DEAR SUN SPOTS: I so enjoy your column. I read it everyday! 

My sister and I would like to know of a reliable stamp dealer living on the coast of Maine, preferably between Belfast and Portland. We have a large stamp collection we need to have appraised. Any information you have will be greatly appreciated. Thanks. — No Name, No Town

ANSWER: Sun Spots recently sold her father-in-law’s very limited collection to a dealer in Portland, M.A. Storck Co., 651 Forest Ave., 774-7271. While there, she queried the older man who waited on her about stamps and other collectibles, since she had noticed the market for many items on eBay does not appear to be robust.

The man — from their conversation, Sun Spots assumed he was the owner — said that the market for stamps is declining, so much so that he no longer purchases the books that the U.S. Post Office puts out each year for collectors.

He said that the stamps Sun Spots sold him would most likely be used for projects at retirement and veterans homes. (It was a rather disorganized collection and most of the stamps had no real value.) Sun Spots cannot attest to his knowledge of stamps, but she felt he treated her fairly and took time to explain the stamps. During our discussion, he also touched on the coin market, which he said is stronger. 

Sun Spots has read several news stories reflecting on the declining value of collectibles. A number of factors are blamed, including:

• As baby boomers’ parents die, a large number of these items have been placed on the market, driving down prices.

• People don’t collect items the way their parents and grandparents did. Before modern entertainment (television, computers, etc.), collecting was a popular way for people to spend their evenings.

Sun Spots wishes you good luck with your collection. There are still many very valuable stamps out there and demand for them. Be sure and get a receipt for anything you leave to be appraised.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: This letter is in response to the article in the Maine section of Sunday’s Sun Journal titled “State searches for vets to honor.”

Several weeks ago we had a ceremony at the American Legion Hall in Topsham to honor our former POWs, Purple Heart (wounded in battle) recipients and our beloved fallen heroes in arms. The Maine Gold Star was presented to the families of our armed forces members who were killed in action. The Maine Silver Star was presented to past POWs and Purple Heart recipients. In total there were 18 recipients.

I started the series of events by requesting an application for the Silver Star by calling the Maine Bureau of Veterans Affairs at 626-4464. With their instruction I downloaded the simple application. Although I served 30 months in Vietnam, the Silver Star would not be for me but for my dear friend, Joey Obrin, who received two Purple Hearts for wounds he received in Nam.

Like a lot of veterans not seeking any special recognition, Joey wasn’t too crazy about the whole idea, but with a lot of coaxing from me and his wife he finally agreed to go along with our plans. His entire family was there to see Joey get his Silver Star. What a wonderful memory!

In further conversation with Peter Ogden, director of the state Bureau of Veterans Affairs, I told him that my 90-year-old dad, who served valiantly in World War II would be in attendance. Peter arranged for Dad to receive a special certificate of recognition signed by the governor.

It was a wonderful ceremony, and I would encourage any friends and family of veterans in the Lewiston-Auburn region who are deserving of these special awards to come forward and contact Peter Ogden. You’ll be very glad you did. — Al Pelletier, Norway

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