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Dropping Items Out Of A Catalog - Stamps That Aren't Traceable For N Years -True Scarcity, Or Gone?

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Valued Member
United States
477 Posts
Posted 11/30/2021   5:18 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add classic_paper to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
To be fair, new issues are a great way to enter the hobby, and there should be a reference available for them. That said, it couldn't hurt to edit Scott's (for example) timeline: keep the 1840-1940 Classic Specialized, but add 1941-1981 and 1982-present. Or something like that. I'm not a worldwide collector, so I don't have the "there's way too much" issue: 4-5 Michels, a Maury, an SG Commonwealth 1840-1970, and a few other random catalogs give me everything I need in a very focused way.
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Canada
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Posted 11/30/2021   6:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gmot to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Yvert has what they call the "semi-moderne" catalogue (in 2 slim volumes) from 1940-60, to go with its classic to 1940. I find it very useful, and wish other publishers would produce the same.
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Posted 11/30/2021   7:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mootermutt987 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I don't know for sure, but common sense tells me that if a catalog publisher KNOWS that something doesn't exist, its listing would be deleted. But how would they know? My grandfather collected in the 1930's, I inherited his collection in the 1970's and I could very well still have it. Full confession: I sold it in the 1990's to pay for a wedding, but if it weren't for that particular situation, I could easily still have it. There was nothing rare in there, but again that could be more about circumstance than anything. There's a real-world situation where stamps (could) have been off the market for 90 years. I can imagine many situations where privately held collections remain in families for multiple generations, and there are probably a few with truly rare examples within them. Either that, or there are truly rare varieties within them that no one (not even the owners) know are rare varieties.

Short of knowing that something was burned up in a house fire, or a rare multiple has been broken and its parts spread around philately as high-grade certed singles, how is one to know whether something truly no longer exists?

Even IF they were to de-list an item if not seen for, say, 75 years, I suspect the impact of that action on any catalog would be minimal - the accumulated deletions might eliminate 1 or 2 pages out of any of the Scott volumes.

I don't think things should be de-listed simply because they haven't been viewed by the proper people in a certain amount of time. Like some upthread have said, though, perhaps a section in the catalog of things not seen for so long, or a date of sale within any listing, or some such thing. The more info the better, not the less.
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Posted 11/30/2021   8:05 pm  Show Profile Check eyeonwall's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add eyeonwall to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
There are items delisted every year in the catalogs. There is a page titled Number Additions, Deletions & Changes in the front of each of the volumes. The number of listings is ginormous and no one is infallible, so corrections will need to be made. The current Scott policy is to not add anything they have not personally viewed and it was also that way I believe under Jim Kloetzel, but I do not know how religiously they follow their policy and they may not have had tis policy in the past. Even with personal viewing, mistakes will be made.

Also, some infrequently sold items have a footnote saying the catalog values is based on a xx/yy/zz auction sale, so some of what you want is already there.
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Posted 12/01/2021   01:36 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
My observations:

Look up the word Catalog/Catalogue as a noun. It is a list of everything and in philately that is a list of the known issued stamps of what ever type of use the stamps were issued to serve. Available today or not does not change the fact the listed item was issued.

What stamps can I, me, not you, me buy today as listed in a catalog/catalogue is NOT a catalog, it is a price list of available items. The same is true if a group of us, not them but us, wants to buy today as listed in a catalog/catalogue such remains just a price list albeit one of wider interest.

"Was it issued" is not the same question as "can I buy a copy today" and a catalog/catalog addresses the first question, only a price list the second.

The loss of an item does not change the "was it issued" answer, only the price list changes. To change meaning delete from the catalog/catalogue it must first be determined the item in question was not issued and such does occur as the US china clay paper stamps demonstrate.

Keep the catalog/catalogue listings; delete the price listing is my suggestion.

Not that the answer can be determined for a certainty, but I suggest more folks collect the 21st century items than collect the 19th century material, more folks collect stamps that sell for less then $50 than over $50. It is unwise to view others through your own personal collecting lens.

Lastly it is unwise to say, "nobody collects __________" as no matter what you list in the "________" you are likely wrong.

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Posted 12/01/2021   02:44 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hy-brasil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Keep the catalog/catalogue listings; delete the price listing is my suggestion.[

I like that idea.

Okay, then what is everyone's definition of "issued"?

Released from post offices? Apparently not true of the blocked set values from modern Latvia, for example.

We have all these "accepted" and claimed govenments that release stamps, letting the printers determine most of the issues and do the distribution to dealers and collectors. There was a 1996 Guyana issue for Greenpeace sent out to new issue subscribers which was then denied legitimacy by Guyana because it doesn't like Greenpeace.

There are Abkhazia, Transnistria, Nargorno-Karabakh stamps that many of us have seen. These are actual independent countries (whether you like it or not) that are not recognized as such by the big boys, nor are they members of the UPU. So are they issuing real local postage stamps, publicity labels or what?
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United Kingdom
17 Posts
Posted 12/01/2021   05:33 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Nuc5 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
i believe a catalogued record of all stamps past and current is worthwhile.
Even if you cannot afford to purchase one of the rarities or find it impossible to locaate a 'delisted' stamp it is still enjoyable looking back over them.

And you never know one may just turn up in a random job lot/catalogue.
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Australia
750 Posts
Posted 12/01/2021   05:50 am  Show Profile Check 64idgaf's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 64idgaf to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The information you seek would not be found in a catalogue but a handbook. Often they will make reference to items recorded in the past and not seen for an extended period of time.

How much extra do you want to pay for a catalogue to fund this research?

For mine, a catalogue will state what is known and by price will indicate scarcity. Items not known are listed but not priced.
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Posted 12/01/2021   06:47 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add percyjgp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
An MIA section would be interesting, but I suspect that it would be filled with minor number entries. I have noticed that sometimes Scott will put a note after an entry if a certain variety is questionable, and that they would like more details. They have over time pushed many of the color varieties to minor numbers or rid of them. I know some of my older versions of the Scott Catalogue have many more entries in the 19th Century section than in today's version.
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Posted 12/01/2021   08:01 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add floortrader to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
You have to go back to who makes the choice of what is listed in the catalogs . The biggest decision comes from the specialized society and large dealers who handle that area of the hobby . They talk to the editors and their staff ,based on that it gets added or deleted .
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477 Posts
Posted 12/01/2021   09:19 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add classic_paper to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Okay, then what is everyone's definition of "issued"?

IMO, "issued" means officially released and recognized as valid-for-use by the sponsoring nation. Occasionally, something is issued that the UPU doesn't validate (was it an Azerbaijan issue from a few months ago?); I at least consider that "issued," even if mostly unusable. "Released" covers those items that are officially "issued" and those things that are not (like the Guyana example). Which of those a catalog chooses to cover, is up to the publishers.


Quote:
These are actual independent countries (whether you like it or not) that are not recognized as such

That's not how it works. A political nation/country not recognized by others is not a nation/country. Since you chose three examples from the former USSR/Imperial Russia, I'll use two others, the Ukraine and Byelorussa, as examples: both SSR's signed the UN Charter in 1945, and Ukraine had its own seat for decades. But neither were ever seen by anyone, anywhere, anytime, as independent nations, since their UN status was based entirely on a post-WWII deal with the USA (and neither fielded an independent diplomatic corps, among other things).

Transnistria, et al issue passports that are useless for international travel and issue currencies with no ISO 4217 code. I'm not judging the merits of their respective politics or independence movements, but to call them "actual independent countries" is a joke. The legitimacy of a country is based on international recognition, that's 101.
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Posted 12/01/2021   09:26 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rismoney to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I64idgaf - it's not about paying to fund research. It is more-so being open to providing substantiation behind the listings. I was originally referring more to minor listings in the US, but see this is probably more systemic to cataloging in general.

There have been multiple listings I have inquired to the editors of Amos/Scott over the last couple of years. What I have sometimes received were vague or ambiguous replies. For me, if there is no cert, nothing in the libraries, auction catalogs, club newsletters or similar periodicals, the stamp doesn't exist if Scott "just doesn't know'. It comes down to "trust but verification."

floortrader starts to hint at the source. The biggest decision comes from specialized societies and dealers. Large dealers, in particular, had a vested financial interest in getting some of these minor listings published and knew how to game the system to achieve this so they can unload 'a questionable, rare, or unseen find'. I have no problem with a color missing listing, qty 1, due to ink starvation, or an untagged stamp but there has to be a backchannel of data (a cert?) that supports this claim. Otherwise, it's just as likely to be a nonsense listing that was gamed into the catalog at a time, when the listings were more free-flowing. As crazy as omits/imperfs are, it gets even wilder with untagged listing validation. No certs or records at all for so many, even with directly talking to experts in tagging errors. Its bananas.

Collecting the impossible is a fool's errand, and as a community, we should try to address some of it. It's unfair to new and old collectors alike who just might be fishing for the ones that never were.



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477 Posts
Posted 12/01/2021   11:00 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add classic_paper to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Collecting the impossible is a fool's errand, and as a community, we should try to address some of it. It's unfair to new and old collectors alike who just might be fishing for the ones that never were.

Agreed, if there's a way to soundly disprove the existence of a specimen (that is, that it never existed in the first place), then every effort should be made to do so. But practically, what's the worst case? That one leaves a space in an album for a stamp or block, that remains empty? That you waste a few seconds asking at a show, or searching online every few months? Big deal. This isn't Moby Dick; while as collectors we may each have our personal white whale, none of us is chartering a ship, hiring a crew, and spending months at a time at sea chasing down our quarry.
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Posted 12/01/2021   11:49 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Why not spend the resources on correcting plain old errors of which there are many. The whole "lets find things that don't exist" argument just seems to be rather empty. Sorry. Kind of like putting the priciest new tires on the car going to the scrap yard. Why?
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Posted 12/01/2021   12:05 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
correcting plain old errors of which there are many

The cost in time and money to keep catalogs current is considerable, let alone revisit past listings. If you know of errors, it would do the hobby a service to communicate the corrections to the various catalogs with documentation, etc.

At Stampshow 2019, I left a small stack of photocopies and a cover note with the Scott catalog staff about a couple of errors and suggestions for a better numbering of certain issues. Poof! Fast forward, the 2021 catalog incorporates both my corrections and suggestions. Easy!
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