Sunday, May 25, 2008

Minkus and other album options

The main competitor to the Scott Company after World War II was Jacques Minkus who the New York Times credited with giving "the once-patrician hobby of stamp collecting its mass-market reach." Minkus was associated with the famous New York Department store Gimbels for years. In 1951, he first published the Minkus Global stamp album edited by Colonel George Tlamsa. The 1,250 page first edition sold for $15 with binder and claimed to contain "more than one-half of all the major stamp varieties ever issued" with spaces for 55,951 stamps and 24,000 illustrations. Supplements were available from 1952 on. In 1959, it cost $18.95. By 1966, the base volume had grown to 1680 pages with spaces for 65,000 stamps.

I believe in 1954 Minkus first published the even larger Supreme Global stamp album. Originally in two volumes, the 1954 edition contained spaces for over 76,000 stamps with 40,000 clear illustrations, and 2000 pages. I don't have the stats for Volume 1, but in 1955, the 1008 page Volume 2 covered Italy to Zanzibar with spaces for 38,452 stamps and 20,390 illustrations. In 1959, it cost $27.50. In 1961 the Supreme Global was still two volumes, but Japan started Volume 2.

By 1966 the Supreme Global album had expanded to 3 volumes with 3600 pages, 96,000 illustrations and spaces for 120,000 stamps--"more than two-thirds of all stamps ever issued." I believe the Supreme Global originally had its own supplements but at some point began using the same supplements as the Master Global.

Minkus sold his company in 1986 to Harry de Jong (and was owned after that by Novus Debut?). The Minkus line is now distributed by Amos Publications which continues to issue new supplements. Currently you cannot purchase new copies of many of albums, although the Master Global is usually available on eBay or from dealers/auction houses, albeit less frequently than the "Blue" Internationals. Complete Supreme Globals are much harder to find.

At some point I would like to make comparisons in coverage of the Scott Blues versus the two flavors of Minkus. It would also be interesting to know if it is easily possible to distinguish between the Global and Supreme Minkus album pages. On eBay, at least, some albums with the Supreme Global binder are obviously the Master Global pages and perhaps on occasion vice-versa. Of course, after awhile, the supplements did double duty so the differentiation would apply only to the base volumes I assume (but at what cutoff date?). My current guess is that the Supreme Globals are the ones with Minkus catalog numbers for 19th century issues. Can anyone confirm?

No other worldwide albums that I am aware of offer the coverage of the Scott International and the Minkus Master Global albums. (I'm ignoring that one could try to purchase all of the Scott "Green" Specialty albums for extreme coverage, although I don't know if even in their heyday the series covered every country. Minkus had their own equivalent of country and regional albums.) Scott used to publish a one volume Grand Award album. It had the virtue of including Scott catalog numbers. I don't know how the Grand Award compared in coverage to what I assume was its main competitor, the Minkus Master Global. H. E. Harris published several larger worldwide albums. Although they have their proponents, my impression is that many common stamps were omitted for even popular countries, at least for earlier issues.

The remaining album option is to use computer printable pages such as those offered by Stamp Albums Web (http://www.stampalbums.com/). The site offers a "complete set" of over 6500 Classic Era pages. This includes British Commonwealth to the start of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, and all other countries to the end of 1940. as well as 50,000 U.S. And foreign pages that you can mix and match. Some (all of the Classic era?) are available in the form of Adobe Pagemaker files that can be modified for personal use.

UPDATE 6/10: I just saw on eBay an auction for "MINKUS SUPREME GLOBAL STAMP ALBUM VOL 5 New 1971-1973." Sure enough, the title page actually says "Supreme Global" and Volume 5. It doesn't give the number of stamps but the number of pages is 1328. If there was an "official" Volume 4, I guess it covered 1967-1970. I've seen a combined Supreme/Master Global supplement for 1976 so presumably it was sometime between 1973 and 1976 that Minkus started combining the supplement for both versions.

6 comments:

wgrady said...

Just found your blog. I started something similar with worldwide stamps just about one year ago.

I can add some details to your description of Minkus albums.

Minkus Supreme Global, copyright 1956, volume 1 contains: "America to Italian Somaliland," spaces for 38,219 stamps, 19,985 illustrations, in 1008 pages.
This is from the title page

It is not possible to distinguish any Minkus two-sided pages on the surface. They look alike no matter which of the albums they are from: New Worldwide, Comprehensive, Master or Supreme Global. The only real way to distinguish them is to check the comprehensiveness of the presentation of stamps. More included, the bigger the album. I remounted a MG into an SG last fall and could tell which page was which by the amount of stamps included. However, some pages of the MG and the SG are identical in the original editions.

Supplements. The earliest filing sheet I have in my album is from the 1959 supplement, when the supplements for the MG and SG were already merged. I think it happened earlier.

Catalog numbers. In the 1956 copyrighted Supreme Global, there are only catalog numbers in the US section. I believe catalog numbers began to be included only with the 1958 supplement.

Early supplements had special pages to be used only with the Master Globals, but the last notation I found is one sheet for Karelia in the 1959 supplement. That must have conformed the MG to the SG supplements at last, so one size would fit all for the future.

Although I was under the impression Minkus never reedited an album once printed, it seems I was wrong. They made two types of modifications to the Supreme Global albums not offered in supplements, at least up to 1969, when my supplements stop. One, the more recent versions had catalog numbers placed in all the boxes back to the beginning. Second, they apparently went through British colonies and other countries where the SG shared the MG pages and expanded them. When I buy countries on eBay and from stamp shows, the newer pages often have more spaces than in my original edition.

Bob said...

WGRADY--your additional information is very helpful. Thanks so much for sharing it.

Bob said...

Thanks to an eBay seller who posted the photographs of title pages for the 3 volume 1966 edition of the Minkus Supreme Global album, we now have the statistics for this edition:

Vol. 1: U.S., Aden to Gilbert & Ellice Isl. Spaces for 43,000 stamps, 28,600 illustrations, 1312 pages.

Volume 2: Great Britain to Papua. Spaces for 39,850 stamps, 26,700 illustrations, 1184 pages.

Volume 3: Paraguay to Zanzibar. Spaces for 40,00 stamps, 26,800 illustrations, 1,216 pages.

The 1966 edition has Minkus catalog numbers for the stamps of every country.

Bill said...

I started in the late 60s with a Minkus Comprehensive for that time; I later tried to retrofit with supplement pages to bring it up to date. Life intervened, and the last supplement that I got was 1994. Now, I'm trying to get started again, and I'd like to find all the missing supplements. Do you know of any useful resources to find these?

Thanks!

Bob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob said...

Bill, sorry for the delay in replying. I did know of one dealer who specialized in out-of-print supplements but he recently died.

If its true that the Minkus Global supplements were intended to update the Comprehensive album, Subway Stamp Shop and Amos Advantage (and perhaps others) appear to have all of the Global supplements from 1993 to date in stock. Amos at least has many of the pre-2002 supplements at significant discounts. The cost for the most recent supplements would be high but you could spread them over many months.