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Inaugural Covers Have Little Value

December 14, 1989|BARRY KRAUSE

Question: I enclose a photocopy of a postmarked envelope that I have. It shows a Washington, D.C., cancel and the slogan "Inauguration Day." Is this item valuable?--E.T.F.

Answer: This is a Presidential Inauguration cover, made in honor of President Carter's Inauguration in January, 1977. Post-World War II inaugural covers are not of great value as a rule, unless they are of a rare cachet (envelope) design, or are signed by the President himself! Your cover is worth maybe $1 or $2 retail.

Q: A couple of months ago I wrote to you concerning the 19th-Century photograph tax stamps and the American Revenue Assn. Some updated information: The secretary of this group, Bruce Miller, has changed his address to 701 S. 1st Ave., 332, Arcadia, Calif. 91006. Also, the annual dues have been raised to $15.--W.C.

A: I'd like to add that anyone interested in collecting and learning more about revenue stamps should send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the above address and ask Miller for a brochure describing the benefits of the American Revenue Assn. (ARA). No obligation to join, of course.

Q: How many air mail stamps has France issued?--H.N.

A: Scott's catalogue lists 60 major varieties of air mail stamps from France. The first French air mail stamp was sold June 25, 1927 (retail value, around $100 mint or used).

Q: In early spring, we are planning to take a vacation to some of the islands near the Bahamas. Is it a good idea to try to get stamps from these small islands? Which types should I look for? And how about authentic cancels?--F.S. and H.S.

A: I'm not sure what you mean by "is it good" to get island stamps. Certainly from a collecting point of view, any unusual stamp or issue from small countries makes for interesting study.

With modern communications and transportation, stamps from far-flung nations, including islands, are not as hard to obtain as they once were. Anyone with money and access to a postal service can mail an order for stamps to any postal agency in the world and receive mint new issues in return by air mail, insured parcels.

On the other hand, small post offices may only cancel a limited number of envelopes a day, and you might try to get unusual combinations or high denominations of stamps canceled on a cover at a tiny island post office. As for investment value, who knows?

Q: My set of Cyprus stamps shows such things as ancient art, a native costume and old cups (photocopies enclosed). Are these valuable?--T.B.

A: Current catalogue value for your Cyprus set of 14 different issues is $42.68 mint, $31.07 used. First issued in 1971, these stamps are now obsolete in Cypriot post offices.

Q: Is there any computer software program for keeping inventory of a stamp collection? I would like to put my collection in a computer file, so that I know what I have, how much I paid, when I bought the stamps etc.--P.M.

A: The Stamp Expert system software by DGS Systems is available for use on IBM PC and IBM PC compatible computers with a minimum of 128k of memory and two floppy disk drives or a hard disk drive, using Version 2.0, or later, of MS-DOS or PC-DOS. Features include 200 countries, 10 grades, up to 65,534 catalogue entries in a single file, and the ability to enter both individual stamps and sets, print and display catalogue values, and print and display fully descriptive lists.

For a descriptive brochure or more information on the Stamp Expert, write to DGS Systems, 33 Ticonderoga Lane, Millis, Mass. 02054 (telephone (508) 376-5783).

Q: Who was Postmaster General during the Civil War?--H.N.

A: Montgomery Blair served as U.S. Postmaster General from March 9, 1861, followed by William Dennison, who held the post from Oct. 1, 1864 until after the War. Blair inspired the International Postal Conference in Paris in 1863, which eventually led to the Universal Postal Union, an international organization that oversees mail functions between countries. Blair was honored by a 15-cent U.S. air mail stamp in 1963.

Krause, a free-lance writer and a member of several national stamp-collecting organizations .

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