Question: My husband put my stamp collection in our safe, which filled with water. Now my stamps are stuck together. I have mint sheets dating to the 1950s. I know I can soak them apart, but is there any way I can put glue back on them?--M.M.
Answer: It probably isn't worth the effort. Show your stuck sheets to a stamp dealer for a professional opinion about whether the stamps are worth separating. You may have common issues that are still worth just face value. It is against the law to re-gum stamps and offer them for sale as genuine original gummed issues. Many collectors and dealers can readily identify faked gum.
Q: How many stamps have been issued by the United States?--A.N.
A: Scott catalogues list more than 2,000 major varieties of U.S. postage stamps since the first ones appeared in the year 1847.
Q: I collect air mail stamps of the United States and foreign countries. Is there an organization that I can join for air mail philatelists?--P.H.
A: The American Air Mail Society was organized in 1923 and has members all over the United States. Dues are $10 a year and include a subscription to a monthly journal, discounts on air mail books, a free translation service and a sales/exchange department. For more information and an application for membership, write to Samuel S. Goldsticker, 70-C Fremont Street, Bloomfield, N.J. 07003. Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
Q: In view of your consistent emphasis that stamp collecting should be a satisfying hobby, not an investment, would you please comment on the enclosed article clipped from The Times several years ago? I responded to this and acquired some plate blocks of Judge Moore.--G.H.W.
A: Your clipping is a news item mentioning the $5 John Bassett Moore regular-issue stamp, which was issued on Dec. 3, 1966. The plate block now catalogues for $50, but is actually sold for slightly more than face value, representing a poor investment if you bought it 20 years ago.
The past is only a rough guide for the future. Just because $5 plate blocks of past stamp issues have gone up a lot in value doesn't mean that current $5 plates will perform similarly. This $5 Moore stamp proves my point: Stamps should be saved for fun rather than for hoped-for big profits that may never come.
Q: Is it true that there was an underwater post office? Where was it and when did it operate?--F.G.
A: The world's only undersea post office operated on the sea floor off the Bahamas. Established in 1939, it was called "Sea Floor/Bahamas" on its postmarks and was part of a research station known as the Williamson Photosphere. I don't have information on when it ceased operations.
Q: My special delivery stamp from Italy is colored light red, has the denomination 25-centesimi and portrays King Victor Emmanuel III. What is it worth?--E.A.
A: Current catalogue values are $10 mint, 30 cents used. It dates from 1903 and was the first Italian special delivery issue, Scott No. E1.
The U.S. Postal Service has just issued a commemorative stamp booklet in honor of the hobby of stamp collecting and to celebrate the Ameripex International Stamp Show in Chicago in May. The booklet consists of eight stamps of four designs (pictured) of 22-cent denominations. Available at most post offices.
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.