Wednesday, January 29, 2014
But having thrown caution to the wind, I proceeded to try integrating the two albums. I am pleased to report that while the result was not perfect by any means, it was better than expected. How much better? You can see below via a 4-point scale that I used keep track of how well each country combined.
(Before getting to the results, I should note that Scott incorporated some changes into my 1969 edition that facilitates combining with later volumes. Which is another way of saying, if you have an earlier edition, your mileage may vary. I also want to recognize reader Keith and his index to the countries in Volumes I-III. His work made my tabulation a whole lot easier.)
My 4-point scale yielded the following groups of countries:
Group 1 - countries combine perfectly, i.e., all regulars/commems for 1840-1949 come together in chronological order as do all back of the book stamps (if any);
Group 2 - regulars/commems remain together, but one or more categories of back of the book stamps are separated (for example, you might have 1840-1940 semi-postals followed by 1840-1940 airmails followed by 1940-1949 semi-postals);
Group 3 - 1940-1949 regulars/commems are separated from 1840-1940 regulars/commems by one or more pages of BOB issues; however the entire country remains together;
Group 4 - a page from an adjacent country in Volume One is getting in the way of adding the Volume Two pages. This is invariably caused when Volume One starts a new country on the reverse side of a page;
Not applicable - these are Volume I countries that are not in Volume II or, much less often, vice-versa.
So specifically, here is the count of how many countries fell into each group:
Group 1 - 99 countries;
Group 2 - 72 countries;
Group 3 - 29 countries;
Group 4 - 10 countries.
The Group 4 countries in my album are: Brunei, Czechoslovakia Bohemia & Moravia, Czechoslovakia Slovakia, French Colonies, India Convention States, India Feudatory States, Karelia, Malaysian States, Mongolia, and Serbia. (Remember, earlier editions may combine differently.)
I have to confess that Group 4 could look worse than I have it, depending upon how you want to rank the Indian and Malyasian States. The problem is that in Volume I Scott has crammed as many as half-a-dozen Indian Feudatory States and Malyasian/Straits Settlements States on a page. The Indian Convention States also don’t fit well into the ranking because they are on “blank” pages. If I did a literal ranking of the States then you would have 14 more Group 4s. I felt it was a little unfair to skew the results this way, since the States do stay together even if out of order. So I only added three 4’s to the above tabulation rather than 14. You may feel differently. Or maybe you are a true-Blue optimist and think there are only seven countries in Group 4!
Back to the big picture: Not unexpectedly, my two stuffed jumbo binders are now three stuffed jumbo binders. It took six packages plus part of a seventh of glassine interleaving (i.e., 600+ sheets) to accommodate the new pages.
Ideally I would have liked everything to be Group 1, but I can live with BOB stamps being split. Regular/commems intermingled with postage due stamps or whatever are more irritating (for those of us used to the Scott way of separating out BOB stamps.) But the real stinkers are the Group 4’s. I’ve thought about three approaches for these:
1) put in a duplicate page from another Volume I that I leave blank and cross through or disuse somehow;
2) make my own pages to substitute for the offending ones;
3) put the Volume II page(s) out of chronological sequence. I.e., Begin with 1940-1949 and then 1840-1940.
Solution 3 is the easiest but causes the most cognitive dissonance. Solution 2 is the most elegant solution but involves the most work. Solution 1 requires a second album that can be dismembered (admittedly something most Blue collectors will accumulate) and is the least attractive visually.
To make this clearer, lets look at Brunei. The first image shows Brunei as it would be if I didn’t try to improve the integration. Brunei 1840-1940 is on the front of a page and Bulgaria begins on the back. That would be followed by Brunei 1940-1949 on the front, a blank reverse, and then the rest of Bulgaria. Nice, no? No.
I have glossed over a few issues that I consider to be minor but you may not. For example, I ignored the blank reverses that now appear within many countries, say dividing the 1940 issues from the 1941. (You could argue this is a feature—i.e., more places to put stamps that Scott omitted.) I also did not assess demerits if the names of countries did not match (e.g., Abyssinia/Ethiopia). Finally, should I ever add Volume Three (1950-55) some of my current Group 1’s in particular may become 2’s.
Purists out there will no doubt be bothered by some or all of these, but I can’t imagine purists ever being happy with the Blues in the first place.
P.S. I should mention that I still plan to keep statistics as to how much of Volume One I have completed, but I won't be doing the same for Volume Two.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
The article proper is largely devoted to criticizing the increasing number of stamps being issued that do not meet Scott’s listing policy, with emphasis on the US uninverted inverted Jenny pane.
For the actual details you need to consult the online table. By my tally, there were 6676 stamps that will make it into the Scott catalog (i.e., assigned major numbers), not counting those from the United States. (I do not know why the US isn’t included in the table.) The total value of the stamps for which catalog values were assigned is just shy of $25,800.
The countries that released the most catalog-worthy stamps are Mozambique with 243, followed by Australia, France, Great Britain, Burundi, Canada, Japan, and Portugal in that order. Forty-seven countries that have produced stamps recently issued none in 2013.
Just to clarify, none of these stamps are in the Blue International Volume One, although I may try to sneak a $2 inverted Jenny into my album.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
This year there were 6,000 value changes for stamps only listed in the Classic catalog. (The total revaluations is 22,500 if you include varieties in both the Specialized and Standard Scott catalogs.) I normally don’t pay much attention to value change statistics from year to year, but I did find interesting that Scott has changed its value grading for early Great Britain from Very Fine to Fine-Very Fine. To quote the catalog’s introduction, “in today’s market, very few classic Queen Victoria stamps of Great Britain trade as true Very Fine.” Poor centering and heavy cancellation are wide spread. Such stamps “often sell for only 10 percent to 20 percent of the values listed in the catalog.”
Editorially, there has been a major reorganization of Argentina Official Departments and the Portuguese colonies Ceres stamps. For Argentina, the reorganization was done by date, type and perforation with many new images to help in identification.
The Ceres project began with Portugal in the 2013 catalog and moves on this edition to Angola, Azores, Cape Verde, Inhambane, Lourenco Marques, Macao, Madeira, Mozambique, and Tete. The issues are organized by date, paper type and perforation. There has been much renumbering and almost 150 new listings. For the 2015 edition, expect similar treatment of Portuguese Congo, Portuguese Guinea, Portuguese India and St Thomas & Prince Islands.
This is of relevance to Blue collectors because a few of these stamps had been dropped from recent editions of the Scott Standard Catalog even though they are still in the International Volume 1.
There are more than 120 listings for the occupation and annexation stamps of Greece, together with renumbering and reorganization to make identification easier.
Several of the Indian States, specifically Cochin, Gwalior and Travancore have a total of more than 350 new listings. More will be coming in 2015.
I particularly commend the editor, Charles Snee, for welcoming corrections and suggestions (firstname.lastname@example.org).
P.S. Did you notice that Scott didn’t hold a contest this year to pick the stamp to adorn the new edition’s cover?
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Well, what interest could such an auction have for the Blue Volume One collector? Can you say “Syria 106c, the 25 c.s. surcharge on 10 c. green error” that Scott so blitheringly included in the album? I thought you could.
According to Mr. Bailey, “the auction has 5 lots which include 90a [the Y&T number for 106c]. Lots 567-9 and 579. There are 2 NH singles, a milliseme gutter block of 4, a regular block of 4 and a block of 8.”
This morning I transferred some money out of one of our mutual funds to purchase a car, but perhaps I should just try to buy all of these and corner the market. Nah.
You can find Mr. Bailey’s very interesting blog article on Moise Behar and his collection here: http://romanoauctions.blogspot.co.il/2013/09/collection-of-moise-behar-1876-1930.html
The link for the auction house is: http://www.romanoauctions.com
I’ll try to remember to check the auction house’s website each day, but if anyone sees the online catalog before I do, please post a comment. And if you are a successful bidder, please brag about it here.
UPDATE: Here are the lots with descriptions and prices realized.
Lot 566. 1923 Yvert # 90a, French Occupation in Syria, 'O.M.F. Syrie Grand Liban 25 CENTIEMES' on 10c green Sower (Scott No. 106a), Unissued value . Single sold for €286 in Roumet sale #533. Yv cv €392 for NH. Very fresh. From the Mose Behar Collection. [YT 90a] Start Price $100. Sell price $112.
Lot 567. 1923 Yvert # 90a, French Occupation in Syria, 'O.M.F. Syrie Grand Liban 25 CENTIEMES' on 10c green Sower unissued Value (Scott No. 106a), mint NH. Single sold for €286 in Roumet sale #533. Yv cv €392 for NH. Very fresh. Estimate $200-400. From the Mose Behar Collection. [SC 106a] Start Price $100. Sell price $110.
Lot 568. 1923 Yvert # 90a, French Occupation in Syria, 'O.M.F. Syrie Grand Liban' millesime block of 4 (pl.#3). unissued value 'Syrie Grand Liban 25 CENTIEMES' on 10c green Sower (Scott No. 106a), Light toning, non-numbered pr hinged, numbered pr NH. 4 singles cv €1344. Rare item, unlisted. Estimate $300-500. From the Mose Behar Collection. [YT 90a] Start Price $150. Sell price $733.
Lot 569. 1923 Yvert # 90a, French Occupation in Syria, 'O.M.F. Syrie Grand Liban' block of 8 unissued value 'Syrie Grand Liban 25 CENTIEMES' on 10c green Sower (Scott No. 106a), 8 NH singles cv €3136, single sold for €286 in Roumet sale #533. Estimate $1500-3000 for this beautiful mint never hinged block of 8. From the Mose Behar Collection. [YT 90a] Start Price $800. Sell price $972.
Lot 579. 1923, Yvert 90a. Unissued value 'Syrie Grand Liban 25 CENTIEMES' on 10c green Sower in block of 4, French Mandate in Syria. Scott No. 106a, two of which are hinged, NH single sold for €286 in Roumet sale #533- Yv cv €1344 block of 4 Estimate $500-$1000. From the Mose Behar Collection. [YT 90a] Start Price $300. Sell price $330.
I also checked the Roumet Sale #533. Roumet is Roumet Philatélie, Here is the listing that was in that sale:
**2493 Erreur. No 90a: 25c (au lieu de 50c) s. 10c, bdf. - TB. - R (tirage 50, cote Maury). Catalogs 325€. Sold for 125 €.
Among the many interesting aspects of all of this is that there are no used examples including those on cover. I wonder if none of these errors ever made it to the post?
Sunday, September 8, 2013
If you would like a PDF file of Keith's index, send a comment on this post (which I won't publish) with your email address and I will forward a copy to you.
UPDATE: I've had one request that didn't include an email address. If you haven't received your pdf yet (as of 10am EST, 9 September), please request again.
Friday, July 26, 2013
"As far as I know Scott has printed all countries in the Scott specialty format at one time or another. However, I think some have not been reprinted since the 1940s. I have only ever bought a couple of countries pages new so it isn't something I keep up on.
I found a long time ago that you could buy collections housed in Scott Specialty albums with many a stamp cheaper than you can buy the new pages. For years I had several dealers keeping their eyes out for albums with stamps and finally ended up with about 90% of the worlds countries.
Several countries I have like Canada, Russia and Great Britain are housed in the albums I bought them in. Transferring 7,000 stamps from Russia was just to much work and expense. As for Great Britain I bought a set of Stanley Gibbons Davo hingeless albums because it is the most proper way to collect them.
As for additional pages I use Bill Steiner formats and print them on Scott Specialty blank pages or G&K knockoffs that are about half the price. This however requires a wide bed scanner or a trip to a copy shop. As I have been expanding many countries to later dates most of these new pages, I just use the Steiner formats and print them on 8 1/2 X 11 Ivory colored 67# Vellum Bristol. It is much cheaper and easier than using the expensive Scott blanks as it is much easier for me to maintain and scan updates.
I would advise people to spend their money on stamps instead of expensive new pages/binders. I've seen many a collection that people have spent more on the albums than the stamps within were worth, which doesn't seem to make sense to me. Since the web came into its maturation I think more people are splitting up collection to sell so I don't know how easy it is to find them these days. Best way is probably tell the dealers you know that you want to purchase the Scott specialty collections, they have, after they have taken the key stamps out.
If I were to start again I would consider just using the Steiner formats on 8 1/2 X 11 pages. One of the main problems with the new Scott Spec pages is that they do not contain sub numbers just all the majors. It appears that Scott deleted them sometime in the early 1950s (just a guess). Using the Steiner formats you can customize your pages of countries that you would like to go deeper into. With the Scott Spec pages people usually just add quadrille pages to catch the spill overs. Neatness is something that I try very much accomplish so that kind of "catch all" page really doesn't fit the bill for me.
Another thing that is perhaps the most important tool the world wide collector can have, is a needs list. It takes a long long time (the longer the more stamps you need) but I would not attempt trying to conquer the world without it. I made just a simple little form in MS Wordpad (something any PC user can open, which is important) that works quite nicely. With it I can search country listings very fast and never have to drag my book out or buy a stamp I already have. For countries with more spaces than stamps I usually use a form that has numbers from 1 to 500 or a thousand and subtract the stamp numbers I have."
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Since the Scott Specialty albums remain popular to this day, I thought I would take a brief look at their history to complement my previous surveys of the Brown, Blue and Annual albums. Much of what follows is from the article "Hails & Farewells: The Story of the Scott Specialty Albums" by Albert H. Ewell Jr., with additional information from George T. Turner's article "A Century, 1868-1968, Scott's Albums."
The Scott Specialty Albums, popularly known as the Green albums because of their binders, were originally announced in 1933. These represented a move by Scott from the hardbound Brown Internationals that had been their flagship world product to albums devoted to smaller chunks of the planet. Ewell writes that the Scott Specialty albums used the same plates as the Browns but were printed looseleaf on one side of the page. Out of curiosity, I compared several dozen pages between the Browns and online scans of the Specialty pages, and they indeed are largely the same. The two differences I found were a few stamps on different rows and a couple of different cuts. Whether this represents "post-Brown" corrections or occurred for other reasons, I cannot say.
Scott itself wrote in relation to the Specialty series: "Our plates have been remade and presses prepared so that we are now ready to publish any album indicated in the list just as soon as we receive a definite demand for 600 or more albums."
One thing not clear to me is whether Scott catalog numbers were present from the beginning as they are now. Antonius Ra writes in an email that "one of the main problems with the new Scott Spec pages is that they do not contain sub numbers, just all the majors. It appears that Scott deleted them sometime in the early 1950s (just a guess)."
While I believe all of the earliest Specialty albums were regional (or at least along the lines of Germany & Colonies), Scott soon began to issue Single Country albums using pages reprinted from the regional Specialty albums. I don't know whether these were originally marketed as being a separate product line from the Specialty albums, but certainly today Scott includes them along with the regional albums.
In any event, Ewell says that by the 1960s the Specialty albums had grown to twenty-four major sections requiring at least thirty-seven large binders.
If you are familiar with Scott you know that the company has been owned by a variety of individuals and corporations, and many of these changes in ownership would translate into either renewed commitment or studied indifference to their line of worldwide albums. Regardless of owners, the Blue International line continued to receive annual supplements, even as much of the Specialty albums and supplements languished. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons the Blue annual supplements were of little use to the owners of the Green albums.
In 1995, Scott announced plans to do the Specialty albums proud, bringing back out-of-print volumes and publishing missing supplements. But whatever Scott's good intentions, by 1999 Ewell estimates that 78 countries were once again unavailable. In recent years, the albums have continued to come and go out-of-print.
To give an idea of what the Specialist series originally comprised, here is a list of the albums advertised in the back of the 1941 Scott Catalog. Note that there is some overlap: for example, Canada was part of both British America and British North America. (Today Canada is sold as a single country album.)
Great Britain, British Europe & Oceania
British North America (this is a subset of British America)
France (without colonies)
France & Colonies (except for African colonies)
Germany (without colonies or states)
Germany and German States
South Western Europe
Eastern & Southern Europe
OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES
Italy & Colonies
Belgium & Colonies, Netherlands & Colonies, Luxemburg … (includes countries also found in some of the Europe albums)
Portugal & Colonies
Scandinavia & Finland
Spain & Colonies
Independent Countries in Africa
Independent Countries in Asia
Central America (but not Mexico)
Danish West Indies, Dutch & French Possessions in Americas
Latin West Indies
Guam, Hawaii & Philippines
It was also possible, at least in the early 1940s, to purchase the pages for any individual country from the Specialty Album. I know a lot of collectors wish this were still possible.
In later years, as the number of stamps multiplied, many albums were split into smaller units. In fact, if you look at a current list of Specialty albums, they seem to be largely individual countries. Scott says they currently produce pages for more than 120 countries which works out to less than 50 percent of what they produced in the series' heydays.
But the bottom line is, in what I have checked, it appears that the Specialty Albums did once cover every country that was in the Browns. Unfortunately, if you were starting a comprehensive collection today, you would be challenged to keep it in Scott Specialty albums unless you were amenable to purchasing used albums (which, of course, you very well might be for a variety of reasons).
ASIDE. One of the burning questions about the Brown International is whether there was a volume that went through the end of 1940. Actually, it is certain that such a volume was never even advertised. But what isn't clear is whether it was prepared but never put on the market, perhaps because of WW2. We know that the pages covering through 1940 are in the reissue published originally by Vintage Reproductions, but where did they get them? I had hypothesized that perhaps it was from an Annual Album for 1939-1940. But again we have no proof this ever existed. I'm beginning to think, though, that the most likely source was from the Scott Specialty Albums listed above.
Ewell, Albert H. Jr. "Hails & Farewells: The Story of the Scott Specialty Albums." Philatelic Literature Review, Vol. 52, 3rd Quarter, 2003, pp 222-226.
Turner, George T. "A Century, 1868-1968 Scott's Albums." Scott's Monthly Stamp Journal, March 1968, pp 1-22, 34.