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Argument for High Price Has Holes in It

December 08, 1988|BARRY KRAUSE

Question: I have 35 continuous non-perforated 22-cent American flag stamps that are in excellent shape. Are they or will they become a collectible and what might they be worth?--J.M.

Answer: The 22-cent U.S. Flag Over Capitol Dome (Scott No. 2115a) in an imperforated pair (adjoining stamps without holes between them) is listed in Scott's U.S. Specialized Catalogue for $20. Actual wholesale buying price might be $3 to $5 per pair, and retail price about $10 per pair. Based on these calculations, your strip of 35 would have 17 pairs in it, cataloguing for a total of $340. Actual value may be a fourth or half of catalogue price.

It seems as though there are a lot more "errors" in U.S. stamps since the mid-1960s than before. Whatever the reason, whether it is busy work schedules, malfunctioning equipment, poor quality control, pilferage by postal workers of printer's waste or increased press runs of ever-changing issue designs, there are definitely more and more production errors and oddities being found in current U.S. stamps.

And like all stamps, supply and demand determine the market price. Your particular 22-cent coil imperforates have been discovered in a number of coil rolls, so they aren't rare or worth more money, as would be the case if only a few such rolls had been discovered.

Q: I spent some time in Nigeria in the mid-1950s and acquired stamps in the post offices when I sent out my mail. My habit was to get a few extra copies of each different stamp available. One of my sets consists of 12 values showing local scenes and Queen Elizabeth's portrait. What are these worth today?--J.E.

A: Your 1953 Nigerian set is priced at $18.88 in the 1988 Scott catalogue.

Q: If a stamp has a pinhole in it, does that destroy its value?--G.B.

A: Usually. The bigger the hole and the more prominent it is toward the center of the stamp's design, the less value the stamp has. Many collectors won't even look at a stamp with a hole, unless it is an extreme rarity, and even then it will be heavily discounted from its normal (sound) price.

Q: Could you tell me something about Gateway commemorative covers? I saw them mentioned in Linn's Stamp News, and I was wondering if they are a good investment.--M.V.R.

A: I haven't seen this company's covers, and there's no way to guarantee any "investment," but I would not pick modern commemorative covers as my first choice for serious investment money, because this material is readily available, and demand on the secondary market is usually weak for such items.

Q: Are grocery store "cents off" coupons saved by stamp collectors? If so, are they worth anything?--G.Y.

A: Not to my knowledge. I don't know of any organized collecting of grocery product coupons, except for the simple purpose of redeeming them for money discounted when buying the products at a store.

Q: I have what I believe to be the first postage-due stamp ever issued by France: a 10-centimes black on white adhesive. Is this rare?--D.L.

A: You may have a counterfeit, because the first French due issue now catalogues for $10,000 mint, $190 used. Or it may be the much cheaper typographed version of 1859. But by all means take it to a dealer who can identify early French stamps.

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, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.

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