Friday, March 17, 2017

Limaye’s Big Blue Catalog Value Project

The eagle eyed among you will notice a new category titled Projects to the right of this post. The first project involves, among other things, calculating the catalog value of all the stamps in the Big Blue Volume One.

As Dilip R. Limaye's Volume One has been almost at 100% completion (missing only one stamp - the elusive Syria Scott 106c), he has been creating Excel spreadsheets to keep track of his collection and its catalog value. This includes all stamps for which there are spaces in his 1943 version of the Scott International Volume One (Big Blue) album. For all of these, he has entered the Scott 2017 catalog values for mint and used stamps. As a service to all Big Blue collectors, Dilip is allowing me to publish summary information on the current catalog values for every country in Volume One as he has time to enter the data. So if everything goes as planned, the last major unknown about the Big Blue, the total catalog value of the 35,000 stamps therein, may finally be within grasp. And it has only taken a hundred years. (The first International album was published in 1914.)

I think this knowledge will be an important step towards countering the notion that the Volume One is really a "junior" album containing largely common stamps. It may also confirm that a collection based on the least catalog value will be considerably less expensive to build than one exclusively used or unused. I am also intrigued with trying to guess which countries will turn out to be the most expensive and which the least.

After you read the results for countries A-C, please remember to check back periodically for updates. Dilip welcomes comments.


ChrisW said...


So, how is this going to work since, as you know, many of the spaces in BigBlue could be used for multiple stamps depending on perf, watermarks, etc? Also, as we know, condition is a major factor in stamp values.

ChrisW said...

I understand better now after actually reading Limaye's post more carefully :>) He averages all the different options and also gives the lowest cost option too. Interesting.

What's becoming clear after looking at the A's, B's, and Cs anyway is that there are one or two countries that really stands out with high value stamps and skews the results.

Bob said...

Chris, I agree that the averaging has been very revealing, so far. If Mr. Limaye has anything to add, he'll post here or on the page itself. (We're still working all this out.)

Dilip Limaye said...

Perhaps I should clarify what I am doing.I agree with Chris that (a) many of the spaces in the Big Blue provide options (as Jim Jackson's excellent work on developing the Big Blue checklists has pointed out, sometimes there are as many as 4 or 5 options for the same space); and (b) the value of any stamp depends substantially on its condition. So using the Scott catalog values may not give an accurate assessment of anyone's collection. I started this project initially to simply get the total cat value (CV) of my Big Blue collection (which is 99.99% complete - I have a different error stamp in the space that Scott has designated for Syria 106c) because I was intrigued by trying to find out how much my collection has appreciates=d inn terms of CV over the last two decades.

I have a 1943 version of the Big Blue (BB) album and my inventory is based entirely upon my own collection. My ongoing project to enter the CVs of all my stamps will take a long time to complete. I am up to the "F" countries now. I am finding out as I do the inventory that there are many differences between my album and the more modern 1969 or 1997 albums for which Jim has provided his checklists.

When Bob heard about what I was doing, he said he has often wondered how much it may cost to build a complete BB collection. I realized that as I was preparing an inventory and entering the Scott values for mint (unused) and used stamps, it is simple and easy for me to simply add the CVs of the mint and the used stamps in my spreadsheets to provide am indication of the total CV of all stamps in the BB for each set of countries. In doing this, I am using my spreadsheet that has, when multiple options are available for a space, the stamp that is in my album. So it is not an average of all the stamps that could be placed in that space. Note also that Scott provides CVs for Never Hinged stamps for some stamps but not for all. Trying to enter those values in the spreadsheet will require substantial more work and I have not done this. The results are merely indicative, but may be somewhat useful to collectors interested in learning about indicative costs of building a collection.

We should recognize that the results are merely indicative about what the total CV would be if all stamps in the BB spaces were filled with mint stamps, with used stamps, or with the lower of the two CVs in each space. And, as indicated earlier, for multiple choices, the CVs reflect the value of the stamp in my album.

One thing I have learned that it is clearly much less expensive to be selective (if cost is an issue) about getting the lower cost item of the mint and used CVs for each space than simply collecting all used or all mint.

Shall be glad to provide any additional information or clarification. Watch for the results of the "D" and "E" countries coming soon.