Thursday, September 23, 2010

Minkus Supreme Global Back in Print!

I was minding my own business, looking at the latest Linn's, when I saw a full page Amos Advantage advertisement for their Minkus and International worldwide albums. I've seen this advert often and so I wasn't prepared to pay much intention to it until, lo and behold, I noticed a price by the base version of the Minkus "Global" album which has been out-of-print for a number of years. In addition, there is a new sentence in the description, "...on-demand printing has brought some parts back."

The relevant parts of the ad are:
Item Retail AA*
MGLV1A 1840-1952 $224.99 $199.99
MGLV1B 1840-1952 $224.99 $199.99
MGLV2A 1953-1963 $150.00 $120.00
MGLV2B 1953-1963 $150.00 $120.00

I immediately emailed Customer Service at Amos Publishing to find out more details. According to their answer, the 1840-1952 parts are for the more comprehensive Supreme Global, not the Master Global. And they will be printed on 80-lb stock (as opposed to 60-lb for the Scott International and who knows what lesser weight for the originals).

If these are indeed the Supreme Global pages (see below), this is great news for worldwide collectors. I don't know how long the complete Supreme Global has been out of print, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was sometime in the 1980s. The Supreme Global represents what IMO is a reasonable compromise between the coverage in the Blue Internationals and the Browns. You have most of the stamps that a collector will acquire without unfillable spaces for the great rarities. You also have the convenience of the pages fitting in 2-3 binders versus 8-10 for the Vintage Reproductions of the Browns.

Now why do I qualify my enthusiasm as to whether these are indeed the Supreme Global pages when Amos has told me as much. Well, the problem is that I am reasonably certain that the Supreme Global wasn't published until the year 1954 when it appears in the US Copyright Register for that year (the Supreme Global is not in the Register for 1952; unfortunately, I don't have access to 1953). The Master Global on the other hand does indeed date from 1952. But there certainly is confusion about the history of these albums, so I could easily be wrong.

One thing the reprinting has encouraged me to do is to deduce how many stamps are in the Supreme Global versus the equivalent Blue Internationals. This is easiest to estimate for 1955 editions of these two albums. The 1955 Supreme Global contains spaces for 76,000 stamps where the equivalent albums in the Blue International contains 66,000 spaces.

I must say I'm somewhat surprised that there is only a difference of 10,000 stamps between Scott and Minkus for this year range--about 15%. Is ten thousand sufficient spaces to cover the more common stamps that the Scott is missing and do these mostly fall between 1840 and 1940?

Then again, Timothy P. Holls "totaled the number of pages in his Minkus Supreme Global albums through the 1999 supplement. There were 22,014 pages, with spaces for 354,310 stamps (more or less)." (Quoted from As of 2008, Scott says that the Blue Internationals only number some 16,000 pages and 220,000 stamps. That is a difference of a whopping 48%.

As I own a copy of a "real" Supreme Global from 1840-1955 for countries A-J, I need to make some more detailed comparisons of the coverage in the Minkus. In the meantime, if anyone finds anything more about these pages, please let me know.

Regardless, thank you Scott/Amos Publishing. First you bring back the Scott Part 1, now (what I hope is) the Minkus Supreme Global. Together with your excellent Classics Catalogue, this shows a real commitment to the hobby.

UPDATE 2/2/2011: There is a Buy-It-Now on eBay for a 2 Volume Set 1952 Minkus SUPREME GLOBAL STAMP ALBUM. The seller says that there are "Spaces for 93,255 Stamps. 2,688 pages." So this proves that the Supreme Global was indeed first published in 1952 (as was the Master Global). What is especially interesting is that the number of spaces and pages is greater than that of the later 1955 edition. Is it possible that Minkus cut back after the initial edition? The seller doesn't reproduce the title page so we can only assume they've gotten the details right.


williamgrady said...

Bob, thanks for the update. Amos Advantage also has a 1967-70 Minkus Supreme Global listed for purchase, called volume 4 (626 2-sided sheets). There is no volume 3 yet.

The page counts for the volume one and twos are on Amos Advantage:
1A=517 2-sided sheets
1B=551 sheets
2A=295 sheets and
2B=301 sheets.

I have always wondered if the page counts of the Sup Global were sheets or pages. The 1955 ed lists about 2100 pages. A 1965 ed yields 3712 pages, with an additional 1408 pages for 1966-70 volume 4. This is roughly twice what the current page count is, so I guess the old Minkus counted pages and the Amos count is of sheets. But I think that means Amos is reprinting a full Supreme Global, not part from a Master Global.

The new ones reshuffle the coverage years but I can see this being a redo of the 1965 edition plus the 1966-70 volume 4.

One thing I have noted is that the original Supreme Global has some countries that only had "Master Global" coverage and for which I was able just to put my Master Global pages into it in place of the Sup Global pages to save on remounting the stamps.

In buying country collections on Minkus pages, I have noted that the newer pages don't match up to the ones I have. Minkus had gone back and improved the coverage of may British colonies and other countries where the original pages were from the Master Global

On the other hand, if your album is made up of supplements from 1956 on, as mine is, when Minkus reissued the albums, they condensed the stamps and a certain amount present in the supplements are taken out of the reissued albums.

If you take counts from the original 1955 edition you will find probably that the pre-1956 stamps are fewer than are in the current reprint. But from 1956-1970 you might find the opposite.


Bob said...

Bill, I was hoping you would see this as you know more about Minkus than anyone I've come across. This is all very useful information. I must admit to being a little disappointed that Minkus may have diluted coverage in more recent editions.

One curious thing I was looking at recently was the coverage of British Bechuanaland in my Volume 1 Supreme Global that dates from around 1965. I found that it was missing several affordable early stamps. On a lark I looked at my Master Global from 1960 and there was a full row of spaces for the missing stamps. My first thought was that somehow the pages got switched, but that seems improbable since the albums came from two different owners and were issued some years apart.

williamgrady said...

Bechuanaland Protectorate in my Minkus Supreme Global has spaces for 149 stamps. The highest Minkus number on the last supplement was 203. So they only left out 54 stamps in total.

The first 2-sided sheet is an old one without catalog numbers, the rest have catalog numbers meaning they were replaced by or came from supplements. How does that match to yours?

Check out the Cayman Islands.

In the case of the Cayman Islands, my original Sup Global has only two rows that contains all the Victoria thru the Georges small size definitives, for only 18 spaces. This is one of the pages that was the same as my Master Global page.


Bob said...

Bill, my 1961 Supreme Global has spaces for 112 stamps of Bechuanaland Protectorate, beginning with Minkus 55 (Scott 69) from 1897 and ending with Minkus 169 (Scott J12) from 1961. At the top of page number 2 is the 1937 Coronation Issue. All 4 pages (i.e., 2 pages front and back) have Minkus numbers. All pages have Bechuanaland Protectorate as their headers.

My 1961 Master Global sports five pages front and back with Bechuanaland at the top of the first page and British Bechuanaland on the other four! It has two rows at the beginning which are not in the Supreme Global starting with Minkus 4 (Scott 4 or 5) and ending with Minkus 54 (Scott 68)--a total of 16 more spaces. In addition, the Master Global first page goes only through Minkus 102 rather than 109. Thus the reverse of the first page starts differently although it ends with the same stamp as the Supreme. Curiously, there is an extra "Issues of 1961" page in the Master Global covering Minkus 167-180.

Vis-a-vis the Caymen Islands, my pages are radically different between the two versions. Like you, my Master Global has 1 page front and back for a total of 79 stamps. My Supreme Global provides 2 pages front and back for a total of 122 stamps!

I wish I knew who to "yell at" about this as I can't tell from my limited experience whether these variations were ever caused by individual collectors switching out pages or as you suggest represent the difference between new editions of the album versus supplemented older editions. (According to the title page, my Supreme Global is c1961, "1961 Supplement included." My Master Global is missing the title page.

williamgrady said...

I will check my pages against what you mention when I get home.

Dealing with any looseleaf book is always an adventure. You actually never know, unless you bought one new-in-the-box whether what you have is what you should have.

I assume my 1955-56 Supreme Global, which I bought used, is as originally issued.

The Master Global I had from my childhood was circa 1956 with supplements to 1967. I tossed out the MG pages after I transferred the stamp to the SG. Kept the original supplements.

Apparently, I am missing one supplement, 1955? 1956? because it is obvious for some countries I have stamps missing right at the end of the Supreme and before my first supplement, not for all countries, but for some.

Then I bought a volume 2 Supreme Global (Italy to Z) for $5.00 from the Lions Club at Balpex to get the cheap binder. Low and behold, it had the transition pages I was missing.

All I can think of is that back in the mid-1950s while the Supreme Global was still in two volumes there was some reprinting going on and that each year more stamps got added to the end of the countries. That would account for my SG being earlier and having fewer pages than the Lions one.

I don't know if there is any reason to complain, or anyone to complain to anymore. I think the Master Global came first and Minkus took a shortcut on the Supreme Global by sometimes using MG pages. It looks like they began correcting this in later printings.

One can hope that what Amos is selling now is the most complete version of each country.


williamgrady said...

I checked. In my Supreme Global, Bechuanaland Protectorate starts like yours. But on the reverse of the page with Cape of Good Hope is a section for British Bechuanaland, which has 18 spaces.

Looks like the original plan was to separate them but later Minkus put them together, at least in the Master Global.

Every once in a while I buy a Minkus country collection and get the expanded pages. It is certainly cheaper than buying a new album.


ChrisW said...


I have a question for you and/or your readers related to the Minkus albums.

I am now toying around with thinking about, maybe purchasing a Minkus Supreme Global album from Amos for my WW classic collection. My question is...does anyone know if the Minkus Country pages will fit in the Supreme Global album binder? Amos website says that they are 2-hole punched, but gives a specific 2-post maroon binder for them.

It would be nice to know if, in the future, I would be able to supplement the Supreme Global with specific country pages for those countries I want to go into more depth.


kingshuk said...

This is a old thread but I would like to comment anyways. I started collecting WW in Minkus supreme Global 1840-1954 ( amos reprints )last year after reading Bob's and Jim's blogs. In addition I bought a set of Minkus albums WW ( 1840-1974) at an auction last year which I use to keep my 1955-1974 stamps. Chris the Minkus country pages do fit in the supreme Global binders. Hope that helps

Bob said...

Kingshuk thanks for this update. It would be interesting to hear from anyone (Chris?) who has actually integrated some of the country pages with the Supreme Global pages.

James said...

During the past couple of years I've used Minkus country pages extensively, probably replacing about 20% of the Supreme, and it works extremely well. These pages are generally well done, nicely laid out, and highly comprehensive, which is why many world-class collections have employed them.

I have found the Minkus specialized pages are particularly helpful for countries where my collecting interests and the coverage in the Supreme aren't a particularly good match. The replacements are often most effective for early issues: the Supreme is generally strong from the 1880s onwards, but is less comprehensive before that, though still better than Scott vol. 1 (Big Blue). It's also clear that the editors of the Supreme also decided that regular collectors could be discouraged by a plethora of overprints and other complexities. Turkey and Mexico are cases where I've found it helpful to insert country pages in this way. I also have a pretty good Canadian collection, so although the Supreme is very through there, I now have spaces to put all the officials and even one of the gems of my collection, a nice copy of number Canada number one.

Another class of pages that are handy to have are those for small stamp-issuing entities, eg the Canadian, Australian, and German states. In the first two cases the Supreme's coverage is reasonably good, but I am interested enough to want to see the whole story laid out, even if I will always have plenty of unfilled spaces. In the German case, all the states are crammed into one page, which for anyone interested in pre-1900 stamps (as I certainly am) is a bit of a non-starter.

An obvious problem is cost. Some of the Minkus country pages are still available at huge discounts on Subway and/or Amos; the last time I checked Turkey was just $10! I was very lucky to get Subway's last copy of all of a single huge volume covering all of Germany (states, colonies, occupations, DDR, the lot up to 1970) for only $80. But Ebay is probably the best bet. Or you can buy a country collection that is in a Minkus specialised album, and get the pages at a very low cost, as they frequently don't enter into the seller's calculation.

The other way to fill out a Minkus Supreme, which I also tried, is to print out pages from Bill Steiner's site. One issue is the paper size, as it needs an A3 printer; the other is the border, which can be replaced (there are some discussions out there about how to do this) but that is somewhat fiddly. In the end I decided to go for the more uniform look provided by the Minkus country pages. In some cases (esp where the Minkus pages in question that I had bought were worn) I have photocopied them double-sided on matching paper. This works really well as the double-siding integrates them perfectly-- but I realise that's probably a step further than many would want to go.

I do hope that Amos will release the entire back-catalog of Minkus specialised country set of pages as digital downloads, priced at a reasonable rate per page. It would make a great alternative for those who want to make up their own albums, particularly for those (like me) who collect up to a certain date (in my case the early 1960s) and then stop. And because of the Minkus numbering system, I suspect that they wouldn't compete directly with the Scott internationals. They might even attract more people to collecting.

Bob said...

James, enormously helpful. Thank you. Now, I'm wondering if anyone intermixes the Scott Specialty albums with the Internationals?

ChrisW said...

Sorry for the late responses. Very interesting discussions. I'm still thinking about the Minkus, but haven't "pulled the trigger" yet. I was, however, just looking at some of the discounted Minkus specialty pages that Subway sells and might place an order tonight. I might just get one or two of the really cheap ones just to see them in person! Another question I have, knowing that the new MSG reprints are white in color and on 80 lb paper, how do the specialty pages match up in terms of color and paper weight?

Bob, I did play around with mixing some Scott Specialty page in with my BigBlue. It is doable, but takes some trimming of the pages, plus for the page holes, I reinforced them with the same clear tape type material that you use (can't remember the name now, but I got the idea from you!), then I re-punch a round hole that matches the BigBlue page. A bit of work, plus given that the borders didn't match up and the edges of the pages didn't exactly match up, I didn't pursue further.

I liked the idea of doing with the the Minkus pages because everything (page size, holes, borders, etc.) match up and (hopefully) they would blend right in.

James said...

Just to say that in terms of page size, holes, borders, the pages do mesh in. But if you're concerned about a precise match up in terms of paper, I'm not sure you would be happy. The early issues (1960s-70s) of the Speciality albums are on rather thinner paper than the modern Amos reprint of the Supreme (though of higher quality than the occasionally poor paper that was used at certain times for the Master Global and the Supreme. Some of the Speciality pages, particularly those produced in the 1990s (eg Indian States), are pretty close to the Amos; others less so.

Overall, you can get around this by recopying the Speciality pages double-sided onto a paper of your choice, but that takes a lot of work!