Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Robert E. Zoellner (1932-2014)

As this blog has been happily writing itself the past few days due to all of the excellent comments being submitted, I'm going to feel free to digress a bit. Perhaps the most erudite stamp discussion group I regularly read is PhilaMercury which is largely devoted to 19th century United States, but with frequent forays into other time periods and countries. Even though the US is no longer a specific collecting interest of mine, the quality of the contributions and depth of knowledge keeps me coming back.

Recently on PhilaMercury, Scott R. Trepel wrote of the death of Robert E. Zoellner, apparently the only collector to have acquired every Scott listed United States stamp. This prompted me to go back and look at the Robert A. Siegel auction catalog for Mr. Zoellner's collection which was sold October 8-10, 1998 (the pdf of the auction catalog is available online).

Four aspects of Mr. Zoellner's collection stood out:

1) I had been curious whether it was possible to form a complete US collection but had never taken the time to research the question. One reason this interests me is a common admonition against collecting the world is that a complete collection is impossible. But we've seen that it is possible for a worldwide collection to be 99% complete, at least as regards the major numbers. Which begs the question of how many single or area country collectors ever come near that goal? That they don't presumably does not argue against country collecting.

2) Only of personal interest, looking through the catalog took me back to my childhood when I first discovered in the local library Lester G Brookman's then two volume set on 19th century US stamps. I still remember drooling over the hand lettered album pages from the Philip J. Ward collection, as well as page after page of incredible covers and multiples. The Zoellner collection offers a similar feast.

3) Mr. Zoellner kept his collection in a Scott Platinum album, with custom pages designed to interface with the published ones.

4) Finally, Mr. Trepel's introduction to the Siegel sale  details how the collection was built. Here are a couple of quotes that I particularly enjoyed:

"…my thoughts go back to an observation once made by Raymond H. Weill… He told me that above all, the collector must have both the means and the inclination. The concept is so simple that my reaction upon hearing it was to look for other requirements. What about knowledge? Or time? Was it not important to join collector groups? Surely there must be other essentials.

Experience has taught me the simple truth of Raymond Weill's observation. Truly great collections begin with the inclination to collect and grow through the dedication of financial resources necessary to acquire significant items. Knowledge may come to the collector. Membership in societies may add sociability to the process. The time spent collecting may be long or short (the key is being there at the right time). However, means and, inclination are the fundamentals that determine how events in a collector's life will unfold."

"Collectors are motivated for many reasons, but the seeds of inclination are often planted in childhood, when many of us were introduced to stamp collecting by our parents or teachers. Robert Zoellner started as a child and tried to fill the spaces of a United States stamp album with the best copies he could afford. When his interest was rekindled in 1984, Mr. Zoellner pulled out that old album and became reacquainted with the Columbian, Trans-Mississippi and Overrun Nations issues. This time he could afford to complete those sets with examples in choice condition."

"When Mr. Zoellner told me he was considering selling the collection that he calls 'our' collection, I actually felt myself resisting the idea, despite the obvious benefits to me and this firm. Then I thought about Raymond Weill's words again-means and inclination-and I realized that for a dozen years Robert Zoellner was the most determined collector I have ever met, who had the means to achieve his goal. He did it, he enjoyed it, he learned from it, and now he no longer has the inclination to go beyond his original goal or to keep stamps locked away from other collectors."

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Apfelbaum’s Corner

I know there is some disagreement about the Apfelbaum organization as the most affordable way for purchasing stamps, but I hope there is no disagreement about the value of John Apfelbaum's informative and entertaining blog. Just a couple of examples from my most recent perusal:

--as of 2009, "there was slightly over $2 billion of unused postage stamps in collectors’ hands";

--Hermann Herst Jr's Nassau Street "was on the New York Times’ bestseller list";

--How it came about that "collectors all around the world use the same types of perforation gauges and count perfs."

I have a permanent link to Mr. Apfelbaum's latest blog entry on the right of this screen, and I encourage you to check out his posts at least a couple of times a month.

there was slightly over $2 billion of unused postage stamps in collectors’ hands - See more at:
there was slightly over $2 billion of unused postage stamps in collectors’ hands - See more at:
there was slightly over $2 billion of unused postage stamps in collectors’ hands - See more at:
there was slightly over $2 billion of unused postage stamps in collectors’ hands - See more at:
there was slightly over $2 billion of unused postage stamps in collectors’ hands - See more at:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Has the Internet Made It Easier to Complete a Blue Volume One?

The article that did the most to make me take the worldwide plunge was “They Collected the World” that appeared in the 26 April 1978 Washington Post. As I have written on this blog before, the article detailed how two collectors completed the first 29 volumes of the Scott International series. I was particularly fascinated by the details of how they acquired their stamps and which were the hardest to find. 

“’The hunt becomes more important than the object of the hunt,’ [one of the collectors] muses. A Syrian misprint, a nondescript green portrait of the goddess Ceres that says 25 centimes where it ought to say 50, eluded them for two years; [one of them] tramped all over Paris looking for it, pored through every catalog he could find, sent letters off to Damascus. One of the letters was forwarded to a Syrian dealer who had moved to Dubai, a minuscule Arab state on the Persian gulf, and who responded with a nice little note conveying his respect and enclosing the stamp.”

And for many stamps the story was similar. Countless wantlists and letters mailed to dealers around the world. Obsessive perusal of printed auction catalogs. It took them six years to complete their task of filling all 29 volumes.

And all done before eBay, Delcampe, online auction catalogs, and email. But today?

Cases in point: There are three stamps in the Blue that I have at one time or another seen identified as difficult to find:

—Syria Scott 106a (the Syrian misprint described above)
—Colombia E1, the country’s first special delivery stamp
—Cabe Juby 48-50 (high values from an overprinted series; the Blue has spaces for any two of the three).

Syria 106a took a year to find a copy. When I did find it, the stamp only cost me $25 on Delcampe, about 10% of catalog. Not long after I saw another copy on eBay. Unfortunately I didn’t record the details, but I remember the purchaser paid closer to the catalog value. Most recently, there was an auction with multiple copies, each of which sold for high prices.

I learned about the Colombia E1 special delivery stamp from a stamp market column by Henry Gitner in Linn’s. He said something to the effect that, in spite of not being particularly expensive, most collectors of Colombia have never seen this stamp. Nevertheless, this was the easiest of the three to acquire. The search took only about a month, but I had to obtain it as part of set of album pages which cost about $13. I just checked and there is a copy for sale on eBay. In spite of the scarcity of single stamps, Antonius Ra found a complete sheet. (Check out his comments here:

Cape Juby 48-50 took a year and a half of searching. The entire country is something of a challenge but I was first alerted to the difficulty of this particular series by a collector who needed the high values to complete (literally) his Volume One. Since I have been searching, I have not seen a set for sale until one appeared on eBay a couple of weeks ago which I acquired for $71 (the entire set, not just the top denominations).

Now, I must say that I wasn’t diligent in looking for any of the above but the Syria error. For the Cape Juby, in particular, weeks would go buy where I would forget to check. But when I did remember, there was nothing on eBay, Delcampe, or any of the usual suspects. Until now.

Is there any stamp, then, in the Blue Volume One which cannot be found online with reasonable persistance? So far, none that I know of. But still, in spite of the feeling by some specialist collectors that there is no thought needed to collect the world, only a big bank account, I do like the idea that there are thousands of stamps required for the Blue that you cannot find on any given day, even for ready money. The quest to fill the Blue will take you on a journey lasting years and the final stamp you hinge in your album is just as likely to cost 50 cents as it is $500. Probably more likely.

Addendum. The 29 volume set of completed Scott Internationals mentioned above were eventually sold at auction. One of the ironies is that most of the individual auction lots were for stamps not in the Blue but in country collections purchased entire for cheaper but elusive stamps the collectors needed. Here are my notes from the auction for some individual stamps that I believe are in the International series and that were identified by the collectors or auctioneers as “hard to get.” An asterisk indicates those in the Volume One.

Belgium 717-727A Scarce
*Dominican Republic 209-232 Hard to find
*France Offices in China, difficult
*Germany 242A scarce
*Great Britain 33 Plt 225 scarce
Iran 1058A-72 scarce
Iran O58-71 Scarce
Italy QY5-11 scare
Lebanon RA1-7, 9 Elusive
*Mayotte 1-20 scarce high values
Mexico C285 NH scarce
Nepal 51-9 scarce
Nepal O15 scarce
Nigeria 258-67 scarce
*Norway 67-9 scarce
*Norway 132-5 underpriced
*Norway 154-7 underpriced
Pakistan 258-9 scarce
Pakistan O73 cat. $1.56
Paraguay C382-8 Very difficult issues
Saudi Arabia 302/449 gas and oil series, difficult
Saudi Arabia 459-597 scarce definitives
*Syria 106c The toughest stamp in the Intl's (Scott has subsequently renumbered 106c to 106a)
*Upper Sileisa Four unlisted Scott shown in Intl's
Yemen Following 58: Three unissued values which appear in Intl. Very scarce.
Yugoslavia 393 scarce

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What's New in the 2015 Edition of the Scott Classic Catalogue

I've done a similar post every November since beginning this blog. The past couple of years this has been easier because it was possible to look at the editor's page in the online version of the catalog. This year, Scott is using a different online delivery system and this is no longer an option. So what appears here is taken from an article that was published in Linn's.

There are 30,000 value changes from the 2014 edition. Half of these changes are for entries that are only in the Classic Catalogue, a handy way of quantifying how the Classic differs from Scott's "regular" worldwide catalog.

The cover of the 2015 edition features the famous One Cent British Guiana which is also valued: $9.5 million.

The most important newly added listings are the Cubiertas stamps of Colombia (missing from all Scott catalogs since 1941). Also notable is the addition of Hong Kong to the coverage of Chinese Treaty Ports. The Linn's article also notes: "The reorganization of the Ceres issues of Portugal and Portuguese colonies that began in the 2013 Scott Classic catalog is now complete," with "revised listings for Portuguese Congo, Portuguese Guinea, Portuguese India, St. Thomas and Prince Islands, Tete and Timor."

If I have a chance to see the editor's page for the 2015 edition, I will come back and make additions to this post.

If you want an overview of changes in all the editions since 1995, type the words "classic catalogue" into the search field in the upper left corner of the screen.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Quick Overview of Pros and Cons of Worldwide Albums

Before doing the comparison, here are the albums we are talking about:

The Scott Brown Internationals had a space for every major number in the Scott catalog through mid-1939, but the originals are out-of-print. The pages have been reprinted by Vintage Reproductions which you can still buy.

The Scott Blue Internationals were originally a companion "junior" album to the more comprehensive Browns. When the Browns were discontinued the Blue line dropped  "junior" from the title. The Blue Internationals are still being sold.

The Minkus Master and Supreme Global albums were competitors to the Scott Blue Internationals. The Master was less comprehensive than the Blues; the Supreme Globals more comprehensive, but less so than the Browns. The Supreme Global has been reprinted.

William Steiner through his website sells Acrobat pdf files for you to print your own worldwide pages. These are as comprehensive as the Browns if not more so, including a set specifically for 1840-1940.

Got that? So how do these compare against each other?

Scott International originals (Browns) - 5 vols

—Comprehensive for major numbers in Scott Catalog (at the time each volume was published)
—Can purchase for bargain prices from eBay et al

—Originals are out-of-print and most offered for sale are in less than pristine condition
—Hardbound so you can't interleave volumes or add your own pages (there were looseleaf versions but these are practically never encountered)
—Thinner, non-archival paper printed on both sides of the page
—No catalog numbers in spaces
—Most countries missing the stamps for mid-1939 through 1940

Scott International reprints by Vintage Reproductions (Browns) - 6 vols

—Heavy archival paper printed on one side only
—Easy to add your own pages or even integrate with the current Scott Internationals Volume 2 on
—Includes stamps through end of 1940

—No catalog numbers in spaces
—Takes many binders and lots of shelf space

Scott International Volume One, 1 and 2-part versions (originally called the Junior, now commonly referred to as the Blues to differentiate them from the more comprehensive Browns)

—Possible to house representative worldwide collection in a single volume (although as you add more stamps or interleaving, you'll will be hard pressed to keep it in even a jumbo binder)
—Can purchase earlier editions for bargain prices from eBay et al
—Used by many collectors so a lot of information is available on the Internet, including a wonderful checklist in progress by Jim (

—35K spaces represents no more than 50-60% of face different 1840-1940 stamps
—Unevenly edited; all editions are missing thousands of common stamps; some stamps are in some editions but not others
—Some countries that are in earlier versions are missing in later
—Pre-1947 editions usually hardbound
—Printed on non-archival paper on both sides of the page
—Some editions are on thin paper which is prone to tearing
—Difficult to integrate looseleaf version with later volumes or to add your own pages (impossible, obviously, if you have the hardbound version)
—No catalog numbers in spaces

Scott International Volume One, 4-part version (current version of what was originally called the Junior, now commonly referred to as the Blues to differentiate them from the more comprehensive Browns)

—As above plus the 4-parts edition is on heavy archival paper and has been redesigned so you can integrate with later volumes as well as add you own pages

—As above as regards scope and editing
—Better paper but still printed on both sides of the page (although there are a lot more blank backs of pages)
—More expensive to buy new than to purchase "used" earlier editions
—Missing hundreds of stamps and a few countries that were in some earlier editions

Minkus Supreme Global originals

—Even the first edition went to 1952 which will be appealing to collectors who would like to go beyond a 1940 cutoff without buying any supplements
—Possible to house representative worldwide collection in a single volume (although as you add more stamps or interleaving, you'll will be hard pressed to keep it in even a jumbo binder)
—Most countries are noticeably more comprehensive than the Scott Blue Internationals
—Later editions include Minkus catalog numbers for every space which greatly simplifies matching the correct stamp to the space (as long as you acquire the out-of-print Minkus catalogs)
—Can purchase for bargain prices on eBay et al

—Contains more stamps per page than other albums listed here (form versus function)

—Thinner, non-archival paper (but not as thin as some earlier Blue Internationals)
—Minkus catalog numbers are no longer used by sellers
—Some pages display more than one country making these sections somewhat difficult to integrate or expand (although better in this respect than earlier Scott Blue Internationals)

Minkus Supreme Global reprint of 1952 edition by Amos Publishing

Pros/cons: Same as the above but with the added advantage of being on thicker, archival paper
—Somewhat cheaper than the equivalent Scott Blue Internationals

Steiner (

—Comprehensive coverage
—Collector friendly policy of fixing mistakes
—Inexpensive compared to some of the other albums if you print your own pages
—Can use 8.5x11 inch paper which allows cheaper binding options
—Extremely easy to expand/integrate with your own pages

—Contains fewest stamps per page of any albums listed here (form versus function)

—Almost no images of stamps, only descriptions
—No catalog numbers (but spaces correlate easily with the Scott catalog)
—Either must print your own pages or purchase preprinted pages from third parties (expensive); many collectors would disagree and rate the print yourself feature as neutral or even a plus!
—Requires a lot of shelf space

Not included in the above:

Scott Speciality or Minkus Regional/Country albums could be used to house an 1840-1940 collection if you can find the ones that are out-of-print. Several very large worldwide collections that go beyond 1940 have used these albums.

The Gibbons Ideal Album covering 1840-1935 has virtues but I don't think is a practical option today unless SG reprints on one side of a page. You can read more here :

Friday, September 5, 2014

Amos Bundles Scott Classic Catalogue and Volume One International Album

Amos Publishing has announced what I believe is the first bundling of the Classic Catalogue and the pages for the (largely) corresponding album, the Scott International Volume One that covers 1840-1940. The cost of the bundle is $749.99, $599.99 if you are an Amos Advantage member. This represents a 5% savings over the cost of buying the catalog and album separately. Note that the catalog currently advertised is the 2014 version. So unless Amos updates the bundle when the 2015 catalog appears in November, you are buying last year's edition.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Stanley Gibbons Imperial Album Revisited

In 2011 I wrote about the Stanley Gibbons equivalents of the Scott Browns and the Blue International Volume One. Somehow I missed a thread the following year on Stampboards that describes collector Jonah's progress on filling the SG Imperial. (The Imperial covers the British Commonwealth 1840-1936.) There are lots of interesting comments and images, many of which are relevant to Scott International collectors. I still am having trouble acclimating to the lack of borders around stamps, but the completed pages do have a nice clean look. I suppose collectors who use stockbooks would especially like the appearance.

There is a new post on Stampboards that addresses the availability status of the Imperial. SG intends to update the Imperial along the lines of their King George VI album with similar 22 ring binders. Alas, nothing is mentioned about the Ideal album which covered the rest of the world. (Regency, the US distributor, still shows the 3 volume Ideal available for $499.)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Tale of Two Albums

The March/April 2014 issue of The Circuit (International Society of Worldwide Stamp Collectors) contains a very entertaining article by Emory Earl Toops titled “A Tale of Two Albums.” While the article is first and foremost a look at how the Minkus Master Global Album has evolved, using the author’s own collection that started with the 1958 edition compared with a 1967 edition, it also will remind many readers of their own stamp collecting journeys.

The most obvious differences between the two albums, Toops notes, are the changes in country names and boundaries. During this time period, this is perhaps most evident with the many former African colonies that became independent countrie. The author gives multiple examples of how this obviously vexed the album editors as they tried to fit all the new names in the alphabetization sequence.

The other major difference is how the editors attempted to squeeze in nine years of new issues while keeping the album to a single volume. The 1958 edition holds 56,000 stamps in 1320 pages. The 1967 edition has room for 65,000 stamps. According to the editors, this means that the 1958 edition held half of the worlds issues; the 1967, one third. Toops’ analysis shows that the editors maintained the single volume footprint “at the expense of earlier issues” as well as through simplification: for example, ignoring watermarks for some issues that had previously had dedicated spaces. One example of the author's analysis will have to suffice: “…Brazil’s pages in both albums [i.e., editions] were exactly the same until 1948 before severe editing occurred; after condensing the years 1948-54, the albums again resume parity in stamp display.”

As interesting as this is, what takes this article beyond the dry comparisons I do in my blog is that Mr. Toops shares through the lens of his albums how he came to collect via his father as a child and then continuing as an adult with his own children. I think this quote from the last paragraph of the article captures the flavor nicely:

“Tucked away in a volume of my Minkus Master Global Stamp Album is a picture of me and my father at our kitchen table, the album open in front of us, catalogue out and stamps on the table. I was about 13. Just a few years ago, I recreated the scene individually with both daughters…. My Master Global Stamp Album has traveled the world with me—to Iceland, Bahrain, Germany and the United Kingdom—and it is the one really tangible connection I have with my late father and the time we shared 'playing stamps of the world.'"

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Blog "On Hold"

You may have noticed the decreased frequency of posts since last year. This is a result of some family-related matters including selling a house that I am dealing with. These will be resolved by later this year and I look forward to being more active at that time. I will certainly continue to post anything I see of major importance to Blue Volume One collectors, but won't be doing any special projects such as the recent one on collating Volume One and Two.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April 1st Breaking News: Scott Pledges To Make their Classic Specialized Catalogue Just as Good as their Blue International Volume One Album

In conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the Blue International Album, Scott announced today that it will “dumb down” their flagship Classics catalog to make it mesh more closely with their flag-dingie world album.

“We are constantly being asked by collectors,” said Scott officials, “why our Classic Catalogue improves every year while the International Volume One continues to perpetuate mistakes and inconsistencies that have been in the album for decades. Well ask no more.”

Scott plans to reduce the disparity in quality between the catalog and the album by making the following changes:

1) all stamps not in the International Volume One will be eliminated from the catalog so as not to confuse collectors;

2) to compensate, catalog listings will be modified or invented to create stamps that match every space in the album, even when no actual stamp exists;

3) some correct stamp illustrations in the catalog will be replaced by incorrect ones or put in several different places;

4) stamps appearing more than once in the album will now be listed more than once in the catalog;

5) descriptions belonging to one stamp will be swapped with another a few dozen times to keep collectors on their toes;

6) as the years printed in the album often don’t match the catalog, dates for stamp sets will be adjusted randomly a year/decade or two so that nothing matches anything;

7) and in a special homage, the entire catalog listings for Syria will be reduced to a single stamp.

The editors acknowledged that collectors would no doubt prefer them to bring the Scott International Volume One up to the level of the catalog rather than vice versa, but they took a vote and agreed that “money talks.”

Friday, March 21, 2014

Author of Article on Worldwide Collecting Looking for Persons to Interview

The "In Defense of the World Wide Collector" thread on the Postage Stamp Chat Board has been rather active lately I am pleased to report. In a recent post on this thread, author Erik Cagle says that he is writing an article on "collecting the world on a simplified basis" for a US publication and is interested in talking to worldwide collectors, new and experienced. Check out his original message here and then contact Mr. Cagle if you are interested in being interviewed for the article.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

So How Will Dealers Describe Your Collection When It Is Sold?

I was browsing the latest Kelleher worldwide auction catalog in the hopes of finding complete Blue Volume Ones. Alas, the worldwide album selection was of little interest. But I began marveling at the ingenuity of the persons writing up the catalog and the names they chose for each lot. Here are my favorites:

World wide, Dumpster Diving, 1850-1940
World wide, Balance of the Philatelic Universe
World wide, Melange
World wide, Philatelic Pandemonium
World wide, Philatelic Prospecting Extravaganza
World wide, Philatelic Plethora of Treasures
World wide, Philatelic Fandango

and the always popular

World wide, Philatelic Caboose.

How could you not want to bid on these?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Combining Scott Blue Volumes I and II

I have been threatening for some time to expand my worldwide collection beyond 1940. This finally came to pass after I recently purchased a 30% full Blue Volume II covering 1940-1949. One of the reasons I had been delaying is the assumption that my 1969 edition of the Volume One would not play nice with a Volume Two — I would need the current four part Volume One to put them together seamlessly.

But having thrown caution to the wind, I proceeded to try integrating the two albums. I am pleased to report that while the result was not perfect by any means, it was better than expected. How much better? You can see below via a 4-point scale that I used keep track of how well each country combined.

(Before getting to the results, I should note that Scott incorporated some changes into my 1969 edition that facilitates combining with later volumes. Which is another way of saying, if you have an earlier edition, your mileage may vary. I also want to recognize reader Keith and his index to the countries in Volumes I-III. His work made my tabulation a whole lot easier.)

My 4-point scale yielded the following groups of countries:

Group 1 - countries combine perfectly, i.e., all regulars/commems for 1840-1949 come together in chronological order as do all back of the book stamps (if any);

Group 2 - regulars/commems remain together, but one or more categories of back of the book stamps are separated (for example, you might have 1840-1940 semi-postals followed by 1840-1940 airmails followed by 1940-1949 semi-postals);

Group 3 - 1940-1949 regulars/commems are separated from 1840-1940 regulars/commems by one or more pages of BOB issues; however the entire country remains together;

Group 4 - a page from an adjacent country in Volume One is getting in the way of adding the Volume Two pages. This is invariably caused when Volume One starts a new country on the reverse side of a page;

Not applicable - these are Volume I countries that are not in Volume II or, much less often, vice-versa.

So specifically, here is the count of how many countries fell into each group:

Group 1 - 99 countries;
Group 2 - 72 countries;
Group 3 - 29 countries;
Group 4 - 10 countries.

The Group 4 countries in my album are:  Brunei, Czechoslovakia Bohemia & Moravia, Czechoslovakia Slovakia, French Colonies, India Convention States, India Feudatory States, Karelia, Malaysian States, Mongolia, and Serbia. (Remember, earlier editions may combine differently.)

I have to confess that Group 4 could look worse than I have it, depending upon how you want to rank the Indian and Malyasian States. The problem is that in Volume I Scott has crammed as many as half-a-dozen Indian Feudatory States and Malyasian/Straits Settlements States on a page. The Indian Convention States also don’t fit well into the ranking because they are on “blank” pages. If I did a literal ranking of the States then you would have 14 more Group 4s. I felt it was a little unfair to skew the results this way, since the States do stay together even if out of order. So I only added three 4’s to the above tabulation rather than 14. You may feel differently. Or maybe you are a true-Blue optimist and think there are only seven countries in Group 4!

Back to the big picture: Not unexpectedly, my two stuffed jumbo binders are now three stuffed jumbo binders. It took six packages plus part of a seventh of glassine interleaving (i.e., 600+ sheets) to accommodate the new pages.

Ideally I would have liked everything to be Group 1, but I can live with BOB stamps being split. Regular/commems intermingled with postage due stamps or whatever are more irritating (for those of us used to the Scott way of separating out BOB stamps.) But the real stinkers are the Group 4’s. I’ve thought about three approaches for these:

1) put in a duplicate page from another Volume I that I leave blank and cross through or disuse somehow;

2) make my own pages to substitute for the offending ones;

3) put the Volume II page(s) out of chronological sequence. I.e., Begin with 1940-1949 and then 1840-1940.

Solution 3 is the easiest but causes the most cognitive dissonance. Solution 2 is the most elegant solution but involves the most work. Solution 1 requires a second album that can be dismembered (admittedly something most Blue collectors will accumulate) and is the least attractive visually.

To make this clearer, lets look at Brunei. The first image shows Brunei as it would be if I didn’t try to improve the integration. Brunei 1840-1940 is on the front of a page and Bulgaria begins on the back. That would be followed by Brunei 1940-1949 on the front, a blank reverse, and then the rest of Bulgaria. Nice, no? No.

Solution 3 is shown in the second image. Brunei 1940-1949 on the front, a blank on the reverse, Brunei 1840-1940 on the front, and Bulgaria starting on the reverse. Better? Maybe. I think if there were more Group 4's this would less acceptable.

I have glossed over a few issues that I consider to be minor but you may not. For example, I ignored the blank reverses that now appear within many countries, say dividing the 1940 issues from the 1941. (You could argue this is a feature—i.e., more places to put stamps that Scott omitted.) I also did not assess demerits if the names of countries did not match (e.g., Abyssinia/Ethiopia). Finally, should I ever add Volume Three (1950-55) some of my current Group 1’s in particular may become 2’s.

Purists out there will no doubt be bothered by some or all of these, but I can’t imagine purists ever being happy with the Blues in the first place.

P.S. I should mention that I still plan to keep statistics as to how much of Volume One I have completed, but I won't be doing the same for Volume Two.