1984 ‘Golden Moments’ Album Still Pretty Young

Question: I have a 1984 Olympic “Golden Moments” album with the postal cancellation of the venue of each Olympic event. As I received this album as a gift, I would like to know the approximate value.--R.P.

Answer: It is too early to fix a good price on 1984 Olympic material. Most people who bought these are keeping them. I haven’t seen much 1984 Olympic album trading. I noticed that the Postal Service was selling many of these at the Coliseum during the Los Angeles Olympics.

But $40 or $50 might be a fair retail price. Take it to any stamp dealer to see what they will pay for it.


Q: I have several U.S. 1-cent postal cards with the head of Jefferson. There is no date on them and they are in mint condition. Do they have collector value?--K.L.

A: Probably not. A few different cards fit your description, but it is unlikely that you have one of the rare varieties.

One-cent postal cards were sold for many years in U.S. post offices, and so many were saved--either deliberately or by accident--that they are not rare or valuable now.

Q: My 5-cent blue U.S. stamp shows the Golden Gate in San Francisco. It is neatly canceled and undamaged. What is it worth, and when was it made?--E.S.

A: It’s worth about $3 to $8. Your stamp is part of the Panama-Pacific Exposition issue of 1913-1915. Two major varieties of this item exist, but in canceled condition the price is about the same.

Q: I have a Christmas card of 1944-45 from U.S. Civilian Internee Camp ILAG VII in Nazi Germany. The picture on the card was drawn with an ink pen by one of the prisoners. Mailed on Nov. 28, 1944, to Miami. What is the value of this card?--F.P.

A: About $10 to $20 in my opinion. World War II prisoner mail is popular but not especially rare today. If the drawing or written message is unusual, maybe the value would double. Condition is important too. Is the card clean and undamaged with full corners and no creases?

Q: Ever since I started collecting stamps about three years ago, I bought lots of mint American and Canadian issues in blocks of four. Is buying blocks better than buying four stamps in a strip? Do stamps in blocks of four have more potential to be valuable in the future? Do collectors prefer blocks to strips?--R.K.

A: Recent stamps (of the last 25 years) are worth about the same in blocks or singles because so many have been issued and they were readily available when sold in the post offices.

This is not true of older stamps. Fewer stamp collectors existed in 1900, and collecting stamps in blocks was expensive for the average person at that time. So many U.S. or Canadian issues of 80 or more years ago are rare and more valuable in blocks of four than they are for four separate singles.

Strips are not popular among collectors. Buy your stamps in blocks of four, preferably with the plate corner number attached (a plate block) for maximum profit potential.

Q: I am interested in Costa Rican stamps. Is there some organization that specializes in this country?--R.A.

A: The Society of Costa Rica Collectors (SOCORICO) has more than 250 members in the United States and foreign nations. This society publishes a quarterly journal called the Oxcart, consisting of several dozen pages related to Costa Rican philately. Every issue has a mail bid sale where members can bid on reasonably priced Costa Rican stamps. Dues are $10 per year.

For more information or a membership application form, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: SOCORICO Treasurer, 2735 Talbott St., Houston, Tex. 77005.

Q: I came across a 1978 bank statement enclosed in an envelope postmarked Feb. 23, 1988. Does this have any value?--P.K.

A: No. Anyone with access to a canceling machine can reproduce this date, thereby making it easy to counterfeit. Date errors in cancels are rarely of any special value.

Q: I recently found among my late husband’s effects some 1980 Summer Olympics stamps. What are their values?--R.P.

A: Not much over face value. You may remember that the United States boycotted the Olympic Games in Moscow that year. When President Jimmy Carter ordered the boycott, the Postal Service withdrew the U.S. 1980 Olympic issues, only to re-issue them later, thus depressing their market value.

Q: In regard to the question of S.A.J. in your March 13 column, I am surprised that you did not mention the U.S. Postal Service as a source of upcoming new-issue information. They issue a “Philatelic Catalog” showing all of the new issues.--M.L.

A: Of course. I’ve been reading it for 10 years, and I just didn’t think of it when I was typing my answer.

You may request a free subscription to the “Philatelic Catalog,” which lists all current U.S. stamps and some future ones, often with color photographs. You can order directly from this catalogue or get the stamps at your local post office if they are in stock. Write to: U.S. Postal Service, Philatelic Sales Division, Washington, D.C. 20265.

Q: I have a 4-cent unused Canadian stamp. Does it have any value?--P.D.

A: Many 4-cent Canadian stamps have been issued in different designs. Describe it more fully so I know what you have.

Q: Can you tell me anything about this error? I enclose a photocopy.--H.R.

A: Your photocopy shows a strip of four of the 2-cent Americana U.S. issue of 1977 (Scott No. 1582). The perforation holes appear to cut through part of the stamp designs, making this strip worth about $5 or $10 retail. It is a production error, not tremendously valuable, but definitely worth more than face.

Q: What is the proper magnification to use when looking at stamps? And how much would such a magnifying glass cost?--R.H.

A: Ten power (10X) is the standard lens used by philatelists. That means the object can be magnified clearly 10 times natural size.

Any smaller magnification won’t reveal all the details of the stamp’s design or paper qualities. A much larger lens (15 to 20 power) will make the image so big that it would be impractical because you would see finer detail than you want.

A magnifier is used to examine postmarks and canceling ink on stamps and covers, to detect repairs and forgeries, and to discover minor varieties and printing mistakes. It is surprising how much a stamp reveals when enlarged by a lens.

The cost of a stamp collector’s magnifier of 10 power is about $3 to $10. All stamp and coin shops carry them.

Stamp News

An AMERIPEX ’86 souvenir card will be issued by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to commemorate the 100th anniversary of organized stamp collecting in the United States and to honor the AMERIPEX International Philatelic Exhibition in Chicago. The card can be ordered for $4 by mail from B.E.P., Mail Order Sales, Room 602-11A, 14th and C streets S.W., Washington, D.C. 20228. Enclose check or money order made payable to Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and mention item No. 924 when ordering the card.

Barry Krause, a member of several national stamp-collecting organizations, cannot answer mail personally but will respond to philatelic questions of general interest in this column. Do not telephone. Write to Your Stamps, You section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.