Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Quick Overview of Pros and Cons of Worldwide Albums

Before doing the comparison, here are the albums we are talking about:

The Scott Brown Internationals had a space for every major number in the Scott catalog through mid-1939, but the originals are out-of-print. The pages have been reprinted by Vintage Reproductions.

Scott Blue Internationals were originally a "junior" album but "junior" was eventually dropped from the title. The Blue Internationals are still being sold.

The Minkus Master and Supreme Global albums were a competitor to the Scott Blue Internationals. The Master was less comprehensive than the Blues; the Supreme Globals more comprehensive.

William Steiner through his Stampalbum.com website sells computer files for you to print your own worldwide pages, including a set specifically for 1840-1940.

So how do these compare against each other?

Scott International originals (Browns) - 5 vols

Pros:
—Comprehensive for major numbers in Scott Catalog (at the time each volume was published)
—Can purchase for bargain prices from eBay et al

Cons:
—Originals are out-of-print and most offered for sale are in less than pristine condition
—Hardbound so you can't interleave volumes or add your own pages (there were looseleaf versions but these are practically never encountered)
—Thinner, non-archival paper printed on both sides of the page
—No catalog numbers in spaces
—Most countries missing the stamps for mid-1939 through 1940

Scott International reprints by Vintage Reproductions (Browns) - 6 vols

Pros:
—Heavy archival paper printed on one side only
—Easy to add your own pages or even integrate with the current Scott Internationals Volume 2 on
—Includes stamps through end of 1940

Cons:
—Expensive
—No catalog numbers in spaces
—Takes many binders and lots of shelf space

Scott International Volume One, 1 and 2-part versions (originally called the Junior, now commonly referred to as the Blues to differentiate them from the more comprehensive Browns)

Pros:
—Possible to house representative worldwide collection in a single volume (although as you add more stamps or interleaving, you'll will be hard pressed to keep it in even a jumbo binder)
—Can purchase earlier editions for bargain prices from eBay et al
—Used by many collectors so a lot of information is available on the Internet, including a wonderful checklist in progress by Jim (http://bigblue1840-1940.blogspot.com/)

Cons:
—35K spaces represents no more than 50-60% of face different 1840-1940 stamps
—Unevenly edited; all editions are missing thousands of common stamps; some stamps are in some editions but not others
—Some countries that are in earlier versions are missing in later
—Printed on non-archival paper on both sides of the page
—Some editions are on thin paper which is prone to tearing
—Difficult to integrate with later volumes or to add your own pages
—No catalog numbers in spaces

Scott International Volume One, 4-part version (current version of what was originally called the Junior, now commonly referred to as the Blues to differentiate them from the more comprehensive Browns)

Pros:
—As above plus the 4-parts edition is on heavy archival paper and has been redesigned so you can integrate with later volumes as well as add you own pages

Cons:
—As above as regards scope and editing
—Better paper but still printed on both sides of the page (although there are a lot more blank backs of pages)
—More expensive to buy new than to purchase "used" earlier editions
—Missing hundreds of stamps and a few countries that were in some earlier editions


Minkus Supreme Global originals

Pros:
—Even the first edition went to 1952 which will be appealing to collectors who would like to go beyond a 1940 cutoff without buying any supplements
—Possible to house representative worldwide collection in a single volume (although as you add more stamps or interleaving, you'll will be hard pressed to keep it in even a jumbo binder)
—Most countries are noticeably more comprehensive than the Scott Blue Internationals
—Later editions include Minkus catalog numbers for every space which greatly simplifies matching the correct stamp to the space (as long as you acquire the out-of-print Minkus catalogs)
—Can purchase for bargain prices on eBay et al

Neutral:
—Contains more stamps per page than other albums listed here (form versus function)

Cons:
—Thinner, non-archival paper (but not as thin as some earlier Blue Internationals)
—Minkus catalog numbers are no longer used by sellers
—Some pages display more than one country making these sections somewhat difficult to integrate or expand (although better in this respect than earlier Scott Blue Internationals)

Minkus Supreme Global reprint of 1952 edition by Amos Publishing

Pros/cons: Same as the above but with the added advantage of being on thicker, archival paper
—Somewhat cheaper than the equivalent Scott Blue Internationals

Steiner (http://www.stampalbums.com/)

Pros:
—Comprehensive coverage
—Collector friendly policy of fixing mistakes
—Inexpensive compared to some of the other albums if you print your own pages
—Can use 8.5x11 inch paper which allows cheaper binding options
—Extremely easy to expand/integrate with your own pages

Neutral:
—Contains fewest stamps per page of any albums listed here (form versus function)

Cons:
—Almost no images of stamps, only descriptions
—No catalog numbers (but spaces correlate easily with the Scott catalog)
—Either must print your own pages or purchase preprinted pages from third parties (expensive); many collectors would disagree and rate the print yourself feature as neutral or even a plus!
—Requires a lot of shelf space

Not included in the above:

Scott Speciality or Minkus Regional/Country albums could be used to house an 1840-1940 collection if you can find the ones that are out-of-print. Several very large worldwide collections that go beyond 1940 have used these albums.

The Gibbons Ideal Album covering 1840-1935 has virtues but I don't think is a practical option today. You can read more here : http://globalstamps.blogspot.com/se...l+album.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Amos Bundles Scott Classic Catalogue and Volume One International Album

Amos Publishing has announced what I believe is the first bundling of the Classic Catalogue and the pages for the (largely) corresponding album, the Scott International Volume One that covers 1840-1940. The cost of the bundle is $749.99, $599.99 if you are an Amos Advantage member. This represents a 5% savings over the cost of buying the catalog and album separately. Note that the catalog currently advertised is the 2014 version. So unless Amos updates the bundle when the 2015 catalog appears in November, you are buying last year's edition.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Stanley Gibbons Imperial Album Revisited

In 2011 I wrote about the Stanley Gibbons equivalents of the Scott Browns and the Blue International Volume One. Somehow I missed a thread the following year on Stampboards that describes collector Jonah's progress on filling the SG Imperial. (The Imperial covers the British Commonwealth 1840-1936.) There are lots of interesting comments and images, many of which are relevant to Scott International collectors. I still am having trouble acclimating to the lack of borders around stamps, but the completed pages do have a nice clean look. I suppose collectors who use stockbooks would especially like the appearance.

There is a new post on Stampboards that addresses the availability status of the Imperial. SG intends to update the Imperial along the lines of their King George VI album with similar 22 ring binders. Alas, nothing is mentioned about the Ideal album which covered the rest of the world. (Regency, the US distributor, still shows the 3 volume Ideal available for $499.)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Tale of Two Albums

The March/April 2014 issue of The Circuit (International Society of Worldwide Stamp Collectors) contains a very entertaining article by Emory Earl Toops titled “A Tale of Two Albums.” While the article is first and foremost a look at how the Minkus Master Global Album has evolved, using the author’s own collection that started with the 1958 edition compared with a 1967 edition, it also will remind many readers of their own stamp collecting journeys.

The most obvious differences between the two albums, Toops notes, are the changes in country names and boundaries. During this time period, this is perhaps most evident with the many former African colonies that became independent countrie. The author gives multiple examples of how this obviously vexed the album editors as they tried to fit all the new names in the alphabetization sequence.

The other major difference is how the editors attempted to squeeze in nine years of new issues while keeping the album to a single volume. The 1958 edition holds 56,000 stamps in 1320 pages. The 1967 edition has room for 65,000 stamps. According to the editors, this means that the 1958 edition held half of the worlds issues; the 1967, one third. Toops’ analysis shows that the editors maintained the single volume footprint “at the expense of earlier issues” as well as through simplification: for example, ignoring watermarks for some issues that had previously had dedicated spaces. One example of the author's analysis will have to suffice: “…Brazil’s pages in both albums [i.e., editions] were exactly the same until 1948 before severe editing occurred; after condensing the years 1948-54, the albums again resume parity in stamp display.”

As interesting as this is, what takes this article beyond the dry comparisons I do in my blog is that Mr. Toops shares through the lens of his albums how he came to collect via his father as a child and then continuing as an adult with his own children. I think this quote from the last paragraph of the article captures the flavor nicely:

“Tucked away in a volume of my Minkus Master Global Stamp Album is a picture of me and my father at our kitchen table, the album open in front of us, catalogue out and stamps on the table. I was about 13. Just a few years ago, I recreated the scene individually with both daughters…. My Master Global Stamp Album has traveled the world with me—to Iceland, Bahrain, Germany and the United Kingdom—and it is the one really tangible connection I have with my late father and the time we shared 'playing stamps of the world.'"



Saturday, April 26, 2014

Blog "On Hold"

You may have noticed the decreased frequency of posts since last year. This is a result of some family-related matters including selling a house that I am dealing with. These will be resolved by later this year and I look forward to being more active at that time. I will certainly continue to post anything I see of major importance to Blue Volume One collectors, but won't be doing any special projects such as the recent one on collating Volume One and Two.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April 1st: Scott Pledges To Make their Classic Specialized Catalogue Just as Good as their Blue International Volume One Album

In conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the Blue International Album, Scott announced today that it will “dumb down” their flagship Classics catalog to make it mesh more closely with their flag-dingie world album.

“We are constantly being asked by collectors,” said Scott officials, “why our Classic Catalogue improves every year while the International Volume One continues to perpetuate mistakes and inconsistencies that have been in the album for decades. Well ask no more.”

Scott plans to reduce the disparity in quality between the catalog and the album by making the following changes:

1) all stamps not in the International Volume One will be eliminated from the catalog so as not to confuse collectors;

2) to compensate, catalog listings will be modified or invented to create stamps that match every space in the album, even when no actual stamp exists;

3) some correct stamp illustrations in the catalog will be replaced by incorrect ones or put in several different places;

4) stamps appearing more than once in the album will now be listed more than once in the catalog;

5) descriptions belonging to one stamp will be swapped with another a few dozen times to keep collectors on their toes;

6) as the years printed in the album often don’t match the catalog, dates for stamp sets will be adjusted randomly a year/decade or two so that nothing matches anything;

7) and in a special homage, the entire catalog listings for Syria will be reduced to a single stamp.

The editors acknowledged that collectors would no doubt prefer them to bring the Scott International Volume One up to the level of the catalog rather than vice versa, but they took a vote and agreed that “money talks.”

Friday, March 21, 2014

Author of Article on Worldwide Collecting Looking for Persons to Interview

The "In Defense of the World Wide Collector" thread on the Postage Stamp Chat Board has been rather active lately I am pleased to report. In a recent post on this thread, author Erik Cagle says that he is writing an article on "collecting the world on a simplified basis" for a US publication and is interested in talking to worldwide collectors, new and experienced. Check out his original message here and then contact Mr. Cagle if you are interested in being interviewed for the article.