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A Guide To The Variable Binder Widths For Scott International?

 
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Posted 01/24/2021   3:23 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add jabber to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hi all again,

So, there may be a good single-place discussion elsewhere of this (I didn't see one on a cursory Google search), and if so, apologies. But I'm trying to wrap my head around Scott International binder widths, from a current and historic POV.

Today, of course, available new (when they are in stock, anyway), we have the Jumbo and Regular binders (4-inch and 3-inch, correct?). But it seems that there was a third and possibly a fourth width in the past?

I bought a bunch of mismatched, used, but older binders in decent condition relatively cheap from eBay. Most are what seem like 3-inch widths with some "perceived" variability (just due to wear, I think; some have the "stretched binder syndrome" you get from stuffing them too much). I am measuring binder post to binder post though to classify them.

Most of these are the kind with the preprinted Volume numbers on the spines. However, I also seem to have one that is a "Part II" but is 2.5 inches wide. And a "Part IX" (preprinted on the spine) that is essentially Jumbo width. AND a third that is about 3.5 inches, no label.

So, a few questions...

(1) Back in the day, did Scott size the "Volume labeled" binders for its International expansions to fit the actual page set enumerated on the spine?

(2) Also, is there a simple explanation for the various widths of the Scott Internationals that were commercially available? Was 2.5" and 3.5" a common size? (Note that these are all "genuine" Scotts with Scott labeling on the spine, no G&Ks from Subway Stamp.)

(3) Is this accurate as a summary for what exists/existed in terms of Big Blue International binder widths?

- 2.5 inches
- 3 inches (today's 300-page Regular)
- 3.5 inches
- 4 inches (today's 400-page Jumbo)

Realizing now that maybe I should just resell the odd men out and maybe buy all new Regulars, because these will be an aesthetic nightmare to match up! The labels-vs-no-labels are not so much the issue (was thinking of how to custom label these, a thread for another day...) as much as the mismatched widths and appearances due to the amount of "stretch" in each older binder.


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Posted 01/24/2021   4:36 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tsmatx to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have bought a whole bunch of Scott Internationals and I wouldn't be surprised if there were more than 4 different widths, they are really all over the place. But not only that, but even slightly different heights, and slightly different fonts, slightly different styling, slightly different colors (maybe only a stamp collector would notice) etc

There are at least two versions of Part II, one was 1940-1945(?)--which yes has a very thin binder, and later one is 1940-1949

I am on similar quest as you, I want to consolidate everything into 'medium'(small?)/regular binders (although I don't have nearly as many volumes as you--mainly only interested up until Part 5 or so), I have been by far more happy with brand new ones purchased directly from Amos in 2020, same goes for slipcases also -- also interleaving. The ones from elsewhere (used ones from auctions) just don't match up because apparently they subtly change the design constantly and it would drive me crazy for things not to match.

I am just waiting for Amos to restock then will put in order for 10 or so
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Posted 01/24/2021   9:20 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Scott has settled on only two widths for its International binders, 3" and 4", unfortunately. I say that because narrow widths make for much better binders. Narrower binders are much easier to handle. You can get your hand around the spine easily and comfortably, and even when filled with pages, it''s not going to be too heavy to pick up. Scott International binders no longer come in a width that reflects the qualities of being easy to hold and easy to pick up. I suppose the demand was always for the larger binder out of a thrifty assumption that a binder filled with 400 pages was a better deal than a binder filled with 300 pages. I guess. That makes little sense to me, however, since the 400 page binder is a battleship you're going to have to wrestle with. Also, the pages in large binders curve much more than the pages in small binders, so it's more difficult to mount stamps in a huge binder -- or to keep them attached to the pages sometimes. I am a big fan of narrower binders.

The current International binder widths are "a little more" than 3" wide and a little more than 4" wide. I measure straight across from hinge to hinge, not curving around the spine which wouldn't make much sense. I measure the smaller international binder at about 3.25" or 3.50" wide. I measure from outside cover to outside cover rather than inside the covers. That way I get the width of the binder as it goes on the shelf or inside a slipcase. That may account for the different measurements I get compared to Scott. 

The larger binder (Scott calls it "Jumbo" size which was the name of a famous elephant) measure closer to 4.50" for me. That is seriously enormous. When its filled with pages, you cannot pick up a Jumbo binder with one hand. Why this size appeals to collectors I have no idea other than the whole "more for your money" assumption. Using binders you cannot lift without two hands rules that out for me. If you happen to drop one of these behemoths, it's going to get very damaged from all that weight. And do not drop one on your toes! "Well, doctor, I was severely injured by one of my stamp albums" is going to sound silly.

Scott used to make smaller International binders, as small as 2.5" (my outside covers measurement), but no more. And there was once, believe it or not, a super Jumbo sized binder. I've seen only one or two of them. They were 5" or 5.5" wide. That is a boat anchor, not a stamp album. There may have been other sizes. Scott seemed always to be adjusting sizes of its binders. Their Specialty binders ranged from 1.5" wide to 2," 2.5," 3" (still current), 3.5" and on up. Even though I prefer smaller binders, I am always a fan of more size options. But maybe fewer choices is the cost of doing business these days.

Since I like smaller binders, I have to buy a few extra to hold all my album pages. But I don't mind. I either buy used binders or buy my binders slowly over time, so the cost of the extra ones I need I hardly notice. I prefer being able to handle my albums comfortably, so I'm willing to pay a few extra dollars to do that. No "Jumbo" binders for me.

I've never seen "slightly different heights" since Scott pages have been standardized in size for generations. But Scott did sell alternative binders for other pages, so maybe that's what's being referred to.

Slipcases came in all sizes, as well, to accommodate all those binder widths. It can get a little confusing in the used binder and slipcase market.

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Edited by DrewM - 01/24/2021 10:50 pm
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Posted 01/24/2021   10:34 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Binders were labeled with Roman numerals and designed for each year group of pages that had that same volume number. Volume I was for 1840-1940 stamps, the "classic" era. It was originally one or maybe two (tightly packed) volumes but as Scott edited its pages and the paper got thicker, that slowly spread out into four volumes for those same years.

Volume II was for the 1940s, Volume III for the early 1950s (as more and more stamps were being issued), Volume IV for the late 1950s, etc. Eventually it took one entire new volume to hold all the pages for just one year. By that time it started to get seriously out of control.

The "cut-off date" for many collections is the 1940 for just the classic era stamps or maybe sometime in the 1950s or 1960s to include postwar stamps before the tidal wave inundated stamp collecting. From about 1960 on, the flood of "wallpaper" from many countries really got out of control. That's one factor that pushed many collectors away from collecting the world. It just wasn't possible anymore without a massive budget and a great deal of time -- if you could even do it at all.Somewhere there are collectors who have every single volume of the Scott International -- and probably an entire room given over to housing them. Holy smokes. That would be an absolutely enormous task to deal with.

I try to collect up through 1975 which may be just a little too far for comfort. It might have been better to end at 1970 or even 1960. But it's a hobby, and I don't worry about it. I think 1975 is Volume X if you care.

I reorganized all my pages so that my entire collection is alphabetical from Aden starting in the first volume through Zambia, Zanzibar, and Zululand in the final volume. That just made a lot more sense to me than having different years of "A" (and B, C, etc.) in every volume. That would drive me nuts. My collection requires dozens of volumes to hold all those pages. I use a set of the old Subway Stamp Shop version of International binders which is 2.5" wide. Ahh, perfection. I can pick them up with one hand, I never drop them, the pages lie close to flat. Subway also sold a 3.5" wide binder. Unfortunately neither of them is still sold. Subway! Bring back the 2.5" International binders!
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Edited by DrewM - 01/24/2021 10:53 pm
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Posted 01/25/2021   06:22 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
One would think Scott opted for the larger capacity because most buyers wanted economy. Scott also expects buyers to be patient.
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Al
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Posted 01/25/2021   5:34 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Climber Steve to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
"Scott opted for the larger capacity because most buyers wanted economy....." That was my story in the mid-1980s, being on a limited budget.

So I got out the folding ruler. I currently have two regular size binders in use and seven of the "big boys." The regulars measure slightly more than 3 1/2" across and the Jumbos are slightly more than 4 1/2". I use two hands to hump both sizes around, so getting one hand to lift a binder is not an issue. Due to the collection downsizing, I have five regular binders and one "big boy" currently as surplus.

None of these binders have any numbering on the spines, but do say Scott International.
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Edited by Climber Steve - 01/25/2021 5:36 pm
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Posted 01/26/2021   9:28 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jabber to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Same here Steve, I assembled an 1840-1980 Big Blue set in Jumbos as a cost-saving measure. Bought it as a sort of midlife crisis purchase and an upgrade from a bulging four-volume Harris set. (Hey, it was lot cheaper than a little red sports car!)

Thing is, at the time Scott was moving to print on demand for supplements and was clearing out its preprinted supplements from Amos at heavy discounts (anyone remember that sale? Year supplements as low as $40 each). Next thing I knew, I was up to 1840-1990. I think, like Drew, I ought to have stopped at 1970 or 1975. To 1990 is huge enough; the idea of extending it to 2020....aieeee! Not this lifetime!

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Posted 01/27/2021   12:29 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Climber Steve to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
John wrote: "hey, it was a lot cheaper than a little red sports car!!!" Living in Colorado for almost 40 years now, I've never been into sports cars even though mountain roads offer some good "tracks." For me, it's 4x4s.

When I bought my original International binders in the 1980s, I also bought Parts I through V of the International pages. My original world wide collection was centered, more or less, on the years through 1965. I did extend into the mid-1970s, on blank quadrille pages, for my now inactive Canada collection and, of course, Portuguese colonies since 1975 is the colonial cut-off date (reflecting the revolution in Lisbon in April, 1974), except for Macau. Like you, I can't imagine collecting through 1990 or beyond. It's too much. Steve
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Posted 01/31/2021   6:30 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jabber to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
So, the Scott International binder-width plot thickens! I bought a handful of the current-manufacture "Regular" binders, and these measure 3" across from binder post to binder post (thus the 3" description), but about 3.75 inches across the top (hinge to hinge), measuring in the way that DrewM described above, from the outside of the cover to the outside of the cover (as a secant across the binder curve).

I have a whole bunch of older, generally worn Scott International binders (of the kind that have the preprinted volume labels on the spines), and these are definitely a different but similar construct, measuring about 3.25" inches from hinge to hinge but still 3" post to post.

So...it seems at some point Scott may have made the current "Regular"-class binders a tad wider (in terms of the actual spine facing outward) but keeping the same post-to-post width. Quite a mess if you're finicky like me and trying to create a matching set mixing old and new binders. Probably not going to happen!
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Posted 08/09/2021   7:14 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gvol21 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Does anyone know if the old-school green Scott Speciality two-post binders have the rings spaced at the same interval as the blue Scott International binders? And do the rings have the same circumference (that is, will the Scott International pages fit into them)?
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Posted 08/21/2021   7:44 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
"Two post" and "rings" are entirely different things, so I'm not quite sure what question you're asking, gvol21. But here's what I know.

The green Scott Specialty two-post binders are not compatible with any ring binders since the two page-mounting systems are entirely different for pages punched only for posts or rings, BUT Scott hole punches its Specialty pages to fit both types of binders, the 2-post and the 3-ring. Each page has five holes. As for the blue Scott International, the page size is different (smaller) than the Specialty pages so they won't fit in the other binders at all -- and the hole punching for both types of pages makes them incompatible as well. International binders have two posts. Pages punched for ring binders have three holes spaced differently and so won't fit in them.

As for whether "the rings have the same circumference," I'm afraid I don't know what you're asking. As what? "Circumference" means "length around" but I think you mean how far apart the rings are . . . I think. The 3-ring binders Scott now sells for its Specialty pages (which also still fit in the older 2-post binders) come in two sizes of rings which I suppose we'd call "small" and "large". Again, neither size ring binder will fit the International pages both because the pages sizes are different and because the International binders have two posts, not rings. Although I suppose you could three-hole punch just about any album pages for the Scott 3-ring binders as long as they fit inside those binders and don't stick out the top of bottom.
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Edited by DrewM - 08/21/2021 8:01 pm
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Posted 08/21/2021   7:59 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I won't repeat my (lengthy!) earlier comments about the Scott Internationals except to say the width each binder is advertised as depends on how you measure the width.

From post to post is one way to measure a binder's width, but it's not the way I use. I measure from outside the front cover to the outside of the back cover at the hinge. This gives the full width of the binder. I'd call it a true real-world width. It's the width your hand has to hold onto, and the width that you'd want to know if you were putting your binders into a slipcase or on a bookshelf with other binders. The post-to-post width, of course, will be narrower. It's a perfectly fine way to measure, but doesn't tell you much, in my opinion. It's a little like asking the width of a pipe. Do you want the "inner diameter" or the "outer diameter" because they will be different. You'd need to add maybe half an inch to the post-to-post width (give or take) to know the real width of a binder. What Scott may call its 3" International binder isn't actually 3" wide. It's more like 3 1/2 or even 3 7/8" wide.I can't pick up a binder that size with one hand if it's filled with pages. Maybe you can.

Scott's "Jumbo" binder is something like 4 1/2 or 4 7/8 inches wide in reality. In other words, it's pretty enormous. Picking that up is a whole 'nother thing.

Inability to standardize simple things like measuring the width of something is a bit silly, isn't it? If you buy used binders (which can be a good way to save money), it's good to be aware of this. Many sellers either don't bother to mention width or measure by their own method. I've bought used Scott binders listed as 3" wide or less which were actually a lot wider than that.
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