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Big Blue Collecting- A Quandary

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Posted 11/09/2019   12:14 pm  Show Profile Check Stamps1962's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add Stamps1962 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I currently have a 1955 edition of the Scott International volume one. Over the past few month I have accumulated additional sections for this album and just bought a nice used part seven to complete coverage through 1971. That's as far as I plan to go for now.

I am trying to decide whether to collate all or part of these parts. One option would be to simply leave them in the individual parts; I don't find that appealing. Another would be to collate all parts together in one continual series. I also think about leaving volume one intact and collating the remaining parts.

The part one I have has pages with some countries starting on the left hand side, that makes it awkward to reorganize with additional sections. I'd enjoy hearing how other International users have tackled this issue?
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Posted 11/09/2019   12:52 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Back in the 1970s when I reorganized my 12 Big Blues by country, I just dealt with the fact that a handful of the countries would have a stray page out of order. The mis-ordered pages are typically close (since it is alphabetical) but to this day it irks me. Ditto for countries which change their names (ie. Persia/Iran). These countries pages are combined and kept togther in my organization.

But my worldwide Blues are my 'fun' collections, I use vintage Dennisons and rarely use a mount. Since the majority of the stamps are low value (<$20.00), I do not feel bad if I mount a stamp in the wrong place, I do not feel bad if I have to add a few blank pages to hold stamps beyond my cut-off date (1976). I figure there is little value in stressing over a 'fun' collection.
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Posted 11/09/2019   2:56 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hy-brasil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
1. My first thought is to always keep volume 1 separate, particularly if that's going to be a focus. However, keep in mind that unless you want to collect strictly by the albums, you will likely be adding blank pages there and elsewhere. Buying sets seems to be done by the majority of worldwide collectors and does not seem to be a barrier to Big Blue users. So, do you store the "excess" off-album or on blank pages, or sell them?

2. Do you really want to do all that collating work? It's therapeutic perhaps, but once you start... It's nice to have an easier-to-find spot for a stamp you acquire, but if it's a country that's on the bottom of the list of interests, I feel it's not worth putting the whole into date order. Then again, I've known collectors who have bought stamps by going alphabetically through their album set. It may come down to what you have now and what you want in the future (which can change). Breaking up King George VI and other definitive sets might be bothersome, but as the other volumes are not always rationalized/assembled into one set by Scott either, this will be a fairly common situation.

An alternative might be to collate countries when they become relatively complete. Of course, this could require more juggling of pages unless you kept those countries in a separate volume.

3. Most of the multi-volume Big Blue collections I've seen have not been put in absolute date order.

4. Countries starting on left hand pages: this also applies to single page countries in any volume. Done through multiple volumes, it's another reason not to order completely by date.

5. Buy interleavings if you haven't already.
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Edited by hy-brasil - 11/09/2019 2:57 pm
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Posted 11/09/2019   4:01 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mootermutt987 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Years ago, I wanted a Big Blue set, so I bought a worldwide collection at auction. The set of albums came along for the ride, and I got someone else's work of collating. I did this about 10 years ago and the set went up to 1976 (for some reason, many sets go up to that date). I have not bought later pages/albums - my collection will only ever go to 1976, I guess. I would give the previous owner's collating skills a B+: a few tiny countries WAAAAY out of order (doesn't make sense to me) and a few supplement pages out of order within its country. I've considered 'fixing' the problems, but never have. Seems like a lot of work for only a little return. I have bought interleaving and blank pages for where I need them - high value spaces are not in my set, so to mount them when I get them I either mount them in the margin or re-mount the whole set on a blank page. I hinge everything, so I buy used when I can, mint (already hinged) when I have to, and generally walk away from NH WW.

I have seriously considered 'concentrating' to pre-1940 WW. If I go ahead with that, I would buy a Scott Int'l volume 1 rather than 'uncollate' my current collection. I would probably also buy a spare binder, lots of blank pages, and lots of interleaving. My 1 album WW collection would become a 2 album set with all kinds of 'custom upgrades'. I would probably dump the larger collection that goes to 1976.

Bottom line: do what you want. Whatever you choose, others have probably done that in the past, so nothing is 'wrong'. Well, as long as you stick to a system. BTW: there are 'round post' pages and 'rectangular post' pages --- make sure you have all the same and only buy binders/supplements/interleaving/blanks with your type of pages if this is an ongoing project.

FYI: be prepared for a lot of work if you plan to keep your set up-to-date with supplements AND if you have all the countries collated. You'll be collating all your albums with supplements every few years.
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Posted 11/09/2019   5:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add 1840to1940 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I did a post some years ago on my Filling Spaces blog detailing an attempt to integrate volume one and two of the Big Blue. I came up with four different ways in which individual countries can combine:

"Group 1 - countries combine perfectly, i.e., all regulars/commems for 1840-1949 come together in chronological order as do all back of the book stamps (if any);

Group 2 - regulars/commems remain together, but one or more categories of back of the book stamps are separated (for example, you might have 1840-1940 semi-postals followed by 1840-1940 airmails followed by 1940-1949 semi-postals);

Group 3 - 1940-1949 regulars/commems are separated from 1840-1940 regulars/commems by one or more pages of BOB issues; however the entire country remains together;

Group 4 - a page from an adjacent country in Volume One is getting in the way of adding the Volume Two pages. This is invariably caused when Volume One starts a new country on the reverse side of a page;

Not applicable - these are Volume I countries that are not in Volume II or, much less often, vice-versa.

So specifically, here is the count of how many countries fell into each group:

Group 1 - 99 countries;
Group 2 - 72 countries;
Group 3 - 29 countries;
Group 4 - 10 countries."

My understanding is the challenges are fewer in later years. But the bottom line is that I eventually uncombined the two volumes.
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Posted 11/09/2019   6:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add floortrader to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Everybody does it a little different and some a lot different .

The issue of how to set up your worldwide collection will differ with what you collect and what are you trying to accomplish .

I can only describe how a person would set up their worldwide collection that goes further and large than what anybody here is discussing .

First the Blue Binders suck .....They are not made or design to be handled on and off the shelves for 20,30, or 40 years ,I know I damaged the finish on a set of $800.00 wooden shelves . The binders fall apart too quickly .

Second the binders are too thick to be handled around a working desk and trying to add pages to a binder that is already stuffed with stamps causes problems with falling out stamps a real pain .

Third ,souvenir sheets need extra pages and there are many stamps with no space for them on the Scott pages . Shade or perforation varities are just added to the edges .

Fourth , Scott didn't plan a good labeling method for each binder ,they also have different shades of dark blue for the different years they made the binders .

I will post later how I layed out my album pages .
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Posted 11/09/2019   6:36 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gmot to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
So I did this early last year, collated Big Blues from beginning to 1959 (vols I-IV). It was a fair amount of work, and the only thing that made it work for those first volume countries starting on the left hand side, is that I had an extra set of vol I pages to use. But that still left the countries that are in alpha order, or are in the middle of the pages... Major frustration for me was that it still looked messy after the collation project was done, Vol I missed many stamps that I had in early sets (higher values), really need interleaving to prevent the stamps from getting stuck on each other when opening a page, and didn't find the page quality for those old Big Blue pages very good.

So eventually decided to move whole collection (over a long time obviously) into a mix of my own custom pages for classic WW, and Palo/Lighthouse for selected countries with some depth. Much happier with this approach. Still have the bulk of my WW collection in Scott Intls but that's slowly changing.
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Posted 11/09/2019   8:43 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add olddutch2 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Lots of good ideas here. I have Big Blues to vol. 7. Many various vols. of Big Browns. Numerous International Juniors, and 30 + years worth of albums, country collections and misc. stuff. Recently got a set of Big Blues collated to part 23. Don't like the collated layout. Also a nearly complete vol.1 and vol.2 collated collection.
When I recently retired, I purchased a new set of reproduction vintage pages for 1840-1940. These I collated by country as I put them in albums. I have started the big task of getting all this into a comprehensive WW collection.
Started with gleaning stamps from duplicate Big Blues and many years worth of sorted by country accumulations. These are being organized by date, corresponding to Big Blues in original order. Up to vol. 9. Using vintage hinges to mount all stamps. Half hinges for small stamps. Lots of work, but lots of fum too. Have not started mounting any pre 1940 stamps yet on the vintage pages. So many stamps -- so little time.
However we collect stamps, we should enjoy the hobby, and share our interest with other collectors.
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Posted 11/10/2019   02:07 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DragoneProducts to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I will admitantly say, I am a laymen. I have recently begun collecting, after a 40 year hiatus. (I am 50 now). International speaking, Great Britain, spawned the most colonies/countries. If all goes well with my collection, I will start with the United kingdom. Obviously; the next two with the most colonies/countries are France and Spain. Too go forward, one must go backwards. Addressing occupations or changing sovriegn names, will work out the same way. Sorting this down, will allow me a general setup. Ironically; this method will then, categorize itself. The thought is that, since 1492, most countries have been constitutionalized from that date. The collection, can then be open too other collectables; pre-stamp, paper and coinage. Just like an outline of chapters and sub-chapters. I feal, this will be my best approuch. So my catelog (s) should be: Great Britain; Spain or France (?); Belgium; Japan. After colonizations. I will be led too occupations, and then, re-named/split countries. And the occasional unchanged (China) country. Of course, I am only talking about a few thousand stamps, not a few hundred-thousand. This is my perspective, when starting fresh.
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Posted 11/10/2019   06:34 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add StatesmanStamper to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have been wavering on whether to mount my worldwide collection on Steiner pages or to invest in one of the albums, either Scott or Minkus. I live in an apartment so space is an issue.

If I were to move to one of the pre-printed albums, I have decided that I would leave each part intact. This would allow for viewing each volume's range of years as a whole. I find this idea more appealing than the thought of collating multiple times as later parts are purchased.

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Posted 11/10/2019   06:48 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
What is the biggest attraction of the Big Blue albums? Page size, presentation, traditional style feel, defined scope with completeness goal?

For example, if someone created a Big Blue look a like album equivalent but better organized and more complete would people prefer it?

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Posted 11/10/2019   07:09 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add redwoodrandy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
"It's the stuff dreams are made of
it's the slow and steady fire
It's the stuff that dreams are made of
It's your heart and soul's desire."

C Simon
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Posted 11/10/2019   07:12 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add redwoodrandy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
It is also an attainable endeavor.
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Posted 11/10/2019   07:48 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add floortrader to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Each collector does what is best for them and what works for their style of collecting .

Expanding my collection has taken me away from the two post Big Blue binder which stated in my post above has limitations and it's own issues . Today I use high quality three ring binders .

I prefer STEINER pages for pre-1940 and then took my after 1940 pages [ REMEMBER -these have hundreds of thousands already mounted stamps ] and put them twice thru a paper cutter ,removing 1/2 inch at the bottom of the Scott page and a second time to remove another 1/2 inch on the inside edge. Then I hole punched the 3 ring holes to fit the binder .

I also purchased a label maker to add the country name to the binder .

Where will I be in a few years ? With something like 300/400 binders all mounted in a decent WORLDWIDE COLLECTION .
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Posted 11/10/2019   7:34 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Climber Steve to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
First off, let me say WELCOME to the Forum to olddutch2 and DragoneProducts. I think you will like it here.

I've recently "graduated" from the Big Blue binders and pages, in part, as I have downsized a former world wide collection. I went with the Scott Internationals in 1983 when I splurged for Parts 1 through V, to take me to 1965. I collated all five parts into one continuous stream for each major country (was kind of interesting to find Kiauchau, Kionga, etc., on the same page. ;-) ).

I was initially frustrated with Part 1; 1840 to 1940; because so many stamps were left out. The printing of countries on the left side also posed a problem, but one that was easily surmountable by using blank quadrille pages. I solved some of the Part 1 problem by going to trimmed down Specialty pages or completely to the blank quadrille pages. As an example, all of the Part 1 pages for my Portuguese colony collections have been retired.

My remaining collections are still housed in Big Blue binders and with International pre-printed pages beginning primarily with Part II. I have not had the problems with my binders that floortrader reports. They have held up pretty good, even the ones that are now 36 years old. I also don't have much problem with overstuffed binders. I actually now have several spare binders, thanks to the downsizing, for use as the remaining collections continue to expand.

If one wonders why downsize, I decided I no longer wanted to scatter money around the world, so to speak. Rather, I wanted to concentrate on building several semi-advanced collections that will be more meaningful for me.

Moral of the story, echoing floortrader, is to do what works best for you and what is most pleasing for you.
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Edited by Climber Steve - 11/10/2019 7:42 pm
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Posted 11/17/2019   02:34 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
[A bit long, but you never know, you might be interested]

I have a hybrid collection, meaning I collect a few dozen favorite stamp countries in green Scott Specialty albums and put everything else into my blue Scott International binders. Individual country albums are organized chronologically. So this is how I've arranged my Scott International pages, as well.

Most countries require two or three binders from their beginning to whatever year I end with. Everything else goes into my Scott International binders of which I have 35. Don't get excited. The binders I use are not Scott binders. They're smaller than normal Scott International binders. The regular binders are too big for me to handle comfortably. And their pages bend too much as I use them. I was lucky enough to find a large group of smaller (narrower) binders identical to Scott Internationals which, at one time, were sold by Subway Stamp Shop. They are 2 1/2" wide, not 3" or 4" or 5" or whatever Scott's binders are. If I can't pick up the album I'm working on without using two hands and doing some major lifting, it kind of bothers me.

By putting "everything else" in my multi-volume Internationals, I mean all the countries whose stamps I acquire when I buy collections or loose stamps -- and all the duplicates for the main countries I collect. I have a 3-volume Czechoslovakia collection in Specialty binders plus most of the same stamps as duplicates in my International album. You end up with a lot of duplicates when you collect certain countries.

I don't make much effort to complete my International albums since my main focus is on the more specialized country collections. But some countries in my International albums are fairly complete just "by accident". And they do fill up over the years even when you're not paying much attention.

In my set of International albums I've followed the same common sense rule used in country albums with all pages for each country together in one volume in chronological order. It made no sense to me to have "France" separated over multiple volumes for different time periods. -- or for any country to be divided into eras. That Scott does it this way is simply a convenience for them which began generations ago when they were first publishing the album. Each new era, decade, or few years worth of stamps had them publish a new set of pages. Collectors, perhaps being a bit lazy, put those new pages into a new Scott binder and left it at that. So you ended up with an 1840-1940 binder (Vol I) for the early years of every country followed by a 1941-50 binder (Vol II) for the next years of every country, and so on. So "France" (and every place else) got separated into every volume. I find that confusing, frustrating, and just plain unappealing. I want to see the evolution of a country's stamps from beginning to later. I don't want early stamps in one volume, later stamps in another volume, and so on. You might, though.

I collect in the Internationals up through 1975. I reorganized all my pages in a multi-day collating session. All pages for "France" (and every other country) I put together before inserting them into a binder. It's pleasant, easy, satisfying work. I listened to music, but you could even watch TV while doing it. I did it on the floor of my office, but if you're less agile (or have dogs or cats or young children!) you'll need a very large table. With fewer years to cover, it would be even easier.

My other organizing characteristic is that I combine Air Post, Semi-postal, and other stamps with commemoratives and regular issues in chronological order. My whole organizing system is always "chronological order" with no unnecessary separations. I do not like having Air Post or Semi-Postal pages at the back of a country. Since these stamps were issued during years other stamps were issued, and since they often reflect similar themes and have similar design styles, they should be with those other stamps.

I move such pages to their correct chronological location within each country's pages. That Scott does the strange thing of separating stamps does not mean I have to do it. It's a very odd approach not used by most other stamp catalogue or album makers. Those other publishers combine air mail and semi-postal (and sometimes postage dues and others) with regular and commemorative stamps entirely by chronology as I do. I also do this in my Specialty country albums. The pages don't always fit perfectly in the right place chronologically, but what I end up with is generally a smooth chronology of stamps issued by each country from beginning to end with all the stamps for each period together. It makes sense to me!

Each to their own, obviously. But I wouldn't do it any other way. And with smaller binders, I can actually pick them up with only one hand! Why Scott/Amos doesn't produce smaller International binders, I have no idea. I'd buy another dozen of them if they did.

I use clear interleaving between all pages with stamps facing each other. To not use interleaving is to end up with one big mess because stamps grab onto each other and pull off the pages. I also never fill a binder all the way, but leave about 1/3 of its capacity unused. This is to allow room for stamps. There are stamps involved, after all! Scott only sells glassine interleaving which is poor stuff. It ages badly, and I hate the "crinkling" as I turn the pages. I buy clear interleaving from Subway Stamp Shop. It only costs a few dollars more.

Whatever you do, enjoy doing it!
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Edited by DrewM - 11/17/2019 03:15 am
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