US Stamps

By Charles Snee

The Scott editorial staff is dedicated to the relentless pursuit of perfection

May 19, 2014 06:45 AM

The Scott catalogs are published each year during an eight-month cycle that begins in April, with Vol. 1 of the Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue.

November brings the cycle to a close, with the Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940.

During the autumn preceding the publication schedule, the Scott editors prepare mailings for the dozens of advisors who supply both editorial and valuing information.

Data also is gathered from dealer price lists, websites and other online sources, as well as from specialty publications and other philatelic catalogs.

All of this information is sifted and analyzed to determine whether values should increase, decrease or remain the same.

Careful attention also is given to all editorial recommendations. Listing candidates are weighed against an established list of criteria that determine what gets into the catalog and what does not.

Of course, Scott seeks to find reasons to list a given stamp. Nonetheless, there are times when the editors determine that an item cannot receive a Scott catalog number.

In this sense, the editors are the gatekeepers who maintain the integrity of the Scott listings.

As editor of the Scott catalogs, I like to think that we are dedicated to the relentless pursuit of perfection as we work to make the next year’s catalogs better than the previous edition.

Of course, none of us is perfect. We do make mistakes, and sometimes we overlook something that cries out for attention.

Thankfully, we have a fantastic group of folks out there who keep us honest and on the right track: the collectors and dealers who count on Scott to provide them with the information they need to get the most from their hobby or business.

Some catalog users contact us many times each year. They often point out small mistakes, such as misspellings, that were not caught and corrected when the listings were first generated.

Many such mistakes are seen soon after they appear in print and are corrected for the next edition.

You would be amazed at the number of errors and inconsistencies that lurk in the catalogs for years — decades, even — before they are discovered and fixed. Such long-standing gaffes are annoying, but we rejoice when they are finally banished.

Also greatly appreciated are the individuals who contact us about stamps that should be listed.

In many cases, the user is prompted to write because of a footnote after a partial listing of a set that states: “[Number] additional stamps were issued in this set. The editors would like to examine any examples.”

Here, too, it can take months or years before the remaining stamps are brought to our attention for listing.

We don’t mind this, because the Scott editors are a patient bunch, by and large, and there are always more stamps to list and value.

More complicated listing suggestions require input from the Scott editors before a listing decision is made.

Our pursuit of perfection, as you might have gathered, would be orders of magnitude more difficult without the help of you, the dedicated users of the Scott catalogs.

We appreciate and value your assistance, advice and support.