Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words

I've made a few scans to show some of the categories of differences in the various editions of the "Blue" International volume 1. I've mentioned these in previous posts, but sometimes a picture is clearer. All pages are copyright Scott/Amos Publishing Company, 1943, 1969, or 1997.

While Scott in its most recent editions has sometimes lopped off a few stamps that were in earlier editions when they occured at the end of pages, on occasion an entire page gets dropped. For example, WWI Austrian Military stamps were in editions at least through 1947, but were MIA by 1969.
Sometimes an entire country originally in the "Blue" has been dropped from the latest editions. Again, these tend to be countries that only had a row or two of stamps at the bottom of pages devoted to another country, but sometimes an entire page bites the dust. These German states were in editions at least through 1947, but were gone by 1969. Note the space taken up by the flags and coats of arms.
As with later editions of the Scott catalogs, newer versions of the International helpfully attempt to bring together sets that span multiple years. You can see this with Angola. The 1943 edition has the Ceres series that began in 1913 split between 1913, 1922 and 1925/26. By 1969, this series had been edited into one sequence. Interestingly, some stamps that were in the 1943 edition are missing from the 1969 edition and vice versa for no obvious reason.
One noteworthy feature of the latest editions is their ability to integrate with the International Volume 2 and beyond. This required Scott to split off categories of BOB stamps, such as airmails or postage dues, so they could be on their own pages. You can see this at work with Australia. The first scan is of 1943 with regular postage, airmails, and then postage dues, all on one page.By 1969, Scott had started to rearrange pages in anticipation of the wholesale changes it would make in the 1970s. Finally, the 1997 version shows the additional splits that are now typical through the album and which helps explain why it is in four parts. (I've omitted any blank backs of pages.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Is There a "Best" Edition of the "Blue"?

For the past year, I have been trying to determine if there are editions of the "Blue" which are more complete and accurate than the rest. My working hypothesis has been that the 1947 version is the best candidate. Turns out my supposition may be incorrect. I originally came to believe the 1947 edition was the most complete because I knew the more recent versions of the "Blue" are missing entire countries and pages that were in pre-1950 editions. (This is largely as a consequence of a change in editorial policy starting in the 1970s that began every country and every major category of stamp within a country on the front of a page.) But when I began seriously comparing the 1965 edition with the 1947 version, it turns out it isn't just the later version that is missing stamps that are in the earlier; there are some stamps in the 1969 album that aren't in the 1947 one.

Here are a few examples from the "A" countries:

1947 album missing Scott numbers 330 and 331 that are in the 1965 album
1965 album missing Scott RA1, RA2 that are in the 1947 album

1965 album missing Scott P1, P2 that are in the 1947 album

1965 album missing Scott J16 that is in the 1947 album
1965 album missing specific spaces for Scott 28, 29 that are in the 1947 album (i.e., what had specific IDs in the 1947 version are now left blank)

The 1913-26 Ceres series is complicated: The 1947 album is missing Scott 134, 135 and 140 that are in the 1965 album while the 1965 album is missing Scott 150 that is in the 1947 album. Both albums omit Scott 138, 143, 145, 147, 152, 153 plus higher denominations. (I'm ignoring Scott 129 that is no longer in the catalog.)

1965 album missing 31-35 that are in the 1947 album

1947 album missing Scott 140-142 that are in the 1965 album

So the answer is less clear than I thought. The 1947 edition has hundreds more stamps in it than those published in 1969 and after, but nevertheless is itself missing some stamps that were added during the editing process for later editions. I suppose there is a possibility that the 1955 or the 1964 editions have everything in the 1947 plus the additions I'm seeing in the 1969 "Blue." You rarely see the 1955 or 1964 editions offered on eBay so it may be some time before that question can be answered. If you own either of these editions and would be willing to check a few pages, please let me know.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Stamp Collections Online

I just stumbled across a couple of sites I should have known about before this. Bill Seymour has a webpage for "Online Stamp Collections," including his own. Countries Mr. Seymour has scanned from his own collection include Alaouites, Alexandretta, Algeria, Allenstein, Argentina Collection, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Belgium, El Salvador, Greenland, New Zealand, Niger, Turkey, Upper Volta, and Yugoslavia. What makes these especially relevant is that they fall within the Classic Era of collecting.

Mr. Seymour also lists other people's scanned collections of which the most interesting to the "Blue" International Collector is the Antonius Ra World Collection. Again, emphasis is on the Classic Era. This is still a work in progress so not all countries are represented, but those that have been scanned are well worth a look (including a very impressive US). Here's a page of Roman States from the Antonius Ra collection to give you an idea of the treat in store for the worldwide collector:

(All rights reserved, Antonius Ra.)

I've had it at the back of my mind that when my own collection reaches say 20,000-25,000 stamps, it might be interesting to start scanning my pages. At the rate I'm going that is still some years off. Alternatively, I could scan pages when an individual country is complete. I do have several of those already.

ADDITION: I just found "...Dr. Cheng Chang’s web site of world stamp collection by country. Dr. Cheng Chang intends to collect over 90% of the world’s stamps from 1840, the world’s first stamp, up to and around 1990, though collections from many countries, such as China, Canada, Germany and so on, are up to year of 2000 or even over." Although Dr. Chang appears to have some Internationals, the great majority of his collection is housed in Scott Specialty albums. Absolutely worth taking a look. I think you will be impressed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Not Another Rarest Stamp in the "Blue" International!

Regular readers of Linn's Stamp News will know that at the back of most issues is the column "Stamp Market Tips." The stamp featured in the 10/19/09 issue is Colombia's 1917 Special Delivery Stamp, Scott E1 (SG E373). While the stamp currently catalogs only $25 in unused, $75 used, condition, it apparently is much scarcer than that amount suggests. According to the column's author, Henry Gitner, "this stamp is greatly undervalued and is virtually impossible to find in any condition. Many Columbian and special delivery collectors have been looking for this stamp for years and have never even seen one, let alone own[ed] an example."

Needless to say, the "Blue" International Volume One contains a space for this stamp, which, in all fairness to Scott, cataloged a mere 40 cents in 1943. Covers are extremely rare but even rarer is a used example off cover.

An interesting article with an illustration of a block of 25, since broken up, can be found at

OK, it took me three months to find Syria 106a. Let's see how long Columbia E1 takes. At least I know what I want for Christmas.

UPDATE: It only took a couple of weeks to obtain this stamp. I found an album page on eBay with it plus a few others and won the page for $13. For those of you with deep pockets, another copy is still available on eBay as part of a large Colombia collection but the seller wants $749 for the lot. Interestingly, a single copy of E1 sold on eBay not too long ago for US $4.90 from a UK dealer.