Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How Many Stamps Were Issued Between 1840 and 1940? Part 3

When collectors have made counts of how many stamps have been issued, the sensible ones have limited themselves to totaling Regular Issues and Commemoratives. Using that approach, I come up with a little more than 60,000 regulars and commems released between 1840 and 1940. But when making my count, I had the bright idea of including everything in the 2007 Scott Classics Catalogue even though that added multiple layers of complexity as well as increased the opportunity for counting mistakes. With that in mind, when looking at all issues, I found that regular issues/commems account for about two-thirds of the stamps in the Catalogue. The other one-third are Back-of-the-Book (BOB).

Below is a table of my counts for the various stamp categories in the Scott catalog according to Scott's prefixes. These are sorted from the most stamps in a particular category to the least. Again, I caution you in placing too much faith in the exactness of the counts.

60,107 [No prefix] Regular issues, Commemoratives
5778 O/OX Officials, Post Office Seals
5248 J/JX Unpaid Postage
4885 C/CE/CO Airmail
4035 B/BK Semi-postals
3001 A*, AR Mandates, Plebescites, Provisionals, Postal-fiscal
1139 N Mandates
1113 R/RA/RAJ Revenues
1056 #L Local stamps
739 Q Parcel post, special handling
682 P Newspapers, periodicals
670 1N Occupation issues
614 U Envelopes
408 M Military
371 L Local
321 #X Provisionals (e.g., US or Confederate Postmaster Provisionals)
277 E Special Delivery
136 F Registration, Certified
62 Carrier Carrier
45 H Acknowledgment of Receipt
33 I Late Fee
32 G/GY Insured Letter, Marine Insurance
28 S Franchise stamps
18 D Pneumatic Post
18 K Offices Abroad
5 Y Revolutionary
90,821 TOTAL

When I started, I listed every prefix separately: for example, I initially separated Airmails from Airmail Special Deliveries, etc. This quickly became tiresome and so I went back and subsumed these all under a single prefix letter, in this case, C. Unfortunately, I shouldn't have done this for all categories. Mixing the various prefixes where A is the first letter intermixes the AR category which is cut from a different cloth than the others. I should have left that separate.

It should also note that the prefixes K, L, M, N, and Y can be used with any category. Consider the Military Stamps of Austria. There are regular Military issues, Military Semi-Postals, and Military Newspaper stamps. In my count all of these are included in the M count, not with the B or N counts.

Finally, some categories are deceptive. There are hundreds of Offices Abroad listed throughout the Catalogue but the only stamps assigned with the "official" K prefix are for UNITED STATES OFFICES IN CHINA Shanghai.

The last table breaks down the percentage for the most numerous prefixes. The most common type of BOB stamps are Officials--they constitute almost 19% of BOB issues. (Note that this is 19% of the thirty thousand BOB stamps, NOT 19% of the ninety thousand total stamps issued between 1840-1940.)

18.81% O/OX Officials, Post Office Seals
17.09% J/JX Unpaid Postage
15.90% C/CE/CO Airmail
13.14% B/BK Semi-postals
9.77% A*, AR Mandates, Plebescites, Provisionals, Postal-fiscal
3.71% N Mandates
3.62% R/RA/RAJ Revenues
3.44% #L Local stamps
2.41% Q Parcel post, special handling
2.22% P Newspapers, periodicals
2.18% 1N Occupation issues
2.00% U Envelopes
1.33% M Military
1.21% L Local
1.05% #X Provisionals (e.g., US or Confederate Postmaster Provisionals)

For the first two posts in this thread see: Part 1, Part 2.

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