Question: I have an extensive collection of U.S. stamps: blocks and sheets, all mint. Also, an almost complete collection of Vatican and Israel tab stamps, all mint and all book mounted. Is this a good time for me to sell? If so, what is the best way for me to get top dollar?--J.H.
Answer: No, this is a bad time to sell valuable stamps. The stamp market has been sliding down for about five years and lately seems to have reached bottom, but of course nobody can be sure.
Many choice stamps at the present time are selling at their lowest prices in 10 years. Most experts that I talk to tell me they think the price drop is about finished, and they look forward to a slow steady gain in stamp values over the next decade.
If you need some money, I recommend that you sell the cheaper stamps from your collection and keep the more valuable ones. Rare and valuable stamps are easier to sell than cheap common varieties.
Public auction by a reputable stamp dealer is probably the best way to sell stamps, but there are many exceptions to this rule.
Q: What are these worth? A 1-pound Fiji stamp showing King George VI and a man blowing a bugle, a Canadian $1 stamp picturing a destroyer ship, and a 5-shilling Malta stamp with Queen Elizabeth and a monument?--R.P.
A: The Fiji issue from 1950 catalogues $37.50 mint or used. Your Canadian $1 item from 1942 lists at $90 mint, $8 used in U.S. dollars. The Malta 1956 issue is $40 mint, $22.50 canceled.
Q: I would like to start a collection of Winston Churchill stamps of the world. How do I logically begin this?--R.E.
A: The International Churchill Society is a stamp-collector organization of about 1,000 members worldwide. They publish a beautiful journal every three months and offer other member benefits. Dues are $15 a year.
For a membership application or more information, write: ICS, 1847 Stonewood Drive, Baton Rouge, La. 70816. Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
Q: What is the value of my German stamps without perforations between them? I have several pairs, so I know that these are true "imperforate" issues and not just wide-margined copies whose perforation teeth have been trimmed off.--S.C.
A: It depends on which issues you have. Some German stamps were deliberately issued without perforations, others are scarce rarities. Tell me more about the stamp's design or show them to any stamp dealer.
Q: I have two German pre-World War I post cards. One shows a hiker with a backpack and opens to reveal an accordion pleat with exquisite town photos. The other card has an eight-page booklet that opens to tell about the town in German script. Can you tell me their worth?--L.Y.
A: Probably not much. These would be more popular in their hometown than in America. I estimate them to be worth maybe a couple of dollars, if that much.
Collectors in the United States like German cards that show war scenes from World War I or World War II and any Nazi-era cards illustrating Hitler or German soldiers. There is little demand for town views.