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!
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.
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
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.
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