A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar

A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tale of Two Big Blue Editions:1969 and 1997

 I received the 1997 edition that I had on order today, and had the opportunity to compare it to my 1969 edition. Specifically, I compared the 27 countries from Aden through Basutoland that have been evaluated to date. That is a relatively small sample. But I'm ready to make some general conclusions. :-)

1) There were NO changes in 25 countries. Nil Nada Zilch. So much for major substantive editing.
Note: I took a peek at Denmark , and the wildly out of place image cut Scott 26 4 "ore" slate & blue from the 1875-79 numerals, and it is still in the 1933-40 Engraved Caravels.

2) As I suspected earlier, the country Anjuoan,and it's seven stamps- is gone.

3) The presentation has been s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d. What took 36 double-sided pages, (72 pages) in the '69, now has 62 double sided pages (124 pages) in the '97. Each stamp category has its own heading. Barbados's War Tax stamp-(singular,not plural)- gets its very own page.
 The result? Since Big Blue doesn't provide coverage for the ~10,000 "inexpensive" stamps that are still left out, one will at least have some empty space to put those extras .  :-)  I understand Scott has done this to "integrate" the coverage with volume 2 and beyond. But I collect 1840-1940. And I would like a well edited comprehensive album.

 The good news is the paper does seem better than other editions and presumably archive friendly.

Big Blue Bottom Line
With 28 years between editions, I would have liked to see more substantive changes-specifically more stamps and more enlightened stamp coverage. Scott, don't you think you could revisit your choices from 70 years ago to see if they still make sense? How about a "real" change next time? Sadly, perhaps the era of standard printed albums is over anyway, with the  "design as you want" computer printed albums available today.



  1. Jim,
    Your work is amazing! I figure that my contribution can be to proofread some of your stats for the 1997 Big Blue. Needless to say, nothing I type is criticism. I don't know if it was you or Bob that mentioned that all 1997s may not be the same; ay least I can provide another data point.
    I've finished adding up my 1997 spaces through the letter A. I came up with four different totals:
    Algeria: 115 spaces
    Antigua: 39 spaces
    Australia: 90 spaces
    the ever-popular Austria: 755 counting the 7 Lombardy stamps.
    The breakdown: 302 regular post, 101 semipostals, 32 air post, 8 special delivery, 48 newspaper, 6 newspaper tax, 38 Italian occupation, 14 offices in Crete, 45 offices in Turkey + the 7 Lombardy-Venetia.

    It'll be interesting to see if your 1997 is different than mine!


  2. Thanks Joe for checking the stamp number spaces. I have no doubt you have a more accurate count for these countries. I did check your numbers, and the agree with Algeria and Antigua. I am getting 89 rather than 90 for Australia.

    This might be a good time to explain how I come up with the stamp space numbers and their purpose. I do them so I can come up with a percentage for BB's coverage. So if I count 75 spaces, and find 150 major stamp descriptions in the catalogue, coverage by BB is 50 percent. So my purpose is to get a reasonably accurate figure for coverage by BB. It does not have to be exact for this evaluation, just close, although nothing wrong with exact either. So I only count once, and naturally it might be off by a space ot two. Actually, the larger error occurs when I count the major numbers in Scott. There I an sure the count is often, not exact, but probably close.
    Where I do get concerned is when i miss a stamp space in the checklist, or have an error there. I always want to know if there is an error in the checklist, as that is the reason for the blog. ;-)

    You asked if it is possible for different '97s to exist. I don't think so, at least when they leave the factory. The 69's are a different story. I found one of my 69's did not have the semi- postal pages in them. I'm certain they were removed by the previous owner. Also I suspect sometimes part of the '47 pages are added for missing countries/sections in the '69 by a previous owner leading to reports of different editions for the '69. Still it is possible with the many years the '69 was produced that there were some differences, that has not been ruled out.
    Thank you Joe for the stamp spaces count, and in the interest of accuracy, I will change the numbers. If you wish to double check my stamp spaces counts again, and give me the counting errors, then I will change them also.


  3. Joe

    I checked the Austria, and this is the count I came up with..

    Regular 302
    Semi-postal 101
    Air post 32
    Postage due 154
    Special delivery 8
    Newspaper 48
    Newspaper tax 6
    Italian occupation 38
    Office Crete 14
    Office Turkish Empire 45
    Total 750

    I didn't put in Lombardy, as that is a separate entry blog. You had a total of 748, so we are quite close.

    I must admit, I don't like checking stamp spaces more than once, as it is quite tedious. So if you could check my figures along the way, that would serve as good quality control.

    Your point of wanting an accurate number of spaces to keep track of your progress certainly is valid. So I will pay a bit more attention to the count from here on out.

    Thanks Joe!

  4. Jim,
    I checked Australia again and came up with 90.
    I have exactly the same breakdown for Austria as you, but the sum of your numbers is 748.
    One thing I discovered is that I tend to miscount the spaces once I've added the stamps, so now I'm counting before transferring.
    It'll be interesting to see how the blog catches on. When I got back into this I was surprised that there's enough of a market for Scott to update the Classic catalogue every year. Maybe they'll sense enough of a market to put out a supplement with the missing counties. One supplement for the whole shebang. One can dream...


  5. Your figures are correct- Thanks!
    I was thinking the same thing yesterday that if Scott ever did edit BB, a supplement would be the way to go. No changes to the current page layout, just a separate "additions " section. I really believe that would be a winner. They would only need to print on demand. A super Big Blue!
    I'm sure a group of us hard core 1840-1940 collectors wouldn't mind helping out with the selection process either. ;-)

  6. Jim,
    I've finished counting up the spaces for the B countries. Only three differences between my counts and yours:
    Batum: 12
    Bavaria: 289
    Belguim: 549
    It'll be a while before I do the C countries. I'm almost through transferring my Austrian stamps, and I'll get into the B's before adding up the C's. I hear that Brazil will really make me put on the brakes!
    Through Burma there are 4110 spaces to fill in the 1997 Big Blue.

  7. Joe

    Thanks Joe for the re-count! I'll accept your counts for Bavaria and Belgium, as you were spot on for the "A" countries. I don't see a difference with Batum-I already have a 12 count.

    Have fun with the 'B" countries. The "B" British colonies, and the Brazil definitives offer watermarking differences; a bit of a challenge.

  8. Jim,
    I've just finished counting up the "C" countries. The only variances between our tallies are:
    China: 214
    Cuba: 234
    Cyrenaica: 93

    All my "A" countries have been transferred; I have 637/1890, for 34%. Only now will I go into acquisition mode!


  9. Thanks Joe for the recounts. We both have 93 for Cyrenaica.

    I like the way you are systematically tallying the spaces and stamps. Have fun with the "acquisitions". :-)