The problem is that, in the main, the "vanished lands"/"dead countries" haven't vanished at all, and moving them to their own album will probably needlessly complicate matters. Take one example: Obock/SomaliCoast/Djibouti/Somali Coast/Afars and Issars /Djibouti - much easier to group them together with an explanatory page - and maybe a map.
Or, on the other hand, I'm always irked when the Hejaz is lumped in, without explanation, with Saudi Arabia. Again, link, with page separation, Hejaz/Nejd/Hejaz and Nejd/Saudi Arabia, with an explanatory introduction.
If you aren't printing single-sided, you should provide glassine interleaving.
I am a topical rather than a worldwide collector, and other than the U.S. and Colombia I don't focus on any particular countries. Yet, I have the philosophy of mounting every stamp I have. Also, other than U.S. stamps in Harris Liberty albums the collection wasn't well organized, being in Lighthouse Vario pages in generic 3-ring binders or in glassine envelopes.
Four years ago I was at a stamp shop and ended up picking up a Harris Citation binder with countries A – G and 4,857 stamps. I needed a binder and there were several stamps of Topical interest. I needed to decide what to do. I subsequently picked up six more Citations from e-Bay. They all together averaged $49.64 each with an average of 5,508 stamps each. Prices started to jump up during Covid, and still seem to remain higher.
I'm still sorting things out and I have duplicate pages of course. I am organizing my collection by geography rather than A – Z. At the moment the groupings are: Western Europe (most of it), Eastern Europe (except East Germany is with Germany), Great Britain and the Channel Islands, Scandinavia, Africa, Middle East, Asia, Oceania, North America (Canada, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, St. Pierre & Miquelon), Caribbean, Central America, South America, South Atlantic, Other (at the moment this is British Antarctica), United Nations. I'm mostly keeping things on the pages that came with the albums, except I'll "reorganize" where a country starts on the back side, or unrelated countries are back to back. I'll mostly do this by printing Steiner pages or blank pages with boarders on 11 x 17 ledger paper and cutting the sheet down to the 9 x 12 Harris page size. While I'm organizing I sometimes also take Lighthouse Grande 12-1/4 x 9-1/2 sheets and cut them down to 9 x 12 using a guillotine paper cutter, plus punching new holes to fit the post spacing. This works well for me, some may find it too untidy. I once ordered a pack of blank Harris pages from Whitman but found them to be of poor quality, the ledger paper (Neenah 65 lb., lignin free the package says) works well.
Topical stamps are all mounted in their respective countries but I keep an index of what I have and where they are located.
Eventually for each geographic region I'll have a map and country index (including "dead countries"), and a write up for each country. I personally find the history of an area, the shifting boarders, changing names and political alliances to be fascinating, together with the stamps that tell those stories.
Now I'm intrigued by this project. I've always had a soft spot for Harris because the albums and supplements are a relatively affordable option. My odd collection has Scot Internationals though 1987, then Harris world supplements after that. The thicker the annual supplement packet the better (more places for stamps). The Supplements from 1999 and 2000 were pretty good, but the packets have become thinner in recent years. I haven't picked up a new one since 2012.I've put more recent stamps on blank pages. Here's an ad for the multi volume Master. Please keep us posted about the progress. Glad to hear the negatives still exist. There are many versions of the early Harris pages. It would be good to get as old as a two volume Standard you can find. It might really be the same as a Citation from that era, not quite sure. Here's how many binders 1988-2004 pages take up, with likely some missing pages! Note the subtle difference in the binders. The ones with the rivets closer to the edges are of better construction. Most Harris binders do not hold up to constant use.
@GeoffHa - You make a valid point on the vanished lands/dead countries. We recently did our best to update the "How to Collect Stamps" book, but over time so much has changed and without having a historian on staff there's only so much we can do using google searches and whatnot. I personally went through the stamp identifier text and confirmed its appearance and matched it using special characters because the text hadn't been properly updated to reflect as such. The reason I bring it up is because we had the hardest time with the Hejaz/Nedj in the "other hard to identify" section. We primarily used the Scott catalogs for referencing but, again, it goes back to us not having a proper historian on staff and the limited time we had to pull the new updated copy together.
@moneil - I'm a big fan of organizing a collection by its continent as well! My associate wants to include a page in the front of the album much like the Statesman, but I think if the collector wants to organize their collection geographically that it would be a wasted piece of glossy paper.
@landoquakes - The master supplements I reviewed were from '79 to current and that totaled to nine albums (roughly 8.5 since the current one he's working on begins 2019 and will probably go to 2023. Also, thank you so much for the feedback on our supplements!
Again, the feedback here is GREATLY appreciated. I'm sharing this info with Shane, our Harris guy, and he's excited to hear what you all have to say!
My question is who do you think the potential buyer would be? I believe one factor is someone that wants mostly worldwide or large regions but does not want to get into Scott price range. If price is one key few this means double sided, affordable binders, etc.
As for grouping, to me regional is the most cost effective so one does not need to buy every set to just get a region (empires, continents).
"Eastern Europe" is the former Soviet Block: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechoslovakia (Slovakia, Bohemia, Moravis), Danzig, Estonia, Fiume, Georgia, Jugoslavia / Yugoslavia, Latvia, Lithuania, Magvaros Zag, Moldova, Montenagro, Poland, Romania, Russia (Soviet Union), Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine.
I was born in the U.S. in 1951 and that is how I grew up looking at that part of the world, East was one part and West was another. I realize that the geo-political dynamic is different now but as I organize countries per continent it would seem strange (to me) to have Poland and then Portugal, or Russia and then San Marino.
I have run across one contradiction with this system. I have two stamps from Epirus, a former country that in the last century was divided between Albania and Greece. I'll have to put Epirus in one block or the other (likely Eastern Europe) with a cross reference.
Quote: I went through master supplements dating back to 1979 and the worldwide masterwork albums (with the exception of the Asia album). We still have file cabinets full of negative images and such that I will have to go through, but we have counted at least 14000 pages across the albums I reviewed! The proposed plan is to create a 10 album set, moving the vanished lands/dead countries to their own album, which would allow for at least an additional five years worth of supplements to be added. How does this idea sound to the stamp collecting community?
If this is to be a commercial project, I strongly recommend that you punch it 5 hole (3 ring USA style and 2 post Harris style on each page) AND offer a pages-only purchase option (without the binders). It would be a big selling point for buyers like me who dislike Harris binders and use other options like Vario-G binders for their Harris pages. If you do not do this from the start - you will regret it later on, IMHO.
I doubt that most Europeans would consider it odd to have Portugal follow Poland. Yugoslavia and Albania could hardly be considered part of "the Soviet bloc" for most of the post-war period. And hardly any of the countries or territories could be considered part if it before WWII. In other words, the countries of "central and eastern Europe" are just that.
Quote: I have run across one contradiction with this system. I have two stamps from Epirus, a former country that in the last century was divided between Albania and Greece. I'll have to put Epirus in one block or the other (likely Eastern Europe) with a cross reference.
Democratic good guys vs. commie bad guys (that is why even Yugoslavia is considered Eastern Europe, although not Warsaw Pact, but not Greece).
Considering that between St. Petersburg and Moscow is about halfway between East and West on the European continent, the divide makes little geographic sense.
I would advise not to travel to the Czech Republic and start telling people you are in Eastern Europe. They will not be amused. Croats and Slovenes won't either. They will all argue they live in Central Europe and have nothing to do with Eastern Europe.
Going further east, people from the Baltic states will kindly ask you not to confuse them with Slavic nations, Poles will ask you to take a hike and Ukrainians will tell you they are fighting Eastern Europeans to protect Western Europe.
The concept of Eastern and Western Europe is a memory of people in that West that old enough to remember the cold war.
To be honest and in the context of feedback for a potential new product, I am still unsure about several of what I consider important criteria such as desired 'coverage'.
What I do know, given kamielion's previous posts is that they are seeking; - to reproduce something like the original Harris Masterworks Worldwide album set - to move to an 8 volume capacity - that this will be a price sensitive product (in other words, two side plain paper pages and inexpensive binders)
Since the capacity has been 'hard' set to 8 volumes, and the desired countries (using JUST the original albums countries list and not including 'new' countries since that time) is known, you should be able to calculate how many p[ages there will be for each country. Adding to the original countries through 2022 seems to me to be a big stretch in just 8 volumes. Keep in mind that most publishers claim 'X volumes) but the truth is that once you add stamps the capacity of the binders is quickly exceeded. I assume most folks would say they end up needing at least twice as many binders once they get their stamps in a set. But lets just stick with the 8 volume limit; I assume that it is known how many blank pages each of the 8 binders will hold.
The math can then be done. Number of original countries and number of pages dedicated to those countries. Then calculate the numbers of stamps through 2022 for each country. This will give you the percentage of coverage for each country.
What is the goal for 'coverage'? Given the 'hard' limit of 8 volumes, you may be looking at a low coverage percentage. Since you are seeking feedback, a good question would be, 'would you be ok with an album that includes spaces for XX% of all stamps issued for most countries?'
This kind of info would then tell you if this project is even feasible given the financial limitations. Don
Quote: The concept of Eastern and Western Europe is a memory of people in that West that old enough to remember the cold war.
This would precisely describe me, which is not to say the concept is correct, but it is what we were brought up with.
Thank you GeoffHa and NSK for your insightful comments. My "philatelic collection arrangement" is very much a work in progress, though it will always be geographical rather than globally alphabetical by country name.
In 1984 I spent I spent two months in Uganda, East Africa on an agricultural project and tried to "study up" on Africa before the trip. Africans, in my VERY limited understanding, perhaps think of their continent in terms of "north, south, east, central, west" and by their ethnic (tribal) "affiliation" rather than the imposed colonial boundaries of current countries. At the moment my Africa collection is arranged geographical by the continent as a whole (Congo, Belgium Congo, Republic of Congo are all together) without a distinction between the legitimate and complex history of that continent. I was a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia (the only country I specifically collect other than the U.S.), traveled about the South American continent afterwards, and know more about its history than that of the European continent. I think of South America in a "linear fashion" (i.e. north to south) and my South American section begins with Colombia (at the north end) and ends with Argentina and Chile (at the south end).
In 1973 I purchased the two volume Harris Standard album and added supplements every year until 2000. With all the supplements and blank pages, what started as two volumes is now eleven, and they hold around 95,000 stamps. My main consideration when I bought the album was price, but I have regretted the decision for the last two or three decades. For most countries, the coverage of the early years is very poor, and the layout is even worse. It is very difficult to place stamps in chronological order as the first page of many countries contains stamps and sets spanning many decades. Even the supplements are not chronologically coherent. Plus every page is very crowded.
After much deliberation, I purchased a Scott International Blue a couple of years ago, and more recently added volumes 2 through 4. Volume one has coverage, alphabetical order, and country ending page issues, but I find it much more satisfying than the Harris albums. I have resisted cannibalizing my Harris albums to fill Big Blue volume 1, but with volumes 2 through 4, I may succumb to the temptation.
Willwood I feel your pain there. Thank you for the fun photo. I've seen some impressive Harris collections filled with many many stamps and it is hard to get around the crowding. If you are able to fit 95,000 (different?) stamps in 11 Harris albums, that is in itself impressive. I've seen too many runs of albums where all the work was done on putting the albums together without really working on stamps. You are better off being stamp rich and album poor. ;)
I think you made the right call going to Big Blue. With patience you can find used parts that might even have a decent number of stamps in them. Of course you will find the limitations of Big Blue too! I see you have some Minkus Country Albums too. Those are pretty comprehensive and will have more spaces for stamps than Big Blue (but take up more space)
I use Big Blue through 1987, then switch over to Harris. It would cost a lot of money to keep going with Big Blue through 2000