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, February 12, 2011


After 30 years of being away, I have delightfully resumed my 1840-1940 worldwide collection. After some deliberation, I settled on Scott International Volume 1 (Scott calls it Part 1) to house the accumulation. But what is this? No information on what is in this album? Rumor has it that Scott does not even have the information.

Perhaps I can help. :-)

So I propose with this blog, using Scott catalogues, to systematically comb through all the stamp illustrations/descriptions for a country and make a "checklist". And to put the results here.

Now do I have the experience? Not much. I'm a generalist- with all of the pejorative connotations. So I will make mistakes. Perhaps some howlers. So go easy on me. :-) But I would appreciate any and all  constructive criticism to make this endeavor better.

And the most important attribute: I do have the compulsive/obsessive personality needed for the task.

Note: I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge Bob Skinner and his "Filling Spaces" blog. He rekindled my interest in collecting worldwide 1840-1940.

 His blog, started in May 2008, documents his attempt to fill the 35,000 spaces in the Scott International Volume 1. But it is so much more; and to boot he is a true wordsmith. Thanks Bob!



  1. Jim,

    Great blog! This is quite the endeavour that you have embarked upon. I will certainly make use of your findings while I attempt to make a serious dent in my Big Blue album (copyright 1964).

    I am glad that you acknowledged Bob Skinner and his blog; reading Filling Spaces inspired me, also. I resurrected my stamp collection after a 25 year hiatus and am enjoying the hobby very much.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Zenabi-Thanks!

    Hope you come back often!

    Bob Skinner got me back into Volume 1 stamp collecting. What a well presented blog he pens!

    I'm presently working on Argentina, and might have to split the results into two blogs because of the challenge of getting a handle on this large stamp issuing country.

    Also, I'm going to take a look at my 1947 and 1941 Big Blues to determine any differences from the 1969 version.


  3. Jim,
    Thanks for embarking on this journey! Between you and Bob I feel like there's a group of people sitting around a table talking about Big Blue.
    Last year I bought the 1997 pages and I'm in the process of moving my stamps from the 1947 version and collating in some stamps from a couple of other sources, including a 1935 Junior.
    Your checklist is a phenomenal resource. Could you add Alexandretta?
    Like everyone else here I wish that Scott would print the "missing countries" pages (Anjouan, etc.). We'd all buy them...

  4. Joe
    Great to see another collector with the '97 edition! I've come to appreciate the greater space, as it provides ample room for additional stamps. I too am moving stamps into the '97. You can tell how far I am, as it is in "real time". My Czech blog is published when I move the Czech stamps into Big Blue!

    Ah, I see the problem with Alexandretta. The blog is published, and is listed here.


    But, I neglected to add it to the checklist. It is done now.

    Thanks Joe!

  5. Hi Jim,
    I am enjoying your blog very much as it is so well written. You are going to persuade me to get a Scott International Volume one yet. I am working with a set of Minkus Supreme Globals to around 1968, but they are just too much. I will keep looking for a good Blue and will be enjoying your informative blog in the meantime!

    Happy collecting, Ted

  6. Ted
    Thanks for the words of encouragement- that is the fuel that keeps the blog going. :-)

    Interesting that you say the Supreme Globals are "too much". If there is a preprinted album that sometimes turns the head of a Big Blue collector, it is that Minkus.

    I suspect you mean collecting the world until 1968; as the challenge of the first 100 years of philately is about all I can handle too. I do have Volume(Part) II(1940-1948+) of the Internationals, as I am interested in WWII and the aftermath, as well as the stamp series that spill over from Volume I. But I simply do not have time to even open the album, as Big Blue is a demanding philatelic companion.

    Ted, the reason Big Blue collectors think a bit about the Minkus is that it supposedly has more coverage. I know Bob Skinner of "Filling Spaces" blog fame looked into that one time. If you happen to notice a country in Minkus has better coverage than Big Blue, I would be interested in the report. :-)

  7. Jim, this is a phenomenal effort - I've followed your blog on / off for the past one year. Thank you for being a beacon of light in the quest for world wide domination in our wonderful hobby. I note you print out Steiner pages and mount the stamps - I do the same. I have 1Q - what sort of binders do you use? I use the Vario 3 ring binders with slip case - though I use 175 gsm / 67 lb paper, I find the paper has a tendency to warp slightly - any views on how to prevent this? or should I just use a much thicker paper like 190/210 gsm? Best Regards, Jamshed

  8. Hi Jamshed - thanks for the nice words. :-)

    I think binders and paper are an individual choice/taste, but, for the record, this is what I use....

    I use one of the better Avery brand Binders available at Staples in the U.S.

    - 1 1/2" Avery Heavy Duty three ring binder PVC free "One touch EZD ring". I don't use a slipcase.

    I would think your Varro 3 ring binder with slip case would be the equal, if not superior, to my binder.


    I use acid free 70 lb text/ 104 gsm paper.

    (Warsaw item 62571 or Domtar item 81077)

    I actually like it because it is not as stiff, and bends like paper. I tried 67 lb cardstock, but it was too stiff for me, and more difficult for my printer.

    Best to you- Jim

    1. Thank you Jim...does the paper not bend due to the weight of the mounts? I sometimes don't find used specimens and am forced to buy mint, which curve slightly due to humidity - and then that adds to the slight warping of the paper - best! Jamshed

    2. Thanks Jim...do you not find the paper bends a bit due to the weight of the mounts? How do you offset that? Best regards Jamshed

  9. Hi Jamshed

    The paper I use is rather pliable- it naturally bends when lifted off the album. I actually like that. Others may not. But I have not noticed bending or warping of the paper because of the mounts or stamps. But I live in the rather mild climate of the Pacific Northwest. If one lives in a harsher environment, one may need to find one's own best solutions.

  10. I have collected US for some time. It has gotten to the point that my collection is expensive to maintain and expand.

    Over the years, I have amassed several thousand Worldwide stamps. They are sorted by country and stuck into stock pages. For a long time, I have been threatening to move into World Classics.

    After finding your Blog, I finally made the leap.

    I purchased the 1997 edition of the Blue's (1A1/1A2/1B1/1B2) and housed them in Scott's binders w/ slipcases.

    Now, with the help of your Blog, I have begun mounting the stamps to the pages. Your checklists are making it so-much simpler to decide what goes where.

    Thank You,

    1. Al- Glad you are using the checklists - that is indeed why they were created.

      I think you made the right choice by getting the thicker '97 pages that are fresh!

      Thanks and have fun!

  11. Al: that's exactly what I did in 2010; it took me until May 2012 to get my collection entered, in great part thanks to Jim. I had 20% filled at that time; now I'm up to 35%. I've never regretted getting the nice fresh pages of the '97.