Question: I have stamps from countries in the Third World, with nation names that were later changed, such as Persia (Iran) and Siam (Thailand). Would these stamps have any particular value because of the name change? S.M.
Answer: Not necessarily. On the other hand, such countries appeal to some romantic, specialist collectors, and no more stamps will ever be issued in the country's original name, so this sometimes leads to higher market prices.
Actually, it depends on what stamps you have. Some Persian and Siamese stamps are valuable, others are not. Rare stamps in demand tend to be valuable regardless of the official name of the government that issued them. Common stamps that are easy to find are cheap even with an obsolete nation's name on them.
If a country no longer exists as a separate sovereign government, it is called a "dead country" in stamp-collector talk. Many dead country stamps are quite popular because all of their issues are known, and it is possible to form a complete collection.
Q: My plate block of four stamps is light blue in color and shows a picture of an American Colonial family, with the words In memory of Virginia Dare, Born Roanoke 1587. The denomination is 5 cents per stamp, and this block is in nice mint condition. What is it worth? P.N.
A: About $3 or $4 retail value. Your commemorative plate block was issued on Aug. 18, 1937, in honor of the 350th anniversary of the birth of Virginia Dare, the first child born in America of English parents. It is listed as No. 796 in the United States section of the Scott catalogue.
Q: My grandson has expressed an interest in stamp collecting, and I would like to encourage it. What album do you recommend? R.H.
A: A cheaper one, costing less than $10. Any good stamp shop should have a selection of albums for you to inspect. Sometimes a stamp dealer will have a few old large albums for only a few dollars each. These are excellent beginner's albums, provided they aren't too old (they should have pictures of stamps from the last quarter of century--ones that a new collector is likely to get in mixtures or packets) and provided the album is in good condition.
Don't forget a package of stamp hinges, which are used to paste a stamp in its proper album space. And maybe a small packet of stamps to start your grandson in a potentially lifelong hobby.
Q: I have a stamp that I know dates back to 1943-47 because I used it on a letter to my husband while in the Army. It is a special delivery issue, gray in color, with a picture of a post office and a mail truck. The stamp's inscription reads: Special Delivery, U.S. Postage, at any United States Post Office. The denomination is 20 cents. What can you tell me about it? R.J.
A: Scott catalogue No. E14 was first issued April 25, 1925, and saw wide use in World War II. It is currently retailing for a couple of dollars mint, about 50 cents canceled. It was replaced after the war with different varieties. Not rare today.
Q: I have a 10-rupee stamp from Bahrain! I didn't know that such a country existed. The stamp's color is green, and it is in clean, mint condition. What is it worth? P.K.
A: Current catalogue value is $12 mint, $3 canceled. The photocopy that you sent along shows it to be Scott No. 140, the Bahrain airport issue of 1964.
Bahrain is a group of islands in the Persian Gulf, population about 270,000.
Q: My set of U.S. airmails consists of three values, a 10-cent, 15-cent, and 25-cent stamp. Each stamp has the dates 1874-1949 and the words: The Universal Postal Union. Please tell me their value. They are mint and undamaged. C.T.
A: About double face value for retail, around face value wholesale. This is Scott U.S. Numbers C42 to C44, issued in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Postal Union, an international group of diplomats who meet regularly to coordinate postal matters between nations.
Q: I have 20 copies of an English stamp with Winston Churchill's picture. It is a 1-shilling, 3-pence denomination. The colors are gray and black. All copies are mint. When was it made and what is the value? R.L.
A: On July 8, 1965, Great Britain issued this stamp in memory of Churchill. Current catalogue value is $1 per stamp, or a total of $20 in U.S. money for your 20 copies.
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.