US Stamps

New catalog for precancels

Dec 23, 2014, 1 AM

A sample page of California listings from the new Catalog of Classic Precancels, Part IIa, Alabama to Montana.

It has been 74 years since the legendary Hoover “Black Book” (the Hoover Brothers’ 1940 Official Precancel Stamp Catalog, Part 1) was published covering all the precanceled stamps of the Washington-Franklin era.

The Precancel Stamp Society is pleased to announce the general availability of a new and completely revised catalog of these precanceled stamps issued between 1908 and 1921.

This catalog, containing 45,924 entries, covers Alabama to Montana, and is the first half of the overall catalog.

The second half covering the remaining states should be available by this time next year.

Catalog of Classic Precancels, Part IIa, Alabama to Montana is available both in print and in PDF digital form. It has a number of features to make it easier for the collector to understand and keep track of their collections.

Because of the sheer length of the listings, the printed catalog is bound in 8.5-inch by 11-inch format, with a durable spiral binding that allows the catalog to lay flat on the table, allowing the collector to open the catalog to any point in a single move.

The introduction includes a 13- page full-color section describing the varieties of stamps from this era, and illustrating all of the rare stamps from this era that were precanceled.

Following the color section is the PSS type chart as a guide to all the standard PSS types.

Every town, precancel type and denomination is listed and priced in the main body of the catalog, which is 370 pages in length.

Part of a typical page from California is shown nearby.

There is a check box for every entry. The 1914 12¢ and 1917 12¢ stamps have double check boxes, since most Washington-Franklin collectors collect the claret brown and brown carmine shades of these stamps.

Every local precanceled type, such as the L-1 HS and L-2 HS examples listed on the California sample page, is illustrated in-line.

Items shown with three dashes for the price originally were listed in the Hoover catalog but have not been seen by the current editors in their inspections of many precancel collections.

Of the 45,924 entries in this catalog, 6,139 still await verification in a collection somewhere. Check your collections.

Throughout the catalog, the editors identified types that are easily confused and difficult to identify. In these cases, actual stamps from the competing types are illustrated. For example, there is no way to distinguish the types from St. Joseph, Mich., without these illustrations.

Appendix B of the catalog contains detailed counts of all the catalog entries, first by overall state, but also by individual issue and denomination. The original Hoover catalog had 38,076 entries between 1908 and 1921 for these states, thus this new catalog represents a net gain of 7,848 new discoveries.

You can order this catalog in either printed or PDF form from PSS Catalogs, Lynn Batdorf, 6005 Kingsford Road, Bethesda, MD 20817; e-mail; or telephone 301-571-1962.

The cost is $36 postpaid within the United States for Precancel Stamp Society members, and $40 postpaid for nonmembers. For overseas shipments add $27.50.

Both the printed and PDF versions of the catalog can be ordered at the same time for $54 for PSS members, and $60 for nonmembers.

Visit the Precancel Stamp Society website at for more information about precancels, as well as free precancel albums, and precancel software.

Ralph Kimball is the production editor for the Precancel Stamp Society.