Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Two Part Blue International EXPOSED!

I recently purchased a collection housed in Part 1A of the 1991 edition of the Blue, the last two part version before Scott/Amos began splitting the Volume 1 into four parts. My understanding from what I had read (but having never actually seen one of the 2 part Internationals) is that these came at the end of a transitional phase lasting more than two decades where some pages were dropped as the editors tried to facilitate the integration of Volume 1 pages with those for Volume 2 and beyond (i.e., every country beginning on the front of a page as well as for different kinds of stamps, such as airmails). Imagine my surprise to discover that even as late as 1991, there was practically no difference between the 1991 version and my 1969 edition:

Austria--in the 1969, the page for 1917 comes after 1919-21; this is fixed in the 1991 edition

Colombia--1991 edition missing pages for Acknowledgment of Receipt stamps, Special Delivery Stamp, Antioquia, Santander, Issued in Cucuta, and Tolima.

Costa Rica--1991 missing Postage due stamps and Official Stamps.

Cilicia--1991 missing this entire country. (It is on the same page as the missing Costa Rica issues supra.)

With the exception of switching the out of order pages in Austria, the differences in the 1991 version are the result of entire pages being cut rather than any changes within a page.

As far as I could tell, there was nothing added to the 1991 version that wasn't in the 1969.

So I've been very much mistaken. My guess now is that Scott split the Volume 1 into two parts primarily to cover increased printing costs/generating more profit and not to do any serious reediting. So the reediting we see now within the four part version didn't begin until 1994.

I suppose the good news is that if you aren't after the 1943/47 editions which are the most comprehensive or the latest four part version which is on better paper and more "user-friendly," then it really doesn't matter that much which of the editions between 1955 and 1991 you use (except that the versions issued from 1955 through 1969 will have spaces for more countries and several hundred more stamps than later editions but not as many as 1943/47).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stamp Album scanner?

I've tried a couple of times to assemble an easy contraption for photographing stamp albums without much luck. An intriguing product named the Book Saver Book Scanner has just been announced by Ion Audio at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show. While I don't think the product will handle large albums like the Scott Internationals, it still is an interesting concept. The product is expected to be released in April and will cost less than $200.

Here is a blurb on it from USA today.

You can also see a video on YouTube.

Finally, here is link to Ion Audio's site.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Years Resolutions

I have three this year.

First, through the generosity of reader Mark, I have reference copies of the Brown Internationals covering 1840-1929 and will be looking for the final 1930s volumes on eBay (this may take some time). Over the coming months, I plan to do a quick and dirty estimate of the number of stamps in the Brown, identify some of the more obvious peculiarities and eccentricities (e.g., are there really no pages for US souvenir sheets?), and try to see if I can divine any overriding editorial principles governing what is included and omitted (for example, vis-a-vis watermarks or errors). Knowing Scott, I bet these changed over the years.

Second, and this is an easy one, take some sample measurements of the spaces for the various classic era albums and also look at page density—i.e., how many stamps per page on average, white space, etc. This idea was put in my head by reader Tim who was wondering whether the borders around stamps were smaller in the days before there were plastic stamp mounts.

Finally, I would like to end 2011 with 50% of the spaces in my Blue filled which comes to approximately 17,500 stamps. I currently have almost 16,000. Based on my experiences so far, I can expect to acquire no more than half from APS Circuits, if that many. So this means I'll have to experiment with other sources, such as the APS Stamp Store, Zillions of Stamps, etc. The problem is that I don't know of any particularly efficient ways of acquiring low cost stamps of which I am still missing many. For example, there are a lot of blank Latin American spaces in my album that are at or near minimum catalog value. But a recent stab at Argentina showed that there were a fair amount of stamps not available from the above sources (at least in single, used copies). On the other hand, it may be easier to find stamps for the most collected countries, such as Germany. In any event I'll try various options and post the results.