United States — On Jan. 27, 2013, the United States Postal Service issued 33¢ Apple definitive stamps to pay the domestic postcard rate.
The self-adhesive stamps were issued in two formats: panes of 20 with gauge 11¼ by 10¾ serpentine die cuts on all four sides (Scott 4727-4730), and coil stamps with vertical gauge 11 serpentine die cuts (4731-4734).
The 2015 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers values a pane of 20 of the Apple stamps with serpentine die cuts on all four sides at $14 against a face value of $6.60.
Some dealers were caught short on stocking panes of 20 of the 33¢ Apple stamps and are now paying a little more than face value for them.
Forever stamps are good for postage in full for the letter rate they pay, regardless of rate changes, and are more frequently bought in quantity. Many of the more recent denominated definitive stamps are elusive. With rates often changing each year, such definitives are not on sale very long, and few dealers maintain any serious stocks of them.
Many such modern stamps are surprisingly scarce, especially denominated stamps in se-tenant formats.
A Linn’s editor did not find this week’s recommended stamps on ZillionsofStamps.com.
Tip of the week
Romania — A few years ago, vampires were at their zenith in popular culture. Although vampires retain a great deal of popularity, at present zombies are all the rage.
Those who are not living dead aficionados might be surprised to learn that quite a few postage stamps have been issued with a vampire theme. The two countries that have issued the most vampire stamps are Ireland, home of Bram Stoker, author of Dracula; and Romania, the homeland of Prince Vlad Tepes, the historical figure on whom the fictional vampire was based. Quite a few people who do not think of themselves as stamp collectors collect these stamps.
On May 5, 1997, Romania issued a set of two stamps in the Europa Stories and Legends series (Scott 4157-4158). The 400-leu stamp depicts Vlad Tepes, and the 4,250-leu stamp features Dracula.
The stamps were issued in panes of 12 with se-tenant labels between the stamps. There also are five different labels horizontally across the middle of the pane featuring outline drawings of bats and a depiction of Castle Dracula.
The Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue values a pair of the stamps with se-tenant label (Scott 4158a) at $3 in both mint never-hinged condition and used condition, and it is a good buy at that price. However, for the full horrific effect, look for the mint pane of 12. It is a good buy at around $20. — H.G & R.M.
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