World Stamps

A change in listing of early Bahamas in catalog

Jan 3, 2014, 3 AM

A query from a Scott catalog user regarding an engraved example of Bahamas Scott 25 prompted research on the part of the Scott editors. This research led to a reorganization of selected listings of the Queen Victoria stamps of 1863-83 (Scott 11-26). Sh

Despite the best efforts of the Scott editors, errors creep into the pages of the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940, and Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers.

The Scott editors regularly receive letters and e-mails that bring these errors to their attention. Most of these problems are simply typos that are easily corrected. Occasionally, the problem encountered requires some research to resolve.

Recently, a sophisticated catalog user found an inconsistency in the listings of classic Bahamas. During an examination of a number of stamps, he found two examples of the Bahamas 4-penny rose Queen Victoria stamp (Scott 25) that were engraved and printed on paper with the Crown and CA watermark (Scott watermark type 2).

Vol. 1 of the 2014 edition of the Scott standard catalog lists all Bahamas stamps from Scott 11-26 as typographed (surface printed), not engraved. Clearly, something was amiss, and the research began.

Up until the 1999 edition of Scott, Bahamas Scott 1-26 were all listed as engraved. The typographed stamps began with Scott 27. In 1999, the typograph method was added to the listings at Scott 11. Based on a review of the Stanley Gibbons catalogs, only Scott 15, Scott 19 and Scott 20-25 were typographed. The others were still engraved. That still did not explain how our user had an engraved Scott 25. So, it was back to the Amos Press corporate library to do more research. Our user also posted a request for information on the website.

In the Amos library, we found Postage Stamps and Postal History of the Bahamas by Harold G.D. Gisburn, published by Stanley Gibbons in 1950. Gisburn provides a great deal of information regarding the production of the Chalon stamps, so named because the design is based on a portrait by Alfred Edward Chalon (Scott design types A1 and A2), indicating that all these stamps were engraved, including Scott 20-21 and 24-25.

The first surface-printed stamps Gisburn mentions were those of Scott type A3, Scott 15, Scott 19 and Scott 22-23. This certainly supported the existence of our user’s engraved Scott 25.

Respondents to the posting supported the findings in Gisburn and explained the listings in Stanley Gibbons, where the listing policy differs slightly from Scott.

The Scott catalogs list printing methods whenever they change from set to set. Gibbons, however, identifies printing method by design type. Therefore, all Bahamas stamps of Scott types A1 and A2 are engraved, while stamps of type A3 are typographed.

So how did all this input affect the listings in the Scott catalog? Bahamas Scott 11-14, 16-18, 20-21, 24-25 and 26 are listed as engraved stamps. Bahamas Scott 16, 19 and 22-23 are listed as typographed. Changes to the catalog database reflecting this information have been made, and the revised listings will appear in Vol. 1 of the 2015 Scott standard catalog, scheduled for publication in April 2014.

These Bahamas listing errors resided in the Scott catalog for almost 15 years before they were brought to our attention.

Many thanks to all the eagle-eyed catalog users who currently contact us — some on a regular basis — with items that need to be corrected. The Scott catalogs get better every year because of your feedback.


David Akin is an associate editor for Scott catalogs.