Thursday, September 17, 2009

Scott's Reference Album of Philatelic Terms

Some years ago I thought it would be fun to find an alternative way of collecting stamps that would free me from the tyranny of the printed album. One possibility that I entertained was a collection illustrating philatelic terminology and concepts--for example, different approaches to prevent the reuse of stamps. (My favorite is Afghanistan's approach to tearing pieces out of its early issues.) The project never got off the ground, but I was reminded of it when I came across an eBay auction for the 1936 Reference Album of Philatelic Terms published by Scott. This brief album was "designed so that a stamp serving as an example may be mounted opposite each term listed. When all the spaces are properly filled, the result will be a very comprehensive reference collection." To that end, the first 2 pages were devoted to "Perforations and Roulettes," and included Common, Clean Perf, Rough Perf, Hyphen Hole, Lozenge Perf, Pin Perf, Sewing Machine Perf, and Part Perf. The other sections are Printing (Engraving, Typographing, Lithographing) including such terms as Se tenant and Moire, followed by "Paper," then "Philatelic Terms," such as Double Surcharge, and finally, "Do Not's: Things which are to be avoided in forming a stamp collection." These include Thin Spot, Repaired, and Heavily Cancelled. Obviously with only 24 pages to work with, there are lots of missing terms and areas, but still, an interesting concept. I wonder how long it would take to find the 84 stamps representing each of the terms?

But who am I kidding. I love the the Procrustean bed that is the printed album as long as I can add additional stamps wherever there is empty space on the page.

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