Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Big Blue Checklist

I've been faithfully following Jim's progress on documenting the stamps in the Blue. I can't emphasize enough how helpful his blog is. Even if you don't plan to use the checklists, his blog is worth reading not only for his comments about the stamps of the individual countries, but also for his more overreaching posts on topics such as the most expensive stamps in the album.

I use Jim's blog for two purposes beyond learning more about the countries and stamps in the Big Blue: 1) notating those stamps I own or need on a copy of his checklist I've printed; and 2) using his checklists to pencil into my album the catalog numbers for stamps I still need.

I've played around with a couple of ways of printing his information to use as a checklist. I finally settled on putting the information into a MS Word document, 3 columns, using the Arial Narrow 10.5 pt font. What I was trying to do is to find a compromise format that would reduce the total number of pages to as few as possible but would still be easily readable and allow room for notes, such as the specific catalog number of the stamp in my album if there is more than one choice, or a reminder I need to return and carefully check such and such a stamp to make certain I've got the one in my album identified correctly. I also note if I own the stamp but need to replace with a better copy.

What I recommend if you are experimenting with your own formatting is not to chose one that obscures Jim's arrangement of stamps by the row they occur. That is, most of the time Jim's checklist makes clear which stamps are on a particular row in the album. I've found this very helpful in efficiently penciling in the catalog numbers for the stamps I don't own yet directly in the album.

I've also experimented with how to mark which stamps I own and which I need. After a couple of trials, I settled on marking X's through those I have and circling the numbers for those stamps I still need. When I acquire one of the circled stamps, I put an X through it. I had originally started by circling the stamps I owned and leaving the ones needed without any marking, but I was having trouble spotting the lacuna among all of Jim's helpful verbiage. Of course, your mileage may vary. I know that many collectors would want to be more thorough, indicating if their stamps were used or unused, and perhaps other details.

In addition to the penciling in the catalog numbers of missing stamps, I also make a note of the catalog value for stamps over $20 or so as a way of helping me watch out for these in collections for sale on eBay.

So to conclude, I can only hope Jim is not reading this because I need him to devote all his time to the checklist :)

UPDATE: I played around with bolding the Scott numbers so that they would stand out more and I think this worked nicely; eliminates the need for circling the stamps I still need. Although not necessary, I also underlined the year/description headings while I was at it.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dansco Binders

I think of Dansco as a producer of coin albums, but a couple of current eBay auctions reminds me that they also sold stamp-related materials. According to Thomas Moll's Guide to Vintage Coin Folders and Albums (and why hasn't someone written a similar guide for stamp albums, he asks innocently?), Dansco stands for the Daniel Stamp Company now of Venice, California. It was started in 1937 and was still making stamp supplies until at least the 1970s.

In any event, on eBay are two separate listings with binders labeled "Dansco International Junior Stamp Album." I say binders because the contents are still the Scott Blue pages with no mention of Dansco on the title pages. From the photos, Dansco at least made binders for Volumes 1 and 2. I assume there wasn't any particular arrangement with Scott Publishing. Dansco was simply manufacturing a cheaper alternative to the Scott-branded binders, much as G&K does today with its line of binders, blank pages and other accessories for the International.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Stamp Wallpaper

I know that this is off-topic, but I'm sure we are all familiar with the story about the beginnings of stamp collecting, specifically the London lady who in the early 1840's took a classified ad in the London Times for stamps to paper her dressing room:

"POSTAGE STAMPS.--A young lady, being desirous of covering her dressing room with cancelled POSTAGE STAMPS, has been so far encouraged in her wish by private friends as to have succeeded in collecting 16,000: these, however, being insufficient, she will be greatly obliged if any good natured person who may have these (otherwise useless) little articles at their disposal would assist her in her whimsical project. Address to E. D., Mr. Butt's, glover, Leadenhall street: or Mr. Marshall's, jeweler. Hackney." (If you want to read more about this, there is a thread on StampChat.)

I was reminded of this from a recent thread on the Stamp Community forum concerning a British company's line of wallpaper which includes several stamp designs. So if you are thinking about refurbishing your stamp den, this might be the look you are after.