US Stamps

By Charles Snee

For basic information about U.S. stamps, consider the Scott U.S. pocket catalog

October 17, 2014 10:40 AM

  • The 2015 Scott United States Pocket Stamp Catalogue is to be published in November. It provides basic information and values for U.S. postage stamps.

Fall is a busy month for the Scott Publishing Co.

October saw publication of the 2015 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers.

This month, the 2015 edition of the Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940 hits the streets.

Both of these catalogs are geared toward knowledgeable collectors who seek more detailed information about their stamps than can be found in the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue.

November also will see publication of the Scott United States Pocket Stamp Catalogue.

If you are a beginning collector of U.S. stamps, or a collector returning to the hobby after a long absence, the Scott U.S. pocket catalog might be the reference work for you.

Simplified listings present the basics for a given stamp: Scott number, denomination, description, design type, color, color of stamp paper (if applicable), unused value and used value.

This information is a condensed version of that found in Vol. 1 of the Scott standard catalog.

Also provided are illustrations of most of the stamps issued since the advent of the first U.S. postage stamp in 1847.

However, as explained in the introduction, “In cases where two or more Scott numbers share a common design, the illustration will show the first Scott number that shows that design.”

For the most part, this applies to definitive (regular-issue) stamps. All design-different commemorative stamps are pictured in the catalog.

Issues with multiple designs (10 or more, typically) are shown as full panes.

Before you peruse the listings, I encourage you to read the entire introduction, which begins with “an overview of the world’s most popular hobby.”

Here you will find the information necessary to get the most from the catalog.

Pay careful attention to the sections dealing with listing information, catalog value, grade and condition.

Grade refers to the centering of the design within the margins. For used stamps, grade also considers the cancellation.

Condition applies to the soundness of a stamp and includes factors other than grade — faults and repairs, for example — that affect a stamp’s desirability and value.

It is very important to remember that the values in all Scott catalogs are for stamps in the grade of very fine with no faults.

The pages in the Scott pocket catalog are compact, about 4 inches by 7 inches, and the spiral binding is married to a rigid cover that allows the catalog to lay flat when open.

The 2015 edition includes pictures of quite a few stamps that for one reason or another had not been illustrated previously.

Pictures of a number of souvenir sheets were enlarged to make design details easier to see, and to give a more balanced look to the page layouts. The listings are up to date as of publication of the 2015 U.S. specialized catalog.

Now is a good time to consider purchasing a 2015 Scott pocket catalog for yourself, or as a gift for a collector friend.