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...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Big Blue: Are 35,000 stamp spaces enough?

Big Blue's "Mascot" stamp: Austria Offices in Turkey
1908 1 Piaster Deep Blue on Blue
I was reviewing the prior blogs and was struck by how often I criticize the coverage of Big Blue as "not enough". Perhaps that isn't fair. After all, Scott's original intent was to provide the collector with a very fat one volume album that would provide "representative" coverage of the world. One could argue they very much succeeded, as the album is the most popular one in use today in the USA.

Moreover, filling 35,000 spaces is a daunting task, actually accomplished by few. It will be many years, more likely never, before I would reach that capacity.

But when I review a country, I am not combing for a "representative" selection.  Rather I look for affordable stamps (.20c-$4+)  that could be a candidate for Big Blue. Combing with the "affordable" filter through a Scott catalogue has generally yielded more stamps; perhaps ultimately 10,000 more.

Even though there have been changes to Big Blue, most notably stretching out the presentation to four parts/binders for the '97 edition, there has been no substantial editing since the '69 edition. Unfortunately, I see little evidence of interest or even capacity in coming out with another edition of Big Blue. ( I would love to be proven wrong.)

So I am grateful for the 35,000 capacity Big Blue. In all honesty, I believe it is still the best choice for a general classic era affordable album that doesn't take up 10 feet of shelf space!

Jim Jackson

Addendum: On a more optimistic note....
I published this thought in the comments section today, and it could be the way Scott/Amos might be enticed to offer an addition to Big Blue.

 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. ;-)


  1. I got back into stamp collecting a few years ago after a long, long, hiatus. Eventually I settled on the Scott Blue International series. I purchased the an 1840-1940 album on line, it was printed in about 1950, but was still in very good shape except for the binder. I then bought two new Scott binders and slip cases, and split the pages between them, with glassine interleaving between each page. I also added some blank pages to cover overflows from areas of special interest for me, which were Austria and Romania among others. I also was interested in color and perf varieties, cut squares, souvenir sheets, and cinderellas and needed space for these.

    Eventually I acquired or transferred over 11,000 stamps to the Volume I, but it still looks very sparse. I agree that it would be extremely difficult to acquire the 35,000 stamps to fill up the album. I've been watching Ebay for a while for similar albums, and I would say it's rare to see a Volume I with more than 6,000 stamps.

    I also purchased an almost empty Volume II (1940-1949) which was in very good condition, which helped display the many stamps from that era that seemed to come with the earlier collections that I bought to help fill Volume I.

  2. I like the way you are setting up your Big Blue.

    With the '97 edition and the spread out format, I should end up with FOUR Big Blue binders as,like you, I put in interleaving and extra pages.