Truly these are very unique times for all of us as stamp collectors and as a community of hobbyists. In the world of social distancing, shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders the role that philately can play to ease the boredom and isolation we now sometimes feel has never been greater. As we wait patiently for this time to pass, we can reinvigorate our love of the hobby through our collections and get back to some of the basic reasons why we enjoy stamp and cover collecting. The current time affords us the opportunity to re-affirm our passion for what we collect and to rediscover some of the basic philatelic resources we use to investigate and explore our collections further.
If we had to choose just one reference resource to use with our collecting, what would it be? It would be a tough choice, but one of those indispensable resources for worldwide stamp collectors is one that we often use every day but don’t necessarily use to its fullest. Now working exclusively from home, one of the resources that I made sure to bring home with me before leaving the library was the Scott’s Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps & Covers 1840-1940. The Classic Specialized, as it is often referred to in the hobby, goes beyond the pages of the regular Scott catalogues providing the remote collector an information resource for further exploration and discovery of worldwide issues.
In covering the years 1840-1940 the catalogue includes all the usual listing information, stamp illustrations, watermarks, new and used values, terminology descriptions, new catalogue listing additions-deletions-changes and common design types that can be found in the standard catalogues. In addition this specialized catalogue includes grading information, gum charts and an explanation of the listings and values for stamps on cover. But what makes the Classic Specialized an invaluable resource, if we narrow our philatelic reference resources down to a basic few, are the specific details and further values listings as well as the worldwide back-of-the-book listings not offered in the standard catalogues.
Within many of the listings, particularly for the more notable countries, we can find specific details and values for perf/imperf varieties, on cover, never hinged,
tête-bêche, vertical/horizontal pairs, paper types, no gum, postally used and other listing varieties, many of which are not given in the standard catalogues. There are also detailed notes and descriptions within the listings which provide even further information. The other highlight of the Classic Specialized, especially for the worldwide collector, are the back-of-the-book listings for each country, many of which include the aforementioned listings and values not found in the standard catalogues. For the collectors of air post, military, newspaper, occupation, official, parcel post, postage due, postal tax, semi-postal, special delivery, war tax issues and their sub-categories the Classic Specialized offers a starting point for identification and value information of these back-of-the-book worldwide issues.
So in these times of living and working remotely while still enjoying our collections, having a few of the basic yet comprehensive resources nearby is always welcome. The Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps & Covers 1840-1940 is one of those resources for worldwide collectors and is available for borrowing from the APRL or for research purposes by contacting the library at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take this unique time to explore this and other specialized resources in your philatelic literature collection today.