Stamp collectors - no matter what age or level of philatelic experience - have one thing in common: They all have questions about stamps and collecting.
That's why an intriguing book, "Stamp Collecting: An Illustrated Guide & Handbook for Adult Collectors" by Barry Krause is a treat for all collectors. It answers such questions as: Are blocks better than singles? How can I get my collection appraised? Is the U.S. Postal Service issuing too many stamps? How can I organize a collectors' club? What determines prices? Which stamps are apt to be good investments?The book provides collectors with the know-how that will help them place proper focus on their collections and enable them to "select" rather than accumulate stamps.
Other topics covered include detecting fakes and frauds, collecting covers, handling and preserving stamps, investing in stamps, and topical collecting. Also included is a detailed glossary of stamp collecting terms. The book is written in an enjoyable, easy-to-understand question-and-answer format and is illustrated with many photographs.
One of the book's more unusual questions is: "Are there germs on stamps? Is it safe to lick stamps after someone has handled them?"
Krause's answer: "Studies I have seen indicate no harmful effects from licking stamps for use on envelope mail. Bacteria and viruses are all over, not just on stamps, and those pathogenic germs that attack people are not especially fond of stamp gum as a food source."
The paperback sells for $9.95 and is available from Betterway Publications, P.O. Box 219, Crozet, VA 22932.Sir Laurence Olivier, who died last year at 82, was an actor of astonishing talent and virtuosity. The West African nation of Sierra Leone honors him with a special set of eight stamps and two souvenir sheets.
The stamps feature Sir Laurence in stage and film roles he played during his six decades as an actor.
The denominations and subjects of the stamps are: 3 Le, "Antony and Cleopatra"; 9 Le, "Henry V"; 16 Le, "Oedipus"; 20 Le, "Wuthering Heights"; 30 Le, "Marathon Man"; 70 Le, "Othello"; 175 Le, "Beau Geste"; and 200 Le, "Richard III."
The 250-Le souvenir sheets feature Olivier in scenes from "The Battle of Britain" and "Hamlet."Cole Porter, musical comedy composer and lyricist, will be honored on a U.S. commemorative in 1991, according to the U.S. Postal Service. He will be seen on the 12th stamp issued in the Performing Arts Series, which has honored such musical notables as Jerome Kern, George M. Cohan and Duke Ellington.
Among Porter's most popular Broadway musicals are "Anything Goes" (1934), "Kiss Me, Kate" (1948) and "Can-Can" (1953). His best-known songs include "Night and Day," "You're the Top" and "I've Got You Under My Skin."For Airmail Collectors
Want to start a collection of airmail stamps? The U.S. Stamp Collectors Society is offering a special collection of 50 different U.S. airmail stamps from the past 60 years for $9.95 and a 16-page, 9-by-12 album for $16.95. Both can be had for $24.95. Write to: U.S. Stamp Collectors Society, P.O. Box 854, Van Nuys, CA 91408.The former British colony of Nevis in the Caribbean has issued four stamps and a souvenir sheet to mark the 500th anniversary of the Thurn and Taxis Postal Service. Thurn and Taxis was a German princely municipality that enjoyed the privilege of a postal monopoly prior to the formation of the German Empire.
Thurn and Taxis established its postal service in 1490 and operated it until 1867, when the princes, who had backed Austria in the Seven Years' War, were forced to sell their postal monopoly to the victorious Prussians.
Each of the four stamps depicts a design used by Thurn and Taxis during its operation. The souvenir sheet features two of the princes who served as master of posts - Francis (1450-1517) and Leonard (1523-1612).
Nevis prepared these issues to honor Stamp World London '90 and the Penny Black Anniversary.