US Stamps

American Topical Association launches stamp checklist database

May 14, 2014, 11 AM

The American Topical Association has launched a new database for its popular topical checklists.

The May 12 announcement from the society for topical collectors comes following a five-year undertaking that doubled the number of the ATA’s topical checklists to nearly 1,200. The lists are now being produced from a regularly updated database.

The ATA makes the topical stamp checklists available to its members. The database contains almost 400,000 stamps and 578,502 topical listings.

The ATA reports that the conversion project included adding topical listings from almost every page of the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, as well as all new issues.

The task of creating, merging and updating the listings was undertaken by volunteer Karen Cartier, with technical assistance from her son, Michael

“ATA checklists began when members sent in their lists for other members to use. Hundreds did,” said ATA president Jack Andre Denys. “Now that Karen Cartier has included every Scott-listed topical stamp in the database, our checklist service has made a huge leap forward. We are indebted to her for her time and perseverance in this colossal task.”

ATA checklists, available in a spreadsheet format or printed, include the country, date of issue, Scott number, denomination, and a description of what is depicted on the stamp. They are used by topical collectors to research and acquire stamps. In some cases, meter stamps, postmarks, postal stationery and other items are included.

The lists will be regularly updated, and members have the option of receiving annual updates.

The ATA notes that with nearly 1,200 topics to choose from, collectors have a much greater choice for collecting major topics such as railroads and butterflies, and minor topics like hedgehogs and hurricanes.

Hundreds of new lists not previously available through the ATA, such as World War I and various lists relating to World War II, are being introduced.

The checklist subjects are posted on the ATA website and organized two different ways: alphabetically, and under three thematic exhibiting categories (nature, culture and technology).

A bonus section isolates only the lists representing individuals depicted on stamps. More than 200 checklists for these well-known people are available.

The checklists are available to ATA members at a cost of 1¢ per item on the checklist, with mini-topics of fewer than 50 items for 50¢, and maxi-topics of more than 5,000 items for $50.

Membership information is available on the website at, or by calling the ATA office at 618-985-5100.