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Worldwide Stamp Catalogs

Scott Catalogs

A set of Worldwide Stamp Catalogs is a necessity for anyone collecting stamps of the World or Topical / Thematic stamps from various stamp issuing countries.

The most widely used catalogs for this purpose, in North America, are the Scott Standard Catalogues.  They are issued every year and contain information on all the major issues of every stamp issuing country in the world from 1840 to date. Recent editions of these catalogs have all the stamp images pictured in color.

Aside from the stamp listings, each volume of the Scott Stamp Catalog also contains listings of philatelic societies, expertizing services, a guide on grading stamps, basic stamp information, philatelic terminology, a currency conversion table, listings of countries' territories and colonies, and a pictorial stamp identifier, for stamps that are difficult to identify.

The World used to be a lot smaller place. Back in the mid-20th Century, all the stamps in the world fit into a two volume, hardbound, set of Scott Catalogs. As of the 2016 edition, now becoming available, it is six volumes and still growing!

The set pictured here is a 2012 edition that I picked up at auction in 2013, for about $250.00. The catalog comes in soft-cover volumes, as follows:

Volume 1 = U.S. and Countries of the World A - B
Volume 2 = Countries of the World C - F
Volume 3 = Countries of the World G - I
Volume 4 = Countries of the World J - O
Volume 5 = Countries of the World P - SL
Volume 6 = Countries of the World SO - Z

The list price for a current edition of the complete set of six catalogs is about $600.00, though, if you look around on the internet, you can probably find a set, or individual volumes from a set, that are discounted from the Publisher's suggested price.

Another way to save money, if the most recent issues of each country are not important to you, is to look for an older edition, either in new or used condition. This way, you could find a complete set of catalogs for probably more than half off the price of a new set of the current edition.

If you're a collector of Worldwide classic stamps or just stamps of the world from 1840 - 1940, you're in LUCK! For classic collectors, there is the one volume, hard-bound, Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers - 1840 - 1940. It is an excellent catalog, printed on high quality paper with color stamp images, and currently, the most recent edition has a list price of about $175.00. Being a durable, hard-bound book, it should give the collector MANY years of use. You can get an older edition on the internet for less though. I got my 2008 edition, in new condition, shown here, in an internet auction in 2011, for about $50.00.

As expensive as it is, the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue is still the best deal for the general Worldwide stamp or thematic subject collector.

There are, of course, many other catalog publishers that have excellent catalogs with coverage of issues of the World, such as Michel (in German), Yvert Tellier (in French), Stanley Gibbons, etc.


The Scott catalogs are intended as a GENERAL reference for Worldwide or thematic stamp collectors.  They generally only list major stamp issues, without regard for varieties and collateral material of philatelic importance.  For the specialist in a particular country, they are quite inadequate.

Anyone specializing in a particular country should acquire the specialty catalog issued specifically for that country.  The specialized catalogs for particular countries contain important historical and philatelic information about the stamps of that country, and in most cases, they list important varieties of classical and modern postage stamp issues that are not even mentioned in the Scott catalogs.


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Stamp Catalogs

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