Oh, I thought Part 2 of this post was going to be so simple, the Browns occupying five volumes as follows:
19th Century Edition
20th Century Edition 1901-1919
20th Century Edition 1920-1929
20th Century Edition Part 3
20th Century Edition Part 4
Straightforward, right? Except that the first version for 19th century stamps was named something different, there were multiple interim versions for all but Part 4, and Scott may even have used different titles for some printings of the albums. And I wasn't even planning to talk in this post about whether Scott published a Part 5 for 1939-1940. Whew!
So the prudent reader will take note of the simplified listing above, quit reading, and head to their drawing room for a beer or nice sherry. Still here? Don't say I didn't warn you.
It starts simply enough. Scott realized around the turn of the last century that it would soon be impractical to confine the Type A1 International album to a single volume much past 1900. They decided to freeze the initial volume's coverage through the end of 1900, and used this opportunity to make some major revisions including printing the non-US sections from "entirely new plates."
Apparently Scott wasn't initially certain when they wanted to terminate the Type A1 album they had been publishing since 1875/76. Consequently the earliest edition published in the twentieth century was still called the International Postage Stamp Album 1901 (following the Type A1 naming convention). After 1901, Scott renamed the volume covering 1840-1900 the 19th Century Edition, a title that stayed the same for as long as the Brown albums were published.
I assume that the decision to have the album include stamps from 1900 is based on their interpretation of when the 19th century ended and the 20th century began (which we all revisited awhile back with the debate about whether the 21st century started in 2000 or 2001).
As indicated in my first post, there are differences in coverage between Version A1 and A2. The most substantial is that Version A1 includes spaces for cut squares for the world. Scott indicated that the decision to drop cut squares was due to postal stationary losing popularity with collectors. I have read that when philately was in its infancy, collectors naturally wanted to own anything that smelled like a stamp, including all manner of locals and what now would be considered cinderellas. As the number of legitimate stamps grew, collectors began to focus.
In 1903, the first "20th Century" Part was published which covered 1901-1902. What seems strange to us now is the approach to handling new issues. Was the idea that a collector should buy the 1901-1902 album and when say the 1901-1906 volume came out, he or she should remount their collection? In any event, Scott continued to publish what I call "interim" editions before deciding to freeze the first 20th Century volume with stamps from 1901 to the end of 1919. Similarly, this was was followed by interim editions starting in 1920 with the second volume eventually being frozen at 1920-1929, the third at 1930-1938 with at least one interim edition, and the fourth with 1934 to mid-1938.
So a more accurate summary of the Brown Internationals as published by Scott in the twentieth century is:
- 1901 edition, published 1901?
- [covered 1840-1900?];
- 19th Century Edition
- [1840-31 December 1900];
- 20th Century Edition 1901-1919
- [Part 1] (interim editions include 1901-1902, 1901-1908, 1901-1910, 1901-1912, 1901-1916, 1901-1917, 1901-1918)
- 20th Century Edition 1920-1929
- [Part 2] (interim editions include 1920-22, 1920-1927)
- 20th Century Edition Part 3
- [interim editions include 1928-1934, Sep 1929-1933, 1928?-1935 (c1938)]
- 20th Century Edition Part 4
(You'll note that the later volumes are really partial years that match up with the respective catalog--i.e., the 1939 catalog only covers through mid-1938 which is why Volume 4 only has spaces for stamps through mid-1938.)
To my knowledge, the covers for the 19th Century Edition and the last two parts of the 20th Century Edition do not specify years. So if you see a year range on the other two bindings rather than volume numbers, e.g., 20th Century Edition 1920-1927, this is a clue that you have an interim edition, not the complete one. But this isn't foolproof. I have a Part 3 that doesn't have a year range on the binder but the title page indicates that it isn't the final version.
The earlier volumes, at least, were reprinted multiple times. I have seen a citation to a 19th Century Edition printed as late as 1941, for example. I have heard rumors that Scott made some revisions over the years when reprinting the Browns, but have no concrete evidence of this.
As with Version A1, the Browns were available in a surprisingly wide variety of bindings and paper qualities, most of which are not encountered today. Almost all of the Browns you see for sale are hardbound, although Scott did sell loose-leaf versions. There are also hardbound versions printed on one side only.
Scott decided in the early 1940s to discontinue the Brown series in favor of their Green Specialty albums although they continued to advertise the Browns for as long as they had copies to sell.
The original Brown volumes show up on eBay and other venues with some frequency. The earlier ones are more common than the last two. The Twentieth Century Volume 3 is the hardest to find.
If you are new to the history of the Brown Internationals you may wonder why there is no 20th Century Edition Volume 5 [1939-1940]. For information on that, see the discussion in the next post concerning what I call Version B. This post will also reveal something never before mentioned in my blog: the Scott Provisional Albums.
I realize that this is convoluted, but I believe it is worth knowing that interim editions exist so you won't think you are automatically buying the complete volume without first checking.
(1) The first Type A2 album that in later printings became the 19th Century Edition (the number of engravings, 4000 rather than 6000, is the giveaway that this not the Type A1)
(2) A 19th Century Edition bound in boards
(3) The 19th Century Edition printed in two volumes on one side of the page
(4) The first Twentieth Century album covering 1901-1902 only
(5) An Interim album for the Twentieth Century Part 2 that covered 1920-1926 (versus 1920-1929 in the final version) and the Part 3, both bound in the typical brown