Thursday, May 22, 2008

Am I nuts?

As every stamp collector knows, achieving a comprehensive collection of the world is impossible--too many stamps, too many rarities, and frankly, too many recent issues meant to exploit the hobbyist.

To help provide focus, I'm exploring two possibilities. One is to purchase a Scott International album, specifically volume 1 (1840-1940), with as many stamps already in it as I can afford. This covers the first 100 years of Philately. Although a complete new Volume 1 is currently unavailable for purchase from supply dealers, these albums and their earlier variants are often offered on eBay and from other sources. While I like the idea of a self-contained volume, the problem with this approach is there are many stamps I remember from my stamp collecting as a child that were issued between 1940 to as late as 1965. As will be explored in another entry, either the Minkus Master or Supreme Global seems a more affordable approach for that route than attempting to combine multiple Internationals.

My main purpose in keeping this blog is to explore questions such as the following: How feasible is it to complete one of the current Scott International Volume Ones? What is a ballpark estimate of how much it would cost? Which of the "representative coverage" worldwide albums (Scott "Blues", the Minkus Master Global and Minkus Supreme Global) do the best job of providing spaces for commonly available stamps? Once you have a worldwide collection started, what is the most cost effective way of adding to it? What is an efficient way of storing duplicates for trading or reselling? Has anyone compiled checklists of the stamps in these albums or do you use the Scott Classic or other catalogs to keep track?


pfz88 said...

What a great blog. I have asked myself the same question: "Am I nuts?". I collect worldwide despite the guilt; the presure to specialize does seem intense at times. Author and APS past-president Janet Klug once noted that she "never met a stamp I didn't like." While I have narrowed my interests somewhat over the years, I continue to allow myself the pleasure of aquiring a stamp (or relishing the thought anyway should my finances simply not allow it) just because I like it.

I do not have any real albums yet. I just can't seem to settle on one largely because i just can't seem to settle on what to collect. I store my collection in 102 cards until then. It allows me to catalog, to create want lists and at least have some sort of organiztion.

I leave you with a couple of questions: Do you put any of your stamps in mounts? Do you collect beyond the Scott catalogs?, i.e. perf varities, shades, paper types, watermarks, errors, et. al. as would be found in a country-specific catalog?

Good luck in your reaching your goal. I keep checking back to see how you are doing.

Bob said...

Thanks for the kind words and sharing your experiences. I love the Janet Klug quote. I intend at some point to pontificate on the issue of hinges and mounts (I hinge where possible but under duress will use clear Showgard mounts for more valuable mint never hinged specimens). At least initially, I'm concentrating on matching the album cuts or descriptions and pretty much ignoring anything that is not face different. But I've had several specialized collections over the years (mostly postal history) and certainly understand the appeal of that approach. I suspect that when I eventually shift from buying large worldwide collections to those for specific countries or regions, the temptation to include varieties will become harder to resist.

index.php said...

You're definitely not nuts (or then we are both equally nuts). As a worldwide collector (having more than 50k different stamps), I think your goal is very possible (but it will take time).

I have to say I love your blog. I've been reading it occasionally for long time, but tonight I sat down for two hours and read everything page by page. And I enjoyed every moment of it.

Keep on rocking!

Bob said...

Well, good, there are at least two of us. Thanks for the encouragement. I haven't added many stamps lately while we've been in the process of selling a home. That happened last week so now I can start looking seriously again on eBay.

Fred said...

This is the best blog ever. I have long been interested in printed albums, and e-bay has allowed me to obtain far too many unused or lightly used albums. I am working on a database of the spaces contained in a 1969 Part I. Like any printed album, one comes across spaces which lead one to say, what were the editors thinking?

Today in Leeward Islands a problem was encountered with the Geo V A5 design. There are 8 spaces under the date range of 1912-32. Each space is identified by denomination and colour. So one is free to choose between dies. Following are seven spaces with date range of 1931-32. Five are described: 1p carmine, 1p dp violet, 1 1/2p rose red, 1 1/2p fawn, 4p black & red on yellow. A review of Scott's and SG shows that there were not stamps of these colours issued within these dates. However there were seven die I Wmk 4 varieties so issued. A check of the Brown reproductions (1930-1935, page 442) shows seven spaces for 1932, correctly identified for the die I varieties, so I concluded that these belong in spaces in Part I. As anyone else come across this issue, and if so how did you deal with it?

I am a bit excessive about the date headings matching the stamps. This is especially true with the first printings of Geo 6, some of which are more expensive than the later. I figure if the description doesn't match the date range, the description will be covered up by the stamp

Bob said...

I really like the Janet Klug quote. I understand the virtue of specialization (been there, done that), but I don't understand why every collector who loves stamps, no matter how specialized their main interest, doesn't have a second worldwide collection. How can one pass up collecting a Penny Black, Cape of Good Hope Triangle, Brazil Bulls Eye, not to mention all those boring "little nothing stamps" that turn out to have interesting back stories? My theory is that we have had drummed in our head that a worldwide collection is impossible and don't even give it another thought. And they call us nuts :)

The Leeward Islands is indeed a mess. I checked my 1943/47 edition against the 1969 and the arrangement is the same in both. I wish I still had my earlier Junior album from 1933 to check if the date ranges/descriptions made any more sense in that edition, but alas I no longer have it. I then thought my 1943 Scott Catalog might give a clue as to why the editor chose this arrangement, but no luck. You may very well be correct that the "Brown" offers the best clue.

So are these the options?

1) Match the descriptions or, in the case of the 1/4 p, the cut, and ignore the year or die (perhaps penciling in the correct year range);

2) Ignore the dates and descriptions if necessary and put the Die I stamps on the first row and the Die II stamps on the second;

3) Ignore the descriptions and order the stamps by denomination without regard to year or die.

The second or third option would be a little disconcerting for me since I try so hard to put the right stamp in the right space, but does it really matter as long as we have all the stamps the editor intended, just a few spaces off? As the "Blue" typically ignores Die differences, and, in later editions, prefers order by denomination in series such as this over keeping stamps with similar dates together, the third option may be more in keeping with the spirit of later editorial policy.