" in the hexagon is the international symbol for postage due with the "T" as the abbreviation of the French word "Taxe," meaning Tax (or postage) is due. The "10" or "10c" is for ten centimes, the international charge of 2-cents (1-cent equals 5 centimes). The initials are probably related to the post office where the "T" was affixed to the cover. SF may mean San Francisco.

28

I've been having difficulty distinguishing between engraved & lithographed stamps in the 1911-23 series of Greece. I never expected to have trouble with engraved identification, as they're usually very detailed and have slightly "raised" printing. However, in this series, the engravings are of rather poor quality, and the lithographing is of rather fine quality. Just how troublesome distinguishing these printing methods can be seen in the Dues of 1902-26, where major color differences make analysis easy. The problem is, the easily identified engravings generally do not look engraved (poor quality, surface not raised much at all), and the lithographs are often quite striking in their quality, and appear more like engraved stamps. The regular 1911-23 series has a similar problem, but the colors do not differ much. Recently a dealer offered me some "engraved" stamps (198-213) which he was quite certain were engraved, by I was unimpressed, they looked virtually identical to some that I am fairly sure are lithographed (there are two values lithographed but not engraved one can use for "control values.") Anyway, can you offer any ideas on how to tell these two sets (engraved, lithographed) apart?

In order to find engraving when it is not raised, try holding the stamp at angle in front of a light. It is usually possible to see some signs of engraving. Another suggestion is to take a very light aluminum foil and rub it on the stamp. If engraved, no matter how light, waves will show up on the foil. ALL NATIONS STAMP CLUB has two Hellenic Societies listed, one in the USA, and one in Great Britain. Try writing to both of them and see what they say. Remember to include a SSAE for their reply.

29

Do you know of any publication or information I can obtain concerning types of tagging, what hybright paper is, Phosphorescent paper, embedded or surface tagging. Reason for this request is that I have got involved in the Great Americans set and there are sure a lot of varieties. Would appreciate any information you can furnish about this subject

Here are some suggestions: Stamps that glow by Wayne Youngblood; the introduction to tagging varieties in the luminescence chapter of the 1981 Minkus New American Stamp Catalog; Handbook on U.S. luminescent stamps by Alfred G. Boerger; a long-running series in the SPA Journal (now defunct) by William Bayless; and the current guide to Great Americans varieties by Steve Esrati. All are available through the American Philatelic Research Library (the latter also from the publisher) or possibly other philatelic libraries.

30

On older stamps (pre-1940) U.S. Commemoratives, is there a rule of thumb on estimating retail prices. They should be worth more than just four times the retail carried by Linn's.

There is nothing firm, which may well be a function of such blocks not trading much in the marketplace. The Scott catalog at one time included prices for such blocks, but abandoned that a many years ago.

31

Do you know where I can find values for St. Lucia Scott J9-J12 with "Statehood/1st Mar. '67" overprint in red? Gibbons shows a value of £150.00 for the set of 4 but I would like to have a breakdown by individual stamp.

A set of stamp is not often bought or sold individualy. So it is difficult to find a value for an individual stamp within the set that may be a realistic value. Without a catalog value as a reference, perhaps a knowledgeable dealer in St. Lucia material can help. Check the ALL NATIONS STAMP CLUB dealer listings.

32

I just found some stamps that are dated 1943 that are face valued at 3 cents and have "Win the War" scribed on them. I was wondering if they had any value as collectible items.

They are considered reasonably common stamps, even though more than a half-century old. Nevertheless, as a collectible they still have meaning, although their catalog value is quite low.

33

I have been out of stamps for about 15 years? What catalog do most people use these days? What is the typical buy and sell prices compared to the catalog prices? 50%, 80%? Do they still publish Linn's Stamp News?

In the United States, the Scott catalog is prevalent . "Typical" buy-and-sell prices compared to catalog value is quite difficult to relate … so much is based on the grade and condition of an individual stamp and the catalog value is keyed to a single grade. Also, the percentage of catalog value you pay is also keyed to how you purchase: at auction, from a dealer specializing in low price and no service (not a slam, merely a reality); a dealer who provides considerable service and has to charge more to offset the lower volume; purchasing in bulk (collections, large lots, etc.). Yes, Linn's Stamp News still publishes weekly.

34

I'm working on a scrapbook and would like to know what the postage rate was in 1987.

The U.S. domestic letter rate in 1987 was 22 cents.

35

How can I sell my stamps?

ALL NATIONS STAMP CLUB'S Resource Library includes the article "How to Sell Stamps," which will be a good starting point for you.

36

Was the Penny Black stamp issued in 1840 issued in Great Britain or Brazil?

Great Britain.

37

I recently acquired a notebook with several pages on which U.S. Civil War stamps and currency were pasted to backing sheets. It is my guess that they were pasted on in the late 1800s. Ordinarily, I would just soak them off, but this would ruin the signatures on the notes and the hand-cancels on many of the stamps. Is there a way to loosen the paste and remove the stamps and bills without ruining them?

With regard to the stamps, you will need to do extensive testing. This might require you to sacrifice one or more of them in the testing process, so you should choose carefully which you want to use for test purposes. The two things you will want to test are the actual reaction of the signatures to water; and just what will loosen the glue holding stamps to backing. I make this suggestion because inks used by the U.S. Post Office Department often/normally were not water-soluble. If you cannot find a balance between soaking the backing off without affecting the ink, your next test might involved attempting to steam off the backing, where you will apply the steam to the backing side and only long enough to have the moisture begin to soak through from the back. Should that, too, be unsuccessful, I suggest a visit to a university library or any other nearby facility where someone trained in paper preservation could offer direct assistance.

38

I have a 3-cent Washington on cover. It is postmarked out of Milford, NH, the cancel is bullseye, which appears to have a B in center, although, hard to determine. The date, Feb. 9th, 18??, it's not real distinct. I think it could be apart of the 1861-66 series. How can I find out if this is part of 1861-66 series? Were they're any other 3-cent Washingtons similar to those in 1861-66 series?

I suggest strongly that you look at the explanatory information provided in the Scott Specialized Catalog of United States Stamps . The 1861-66 issue is printed on unwatermarked paper by the intaglio process and is perforated 12. With the 1867-68 issue came the application of grills. The Scott catalog provides a stamp-by-stamp listing of the 3-cent Washington design that was issued from 1861-75.

40

Can you tell me something about a 2-cent red internal revenue documentary stamp? It is unused, and the stamp displays series of 1898?

This stamp is part of the popular "Battleship" series and is listed in the Scott catalog. It is known with two types of perforations: one rouletted 5 ½ and the other known as a hyphen-hole with a gauge of 7.

41

I purchased the French 1960 Europa set as new issues. I also was offered a copy of the 50c value (Scott 971) with the color in the center of the wheel omitted. I do not recall paying any significant premium for this variety (error?). I have never seen this variety advertised not is it listed in Scott (nor Michel as I recall). I would think that if it were a common variety or a known rarity it would be listed. Can you tell me anything about this variety (I still have my copy).

The item is listed with the color error in the Yvert et Tellier catalog as follows: 1267a (Centre de la rosace blanc). The item is listed with a catalog value 33 times greater than the normal stamp.

42

I found an 8-cent stamp with Harry S Truman depicted. Does this stamp hold any value to collectors?

That is a U.S. commemorative stamp in 1973 to honor the former president who died the preceding year. It is listed in catalogs at minimum value.

43

I have a Tunisian Afrika Corps. stamp that is supposedly rare. I have found hundreds of Nazi stamps on the net, but not one like this. It has the palm tree and the swastika on it. It is either worth a great deal due to its being so rare, or it is a fake. Any information would be greatly appreciated, as I am quite apparently clueless as to the background of this little stamp.

This label was a Feldpost Admission stamp for troops in North Africa and is listed as Michel No. 5. There are many forgeries. The characteristics of the genuine stamp are: No. 1: There are two indentations in the center palm leaf on left hand side. No. 2: The four corner ornaments are indistinct. No. 3: The crown of the palm is small. No. 4: The swastika has narrow frame lines. No. 5: The perfs are 11 1/2 usually and irregular No. 6: The gum is striped and uneven. The label should be looked up and compared against the many, many forgeries in the GPS Forgery Manual under German Military Issues 1942-1945 as well as numerous articles in the German Postal Specialist, journal of the Germany Philatelic Society .

44

I have stamps that depict the 1972 Munich Olympics. They are kind of 3-D in effect. Written on them is "UMM AL QIWAIN." are these of any value or just nice looking. Which country did they originate from?

A Persian Gulf sheikdom, Umm Al Qiwain issued stamps profusely during a period of time that many other such entities did the same. This led to the derogatory term "Sand Dune Countries," as they related to items that carried no real postal validity. Most have minimal value, although there are a few--as there always are--that command a higher price.

45

Who's the first actress ever to be put on a postal stamp (doesn't matter which country)?

In 1945 France issued a semi-postal stamp showing a portrait of the great Sarah Bernhardt. So far, this is the earliest such depiction that The Stamp Proffessor can find.

46

I have accumulated hundreds of worldwide cut squares (plus some postal cards) of the pre-1940 period. I want to try to organize a sort of "freeform" type of collection, but I want catalogs to reference them as to what each country issued, and a relative value estimate for each item (for buying more individually in auction, etc. Can you recommend something else suitable for my situation?

The best one I know is the Higgins & Gage catalog, which should be available from accessory or literature dealers. It is quite large, as it has to be to cover the subject. Even if parts may not be up to date, for the time frame you note it should fit your needs. With regard to current value of this material, the fact that you do not see a lot of ads for the material suggests it just does not trade anywhere close to that which stamps do.

47

I received through the Philatelic Fulfillment Service a booklet pane of the 20-cent bird. Scott catalogs and albums show it has a self-stick serpentine cut, but my pane of 10 appears to be water-activated with regular perforations. What Scott number is that?

What you DO say is important, but perhaps what you DON'T say is more important here. That is, you don't say if you have only recently received this pane from the USPS. Presuming not, and looking at the Scott catalog, you have Scott 2483a, issued in 1991. The newer Scott catalog lists the self-sticks of that design with the more current material, but notes a reference illustration from much earlier, i.e., the item noted above.

48

I've recently acquired a large amount of Egypt stamps (Scott 400s through 600s, including airmail stamps). There are no singles; all are partial sheets. All are mint unhinged, with anywhere from 4 to 12 stamps per "pane," usually with margin inscriptions. I'd like to trade them, but don't know how to value them. Scott Catalog, of course, quotes only single stamps. I'd like to break them into singles if it doesn't destroy value.

For the most part, that run of Egypt stamps has catalog values nearing the minimum. A few, of course, cross the one-dollar level and a smaller number beyond that. Thus, for the most part you will see no increased value because they are multiples. At the value level of most of the stamps in this range, most of the "value" is in dealer markup and not in the stamps themselves. You may wish to check with a dealer specializing in Egypt material as confirmation.

49

I have two 2c revenue stamps with Washington, on the back of a picture dated 1867. Can you tell me anything about them?

No doubt you have stamps from the U.S. First Issue revenue series. Because the value is based on a lot of criteria, of which condition is one, suggest you first look up the items you have in the Scott Specialized Catalogue of U.S. Stamps, available at libraries.

50

I have a lower right plate block of the Lafayette commemorative of 1952, but it doesn't have a plate number on the selvage. Is this normal ?

The stamp is a single color, which means if the stamp is printed, the plate number is printed. Thus, if you have a corner block of four without a plate number you probably have the block away from where the number is. That is the "standard" response. You might want to check with a dealer specializing EFOs to see if there could be something more to this story, but The Stamp Professor did not find anything in his library to offer hope.

51

What can you tell me about stamps issued by Pomeroy Express (extant about the time of or before Wells, Fargo Co and operating in the East and Midwest. We have a strip of five stamps, unused, black and white. But we know little about them or their value, if any.

The Scott specialized catalog notes that the service was established in 1844 and carried mail primarily in New York State. There are Pomeroy items listed by Scott with a "117L" prefix. You appear to have the least valuable of the type, which are valued considerably higher used than unused.

52

Please tell what a Silkote paper stamp is; why it was issued as such and how to identify the stamp. Thank you for this service it is very helpful.

SILKOTE: Paper that is whiter than usual stamp paper with a surface texture that is extraordinarily smooth. Used for the U.S. 2-cent Liberty experimental printing of 1954. The Scott catalog adds that the paper was used for a printing of 50,000 stamps sold at the Westbrook, ME, post office in December 1954 and that  Competent expertizing is required.

53

Can't soak off the Sonora Desert stamps without ruining the stamp. What is a better way?

Not sure I can come up with a better way. But I can refer you to an article in the ALL NATIONS STAMP CLUB Resource Library, "How To Save Self-Adhesive Stamps," which at least will provide a bit of an explanation.

54

How can I tell whether a handstamp or an overprint is over or under a postmark?

Here is where your tools are important: a good magnifying glass of perhaps 10X or more; and a good light source. You need to be able to "track" the lines of the handstamp or the overprint, whichever is easier at the time, and see if it is broken by the other or it continues complete. Normally ink used for overprints and for postal markings is opaque and you should be able to trace the lines. In some cases you may need to adjust the angle of the light.

55

I have 5,000 stamps and want to know how to store them.

You do not saw whether they are a collection or just a lot of stamps, etc. Perhaps it is best for you to start at the beginning with two of the articles in the ALL NATIONS STAMP CLUB Resource Library, "How to Save Stamps" and "How to Select an Album."

56

I have several single stamps with numbers on them like you would get with a plate block. Are these worth more than single stamps without the numbers? I also have some early stamps of Franklin, Washington, Lincoln; it is so confusing with the changes in these from year to year up to 1929. Is there a easy way to tell the difference?

The single stamps you describe are Plate Number Singles, and there is some premium. You may want to contact the American Plate Number Single Society, 

American Plate Number Single Society
Rick Burdsall
P.O. Box 1023
Palatine, IL 60078-1023, USA
http://www.apnss.org/

As for the stamps you want to identify, you either will need to have an identifier such as found in the Scott catalog or commit the information to memory. On a more positive side, the more you work with those items the easier it becomes. A tip: as you identify each different example of a stamp, mount it on an album page and put a note with it for identification. Perhaps this--known as a reference collection--will be of help to you.

57

I have a 10-cent Defense Stamp mint. Defense stamps were sold 10c, 25c, 50c, and $5.00 and 187 10-cent stamps would buy a $25.00 savings bond if the bearer brought the card to the post office. They had up to 10 years to do so I think. I cannot locate this in my stamp album so I cannot mount it. Can you tell me more about this stamp? It is red and in superb condition.

The Scott Specialized Catalog of U.S. Stamps lists the items you note under War Savings Stamps. There are a few 10-cent varieties that are red, or, at least, in that color family. They are not normally collected with postage stamps, which is why your album does not provide a space for it.

58

Where can I get a catalog or something that illustrates the differences between stamps? It seems that in the last 20 years or so there have been several stamps that have been reprinted and the differences between the originals and reprints are extremely subtle. Also there are several stamps that have been printed in the same year but have different types of printing, e.g. the flag over the porch.

What you are seeking is the U.S. specialized catalogs, one produced by Scott Publishing Co.. The book is available from accessories dealers. Or, the book may be obtained directly from the publisher: Scott Publishing Co., P.O. Box 828, Sidney, OH 45365, USA.

59

I have a question on what I think is a set of pre-canceled stamps from Romania. They are listed in Scott. The stamps were made in 1991 but have a hand stamp cancellation of 1992. What I want to know is, does this make the set less valuable or does it make no difference?

Without seeing the stamps, it is The Stamp Professor's belief is that-rather than pre-canceled-what you have are canceled-to-order (CTO) stamps. Romania is known for this approach, which does negatively affect the value. Even though the stamps have original gum, they also have a cancellation, making them neither mint nor used.

60

I am trying to find a recent (1996 I believe) from Djibouti showing an ostrich plus any FDC's showing it as well. I would like to contact a dealer who might have these.

Both Scott (U.S.) and Yvert et Tellier (France) catalogs have a gaping hole in the Djibouti listings, ending about 1994 and picking up no earlier than 1998. There are many possible reasons, ranging from a lack of information to a concern by the editors as to the legitimacy of what they were seeing. Therefore, The Stamp Professor suggests you check with the

Djibouti philatelic agency,

The address for which is ......


Office des postes et des télécommunications
(OPT) Boulevard de la République
Djibouti

61

I am in possession of several score Internal Revenue Stamps which have (mostly handwritten) cancellations on them dating from 1861 to about 1903. My Michel USA Spezial regretfully doesn't list these at all. Could you tell me if any American catalog lists these stamps?

They are listed in the Scott Specialized Catalog of U.S. Stamps.

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The Stamp Professor

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