Question: What do you recommend as a good stamp investment in the new year? Does the market look like it will be rising any time soon? What countries or issues would be wise to buy now?--P.R.
Answer: In a free-market economy--and the buying and selling of stamps qualifies for supply-and-demand free enterprise--nobody can predict the future. The stamp market has been choppy lately: some issues increasing, some decreasing and many rare stamps hovering around the same value month after month.
Good undamaged U.S. stamps, early British colonies, Japanese issues and Western Europe in general have been reasonably sound investments when you chart the movement of rare-stamp prices during the last 20 years.
Instead of worrying about how big a fortune you might make in stamps in 1988, here are some achievable New Year's resolutions: Get to know your local stamp dealer by visiting his shop more often. Read the stamp books in your public library. Join a stamp club or philatelic society, either one that meets in person or conducts members' business by mail, and sell the stamps you no longer enjoy as much as you once did. Sort out your collection, and make some sense out of your albums and boxes of covers.