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.