Saturday, March 25, 2023

Sergio Sismondo, 1943-2023

According to Linn's, "Sergio Sismondo, a globally respected stamp dealer, philatelic expertizer and prolific writer, died March 13 [2023] at the age of 80." He was an important contributor to the Scott Classic Specialized  Catalogue from its beginnings (1994) to the present day.


Sunday, November 20, 2022

Syria 106c finally reappears on the market

The most elusive stamp in Volume 1, Syria 106c, has been offered twice to my knowledge this year. (My knowledge, unfortunately, being after the fact so I couldn't alert anyone.)

Cherrystone in July 2022 offered one copy as part of a lot that sold for $230 before fees:

Lot #1436
1921-22 selection of seven inverted or double overprints, some duplication, including 25pi on 5fr, also "25c" on 10c green (error), h.r., fine-v.f.

Rasdale had a copy in their November auction that Big Blue blog's reader Ray was able to acquire for the bargain price of $120 before fees. You can read more about that by scrolling down to the bottom of Jim's blog entry for Syria:

And check out the thread here:

I don't actively search for 106c these days, so any new sightings would be most appreciated. (Thanks Bud for the heads up about the Rasdale sale.)

Monday, September 5, 2022

Early Big Blue Binders

Although this may be minutiae, there is nevertheless an interesting discussion on StampCommunity about a heretofore "undocumented" binder variation for the Scott Internationals. I'm not sure how to intelligibly describe it, so check out the message thread and its helpful photos:

Unrelatedly, I'm not completely clear about when Scott started offering hinged post binders (as opposed to the much older spring backs). I know that someone sold on eBay a 1939 Big Blue that was hinged post. And the 1940 Scott Catalog, which would have been published in 1939, talks about hinged post binders as being new (in the advertising at the back).  This would not only have been for the then "Juniors" but also for the National, Specialty, etc.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

A New Big Blue Blog

Mike's Big Blue Collection - Parts 1 to 7 is the name of a new blog that will be of interest to Scott International Album collectors. His blog's description tells it all:

"This blog will track an ambitious project to complete Scott's International Postage Stamp Albums Parts 1 to 7 (1840 to 1971). Only stamps that match the exact album description are included in the albums themselves. Supplementary pages (courtesy of Mr. Bill Steiner) are included for any stamps I have that were omitted from the Scott albums. I hope that this will serve as a useful reference for fellow collectors."

Mike is taking the summer off but there are seven posts available for perusing.

The url is:

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Scott Annual Album 1939-40

I've written about the Annual/Progressive Albums several times in the past. These were intended as yearly supplements to the Brown Internationals between publication of the cumulative volumes.

I became particularly interested in them because the last Brown issued by Scott stopped its coverage in 1938, yet the Vintage Reproductions set includes a volume for 1939-40 to complete the first 100 years of philately. Where did that come from if Scott never issued a corresponding Brown? We can now say with confidence that Vintage used pages from the 1939-40 annual.

Blog reader Dee recently sent proof with photos that Scott actually published an Annual Album for 1939-40. This is important because previously it had only been known, to me at least, from advertisements.

Dee confirms that the 1939-40 Annuals were based on the 1941 Scott catalog (see the title page below). As was the tradition, the 1941 catalog was actually published the previous year which means that it would be missing some issues from 1940. And consequently also were the 1939-40 Annual and the Vintage reprint.

So how many missing stamps are we talking about? Six hundred and fourteen. Wait, how can we possibly know that? We can thank Phil Pritchard who has undertaken a monumental project to identify stamps missing from the Vintage Reproductions pages among other improvements. Now, I must confess that the 614 isn't entirely accurate as I'm having to make inferences from Mr. Pritchard's statistics. But it gives you an idea.

Which begs the question of how many spaces would a hypothetically complete 1939-1940 Brown have contained? Four thousand three hundred and ninety. Again, wait? We know that because Scott used to publish stats in its Monthly for the number of stamps issued per year. It did strike me that 614 is a rather large number out of 4390 to be missing, but I remind myself that there are some stamps from 1939 which had been left out, and Mr. Pritchard includes stamps now in the the modern Scott Classics Catalogue that would not have been in the 1941 one.


Saturday, November 6, 2021

2022 Scott Classic Catalogue

The 2022 edition, number 28, will arrive this year in December. Primarily responsible were the familiar names of Donna Houseman, Bill Jones, and Sergio Sismondo. Based on an article in the November 15, 2021 Linn's, it appears that price changes account for the majority of what is new.

Editorial changes new to this edition according to the Linn's article include:
--on cover listings for Alexandretta, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Somaliland Protectorate, Syria and Zululand;
--Algerian Parcel post stamps;
--Editorial notes in Andorra for stamps that were authorized but not issued;
--two French local stamps, Scott L1 and L2; and
--British inland mail local stamps under Madagascar.

 I've made summaries for all previous editions that you can find via the search function.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

"If you want to collect the world, find a way to make it work for you"

This article by Paul M. Holland recently appeared in the September 20, 2021 issue of Linn's (pp 103-108) and is a succinct and entertaining introduction to collecting the world. My only complaint is that Linn's didn't include a warning that some of the author's photos may cause album envy.

To someone unfamiliar with the lack of interest, even bias against worldwide collecting after WW II, the article might seem as unremarkable as it is informative. But when I began my blog in 2007, nothing like this piece existed in print. Basic information such as the difference between the current edition of the "Blue" Volume one and the many editions found on eBay or at auction wasn't available. And pragmatic articles like Hollands that showed collecting the world was really possible, practically non-existent.*

For the record, here are some other periodical articles about the Internationals or worldwide collecting that I found useful:

Block, Lawrence. "Generally Speaking," 33 columns in Linn's beginning with the November 29, 2010 issue. These columns were reprinted in the book Generally Speaking: All 33 columns, plus a few philatelic words from Keller. A Lawrence Block Production, 2019.

Ewell, Albert H. "Hails & Farewells: The Story of the Scott Specialty Albums." Philatelic Literature Review, 3rd Qtr, 2003. pp 222 - 226

Gorney, Cynthia. "They Collected the World: The Herculean Effort for a Grand Total of 195,219 Stamps | In a Herculean Effort, They Collected the World." Special to The Washington Post. Apr 26, 1978, B1-[B2?] (in the "STYLE Entertainment People Comics" section). Reprinted in Scott's Monthly Stamp Journal, July 1978. pp 16-17,  20-21.

Thompson, Rick. "Judging an Album by Its Cover." American Philatelist, October 2010. pp 915-918.

Turner, George T. "A Century, 1868-1968, Scott's Albums." Scott's Monthly Journal, March 1968. pp 1-3, 6-7, 10-11, 14-15, 18-19, 22, 34.

*For completeness sake, there is an article that I missed when I was first researching and have not seen: Lawrence Januz's "General Worldwide Collecting Still Alluring," Linn's, January  25, 1999, p. 30.