Much of what follows on the earliest Internationals is from George T. Turner's article in Scott's Monthly Stamp Journal, March 1968, titled "A Century, 1868-1968 Scott's Albums." As always, corrections and additions are welcome.
I find it useful to think of the Scott International albums as falling into three main types, with the first part split into two subtypes:
Type A1) The original Scott Internationals published in the 19th century. The Types A1 and A2 are commonly referred to as the "Brown" or "Big Brown" International Albums (so called because of the way they were usually bound in the twentieth century; Scott never advertised them as such);
Type A2) The successor to Type A1. These include a revision of the Type A1 album for 19th century stamps and four additional volumes covering issues through mid-1938. The Browns went out-of-print during the early 1940s;
Type B) An authorized reprint of the Type A2 Brown Internationals by another company, Vintage Reproductions, which added a sixth volume to provide pages through 31 December 1940. These are still being sold today by Subway Stamp Company;
Type C) the so-called Blue Internationals (again, unofficially named "Blue" because of their usual binding) which began as an abbreviated single volume aimed at beginning to intermediate collectors and is still current and published to this day.
TYPE A: The original Scott International Postage Stamp Album
Type A1 is comprised of ten numbered editions followed by a series of unnumbered editions/printings:
- 1875/76, First Edition
- January 1877, Second Edition
- November 1877, Third Edition
- 1878, Supplementary pages to the Third Edition appeared in ten monthly issues of the American Journal of Philately. (I don't know whether these were incorporated into a Fourth Edition or whether these serve in lieu of a Fourth Edition.)
- 1880, Fifth Edition
- 1882, Sixth Edition
- 1884, Seventh Edition
- 1886, Eighth Edition (available in English, Spanish, French, German or Portuguese)
- 1890, Ninth Edition
- 1891, Tenth Edition [thanks to InForaPenny for the corrected date]
- 1894, no edition number
- 1896, no edition number
- 1897, no edition number
- 1898, no edition number
- 1899, no edition number
There may be other editions/printings after the Tenth that I have not come across. Scott revised the album in the early 1900s and renamed it the Scott International Album 19th Century Edition (and thus the first volume of of what I'm calling Type A2).
The Type A1 albums have spaces for more stamps than the Type A2 version published in the 20th century. Scott claimed 6000 illustrations in the last editions of Type A. I don't know that the albums ever indicated the number of stamps, but one contemporary source says that the 1894 edition had spaces for about 15,000 stamps. The primary reason the Type A1 albums had more spaces is that they included postal stationary cut squares. But there were also 6 pages for Afghanistan versus 1 page in Type A2, 2 1/2 pages for Confederate States Provisionals versus 1 page, etc.
The Type A1 volume was available (or at least advertised) in a surprisingly wide variety of bindings and paper qualities, most of which are rarely encountered today.
In my experience, the most commonly found of the earliest Internationals on eBay is the 8th and the albums with no edition numbers,. I don't know that any of the Type A's are of particular value as collectables except perhaps the First Edition. I suppose though that if you found one of the special editions, such as the 1894 which was "printed on the finest linen paper in three full morocco bound volumes," these would have some antiquarian value. But, in general, the value of the Scott International albums is in the stamps they hold.
Part 2 of this post will cover the Type A2s.
(1) Example of a "board" bound Type A1. Interestingly, this has the name of one of Scott's competitors on the cover.
(2) A more sumptuously bound example from 1888.
(3) The 1896 edition bound in the way typically associated with the Brown Internationals published in the twentieth century.