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 stampalbum.com 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 (http://bigblue1840-1940.blogspot.com/)

—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 (http://www.stampalbums.com/)

—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 : http://globalstamps.blogspot.com/se...l+album.