Thursday, October 15, 2020

"For the World of Philately, WWI was a shot in the arm."

This is the title of an article in the latest Kelleher's Stamp Collector's Quarterly, vol 6, #3. If you aren't familiar, the magazine features consistently well written and consistently well illustrated articles. I can imagine non-collectors paging through one in a doctor's waiting room.

The premise of the article is easily discernible from the title, although not so obvious might be the collectors of the era who wanted nothing to do with "enemy" stamps.

But I bring the article up as a reminder that we partly owe WWI for the Junior International which, of course, become the Big Blue. Here is an ad for the Junior  (first issued in 1914) that I posted on this blog in 2008.

 In case the scan isn't clear:

"When you are Daddy's age you will be telling your children all about the great war of 1914 that changed the map of Europe. You will want to show them the splendid collection of stamps you made of all the countries now at war, and tell them about Belgium and Russia and France and Germany. And you will be very proud of your collection, too, because, 'way back in 1914, when you realized how interesting these stamps would be some day, you arranged them neatly, as shown above, in your new JUNIOR INTERNATIONAL ALBUM."

You can peruse the entire issue at this link. The article is on page 34.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

International binders

There has been a nice discussion on the Stamp Community forum about buying, maintaining, and repairing binders for the Scott International albums. 

My two cents:

1) If your collection is actively growing, the binders will be subject to significant stress from use. I suggest going with pre-owned binders and using library book tape to keep them viable. When repairs are impracticable or your aesthetic sensibilities are compromised, replace with another set of used binders. Once your collection is approaching completion, then you can spring for new or pristine used binders.

2) An advantage of used binders is that most of us start our collections by purchasing existing Internationals, so you should have a ready supply of binders, at least initially.

3) Non-jumbo binders will tolerate more abuse, but I prefer to work with as few binders as possible. So I house my collection in used jumbo binders, substituting convenience for beauty. If you aren't adding a lot of your own pages, I'm assuming that a complete Big Blue with interleaving will require two jumbo binders or three regular. I'm unclear as to whether page filler strips would change this.

4) Regardless, I highly recommend slipcases, both to help control dust and to support the heavy albums (pages plus interleaving). And let me slip in a PSA for purchasing the latest pages from Amos which are printed on better and heavier quality paper.

Friday, May 1, 2020

1840-1940 stats according to Michel

I wrote back in 2017 about a collector who had created a database of Michel catalog information for every country that you could sort by years, country, etc. The compiler has recently updated the information to use 2018/2019 catalog data.

The website can be found at:

Since Michel no longer makes the data available, this will be the last update.

I think it is well worth visiting the site, and playing with the various filters. But, to get to the bottom line, based on Michel catalog data, there were 66,609 stamps issued between 1840 and 1940 with a total catalog value for used copies of about 14.5 million Euros.

Kudos to Postmaster GS for collecting this data and posting it online.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Generally Speaking by Lawrence Block

I waxed enthusiastic some time ago about the columns on worldwide stamps that writer Lawrence Block wrote for Linn's. Mr. Block has aggregated said columns in the recently published Generally speaking: All 33 columns, plus a few philatelic words from Keller.

Who is this Keller you newcomers may ask? To quote the mystery writing author: "And the time came when the combination of advancing age and declining interest led me to sell my stamps. Keller, my fictional hitman, still collects with undiminished enthusiasm, but he's younger than I am, and has quite a bit more in the way of discretionary income."

The ebook and paperback (hardback to follow) are available from a variety of sources, including Amazon. I'm looking forward to receiving my copy.

You can read Mr. Block's witty promo for Generally Speaking as well as several of his other recent works by clicking here.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Les Classiques du Monde 2020

GeoffHa on the Stamp Community discussion group alerts us that Yvert is publishing the third edition of its Les Classiques du Monde 2020. Cost is 89.00€. Dedicated classic era collectors will remember that Scott, Yvert, and Michel all have relevant catalogs, which suggests to me the continuing interest of collectors in this field. I think Scott could take a cue from how Yvert ends their list of improvements in this edition: "Et bien d'autres surprises!" You can find detailed spoilers on the Yvert website.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

What's New in the 2020 Edition of the Scott Classic Catalogue

Even though I rarely have anything useful to say these days, you can always count on me for at least two posts per year: April Fools and the release of the latest Scott Classics catalog.

The publication of the latter has been delayed this year from early to mid-November 2019. Here is a summary of the notable changes for 2020 according to the Linn's website:

There are new sections for perforated Official stamps from Switzerland and Venezuela.

BOB listing for Switzerland have been expanded and reorganized by type and frame varieties.

There are new listings for the Danube Steam Navigation Company which are found under Austrian Offices Abroad.

Special attention has been made this year to helping collectors identify the 1892 Thailand surcharged high-denomination stamps with low denominations.

Many minor varieties are included for the 1931-32 wet and dry printings of China.

Notes and new varieties were added to Western Ukraine.

According to the editors, "overall value changes in this year’s catalog reflect a mix of increases and decreases." Countries with many changes include stamps of India used in Aden, Austrian offices for Lombardy-Venetia, Heligoland, classic issues of Eritrea, and the Italian states of Modena and Parma, Saudi Arabia, Madagascar, Fiume, Western Ukraine, Egypt, British Offices Abroad, Iraq, Madagascar, and Somaliland Protectorate, among others.

[If you want an overview of changes in all the editions since 1995, type the words "classic catalogue" into the search field in the upper left corner of the screen.]

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Scott Annual and Progressive Albums

I've written about these albums several times. They were intended as supplements to the Brown Internationals between release of the latest bound volumes. For those interested, a recent thread on the Stamp Community Forum contains some interesting photos and scans.

As a reminder, the last volume of the Browns issued by Scott stops with issues from 1938/39. But the Vintage Reproductions edition of the Browns takes the albums through 1940. So how was Vintage Reproductions able to bring the Browns up to date? (I asked and "they" don't remember.) The possibilities would seem to be:

1) there was an Annual Album published for 1939/1940 which has eluded the Internet (almost certainly not the case);

2) an Annual Album for 1939/1940 was prepared but never published once Scott decided to discontinue the Browns--Vintage Reproductions somehow got hold of one;

3) Scott actually prepared the pages to bring the Browns up to 1940 but decided to cut their costs and remainder the existing set rather than releasing an album for the latest issues--again, Vintage Reproductions somehow got hold of one;

4) Vintage Reproductions used Scott Specialty albums to reconstruct 1939/1940.

I lean towards the latter explanation but honestly do not know. I wonder if someone had the Specialty Albums from this era whether they would faithfully match the Vintage Reproductions pages for these years?

Here is a link to the thread on Stamp Community Forum.

To see my previous posts on these albums, type 'annual album' or 'progressive album' in the search engine box at the top left of this page.