Saturday, December 26, 2009

If you haven't read it, check out reader Zenabi's comments on why he likes the computer created album pages produced by William Steiner on his Stamp Albums Web.

While Zenabi makes a good case for using computer generated pages as opposed to traditionally printed albums, I still have to come to terms with two concerns about any type of "comprehensive" album. The first concern, which I admittedly feel less strongly about than when I first started this blog, is that, whether it is the "Brown" Internationals or the Stamp Web pages, you can never complete these comprehensive world albums. More to the point, not only would they never be complete, my original assumption was that you would be forever reminded of the futility of your collecting choice by the many hundreds of empty or scarcely filled pages. While some collectors view this as a challenge, I worry it would be a constant reminder that no matter how much time or money I spent, the albums would look empty. But after studying scans on the Internet of some comprehensive collections, I realize that there are enough "common" stamps that most of the spaces in the albums will still be the ones in the "Blue" International and that one might very well feel a certain sense of accomplishment even if the "Blue Mauritius" and similar rarities were forever beyond reach. As Lawrence Block wrote: "When you collected the whole world, your albums held spaces for many more stamps than you would ever be able to acquire...You tried to fill all the spaces, of course--that was the point--but it was the trying that brought you pleasure, not the accomplishment." And in your quest you would be following in the hallowed footsteps of Ferrary, Hind, and other renowned philatelic giants of yore.

The second concern is more difficult for me to work around. The Stamp Albums Web Classic Era pages take up over 6500 pages. (His British Commonwealth pages follow the Scott Classics Catalogue by going through the reign of George VI.) Even stuffing 600+ pages to a large binder, this would require ten binders. Subway Stamp Shop estimates that their "Brown" reprints would take 19 binders to house properly. As Subway makes money from selling the binders, this estimate may be rather liberal, but still you will end up wanting something like a stamp den (stamp nook? stamp cave?) to house your collection as shown in this recent eBay auction photo.

While this type of arrangement would make it easy to cope with a large collection, my problem is I like the freedom of housing my entire holdings in two binders which I can play with on the couch while watching TV. You could argue that realistically one is rarely working on more than a single country at any one time, and, not that you would be so rude as to say this to my face, I could use the exercise of getting up now and then to switch albums. One of Zenabi's points is that you don't have to print all of the pages at once. What I could do is to print out the album pages one country at a time, remounting the stamps from my existing "Blue" before going on to the next country.

I've been meaning for some time to take out a subscription to Stamp Album Web so this has motivated me to do so. It will be fun comparing these pages with the "Blue."


maplewoodhistory said...

Hi Bob,

Great blog! I always have fun reading about your progress. I too am still working on my blue Scott international. I have reached the 11,000 stamp mark so far. I have tried the printed album pages and they certainly have their advantages. I’ve been using the US pages for a long time. I once had a subscription and printed them for the whole world and got a couple countries completed. I found out though that I am the kind of collector where I need photos of the stamps.
I run into Scott International vol 1 collections that are in the $300-$700 range at my stamp shop. I could keep my eyes open for you if you would like me to. Send me an e-mail at (put an @ where the _ is) I’ve passed up two collections that would fill quite a few holes since I try to keep my purchases below $100 if I can.
I have purchased some county collections and while they do fill many spaces, you wind up with many stamps that are not in the album. I wind up placing those on quad pages and inserting them in the album.
I’ve wondered about the completeness of the Master Supreme Global Albums. Have you been able to compare a Master Supreme with the International? I have a couple Minkus Supreme Albums from the ‘80’s and I really like the layout of them.

Bob said...

Hi. Thanks for the offer. I will get in touch after I absorb my latest purchase which I just won today. I'm not certain how many stamps I will get out of it, but I did spy some Brazil Bullseyes and early Canada that I don't have.

I have tried 3 or 4 times to purchase a Minkus Supreme Global on eBay but without success. I found the Master Global too limiting although there were many features that I liked. I'll keep looking as I would definitely like to compare coverage in it versus the Blue. I assume the Supreme Global will be superior but without the really expensive stamps found in the Browns or Specialty series. I'll keep trying--I really only need a single volume to make a comparison. I've been amazed that there have been several "unused" Supreme Globals on eBay in the past year, but these have been selling for higher than I want to pay just for "research" purposes. Obviously, a lot of people agree with you about these albums.

actuary said...

I just discovered another album that covers the world to 1940 (actually to the end of George V's reign): at the Stanley Gibbons table at the APS Show, they displayed a two volume set, British Commonwealth and Foreign. These are bound volumes, with spaces for stamps on the right and the corresponding catalogue page on the left. I see three problems:
1. Page size is relatively small, so the volume is thick.
2. Binding is tight and does not appear to allow for the thickness of the stamps.
3. Cost is about $400 per volume.


Bob said...

Ken, I've been intrigued by the Stanley Gibbons New Ideal Album but have never seen a set in person. For some reason, I was thinking that it was now published in 3 volumes. One of these days I hope to do a post that looks at the WW albums I've come across that also include catalog information. As far as I know, the Ideal is the only WW one still published.