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Little Value in the Battle of Gettysburg Issue

January 08, 1987|BARRY KRAUSE

Question: I have a full sheet of a 5-cent U.S. commemoratives honoring the Battle of Gettysburg. The colors are blue and gray, and the design shows two soldiers in combat. What are these stamps worth?--B.W.

Answer: Face value, even though they were issued on July 1, 1963, on the 100th anniversary of that famous battle.

Collectors sometimes wonder how a stamp that is 20 or 30 years old can be worth only face value. Don't all stamps rise in price and aren't they good investments?

The answer is no. For example, your Gettysburg commemoratives had a press run of 79,905,000 copies. Each post office pane (what the average person calls a "sheet") consists of 50 of those stamps. So about 1,600,000 panes like yours were made. That's more than enough to supply every serious collector in the world with one pane, and have a lot left over. Most post-World War II U.S. stamps are not valuable.

Q: I have a postal card first-day cover with a triangular 2-cent stamp inscribed "FIPEX: Fifth International Philatelic Exhibition." It was canceled May 4, 1956, in New York City. Is this of any value?--T.D.

A: Maybe 50 cents. Over half a million of these cards were canceled with the first-day date, so they are not rare. They were issued to commemorate the FIPEX stamp exhibition held in New York from April 28 through May 6, 1956.

Q: I have a set of 14 stamps that I bought in Barbados in 1965. They are quite beautiful, with pictures of various sea creatures. They are unused, with denominations ranging from 1 cent to $2.50. What are they worth today?--J.C.

A: The current catalogue value for this 1965 set is $28.21. Barbados is an independent West Indies nation in the British Commonwealth.

Stamp Calendar

Jan. 9-11--ORCOPEX '87 Stamp Show at the Sheraton Anaheim Hotel, 1015 W. Ball Road, Anaheim. Fifty-three stamp dealers will be present, also foreign and U.S. Post offices and special show cancel will be available. Hours: Friday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission $1 for adults, free for children under 16. Free parking. Telephone (619) 758-8755.

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