Question: I don't want to carry a big Scott's catalogue around when I visit a dealer or stamp show. Is there a small booklet or checklist of U.S. stamps that I can use to keep a record of the stamps that I have when I go shopping for more issues for my collection?--R.P.
Answer: The 1987 U.S. Pocket Stamp Catalogue & Checklist has 227 pages that list all major U.S. stamps from the first ones printed in 1847. Catalogue values for both mint and used are given for each stamp, as well as a column for checking off if you have that stamp in your collection. Available from many local dealers, the retail price is $3.95 plus tax, or it may be ordered directly from Harper & Row, 10 East 53rd St., New York, N.Y. 10022. Include $1 extra for mailing.
The Official 1987 Blackbook Price Guide of United States Postage Stamps has 252 pages of all U.S. stamps with color illustrations of each issue, prices for mint, used and plate blocks, plus useful information on buying and selling stamps. Price is $3.95 at many dealers, or it may be ordered from the House of Collectibles, 201 East 50th St., New York, N.Y. 10022. Include $1.25 extra for shipping.
Q: What is the value of several English Concorde covers?--E.K.
A: About $1 or $2 each. These are modern first-flight covers, interesting to collect and study but, in my opinion, of no special value in money or investment potential.
Q: My set of Monaco stamps illustrates portraits of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier. Are these rare?--W.C.
A: No. They were issued in large quantities to satisfy collector demand in 1956 when Grace Kelly married the Prince of Monaco. Current catalogue value is $6.92 mint and $6.72 canceled for a complete set of eight issues.
Q: Since the next Olympics will be held in Korea in 1988, are Korean stamps going to be a good investment? What about past sports issues that have been produced by Korea?--E.B.
A: You're asking me to predict the future, something I'm not good at. South Korea has a booming economy. Korean stamps are popular both there and in the United States, especially for the rarer and more valuable pre-World War II issues.
If recent philatelic Olympic history is any guide, the chances are that the Korean government will flood the market with plenty of 1988 Olympic stamps, enough to supply any possible collector and investor demand. I wouldn't wait around expecting to get rich off of the Korean Olympics stamps or with past Korean issues.
On the other hand, if you are an Olympics collector or are interested in Korean philately for other reasons, by all means investigate Korean stamps, and buy them for fun, interest, historical knowledge and philatelic curiosity. There are reasons to collect things besides for money.
Q: Is it true that plate blocks may be collected in blocks of four or six stamps? What is the preferred method? And which are most likely to retain their value?--T.K.
A: Most engraved stamps since World War II are collected in blocks of four. The flat plate printing issues from the 1930s are typically collected in plate number blocks of six, with two horizontal rows of three stamps each, and with the plate number visible in the margin paper over the top middle stamp or under the bottom middle stamp.
A glance at a Scott's U.S. specialized catalogue will tell you how many stamps are customarily collected as a plate block for any given issue. As far as their value is concerned, most modern plate blocks are not that valuable anyway, but for the rarer issues, you should collect blocks in the standard sizes noted in the catalogues.
Q: My set of Bolivia stamps shows an airplane flying over a map of Bolivia. Denominations range from 5 cents to 10 bolivianos. When were these made and what are they worth?--P.B.
A: Feb. 1, 1935, was the first day of issue of this set of 10 Bolivian air mails (listed under No. C42-C51 in Scott's). For the whole set, the catalogue value is $7.30 mint, $3.40 canceled.
Q: Are grocery store stamps, like the old S & H or Blue Chip stamps of value now to collectors?--R.N.D.
A: No. I've heard of no demand for these things.
Q: I have donated my complete collection of Vatican City stamps to a museum. I had all Vatican stamps from 1929 to the end of 1985. I would like to know the value of these stamps so that I can take credit as a charitable deduction on my Internal Revenue Service tax return for 1986.--J.P.H.
A: Current catalogue value for these issues is $4135.27 for mint copies in sound condition.
Q: I read recently of the discovery of an inverted error in the $1 Americana stamp, Scott catalogue No. 1610. There were also errors of missing colors in this stamp.
What are each of these errors worth? Have there been other errors discovered in the 50-cent, $2, or $5 values of this series? Also, what is the value of a 20-cent canceled stamp that I have with the blue missing from the American flag?--H.H.
A: Scott's 1987 U.S. specialized catalogue lists the $1 missing-color errors at $400 and $500 per stamp, depending on which color is absent. The inverted brown color of this $1 stamp is listed unpriced in the catalogue, but one was sold at auction this year for several thousand dollars.
The 50-cent value of the Americana series has been found with black color omitted, but is not priced in the catalogue. I am unaware of any major error in the $2 or $5 denominations.
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.