Question: Is it true that the U.S. Postal Service plans to reissue the Columbian Exposition series of stamps that were first sold in 1893? I have heard rumors about this. Wouldn't the reissuing of this set depress its market value?--B.E.
Answer: Some collectors are suggesting that the beautifully engraved set of 16 values (from 1-cent to $5 denominations) of the U.S. Columbian stamps from 1893 be reissued in 1993 or 1992 in honor of the 500th anniversary of the travels to America by Columbus. This set (Scott catalogue Numbers 230-245) has a current catalogue value of thousands of dollars either mint or used. No reissuing decision has been made yet.
With a total face value of $16.34, these stamps would lose a tremendous amount of investment money if this set were issued at original face-value prices. It would effectively devalue all existing Columbians from 1893.
Other suggestions include issuing them in different colors or slightly different designs so that they could be distinguished from the originals.
Suggestions for subjects of U.S. postage stamps are made by the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, an organization of appointed members who advise the Postmaster General on subjects to be commemorated on future U.S. stamps. The Postmaster General makes the final decision, but he seriously considers recommendations and data submitted by the committee.
If you would like to see something honored by a U.S. stamp, send your idea to the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, c/o Stamp Development Branch, U.S. Postal Service, Washington, D.C. 20260.
Q: In regard to the question, "I have a few 16-cent stamped envelopes and wonder . . ." in your column of Feb. 13: I might suggest that you look at your copy of Scott's U.S. Specialized Catalogue on Page 462. The second item mentioned there in the first column was issued July 28, 1978.
It is a 16-cent envelope with a black surcharge revaluing it to 15 cents. Per Scott, this envelope exists without the surcharge. The catalogue No. U586 is also listed in the Minkus catalogue. I believe you should give L.C. a new and correct answer to his question.--A.W.W.
A: One advantage of living with other people in the world is that they correct our mistakes.
I was a little sloppy in my statement of Feb. 13 that "the United States has never had a 16-cent postage rate in the 20th Century." What I intended to say is that we have never had a 16-cent first-class rate for the first ounce, as can be verified by looking at Page XXXIV of the Scott catalogue where domestic letter rates from 1845 to date are summarized.
Because I forgot that the 15-cent revalued (16-cent embossed) envelope was issued in 1978 to take care of the new 15-cent rate passed into law effective May 29 of that year, I didn't think it was worth my trouble to look up a 16-cent envelope that I knew never existed to prepay a 16-cent rate.
I think what happened was the Postal Service made many of the 16-cent envelopes in advance of the new postage rate increase, then revalued them when they discovered the rate was going to be only 15 cents. The 16-cent unsurcharged envelope is listed in the catalogue but is unpriced, meaning it is rare or infrequently traded in the philatelic market.
First-day sale will be Wednesday at Middleport, N.Y. 14105, of the 17-cent regular issue honoring Belva Ann Lockwood. Lockwood was the first woman attorney to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.
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.