Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Brown versus Brown

[As background for the following, the Scott International Postage Stamp Album was first published in 1875/76. All editions published before 1900 were titled simply the "International." But once it was the 20th century and there was the need for a second volume, Scott referred to the album covering 1840-1900 as the “19th Century Edition.” Both of these are part of what are informally referred to as the “Brown” albums.]

I’ve commented on several occasions about Scott’s inexplicable decision to omit spaces for early Afghanistan from their otherwise estimable Brown International “19th Century Edition.” I was also aware that these same later versions of the Brown omit the worldwide postal stationary that was in the Internationals published before 1900. I assume this was because collecting cut squares fell out of favor as well as a desire to control the size of the albums as the number of new stamps dramatically increased.

All of this got me to wondering whether there were any other obvious differences between the Internationals published before 1900 and the ones you encounter today on eBay and other venues (or through the Vintage Reproductions edition). As I own a copy of the 1896 edition of the International as well as the 1930 printing of the Brown titled “19th Century Edition,” I decided to stop wondering and start comparing.

The bad news, as it turns out, my “19th Century Edition” is missing some pages. The good news is, when I checked my 1930 copy against the 1902 pdf copy available online via Google books, I discovered the answer to a question that I’ve wondered about: namely, did Scott’s editors make any changes in the Browns over the years? The answer, in the case of the “19th Century Edition” is yes. In general, the “19 Century Edition” albums published in the early 20th century are reasonably close to those published in the 19th century, except for the deletion of cut squares. Most of the other changes for editions published later represent stamps being removed that were in earlier catalogs as major numbers but subsequently were demoted to minor status or removed entirely (e.g., stamps determined to be essays, locals, etc.). Additions to the album in later editions were much rarer. My favorite is one that would make any Blue International collector proud: the decision to add the Swedish tre skilling yellow rarity which wasn’t in early versions. I guess too many collectors were completing the album and Scott thought it should add an additional degree of difficulty.

Below is a summary of what I’ve found, starting with some general observations. You can be certain that this is not complete; these are just what stood out as I was flipping synchronously through each album.

I think there may be a few more illustrations percentage-wise in the 1896 volume, although this isn’t always more helpful to collectors. I.e., sometimes a description is of more value than a small picture. Or a cut of an overprint sans stamp.

The cuts in the 19th century edition have a white line through them as did the illustrations in some Scott catalogs. I can guess why this was, but does anyone know for certain?

Some countries are out of order in the 1896 album and even in some of the earlier “19th Century Edition” versions, shades of the pre-1994 editions of the Scott Blue. And, of course, you are dealing with a fair number of country name changes, e.g., Haiti versus Hayti.

The 1896 edition includes postage stamps used as revenues, but these are omitted for most countries in the “19th Century Edition.” But not all. I assume that there is a justification for the “19th Century Edition” including those for Hong Kong, New Zealand, Queensland, Venezuela, and Victoria, but I haven’t investigated.

To reiterate, worldwide postal stationary is in the 1896 but not in the “19th Century Edition” except for the United States.

To save on space, I’m using these abbreviations in the following:

1896 - my pre-1900 edition of the Brown
19th - my post-1900 edition of the Brown
E - envelope cut squares
RE - registration envelope cut squares
W - wrapper cut squares.

Countries not listed below appear to include the same stamps for the period the two albums cover or they aren’t in the 1896 edition because the countries first issued stamps after 1895’ish.

OK, let’s dig in:

United States. Postmaster Provisionals. 1896 is missing a number of provisionals such as the Alexandria and Annapolis stamps. Especially peculiar is the 1896 includes only the five cent Providence provisional, and illustrates that with a sheet of 12 rather than a single stamp.

US Carrier stamps. 1896 provides two pages versus one in the 19th Century edition.

US Confederate States. Provisionals. Two and a half pages with cuts and descriptions in the 1896, just a blank page in the 19th.

Afghanistan. Six pages with cuts and descriptions in the 1896, one blank page in the 19th.

Angra. 1896 includes E.

Argentina. 1896 includes E and W.

Argentina. Buenos Aires. 1896 edition includes 3 more stamps than the 19th.

Austria. 1896 includes Pneumatic envelopes, E, and W.

Austria. Levant/Turkey. 1896 includes E.

Austria. Lombardy-Venice. 1896 includes envelopes, 1850 and 1858 revenues used for postage, and the Danube Steam Navigation Company which is some earlier versions of the 19th but missing from my 1930 edition.

Baden. 1896 includes E.

Bahamas. 1896 includes E and RE.

Barbados. 1896 in includes E, RE, and W.

Bavaria. 1896 includes 1865 and 1869-84 return letter stamps, E, and W.

Bechuanaland/British Bechuanaland. 1896 includes RE and W.

Belgium. 1896 edition includes newspaper stamps, E, and letter sheets.

Benin. 1896 edition includes E and thirteen postage due stamps versus four in the 19th Century Edition. According to the current catalog, “Nos. J1-J4 exist with overprint in various positions” which account for the extra spaces.

Bermuda. 1896 missing 1849 Hamilton stamps. Neither include X4-X6. 1896 includes RE.

Bolivia. 1896 includes fifteen spaces for revenues used for postage and E.

Bosnia and Herzegovina. 1896 includes E.

Brazil. 1896 includes E.

British Central Africa. 1896 includes RE.

British East Africa. 1896 includes E and RE.

British Guiana. 1896 includes 3 more official stamps than the 19th. 1896 also includes E, RE and W.

British South Africa 1896 (Rhodesia in 19th). 1896 includes RE.

Brunswick. 1896 includes E.

Canada. 1896 has spaces for a few stamps not in the 19th, e.g., Scott #1 3p red on laid and ribbed (as opposed to wove?). And Scott #2 and #3, the 6p and 12 p black, on laid. 1896 also has the 1879 officially sealed stamp and E, W.

Cape of Good Hope. 1896 has E, RE, and W.

Central American Steamship Co. In 1896. Lost Scott catalog status sometime after that.

Ceylon. 19th has 131 spaces for regular issues compared to 126 in the 1896 for the same years. 1896 has E, RE, and W.

Chile. 1896 has Official seals, Revenues used for postage, Telegraph stamps used for postage, and E.

Chinese Treaty Ports. Chefoo, Chinkiang, Chungking, Hankow, Ichang, Kewkiang, and Wuhu have separate pages in the 1896. The 19th provides three blank pages.

Colombian Republic. There are a number of differences between the two albums, e.g., the 1863 “Same, Star after Cent” spaces which are in the 1896, but not in the 19th having been relegated to minor number status in later editions of the Scott Catalog. The 1879 set of Cali Provisionals that are no longer in Scott are in both editions, six spaces in the 1896 within Colombia proper, and eighteen spaces in the 19th Century edition along with other States.  One weird difference is the cut for the 1863 bisect surcharged “Bueno por Cinco Pesos” on Scott #65 (69?). The cut is flipped for no apparent reason between the two albums. Probably a moot point as this appears to be a fantasy issue (described in Earee’s Album Weeds.) 1896 has Railroad Postal Service and River Postal Service envelopes.

Cook Islands. 1896 provides 4 spaces for the 1896 stamps where the 19th has 8 spaces, one set for toned paper the other for white.

Costa Rica. 1896 has spaces for Revenues Used for Postage as well as E and W.

Costa Rica. Guanteaste. 1896 has spaces for Revenues Used for Postage.

Cuba. 1896 has space for an 1871 ten centavo Republic of Cuba stamp. By the 1930 edition, it had disappeared from the 19th. It appears that this is an essay and there was also a five centavo.

Cyprus. 1896 has RE and W.

Danish West Indies. 1896 has E.

Denmark. 1896 has spaces for Official Seals and E and W.

Diego Suarez. 1896 has E.

Dominica. 1896 has Revenues Used for Postage.

Dominican Republic. 1896 has W.

Dutch Indies. 1896 has E. 19th has two spaces for 1845-46 Postage Dues, Scott J1-2. Are these the first postage due stamps? Most sources say France but these are over a decade earlier.

Ecuador. 1896 has Revenues Used for Postage, and E and W.

Egypt. 1896 has a page of Official stamps 1864-1872 that are not in the 19th. (See http://www.interpostalseals.com/) The 1896 also has E, letter sheets, and W.

Fiji Islands. 1896 has an official stamp from 1888.

Finland. 1896 has E and W.

Formosa. 1896 has 2 stamps from 1888. I don’t find Formosa in the 19th.

France. 1896 has E, W and Pneumatic Envelopes.

French Colonies. 1896 has E and W.

French Guiana. 1896 has E.

French Guinea. 1896 has E.

French India. 1896 has E.

French Oceanica. 1896 has E.

French Sudan. 1896 has E.

Funchal. 1896 has E.

Germany. Postal Services of Princes of Thurn and Taxis. Northern States. 1896 has E.

Germany. Postal Services of Princes of Thurn and Taxis. Southern States. 1896 has E.

Germany. North German Postal District. 1896 has three pages of E, W and Provisional Envelopes.

Germany. Empire. 1896 has E and W.

Gibralter. 1896 has RE and W.

Gold Cost. 1896 has RE and W.

Great Britain. Offices in the Levant. 1896 has E.

Great Britain. 1896 has four spaces for Mulready Envelopes, the 19th, two. The 1896 has six pages for E, RE, W, and Compound Envelopes.

Greece. 1896 has E.

Grenada. 1896 has Revenue Used for Postage, RE, and W.

Griqualand West. 19th has blank page for “Cape of Good Hope Stamps Surcharged.” 1896 has three pages with cuts and descriptions.

Guadeloupe. 1896 has E.

Guatemala. 1896 has E and W.

Hamburg. 1896 has E.

Hamburg American Mail Company. 1 space in 1896.

Hanover. 1896 has E and Local Envelopes.

Hawaii. 1896 has E.

Heligoland. 1896 has E and W.

Honduras. 1896 has E and W.

Hong Kong. 1896 and 19th have spaces for Revenues Used for Postage/Postal-Fiscal Stamps. 1896 has Official Seal.

Hungary. 1896 has spaces for E and W.

India. My 1930 edition of the 19th starts India with three spaces for the Scinde District Posts which the 1896 has with its Protected States pages. 1896 has E and RE.

India. Protected States. 1896 has 27 pages with separate spaces, 19th has five blank pages. 1896 includes cut squares as applicable.

Ivory Coast. 1896 includes E.

Jamaica. 1896 includes Revenues used for postage and W.

Japan. 1896 includes Officially Sealed, and E, W, and Official Wrapper.

Lagos. 1896 includes RE.

Leeward Islands. 1896 includes E, RE, and W.

Liberia. 1896 includes E, RE, W.

Lubbock. 1896 includes E.

Madagascar (British). 19th has 10 pages versus six and a half in 1896.

Madeira. 1896 has E.

Malta. 1896 has RE and W.

Mauritius. 1896 has E and RE.

Mayotte. 1896 has E.

Mecklenburg Schwerin. 1896 has spaces for both Scott 6 and 6a.

Mecklenburg Strelitz. 1896 has E.

Mexico. 1896 has official seals, E, official envelopes, and W.

Mexico. Campeche. 1896 has space for imperforate 25 centavo.

Mexico. Morelia. 19th has 1 space, not in 1896.

Mexico. Zactecas. 1896 has 2 spaces, not in 19th.

Monoco. 1896 has E, W.

Montenegro. 1896 has E, W.

Montserrat. 1896 has 1884 revenue used for postage.

Morocco. 1896 has a page with spaces for Mazagan-Morocco, Mazagan-Marakech, Mogador-Morocco, and Tanger-Fez. 19th has one blank page for “Stamps used for service between various cities in Morocco.”

Mozambique Company. 1896 has spaces for two newspaper stamps versus one in the 19th.

Natal. 1896 has W.

Nepal. Missing in 1896.

Netherlands. 1896 has E.

Nevis. 1896 has revenues used for postage.

New Caledonia. 1896 has spaces for seven 1893 military stamps and E.

Newfoundland. 1896 has E, W.

New Republic. There appears to be some differences in coverage between the two albums but I was too lazy to figure out the differences (i.e., same yellow paper, same gray paper, etc.). 1896 has E.

New South Wales. 1896 has E, official envelopes, official registration envelopes, RE, and W.

New Zealand. 1896 has space for 1896 newspaper stamp as well as spaces for the 1890 railway newspaper stamps. 1896 has three pages for revenues used for postage. The 19th, which mostly ignores this type of stamp, has one page for postal-fiscal stamps.

Nicaragua. 1896 has three pages for E, an official envelope, and W.

Niger Coast Protectorate. 1896 has RE.

North Borneo. 1896 includes revenues used as postage.

Norway. 1896 includes return letter stamps and E.

Nossi Bé. 1896 has E.

Oldenburg. 1896 has E.

Orange Free State. 1896 includes nine 1892 telegraph stamps used for postage.

Pacific Steam Navigation Company. 1896 has spaces for 11 stamps. Not in 19th or current Scott catalog.

Panama. I didn’t find in the 1896 so I assume my copy is missing these pages.

Paraguay. 1896 has E and W.

Persia. 1896 starts with space for 1868 Coat of Arms stamp which is not in the current catalog. 1896 has W.

Peru. 1896 has a page of E.

Peru. Provisional Issues. 19th century edition has one blank page for Provisional issues. 1896 has three pages with spaces for Arequipa, Ancash, Apurimac, Ayacucho, Chala, Chiclayo, Cuzco, Huacho, Paita, Moquega, Pasco, Pisco, Piura, Puno, and Yca.

Philippines. 1896 separates out the provisional issues, 19th integrates in one sequence.

Poland. 1896 has E.

Ponta Delgada. 1896 has E.

Portugal. 1896 has E.

Prince Edward Island. 1896 includes space for 1b (catalog $17K versus $250 for the major number in the 2007 catalog).

Prussia. 1896 has a page of E including the 1867 Victoria National Invalided Stiftung.

Queensland. 1896 has space for 1894 Newspaper stamps and W. 19th has spaces for three registration stamps versus only one in the 19th. 19th inexplicably provides a blank page for revenues used for postage.

Reunion. 1896 has E.

Romania. 1896 includes W.

Royal Mail Steam Packet Co. In 1896, not in 19th.

Russia. 1896 includes 2 pages of E and W.

St. Christopher. 1896 includes revenues used for postage.

St. Lucia. 1896 includes revenues used for postage, RE and W.

St. Marie de Madagascar. 1896 includes E.

St. Pierre Miquelon. 1896 includes E.

St. Vincent. 1896 includes RE and W.

Salvador. 1896 includes five pages for E and W.

Saxony. 1896 includes E.

Seychelles. 1896 has E.

Shanghai. There may be some differences between the two editions but I didn’t pursue. 1896 has E and W.

Sierra Leone. 1896 has RE.

South African Republic/Transvaal. 1896 and 19th differ in coverage of pre-1877/78 issues. 1896 has E.

South Australia. 1896 has W and official wrappers. Both have a blank page for official stamps. The 19th century qualifies this is “Stamps of regular issues surcharged with the initial letters of various departments” and then provides two pages with spaces for stamps overprinted O.S.

South Bulgaria. Another cut example.

Straits Settlements. 1896 includes RE.

Straits Settlements. Johore. 1896 missing Scott #1.

Suez Canal Co. Not in my 1930 version of the 19th but was in some earlier.

Sweden. My edition of the 19th includes 3 skilling error but it wasn’t in some earlier. 1896 has E.

Switzerland. 1896 has E and W.

Terra del Fuego. This private post is in the 1896.

Tasmania. 1896 has revenues used for postage, E, RE and W.

Timor. 1896 missing Scott #21. 1896 has space for 1883 10 R free surcharged on Mozambique. 19th also has this stamp and same on Portuguese India stamp. Both are given minor numbers today, Scott 2a and 2b.

Tobago. 1896 has RE.

Tonga. 1896 has E and RE.

Trinidad. 1896 has RE and W as well as space for the Lady McLeod Steam Navigation Company stamp. The Lady McLeod was in some earlier editions of the 19th.

Tunis. 1896 has space for E.

Turkey. 1896 has six spaces for 1887 privately produced surcharged bisects. Was in some earlier editions of 19th. 1896 has spaces for E.

Uruguay. 1896 missing Scott 3B. 1896 has E and W.

Venezuela. 1896 has ten spaces for Scott 1-6 versus three in the 19th. 1896 has spaces for revenues used for postage, blank half page in 19th.

Victoria. Both 1896 and 19th have spaces for revenues used for postage. 1896 has three pages for E, RE, and W.

Western Australia. 1896 has space for the inverted Swan error 3a.

Wurttemberg. 1896 has space for postage dues. Missing in the 19th. 1896 has E and official envelopes.

United States [BOB]. 1896 has telegraph stamps, revenue stamps, playing card stamps, and proprietary stamps. 19th has official seals, E, official envelopes, telegraph stamps, revenue stamps, proprietary stamps, and documentary stamps.


Jim said...

Great Sleuthing Bob!

The "Browns" were not static. !

I have a 1919 copyright "Nineteenth Century" Brown, and I did not find a space for the Sweden Treskilling Yellow error in there.

It was clearly added by 1930- your edition.

I note that the Ferrary collection was auctioned in the 1920s, so perhaps the error was more famous (infamous?) and accepted by then?


Bob said...

Jim, I think the question is why Scott decided to add a minor number, Sweden 1a, and an error, to boot? (I.e., I assume the error didn't have a major catalog number at some point.)

Surprisingly, I don't have a problem with having spaces for iconic rarities in my album such as the Tre Skilling or the Inverted Jenny. But from the album editor's perspective, what was there justification for including the Tre Skilling and not similar stamps?

InforaPenny said...

Bob, nice discussion of the Scott Brown Internationals! This is an area of special interest to me as I have a lively interest in the early days of stamp collecting, including both albums and philatelic literature.

Regarding the 19th century Scott International albums, I'm fortunate in having three examples, each displaying significant differences. These include the Tenth Edition published in 1891 (with bound-in Tenth Edition First Supplement of 1893), the 1899 edition published in 1898, and a 1901 edition which lacks the title page, but was apparently published in 1901 since it contains spaces for the Pan American Exposition Issue.

The first 1891 album is a slim volume with spaces for every major variety of postage stamp known to that time, including all of the world's envelope stamps ("cut squares"). US stamps begin with postmaster provisionals, and the the 1847 issues don’t start until 1/3 of the way down on the 2nd page. There are 7 spaces for St. Louis bears! Spaces are included for all revenue and postmaster provisional stamps, 13 pages for local stamps, plus 5 pages for telegraph stamps, etc. The measured thickness of all these double-side pages together is only about 15 mm.

The 1899 edition, as for the 1891 album includes spaces for the world's envelope stamps as "cut squares". The US section now starts with the 1847 issues, and there are now 1 1/2 pages for postmaster provisionals including 3 spaces for St. Louis bears, and 1 1/2 pages for locals, and again 5 pages for telegraph stamps. Measured thickness of these double-sided pages is now about 28 mm.

By the 1901 edition, the Scott International album had dropped all WW coverage of envelope stamps. US coverage is essentially the same as for the 1899 edition, with a measured thickness of a little over 30 mm. This apparently is the immediate predecessor to the Scott 19th Century album on Google books with its copyright date of 1902. Coverage generally seems to be same as that of my 1901 edition.

The “take away” from this analysis is that the decade of the 1890s must have been a transformative one for stamp collecting, causing collecting interests to change. In 1891, there hardly seemed to be enough different stamps to collect and WW envelope “cut squares” were apparently widely collected. Then came an explosion of new stamps issues designed with the stamp collector in mind. This included the introduction of commemorative stamps such as the US Columbian and Canadian Jubilee issues, and yearly sets of Seebeck stamps for Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador, each of which were lengthy series to high values.

The result, as reflected in these early Scott International albums, seems to be that general worldwide collectors began to limit their collecting to adhesive postage stamps around the turn of the century.

Best Regards,


Bob said...

InforaPenny, very helpful. I didn't remember, if I ever knew, that there were supplements to the Browns published before 1900. Thanks.

InforaPenny said...

Bob, I think these early Scott supplements were used to update the bound volumes without the need to reset the existing pages. For example, the 9th edition was published in 1888 and I presume bound-in supplements were used to extend it up until the 10th edition was produced in 1891. Year dated Scott editions must have started no earlier than 1894. Your 1896 edition is clearly an early one of these.

One of the things that makes this topic so intriguing is that while philatelic libraries do maintain runs of stamp catalogues, different editions of stamp albums are not generally available in these institutional collections. I’ve found Google books to be a great resource for early philatelic literature, and contemporary ads in stamp catalogues, etc. are especially useful for determining what different editions of stamp albums were produced.

Keep up the good work!

Best Regards,


DrewM said...

Very interesting and impressive efforts on your part, as usual, Bob.

I always assumed that those lines through stamps images (or overprint images, as you mentioned) were there because of a government policy against reproducing stamp (and banknote) images as an anti-counterfeiting measure. It's a bit hard to imagine how a black and white stamp image in an album could be seen as an attempt to "counterfeit" a stamp, but perhaps the law was written to exclude any images--or publishers were just playing it safe? Weren't images in some early stamp catalogues shown with diagonal lines across them? This is the explanation I've always heard. Why an overprint needs a diagonal line through it I have no idea. Perhaps also just playing it safe?

The out of order countries oddity must be due to Scott wanting to get the book published with the fewest blank pages or parts of pages, so they shuffled some countries. It's always good to remember that these albums were first and foremost a published product designed to make the publisher a profit. Only secondarily were they the bible of stampdom to be relied on by generations of stamp collectors as the final determinant of what to collect. Some business decisions might not make sense to pure collectors.

Maybe adding the Swedish Treskilling Yellow error was just a simple publisher's effort to sexy up the album since as Jim says, it was suddenly in the news about the time it was added? It is odd that certain stamps appear while others mysteriously disappear. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Scott (Amos, whatever they're called) would go back and resolve all these problems, add missing stamps, reorganize, and so on, then reissue the pages correctly -- rather than simply reprinting told pages "as is" as with the Vintage Reproduction pages? Dream on.

As for envelope stamps or "cut squares" disappearing, I wonder if they were actually falling out of favor which led Scott to drop them from the album -- or was Scott's dropping them a major reason for their falling out of favor? "Cause and effect" is not always (says the history teacher in me). Maybe Scott's dropping envelope stamps was the major factor in their falling out of favor? One way to check would be to look at Scott's other albums. Was Scott's National (U.S.) published at this time? If so, were cut squares deleted from it, as well? I remember seeing them in National albums for many years. Or were they on additional pages you had to buy as supplements? Not sure.

In any case, if they continued to print pages for envelope stamps elsewhere despite dropping them from the Browns, there must have been a significant number of collectors of them--which would suggest dropping them from the Browns was not due to lack of collector interest so much as a publisher's decision to save space because the albums were getting too big. Or it may have been a combination of the two, some fall-off in interest plus the need to eliminate material. I'm going with that explanation.

Bob said...

DrewM, I didn't put it in my original post, but I have a vague recollection (like all my recollections!) that the UPU passed an act about reproducing member countries' stamps, and that was why album publishers started adding the white line. But my attempts to verify this were unsuccessful.

I read recently that Scott stopped listing foreign cut squares in 1898 which presages the removal from the Brown. (US postal stationary remains in the specialized catalog and in the National album.) I still have no idea whether the removal of foreign cut squares reflected a decline in popularity, or, especially in the case of albums, a desire to save space. My assumption has been in the early days of collecting there were so few stamps, that anything vaguely stamp like was collected. By the end of the 19th century, there were around 30,000 stamps, so finding stamps to collect was no longer a problem.