Stamp Catalogs - Part 1

Stamp catalogs are just about the most useful and necessary tool of the hobby. Indeed, were it not for these important publications, the hobby would amount to very little. If you did not procure a stamp catalog with your initial outfit you will certainly need one very soon, for the entire stamp world revolves around these important books. Albums are patterned after them; all stamp dealer advertisements refer to them; all philatelic magazines, all philatelic writers and authorities base their articles and studies upon them. Further, the catalog prices for stamps are the basis on which stamps are bought, sold and exchanged throughout the world. Stamp catalogs are divided into two principal groups: 1) General Catalogs, which list, illustrate, describe and give evaluations for all postage stamps of the world, and 2) Specialized Catalogs, which give greatly expanded listing of the stamps of a single country or a particular group of stamps.

In the United States there are presently two general catalogs of the world's postage stamps: "Minkus New World-Wide Postage Stamp Catalog," published by Minkus Publications, Inc., and Scott's "Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue," published by Scott Publications, Inc. Both firms are located in New York City. Though both are general catalogs, "Minkus New World Wide Catalog" is the more complete, more fully illustrated and informative. The Minkus "integrated" system lists all stamps, of whatever category, strictly in the chronological order of issue. No prefix letters are needed except R used to indicate Revenues available for postage, N to indicate stamps not officially available, etc. Thus, if the first stamp issued by any country was a regular postage stamp, it would be Minkus number 1. If the second stamp was issued as a semi-postal stamp, it would be Minkus number 2, and so on.

Appropriate headings keep the collector informed of the proper category of the stamp listed. With the Minkus "integrated" system of listing, the great advantage to the collector is that once having discovered the picture of his stamp in the catalog, all of the information he needs is supplied by the catalog itself, which dutifully tells him whether the stamp in question be "regular postage," "airmail," or any other category. The method of using any general catalog of the world's stamps remains the same. The most helpful feature of any such catalog are the pictures. To locate any given stamp, one opens the catalog to the country which issues the stamp and then searches the pages until he finds a picture of the stamp he is trying to identify. Many stamps will have the dates of issue incorporated somewhere within their design. Such dates are very helpful in allowing you to turn to the pages of the catalog listing the stamps of that particular year. Still other matters of help will be the picture upon the stamps. For instance, if a stamp pictures the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt, one would not look for such a stamp to have been issued prior to his becoming President of the United States. Most obviously, it would have to have been issued at a later date. Pictures of monuments, engineering marvels, etc., will, by their very nature, give similar clues to the general period of their issue.

World-Wide Postage Stamp Catalog
World-Wide Postage Stamp Catalog