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Scott Catalog Numbering

 
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United States
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Posted 11/27/2020   2:00 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add moneil to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I've been going through my U.S. collection in Harris Liberty albums with the help of the Scott 2019 Specialized catalog which I was finally able to check out of the library.

I've noticed that with commemoratives and most definitives the Scott catalog numbers are generally in chronological order, by issue date. However, when stamps are part of a series, such as the Americana Issue" (1975-1981), the "Great American Issue" (1980-1985), or the "Transportation Issue" (1981-1984) there doesn't seem to be a correlation between catalog number and issue date.

For example, Scott # 1844 (1c, Dorothea Dix) was issued 9/23/83 while Scott # 1845 (2c Igor Stravinsky) was issued 11/18/1982, 11 months prior.

Another example, Scott # 1897 (1c, Omnibus 1880's) was issued 8/19/1983 while Scott # 1897A (2c, Locomotive 1870's) was issued 5/20/82, 15 months prior.

My "guess" (and I am almost answering my own question) is that the USPS announces an upcoming issue of stamps in a series, Scott then pre assigns catalog numbers to those stamps according to face value (so the issue "stays together" by catalog number), even though the issue date may not correspond to the face value.

Still, I thought I'd check with the collective wisdom of the forum, and Happy Thanksgiving.
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Posted 11/27/2020   3:06 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mootermutt987 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I don't know the 'official' stance on this, just experience. It appears that Scott becomes aware of a new series of stamps, probably via USPS announcement. They then probably 'guess' (the guess may even be based on a USPS communication) at the number of stamps coming over the next few years in the series, and set aside a block of #'s to cover it. I suspect no one (USPS or Scott) KNOWS how many stamps and what denominations will make up the series, in the end. I suspect that the USPS has a 'plan', but I doubt it is hard and fast. Plus, there is the 'fuzzy' definition of some of the series' in the past - like the Prominent Americans series. That series went on for over a decade. So many denominations were made that Scott resorted to using 'A' #'s (1286A, for example) and the argument could be made that some later issues were given Scott #'s in a completely different block of #'s (1393-1400 could be argued to be a continuation of the series). Scott has also been known to renumber whole blocks YEARS later (probably after they are sure the series is complete), although they don't appear to be doing that with the Prom Americans series - yet. You will also notice that there are many 'missing' Scott #'s around so many of these series' - I take that as a sign that Scott overestimated the ultimate size of the series. Add into all this that discoveries are made decades later - coil hole sizes, tagging, gum varieties, etc - and Scott has to decide whether to assign a new major # (like 1283 / 1283B for the re-engraved 5c Washington) or a minor # (like 1295a, $5 Moore tagged). I've always wondered why booklets tend to get a minor # designation while coils of the same design tend to get major # designations.

It is kinda like trying to build a cabinet to hold all your glasses, in order from smallest to largest. BEFORE you have bought any of your glasses. You may PLAN on creating a collection of 50 glasses, but once you get into the field, you may realize that your collection will be larger or smaller than that. After you've bought 5 of the (planned) 50 glasses, where on the shelf do you put each of the 5 glasses? Remember, you want to assign a permanent spot. Is the biggest glass you have going to be the biggest you EVER have??? For 2 glasses that are pretty close in size, how sure are you that you will never get one that is between the 2 you have?

I really feel for the editors at Scott! I think they do the best they can. They don't have a crystal ball. At least not one that works.
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Posted 11/27/2020   4:18 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have not really seen this as of late. The USPS does not issue definitives like it did in the past with lots of different denominations. The fact that most packages have to be taken to the post office and they will use labels there may be less of a need.
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Al
Edited by angore - 11/27/2020 4:19 pm
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Posted 11/28/2020   12:44 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add eligies to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Moneil: I think you got it right. Now I think Scott just continues in numerical sequence and with the chronological Scott # assignment.. It does present a problem (issue) when cataloging by year as the Numbering will be off. I have taken these series ( for the most part) & put them in separate binders to keep the series together, but catalog them by year of issue. Several of the series actually overlap years of issue as one series ends & the other begins or 2-series are issued simultaneously. Makes it difficult to insure you have a complete series (with all issues.). I have the last issuance of the USPS Guide to US Stamps & this has an appendix that list the USPS Series w/Scott # assigned.
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Posted 01/04/2021   5:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add coversRfun2 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
moneil,

It doesn't seem you quite got the answer you were looking for. While the earlier answers are quite good but with some rough spots, something that you wrote does not quite add up (no pun intended).
You wrote in part "even though the issue date may not correspond to the face value." Think a second. There is no correspondence for any series unless the entire series was thought out in advance. how often did that happen? I would say for the Presidential series in 1938 on, it was the last of the regular series. Maybe that got you thinking all the regulars later would be same. but guess what, not a single one was. The Famous Americans of 1940 are commemorative and thought out ahead so they are the last large set so neatly arranged.

Liberty series starting in 1954 --- with 8c (EIGHT cents) stamps first ones. They not only have 1c, 2c, 3c, they have 1-half cent!
(only listing large sets)
Prominent Americans series in 1965 --- with 4c (FOUR cents) stamp first one.
Americana series in 1975 --- with 9c and 13c and maybe 11c first ones. The 1c to 4c did not even come out until 1977.
Bottom line, the post office picked first stamps and those following based on more practical needs like current supplies of existing cents values etc.
Versus really older days (ending with world war II you might say) when they designed entire set. but if you study closer maybe the first stamp in one of the really old series was not the lowest cents value either.
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Posted 01/05/2021   05:51 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Scott has renumbered issues since the very first issues in thinking that collectors prefer some group or order independent of issue date and have changed their mind as well.. Scott is likely considering album page layout since they sell both. The same logic goes to Scott's method to group airmail and semi-postal apart from others. When you organize by issue date, it helps understand the history (rate changes, technology, etc) behind the issues.
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Al
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