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...

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Limaye Inventory Spreadsheet for Big Blue Collectors

Limaye Inventory Spreadsheet based on BB Checklist
Into the Deep Blue
Jim's Update Note: Dilip Limaye's Spreadsheet is finished and complete!
Download Here (Scroll down)!

Jim's Note: The reader is in store for a treat and a gift! Dilip Limaye, one of the few people, along with Bud, to complete a Big Blue, is offering here his version of a Big Blue checklist inventory spreadsheet based on the recent '97 (and '69) BB editions. 

Immediately below, one will find a download link to his complete A-Z spreadsheet (not including USA), a USA/Confederate States spreadsheet, as well as a spreadsheet link for each group of alphabet "Tab" countries (A counties, B countries etc). 

Following on this blog post, is an extensive introduction, User Guide, and comments by Dilip. An Introduction and User Guide Word file can also be downloaded under the links section for convenience.

Finally, I will have further comments about the Limaye Inventory spreadsheet in the concluding "Out of the Blue" section.

We all owe Dilip our grateful and heartfelt thanks for this enormous undertaking! Enjoy!

Download Links to the Limaye Inventory Spreadsheet for Big Blue Collectors

Introduction and User Guide: Download here

Complete Excel Workbook with all the A-Z Tabs: (2458 KB)

"A-Z" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here  (USA not included)

USA and Confederate States Spreadsheet addition: Download here

Single Alphabet Tab Countries Spreadsheets: (313 KB or less)

"A" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here
"B" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here
"C" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here
"D" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here
"E" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here
"F" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here
"G" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here
"H" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here
"I" Tab Countries Spreadsheet Download here
"J" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here
"K" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here
"L" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here
"M" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here
"N" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here
"O" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here
"P" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here
"Q" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here
"R" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here
"S" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here
"T" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here
"U" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here  (Note: USA Spreadsheet is separate)
"V" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here
"W" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here
"Y" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here
"Z" Tab Countries Spreadsheet: Download here



Provided by Dilip Limaye

(Note: The following sections by Dilip have been revised/updated to reflect the final version of the spreadsheet.)

Rationale and Genesis

Many collectors of the stamps in Scott International Volume I, earlier known as the Junior Album and now also known as the “Big Blue,”[1] have wondered about the degree of completeness of their collections. And while catalog values of stamps are not very meaningful, some stamp collectors (like me) are interested in the total catalog value of their collections. 

I started collecting the stamps in the Big Blue (BB) with the purchase of a collection in 1987 that was about 35-40% filled. Over the next 15 years I obtained stamps at stamp shows and auctions to fill up my BB album (vintage 1943).

By the turn of the century I believed that I had filled about 80-85% of the spaces in my 1943 album (which is in four binders) and was intrigued about determining the degree of completion (as a % of the total spaces in the album) and the total catalog value (CV) of my collection. My first attempt at doing this was rather simplistic and very inefficient - I marked up the stamps in my album in the 2001 Scott Classic Specialized catalog and counted the number and CV for each country using a calculator – a very cumbersome and tiring process that was subject to many errors.

Over the succeeding 15 years I have managed to complete my collection, getting the last “holdout” (the elusive Syria 106c) earlier this year and now have a 100% complete 1943 album.

Late last year I started a cataloging of my collection in a large Excel spreadsheet. That spreadsheet allows me to enter the spaces on each page and enter whether I have an unused or used stamp in each album space. I have also started entering the CVs of each of my stamps using the 2017 Scott Classic Specialized catalog (so it will allow me to answer an interesting question – how much has the CV increased from 2001 to 2017?). This is a massive undertaking as BB contains over 33,000 stamp spaces, and it will most likely take me a long time to complete.

I discussed my “project” with Jim Jackson, who commented that such a spreadsheet could be valuable to many BB collectors. So I started a new project to develop a modified version of my spreadsheet that would allow any collector to enter information on his/her collection and assess the % completion, cost and CV of the collection by country.

The creation of this spreadsheet is based on and has benefited substantially from the work of Jim Jackson whose blog (see footnote below) documents the spaces contained in the BB album for each country inn the form of “Big Blue Checklists”. That was an amazing accomplishment and I wonder how many man-years of effort he devoted to completing this documentation. If Jim’s Checklists had not been available, it is likely that I would not have undertaken this project.

[1] The term Big Blue was coined Jim Jackson, whose pioneering and very extensive studies of the BB albums have resulted in his blog http://bigblue1840-1940.blogspot.com/ which identifies all the spaces in the Big Blue and even provides information on the differences between the early versions of the BB (from the 1940s) and the more recent versions (1969 and 1997).

The Inventory Spreadsheet

The Limaye Inventory spreadsheet contains 26 tabs or sheets, the first 25 containing the countries starting with one of the letters of the alphabet (“A” to “Z” excluding “X” as there are no countries starting with the letter X), plus a “Totals” sheet that sums up all the countries. 

Each of the spreadsheets corresponding to tabs “A” to “Z” are also provided separately so collectors have the option of working with the entire spreadsheet or working with individual spreadsheets corresponding to the sets of countries starting with the letters A through Z.

The complete spreadsheet has spaces for 33,897 stamps!

Each of these “tabs A to Z” can be downloaded from the links section of The Limaye Spreadsheet for Big Blue Collectors post located at bigblue1840-1940.blogspot.com. (Note: These links can be found above on this post (scroll up).

The spreadsheet is based on the 1969/1997 BB albums. Where there are differences among these, they are noted in the comments sections.

The spreadsheets contain the following columns:

·         Column A – Left blank – not used.

·         Column B (Year) – Shows the year of issue (as represented in the album, may be sometimes different from the catalog))

·         Column C (Album Space, Scott No.) – Provides the Scott catalog number for the space in the album. It should be noted that many of the spaces provide a picture or description that may apply to several different stamps. In such spaces, the spreadsheet provides the options (based on Jim Jackson’s blog) that would fit that space. Also, the BB contains many blank spaces. In such spaces, the spreadsheet enters the word “Blank” and provides suggestions in column D regarding which stamp(s) may be placed in that space. These suggestions are based on Jim’s blog referred to above, and a collector may have a different stamp in that space.

·         Column D (Notes) – Provides guidance regarding the type of stamp (such as Semi Postal, Air Post, etc.). This column also provides suggestions for the stamps that could be placed in the “Blank” spaces. These suggestions are based on Jim’s Blog.

·         Column E (My Collection, Scott No.) – is designated for the collector to enter the Scott catalog number for the stamp in that space in his/her collection.

·         Columns F and G (My Collection, Scott No.) – Allow the user to enter the number of mint and used stamps the collection with that Scott No.

·         Columns H and I (My Cost, Mint and Used) – these columns are provided for the collector to insert the costs of acquiring the stamps.

·         Column J (My Cost, Total) – Adds the amounts in Columns H and I to provide the total cost of stamps in that space. The formula is embedded in the sheet so that the totals are automatically calculated.

·         Column K and L (My Cat Value, Mint and Used) – Allow the user to insert the CV of the stamps in that space.

·         Column M (My Cat Value, Total) - Adds the amounts in Columns K and L to provide the total CV of stamps in that space. The formula is embedded in the sheet so that the totals are automatically calculated.

·         Column N (Comments) – Allows the user to provide comments related to his/her collection
The spreadsheet is organized by country in alphabetic order (which may not necessarily be the order in which the countries appear in your album, but I felt that organizing in the alphabetic order facilitates the use of the Scott Classic Catalog).

For each country, the spreadsheet has formulas that provide at the bottom:
·         Total number of spaces filled for the country
·         Total numbers of mint and used stamps for the country
·         Total costs of mint, used and total costs for stamps of the country
·         Total cat value of mint, used and total stamps of the country
·         Percent completion (number of filled spaces divided by number of spaces in the album)

Near the bottom of the spreadsheet, I have created a table (“Summary of Countries”) that adds all the countries in this tab to provide country totals and percent complete for the group of countries.
The final tab “Totals” automatically copies the Summary tables from each of the “A” to “Z” tabs to provide the totals for the entire collection. The formulas are embedded in the sheet so that the totals are automatically calculated.

User Guide

Main Table by Country

For each country in Tabs a through Z:

·         The entries in Columns B, C and D are provided in the spreadsheet based on the 1969/1997 BB. These should not be changed unless the BB album spaces in your edition are different from the 1969/1997 BB.[2]

·         In Column E, enter the Scott catalog number of the stamp you have in that space.

·         In Columns F and G, enter the number of mint and used stamps you have corresponding to the Scott number you have provided in Column E. (in other words, if you have a mint stamp, place a 1 in the cell in Column F; if you have a used stamp, place a 1 in Column G; if you have both, place a 1 in each column; if you have two used stamps, place a 2 in Column G, etc.)

·         In Columns H and I, enter your cost of acquiring the stamps you have listed in Columns F and G, separately for the mint and used stamps. For example, if you acquired two mint stamps each at a cost of $5.00, enter $10.00.

·         Column J will automatically provide the total cost by summing the amounts in Columns H and I.

·         In Columns K and L, enter the catalog values of the stamps you have entered in Columns F and G, separately for the mint and used stamps. For example, if the CV of the mint stamp is $12.00 and you have two mint stamps, then enter the value as $24.00.

·         Column M will automatically provide the total cost by summing the amounts in Columns K and L.

·         Column N is provided for you to make any comments regarding the stamp in that row. Examples may be “never hinged”, “stamp is damaged”, “my stamp is different from the suggested options”, “not sure of Scott No.” etc.

For each country, two rows are provided at the end of that country’s listing of the spaces. These are automatically generated (formulas are embedded and no user input is required). The first row shows the totals of:
·         Number of album spaces
·         Number of spaces filled
·         Numbers of mint and used stamps and the total of these
·         The total costs you have entered (mint, used and total)
·         The total CV of your stamps (mint, used and total)

The second row shows the % complete (the ratio of filled spaces to the total spaces in your album). Note that the number of spaces filled (in Column E of this row) is NOT the total of mint and used stamps in your collection. This is because you may have more than one stamp for some of the spaces (such as both mint and used) but that should be counted as only one filled space for the purpose of determining the % completion.

[2]  This may happen if the user has an older version of the BB (such as from the 1940s). In cataloging my 1943 album, I have found  many significant differences from the 1969/1997 versions. I am documenting these in the process of cataloging my 1943 collection and may provide them on this blog at a later date. The reason for using the 1969/1997 version for this spreadsheet is my belief that there are more collectors with the newer versions than the older versions.

Summary Table Showing All Countries

At the end of each country, a table (titled “Summary of Countries - Total Number of Stamps and Catalog Values by Country”) is automatically generated showing the totals for Columns F through M. 
This table will show for each country:
·         number of BB spaces
·         country name
·         number of filled spaces
·         number of mint and used stamps
·         total costs of the stamps (mint, used and total)
·         total catalog values (mint, used and total). No user inputs are required for this Table

It will also provide the totals for all the countries in the sheet and the % completion

Table for Additional Stamps         

Since you, like almost all BB collectors, are likely to have additional stamps that do not fit the spaces in the BB, I have provided another table at the end of each tab. This Table (titled “Additional Stamps in My Collection”) allows you to enter additional stamps - in the columns provided.

As in the case of the main table, formulas are included for the totals columns.

Totals Table

The final tab is the Totals table which copies the information from the individual tabs to provide the totals for the entire collection.

Notes and Comments

Filling out the spreadsheet may present some challenges. In my opinion, the most difficult part would be completing the My Cost columns. I have not kept the records of all my purchases, and many of these were in lots rather than single stamps. My original purchase was a collection in four binders that had over 10,000 stamps (At that time I did not count them nor checked to see if they were the correct stamps for the specific spaces – I have done so lately to confirm that the “correct” stamps are in all spaces. But how would I allocate the cost of that purchase to individual countries or individual spaces?)

Since it is likely that you have also purchased collections to fill up your album, you will face the same problem. One option may be to enter the total cost of acquiring the stamps for a country when you purchase a country-specific lot, and entering that in the bottom row where the total costs are shown. The you can add to the costs as you obtain additional stamps and update the totals. If anyone has suggested solutions, please let me know by commenting on this Blog.

Another challenge is entering the Scott CV for each stamp. This is not a difficult task but is quite tedious. It would be nice if Scott provided the CVs in an electronic database format. But in the absence of that, you need to manually enter the CVs.

As you can imagine, it has taken a long time to create these spreadsheets. Jim and I have conducted a lot of checking to assure that the information provided is accurate, but it is likely that, with a massive undertaking like this, there are bound to be some errors and omissions. I would appreciate your pointing out any errors (or ambiguities) so they can be fixed in future versions. I would also welcome any comments and suggestions on the spreadsheet content, format, appearance, or anything else.
There are no “locked” cells in the spreadsheet so you can make changes as you wish, and add or delete columns, rows or formulas. And you can add any comments for specific countries or spaces. I am requesting, however, that if you make changes that you believe are improvements and/or can be useful to other collectors, please let me know through the “Comments” section of this Blog.
In any case, I would welcome your comments on your experience in using this spreadsheet.

Dilip Limaye

Falkland Islands 1899 Scott 10 1/2p yellow green
Out of the Blue
Jim's Observations
Anyone who has tried to put together (or imagine trying to put together) an enormous 400,000 cell Excel spreadsheet, knows the massive work it entails. And Dilip, in addition, had to convert a substantial portion of his own 1943 edition BB spreadsheet into a user friendly one for '69-'97-current edition users. Bravo Dilip! We cannot thank you enough. !!!

Also, Al, another reader and user of BB, has graciously made available his spreadsheet covering '97 edition Part IA (Aden-Ethiopia). This is discussed under the post "The Big Blue Checklist Excel Project". Al is planning, based on  my latest correspondence with him, to continue/complete his spreadsheet also.

I need to mention that Dilip's Inventory spreadsheet, Al's spreadsheet , and my BB checklist , which is the source of information used in the spreadsheets, are intended for personal use by the BB collector only- no commercial use, or further publication by third parties.

The Scott numbers are clearly copyrighted by Scott/Amos. and all Scott catalogue number rights- and restrictions - in terms of use of the Scott catalogue numbers- reside with them.

Comments Appreciated!


  1. Wow what can one say before such enormous work in detail.

    This could take me very far in my stamp hobby (don't know if my wife would agree).

    Anyway thanks a lot !

  2. I'm sure collectors will find many uses for these sheets. Thanks.

  3. Congratulations to Dilip Limaye on completing his Excel based checklist! Just need the USA section for final completion. :)

    Right now USA is my only fully complete country since it I started it a long time before I became interested in the Big Blue Part 1840-1940 after seeing this web site and learning that a complete Big Blue was actually a possibility. Jim, Bud, Dilip, and Bob from http://globalstamps.blogspot.com/ have motivated me tremendously through this site, http://bigblue1840-1940.blogspot.com/ . Frankly, it feels like I have set forth on a great collecting adventure. I have my doubts that full completion is likely for me but it has been great fun restarting active collecting and thanks to each of you for your example.

    1. Thanks albumfilling for your comments about how the blogs have been motivating - that is what we actually hope happens for WW collector readers!

      And Dilip completing the spreadsheet is indeed a major help for collectors!

      The USA is somewhat of a special case. True, no spreadsheet, but there is my checklist. ,!!

  4. Dear albumfilling:
    You spoke and I listened. I agree that the complete spreadsheet should include the USA (even though I, as many other US collectors, have a completely separate and more comprehensive US collection of both mint and used stamps). So I am starting to work on the spreadsheet for the USA (including Confederates States}, and hope to have it completed within the next few weeks. Shall provide it to Jim who will update you on this blog!

    1. O.K., Dilip, that is very generous of you.

      Send the USA/Confederate States spreadsheet file to me, and I will add it. Jim

  5. Thanks for making the addition of the USA! It seems we should not exclude it from our world wide collection. :)

    1. O.K., the USA/Confederate States spreadsheet is now available as a separate download.

      Thanks Dilip!

  6. Dilip,

    Thanks for making this addition to your really useful work providing the Excel worksheet version of Jim's checklist. Both of you have significantly contributed to my enjoyment of my new connecting activity of working towards significant completion of a Big Blue 1840-1940 collection - currently at 8,714 stamps not including USA currently. :)

  7. Bravo, Mr. Limaye, for a magnificent and truly useful piece of work! I had planned to add a cost column to Al's Excel spreadsheet, when happily I discovered your version already it. Indeed, it seems that the only thing missing from your spreadsheet is the page/row number information, which is not critical in my mind. I do not think I will use the CV columns very much, except perhaps to indicate those stamps of higher than average value. And I think I will add columns for the date of acquisition and the source for each stamp, as a small way of capturing the history of how I built my collection.

    I am about to embark on using your spreadsheet to catalog a nice 1947 version of Big Blue that I recently acquired at an estate sale, which I estimate is about 25% complete. Then I have to decide whether to work toward finishing that album, or moving the stamps to a newer album and working toward completing it instead. Any comments/recommendations on which way to go?

    Regarding suggestions for improvement, two come immediately to mind:
    1.) Consider freezing panes on the column header information of each sheet so that the column headings remain visible as one scrolls down each sheet. (However, be aware that the Microsoft Excel Starter version does not support frozen panes.) You could also pre-fill the header row numbers in the Print Titles dialog, for those that intend to print out their checklist.
    2.) On the Totals sheet, consider replacing the country names with hyperlinks to the sheets/rows where each country starts. This "active index" would provide an easy way to navigate directly to a specific country without having to scroll down many pages.

    Finally, one error to correct: columns I thru O of the "N" sections of the Totals sheet (rows 209 to 236) have the wrong formulas in them -- I'm sure simply from an errant copy/paste. Please fix it when you get chance.

    Again, to you and to Jim, thank you immensely for all the work you have done and offered so generously to the stamp collecting community -- I, for one, really appreciate it!

    1. Bravo indeed to Dilip Limaye - there is truth in the saying if you want something done, give it to a busy man!

      Have fun with the 1947 BB!

      I was amazed when I met him how many projects he is involved with.

      Thanks for the Kudos and appreciate the critiques. I'm not sure how often Dilip takes a look at the comment section, so it may be a bit before he responds - just to let so you know.

      I should mention you will find some differences between your 1947 edition and the "69/'97 edition spreadsheet here. But it will be helpful for 90% of the spaces.

    2. Arghh, Jim, first problem noted with my 1947 BB:
      the first page for Abyssinia (Ethiopia) is missing! Strange, as the USA pages are in front, which I would think reduced the chance for damage/tear out, as is often seen on early pages in albums. I have the next page with spaces for five semi-postals (listed as 1935, not 1936 as in your checklist and the catalog), just above the start of Aden.

      Fortunately, I also have a bound, green-covered version of the 1947 BB in good shape but with fewer stamps in it. Do you know if the bound version and the loose-leaf versions are identical?

  8. Hi Bob
    Well, that is not a pleasant surprise. ;-)

    I assume you checked to make sure Abyssinia wasn't moved to "E" for Ethiopia in your unbound '47?

    You are right- Above the start of the Aden page is Abyssinia "1935" date Semipostal label- my BBs do also, but that issue actually came out in 1936, according to the Scott catalogue, so the checklist has corrected it to '1936".

    The bound version should indeed have the same coverage as the unbound, provided they are both copyright 1947.

    Good Luck!