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.

Monday, November 23, 2020

2021 Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940

The 27th edition of the catalog is out. Editor this year is Donna Houseman assisted by Bill Jones. As in the past, Sergio Sismondo made major contributions.

Among the new additions and enhancements this year are:
--new on-cover listings for Alexandretta, Bahrain and Lebanon;
--forerunners of French Andorra and Spanish Andorra appear for the first time;
--a special article by Sismondo and 8 new major numbers and 10 minor numbers for India Scott 1-6;
--local stamps of french Morocco;
--Guatemala Official stamps with perforated initials;
--Extensive updating of values for Aden;
--Central Albania (Scott 1-23, J1-5);
--Extensive updating of values for the Portuguese colonies;
--More than 250 new minor listings for Portuguese India;
--Romania postal tax stamps (RA19A-RA21A);
--Many value changes for Turkey in Asia;
--Value changes and new minor listings for Turks Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands;
--NH values added or updated for more than a dozen countries.

Information above abstracted from Jay Bigalke's "What’s new for the 2021 Scott Classic Specialized catalog?" which appeared in the Nov 2, 2020 issue of Linn's.  

The 2021 edition is available from Amos Media as well as major stamp dealers and book sellers. In addition to print, it is also available as an Ecatalogue.

[If you want an overview of changes in all the editions since 1995, type the words "classic catalogue" into the search field in the upper left corner of the screen.]

Thursday, October 15, 2020

"For the World of Philately, WWI was a shot in the arm."

This is the title of an article in the latest Kelleher's Stamp Collector's Quarterly, vol 6, #3. If you aren't familiar, the magazine features consistently well written and consistently well illustrated articles. I can imagine non-collectors paging through one in a doctor's waiting room.

The premise of the article is easily discernible from the title, although not so obvious might be the collectors of the era who wanted nothing to do with "enemy" stamps.

But I bring the article up as a reminder that we partly owe WWI for the Junior International which, of course, become the Big Blue. Here is an ad for the Junior  (first issued in 1914) that I posted on this blog in 2008.

 In case the scan isn't clear:

"When you are Daddy's age you will be telling your children all about the great war of 1914 that changed the map of Europe. You will want to show them the splendid collection of stamps you made of all the countries now at war, and tell them about Belgium and Russia and France and Germany. And you will be very proud of your collection, too, because, 'way back in 1914, when you realized how interesting these stamps would be some day, you arranged them neatly, as shown above, in your new JUNIOR INTERNATIONAL ALBUM."

You can peruse the entire issue at this link. The article is on page 34.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

International binders

There has been a nice discussion on the Stamp Community forum about buying, maintaining, and repairing binders for the Scott International albums. 

My two cents:

1) If your collection is actively growing, the binders will be subject to significant stress from use. I suggest going with pre-owned binders and using library book tape to keep them viable. When repairs are impracticable or your aesthetic sensibilities are compromised, replace with another set of used binders. Once your collection is approaching completion, then you can spring for new or pristine used binders.

2) An advantage of used binders is that most of us start our collections by purchasing existing Internationals, so you should have a ready supply of binders, at least initially.

3) Non-jumbo binders will tolerate more abuse, but I prefer to work with as few binders as possible. So I house my collection in used jumbo binders, substituting convenience for beauty. If you aren't adding a lot of your own pages, I'm assuming that a complete Big Blue with interleaving will require two jumbo binders or three regular. I'm unclear as to whether page filler strips would change this.

4) Regardless, I highly recommend slipcases, both to help control dust and to support the heavy albums (pages plus interleaving). And let me slip in a PSA for purchasing the latest pages from Amos which are printed on better and heavier quality paper.