US Stamps

By Charles Snee

2016 Scott catalog season about to get started

February 26, 2015 01:27 PM

In just a few short weeks, we will officially kick off the Scott catalog season, with the April publication of Vol. 1 of the 2016 Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue.

In addition to simplified listings for stamps of the United States, Vol. 1 of the Standard catalog also provides listings for countries of the world A-B.

In case you were wondering, the 2016 Standard catalog will remain at six volumes.

But I can tell you that the Scott editors and other Amos Media colleagues are discussing now how best to deal with the growth of the Standard volumes.

Each year, approximately 13,000 new listings are added, which causes the catalog to grow ever thicker and heavier.

To address this, we developed a survey that went out in late February via e-mail to collectors, dealers and others who use the Scott catalogs.

We sought feedback and ideas on how to reconfigure the catalog to make it more compatible with our customers’ preferences.

Some questions that we are mulling over include:

Should the Standard catalog continue to present the world in alphabetical order?

If the number of volumes is to increase, what is the ideal number?

Perhaps these and other questions have crossed your mind, as well.

If you were among those selected to participate in the survey, thank you for doing so. The more responses received, the clearer the picture we have of what should be done.

Although Vol. 1 of the 2016 Standard catalog will soon go to the printer, the editors are actually near the end of their work on Vol. 3, which contains the G-I countries.

Our catalog production cycle, which runs from April through November, necessitates working ahead to allow sufficient time to review and update values, add new editorial content, make corrections to existing listings, and so forth.

Vol. 6 of the Standard rolls off the press in September, followed by the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers in October, and the  Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940 in November.

Of course, many users of the Scott catalogs are interested in the direction of values.

“Are the stamps in my collection or in my inventory worth more or less than last year?” you might ask.

We strive to answer that question as accurately as possible, because the values in the Scott catalogs are based on retail market activity.

As stated in the introduction of the catalog, a Scott value “is a retail value; that is, an amount you could expect to pay for a stamp in the grade of very fine with no faults. Any exceptions to the grade valued will be noted in the text.”

Even with these parameters, it is critical to remember that a catalog value is a starting point for determing market value, whether as a buyer or a seller.

Again, from the introduction, “The actual price you pay for a stamp may be higher or lower that the catalogue value because of many different factors.”

If it’s been awhile since you last perused the Scott catalog introduction, we highly encourage you to do so.

Looking forward, we are seeing market patterns similar to last year.

Auction houses continue to bring desirable, top-quality stamps and postal history to the market, and bidders are responding with enthusiasm that is pushing prices to new heights.

In many cases, the substantial jumps in value for such material that we record in the catalog are based entirely (or nearly so) on auction realizations.

Most stamps, however, are common and readily available. Collector demand is low because they already have them.

Consequently, catalog values are flat or declining slightly.

Overall, the global stamp market is rather calm.

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