Saturday, May 03, 2008

How new stamps enter catalog?

Like sausages or laws, we may not want to know how is produced a stamp catalog. However, on June 2008 Scott Stamp Monthly's two and a half pages, Martin J. Frankevicz reports his sisyphian daily task as Scott catalog new issues editor.

With his assistant, he must file, study, scan all incoming postage stamps ordered to postal administrations, philatelic agencies, new stamp dealers or even discovering by readers wondering why this one is not in the catalog yet. For some less communicating administrations (problems of time, knowdlege, material or not caring), Frankevicz has to find the hard way intelligence, proof of effective issue, etc.

This work is done with two main types of commitments:
#1: the yearly publication of the world Scott catalog's six tomes between April and September [#1 of 2008 just appear: United States and A-B countries] that suppose the most complete updates of the concerned countries as humanly possible;
#2: the monthly list of new issues published in Scott Stamp Monthly with stamps from regular issuing countries and episodic arrival. And, when the annual catalog is finished, he concentrated (among all the other tasks I write about before) on the most problematic countries: the less information givers, the one victims of illegal issues. The monthly list is important because, well done, it served as a database easily merged in the following annual catalog.

Some context about the United States reference philatelic editor:

Amos (link to Amos Advantage) is the mother firm, specialised in press since its foundation in 1876, and that diversified its publications to recreational activities and collections since the 1960s. Amos Press is responsible of the publications.

By acquisitions, the group owned two philatelic titles which philosophies and goals are now different:
- Linn's Stamp News, a news weekly bought in 1969.
- Scott Stamp Monthly, a monthly linked to Scott Publishing Company bought in 1984, which owns the catalog created by John Walter Scott in 1868. First a news oriented like Linn's, it became a magazine in 2004. It serves to tease the readers' passion (prices of classics, philatelic history, etc.) and to present modern and news stamps in advance of their appearance in the annual standard catalog (six tomes, April to September), plus the United States specialized (October) and the classical specialized (1840-1940 stamps, November).

Scott Stamp Monthly is available by subscription to the paper version (100 pages, circa 26x19.5 cm, around ten articles and the new listings) or on line in a numeric version. I recall to non Anglo-Saxons that, there, magazines are dated on the month following the issue (in France, they are sold mainly during the month printed on cover).

Sometimes a little short (but commercials is a necessity for publications with a limited public), the magazine helps the French I am to exit well-known paths of the French philatelic universe. Touch after touch, I have been discovering the Canadian and United States philately since the July 2007 issue, and articles on modern and nowadays philately clearly directed to the knowledge that an editor must have to write the catalog. For examples, read a previous article on today Afghanistan or in July 2007 issue how the article on the philatelic aspect of Indonesian independence introduced and justified the change of the Indonesian part in the Scott catalogue.

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