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.'"

1 comment:

Jim said...

It sounds like a very interesting article on several levels. Perhaps I should join the society. :-)

I hope your move is going well, and you will be reunited with your albums soon.