Thursday, November 17, 2011

Blue Collectors are Singing the Blues Today

Jim, who authors the "Big Blue 1840-1940 Blog," has decided to discontinue his checklists for the Scott Blue International Volume 1 as he is migrating his collection to Bill Steiner's comprehensive Classic-era pages. Fortunately, Jim "will continue to do a country by country analysis of the classical era." I'm particularly keen to read the comparisons he intends to do of the coverage of the Steiner pages versus the Scott Classic Catalogue. And, I'm also interested in the logistics of using the Steiner pages. Does it work well, in practice, to print pages only as you have stamps to put on them? Just how many binders does it take to hold the 6814 Steiner pages? How many individual stamps in Steiner are worth more than all the stamps in the Blue? Inquiring minds want to know!

Monday, November 14, 2011

International Blue-per #8: An Overpriced Overprint of Mauritius

I haven't been making posts on random problems in the Volume One because Jim is doing a comprehensive country-by-country analysis, but I couldn't resist commenting on an errant overprint from Mauritius that I came across the other day. As shown in the illustration, the current Blue has spaces for three overprinted stamps issued in 1891-92. So if we go to the Scott Classic Catalogue to lookup the numbers, the first stamp is Scott 89, 70¢ used; no problem there. The second is #90, $1.50 unused, again, straight forward. I'm preparing to pencil in 91 for the third stamp, but no, 91 belongs to the first of the Coats of Arms set from 1895. As I stare more closely at the album cut, I'm not even certain what I'm looking at and have to fetch the scanner to enlarge the illustration enough to identify. And the winner is not the reasonable choices of #86 or 87 from 1891 which catalog $4.50 and $3.25 respectively, but Scott #85 (SG 119) which is worth $110.00 according to my 2007 catalog.

OK, such an unnecessarily expensive stamp is irritating but there is precedent elsewhere in the album. But still curious, I dutifully haul out my trusty dusty first edition of the Blue to verify that #85 had been in the album from the very beginning. But it wasn't. In the first edition, the first two stamps are the same but the third stamp is #86 ($4.50). So what happened? Perhaps in redesigning the page at some point before 1947, the cut for #86 was lost/damaged, and the editor in a panic substituted the much more expensive #85. Perhaps the editor intended to keep the same stamp but mistakenly picked the wrong cut. Or perhaps the editor just thought it would be a fun joke to play on collectors. Unlike some of Scott's "jokes," at least you can find this one without much trouble for around $50-$60.

Monday, November 7, 2011

What's New in the 2012 Edition of the Scott Classic Catalogue

The 2012 edition of the Scott Classic is being released this month and Donna Houseman, Associate Editor, gives us details in the 21 November edition of Linn's about what is new. The superiority of coverage between the Classic and Standard catalogs continues to widen--the Classic this year has 600 additional stamps not in the Standard. There are over 44,000 price changes, 12,500 for items that are only in the Classic Catalogue. A substantial number of price changes fall in three areas: 3,500 for the German States, 1000 for the Italian Offices Abroad and Aegean Islands, and almost 500 for Australia. Among the new additions to the Classic are Brazil's semiofficial airmails, which include some issued for Graf Zeppelin flights. Other countries singled out in the article for improved coverage include Denmark (Scott #2), Epirus, Fiume, and Shanghai. There are 1312 pages in the 2012 edition, compared to 1240 page in the 2011, and 877 pages in the 1995 first edition. Keep the improvements coming, Charles Snee et al, and don't forget we are waiting for the iPad version.