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General Philatelic/Gen. Discussion : Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

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DannyS
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07 Apr 2021
12:42:55am
It seems to me that using stamp catalogue numbers is fraught with difficulties, especially with international trades. The major catalogue companies protect their indexing with uncommon zeal and one could easily end up with three or four expensive catalogues to identify stamps for sale. You know them. Scott in the US, Stanley Gibbons in the UK and Yvert and Michel in continental Europe. Even in my home country of Thailand we can use either Sakserm Siriwong or the newer Hobby catalogue numbering.

There is a way of making this simpler. The online Stamp World numbering, at least in simple stamp issues, gives us a free international stamp index numbering. Maybe we should use it more often.

https://www.stampworld.com/en/

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
07 Apr 2021
05:16:13am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

Stampworld is reasonable however it does not cover some of the intricases of British Commonwealth Stamps.
In their Japan section the prefecture stamps are lumped in with the National issues.
Their "values" leave much to be desired as they appear to be less than the average of the major catalogues.
Remember it is a sales platform the same as ebay delcampe etc etc..
The other problem there is no image of the watermarks used that you can easily find if at all.
I have Gibbons and Scott catalogues and it is always far easier and quicker to use a "hard" copy of a catalogue than Stampworlds digital version.
Of course Scotts is useless after 2000 as they only price full sets not individual stamps in a set.
We have a saying in Old Caledonia "Its horses for courses"

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angore
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Collector, Moderator
07 Apr 2021
06:08:48am
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

Converging on a single catalog system will never happen. The most practical approach is Colnect that attempts to provide a cross-reference which has challenges since every catalog is different in depth of listings.

Stampworld's advantage is that it has images for many face different stamps so you can identify the year since most printed catalogs do not provide 100% image.

Values in catalogs is another can of worms. Do you think sellers would complain if Scott reduced the minimum value to say 10 cents?

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DannyS
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07 Apr 2021
07:15:12am
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

I am tempted to use the Stampworld numbers if I do make some approval books. I think that and the issuing year would be easy for anyone to identify. I quite like that they don't move stamps into a back of book section like Scott do with airmails. Mind you I don't collect Japan:-)

The thing is once you are logged in on Stampworld finding the picture from the country and year is fairly quick and then people can cross reference to whatever catalogue they prefer.

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
07 Apr 2021
07:38:02am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

As a Seller based in the UK I started here using Gibbons numbers.
I then acquired a set of Scotts and I have changed to Scotts for some items, and even used Stampworld on occasion.

To be honest I have found NO difference.

Sales here depend on several factors other than catalogue numbers.


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Soundcrest
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07 Apr 2021
12:11:19pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

I pretty much stick with Scott though I have looked at others, particularly when you hit areas that Scott has decided not to supply numbers. I also check Colnect as they give you a cross reference using Michel & Yvert catalogs as well. I have purchased some Michel & Gibbons cats along with some others, just to get a catalog number. I have found here on SOR that Stampworld #'s do not do well. Then again so many seem to think a catalog number is not necessary. Each has their own way to collect. I have a lot of catlog's that list stamps no one else does, but why give a Byrum (unusual world issues such as Telegraphs etc) or Springer# (US revenue stamps Scott thinks are not worthy of a listing) if no one uses them? It does not seem to make a difference. Either a person wants the stamp or does not. Only the specialists seem to be interested in that sort of thing. I should also add the State Revenue Society State Revenue catalog to those two as well.

Greg

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sheepshanks
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07 Apr 2021
12:31:30pm
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

If we are using the numbers for approval books, then I find that they are not very helpful as I have to scroll up and down the page to check. I would much rather the books were in chronological order within price range. I just hate the books where items are jumbled and the same stamps appear on different pages, even where the stamps are in the same set.
With auctions where the stamps are individually priced then Brechinites and others method works well and probably does not take up too much time. Again though an upload in date /set order is preferred.
Where there are perf/watermark variations or phosphor and code differences a short note suffices.
I have never used Stampworld or Colnect to identify stamps, my old catalogues and the internet are usually sufficient for the areas I collect. Many countries also have websites detailing their output, which are great because they are usually searchable by description.
Talking of which, why do catalogue issuers not index the stamps by the words on the stamps, we do not need to speak or read a language to recognise a character.
Because the majority of sellers here are using Scott numbers I do tend to write that number in the space on my pages, which can make things a little easier.

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
07 Apr 2021
02:03:36pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

Quote:

" Again though an upload in date /set order is preferred."



As Sellers we would love that as well.

However the stamporama system only allows that to happen if the seller is listing one item at a time and they are activated at once. The system uses random numbers when allocating an item. The same system applies to the Bulk Uploader so they can never be in order.

While I live in the UK I have to List my items using the "On Hold" so I can release them at a better time. It makes more sense for me to have my items listed during evening time in North America rather than at 5 am in the morning. (The problem of being several hours ahead).

Therefore it is impossible for me to list in order in the Auctions entirely due to the limits of the system.


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sheepshanks
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07 Apr 2021
02:21:39pm
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

Point taken Ian, I'd assumed that when a seller lists auction items after having them on hold they would be listed in the order that they were created.
Stoopid me for even thinking!!!!

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smauggie
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07 Apr 2021
11:01:44pm
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

Quote:

"(The problem of being several hours ahead)."



I have always thought of you as a man ahead of your time.
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DaveSheridan
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08 Apr 2021
12:01:53am
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

On a global site, all a buyer needs is a year of issue. I've been saying this to the wall, and any other inanimate object that will listen, for years.

Forum posts or sales that just say Scott#123 are completely ignored by me and many others who use different catalogues. Give me a year and you get my interest.


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angore
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Collector, Moderator
08 Apr 2021
07:16:47am
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

I like the year id.

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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
10 Apr 2021
08:24:16pm
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

" ... Their "values" leave much to be desired as they appear to be less than the average of the major catalogues. ..."

REALITY is less than the average catalogue's fanciful listings

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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
10 Apr 2021
09:05:45pm
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

" ... Values in catalogs is another can of worms. ..."

More like a barrel full of slithering, wriggling,
wax-backed eels.
in

" ... Do you think sellers would complain if Scott
reduced the minimum value to say 10 cents?..."


Oh yes,Al. I think it was around 1985 or '86 that
Scott tried that experiment and some dealers have
yet to get over it. The screams of pain and the
guttural oaths of "NEVERMORE" echoed from the
Halls of Linns, through the slick pages of The
American Philatelist and bounced off the windows
at Western Stamp Collector for months, make that
years.
By 1990 or so Scott had begun slowly slipping back
to gross exaggeration in the "¿ values ?" of
its listings.
Just the mere suggesting of such a move must make
Scott's wizards and run for cover in the basement.


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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
10 Apr 2021
09:16:43pm
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

"... Talking of which, why do catalogue issuers not index
the stamps by the words on the stamps, we do not need to
speak or read a language to recognise a character...."


This is just a CWAG, but probably for the same reason that
the proposed "Los Angeles - Honolulu" four lane causeway
never got past the puff of Purple Rain stage.

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sheepshanks
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10 Apr 2021
09:29:53pm
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

Charlie, ok you got me with that reply, CWAG and 4 lane highways and Princes Purple Rain?
I know it's a long time today since I got up, and the brain cell is a bit lonely at present, but could I have a (simple) explanation please, pretty please.

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DavidG
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APS member since 2004
11 Apr 2021
08:29:10am
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

Dave Sheridan:

Well said! Over 10 years ago when I started as a lotter at Sparks Auctions, here in Ottawa, Canada, I was taught that catalogue numbers are useless. Every bidder from all over the world is using different catalogues. I was taught the following format to describe a stamp. Note that I have not written the country, as the stamps are listed by country. In this example, CANADA...

YEAR face-value, colour, paper colour (if required), description, condition.

Thus:

1935 $1 blue, Champlain Statue, VFNH

David Giles
Ottawa, Canada



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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
13 Apr 2021
08:25:34pm
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

" .... YEAR face-value, colour, paper colour
(if required), description, condition.
Thus:
1935 $1 blue, Champlain Statue, VFNH ...."


Especially since scans are so easily available
or created.

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DavidG
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APS member since 2004
14 Apr 2021
07:01:56pm
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

cdj:

Yes... scans are important, but all that other information is helpful when searching a list on the computer.

David

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Soundcrest
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15 Apr 2021
04:18:39pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

I rarely check other approval books, as I collect revenues only. However I just did so, because I wondered - if people were really putting in descriptions rather than Scott#'s AND if so, did it translate to higher sales. To put together such a book, would probably take at least 10 times longer to put together having to write a description for every stamp. If sales did not multiply by 10 it would be a waste of time. However I found the following when checking:

First I checked every unique seller in the new books section. No one is doing that for the last 100 books. Next I checked three areas, Western Europe, British Commonwealth and Canada since it was mentioned as an example. Zilch. No one does it in those three categories. What DID NOT surprise me is that almost no one uses ANY catalog number, year, description, nothing. It seems that that information makes no difference to people though the couple of times I tried doing that it generated very little interest. I suppose I put the numbers in there because when I break down books for relisting or movement, it would mean duplicating the work that I did to create the book in the first place. Some may like all that information about a stamp, but I suspect that sellers here look at it the same as I do. I tried putting the year in a couple of times and I really think it made no difference. Anyone who tries it and sees no results, will not continue to do it. I believe that most people do not own recent Scott catalogs as who can afford them? Perhaps the numbers are a waste of time, but I'll keep doing it. Maybe people are putting that info, year that is, in auctions. I have not checked that. I have not tried that, years in an auction, but may give it a try to see if it matters. Probably not. I have the same group of bidders weekly for the most part and I don't think someone who has never bid on my auctions will say "wow he put the year in the listing! I'll take a look now". I suppose it COULD happen but......

Greg

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Soundcrest
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15 Apr 2021
04:22:53pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

Charlie I remember that pricing change quite well. As a dealer I was selling at about 50% of Scott. When the prices changed buyers STILL wanted 50% of Scott as a price which for a little seller like me, removed almost all the profit margin. People could afford a set of Scotts and they would check my prices vs catalog. I don't think Scott worked hard to relay the message that the new prices were meant to be the standard that a seller should use. I was a very part time seller back then, but this happened right after we had purchased a small business that had inventory based on the pre 1985 catalog values, along with a customer base that was used to paying 50-60% of Scott. Ouch!

Greg

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
15 Apr 2021
06:27:03pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

Standard Approval Books:-

Most of the stamps in my Standard Approval Books are priced at 10 cents each or less. Most contain at least 120 stamps. If the stamps are priced at 8 cents and I sell 33% of the book then it grosses $3.20. If I sell 50% then it grosses $4.80.
Each book has 10 pages so that is ten scans that have to be taken. If each stamp has to be dated, Scott numbered and valued then I hate to think the time that has to be taken.(Everyone should try it once!)
Where possible I try to put stamps in order of release date but the time factor again can be rediculous especially if the loose stamps just come out of an envelope, tin or box.

Here on Stamporama how your sales are defined is basically down to several factors:-

a) Price,
b) The category you are listing in,
c) The quality of the stamps.
d) The quality of the scans.
e) The day that you list the Book on,
f) The time of day you list the Book,
g) The number of Books you list at the same time,

The one drawback is that the average book will have 98% of its Sales within 3 days.
To me it is pointless to leave a Book on the system after 2 weeks.

Large and High Value Books:-

It is worthwhile to put in the date, Scott No. and catalogue value along side the stamp.
The one drawback is that the average book will have 98% of its Sales within 7 days.
To me it is pointless to leave a Book on the system after 4 weeks.

Auctions

Every scanned auction item has a label next to it with Date, Condition, Scott or Gibbons No., catalogue year and catalogue value in order for the potential buyer to see at a glance.

Catalogues:-

I have a set of discs of the Scott catalogue for 2017 which I bought as Scott appears to be the most expected on this site. However for some stamps from specific countries Scott catalogue is completely worthless!!! Why? It only values complete Sets NOT individual stamps within the set, therefore I have to revert to Stanley Gibbons "Stamps of the World" catalogue as it does give values for individual stamps within the set.

No one catalogue covers every eventuality not even Stampworld!!

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Soundcrest
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16 Apr 2021
02:56:07am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

Ian I agree. I also see you have gravitated towards small books, which makes so much more sense from a sellers standpoint. Who wants to break down a book to relist or move that has sold 20% of 300 stamps? Certainly not me. Everyone should try listing a book once to see how much time it takes.Kind of like looking at a hand sewn patchwork quilt, which you can purchase in may places where we live in PA. For a queen sized quilt that is hand stitched you might pay 750-1000 dollars. Seems insane until you factor in that it took hundreds of hours plus material to make the quilt. Probably works out to less than a buck an hour. People don't think of that.

You are 100% correct in your sales definition. I will add another. Price. Matters not that you are offering something cheaper than anyplace else, if the amount is higher than someone wants to spend. I list higher priced material knowing for the most part that it will not sell, but I'll give the collectors here first crack at it, just in case.

Greg

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
16 Apr 2021
05:06:37am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

Greg. Aye smaller books are best. If you have a 300 item book and sell 100 that leaves 200 items sitting doing nothing. Why?

The theory here on stamporama is that after a book has been on 2 or 3 days "lookers" think all the "best" stamps are gone or they do not want to trawl through a book where a third has been sold.

In fact if you take the 200 items and relist them as another book you may sell a further third of the items.

Here in Old Caledonia we have a saying "There's nowt queerer than fowk".

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Soundcrest
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16 Apr 2021
05:31:09am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

Ian, no doubt about it. And might I add, the sales will be to people who normally purchase from the book but were not there first. I do my books Friday nights though to be honest I have not experimented with any other day. I'm afraid I would lose those people who already buy knowing my books go up Friday and wait for them.

I redo books all the time when I can restock to 100 stamps. When I cannot, or if there is no sales from the book, they go elsewhere. There are countries here that have little or any sales as you well know. I am often tempted to buy collections but do not as I have no idea if there is interest. Really nice tobacco stamp collection at auction right now but would anyone buy non listed US revenues? If not I could spend $200 on something that sits on the shelf. Not worth the gamble when you know that the stamps go for 5-10 dollars each or more. Trying a wine revenue book this week which I have serious doubts about, but the stamps will easily sell elsewhere so I don't lose on that.

Your idiom is as you say "spot on". After 4 years I still can't figure buyers out here the way I have on other sites. There I know exactly what worm to put on the hook. Here when I think I have figured it out, the next week I'm back to square one. Retail is an interesting business

Greg

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cardstamp
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16 Apr 2021
10:59:08am

Approvals
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

I equate putting up appoval books here like cooking a family diner. I put up new books like putting out food for the diner. Everyone grabs the stuff as soon as it comes out and then it just sits there - and you wind up with the leftovers. I agree that after the first few days the book just sits there - like the leftovers in the fridge. I started something years ago that I would reduce the price by 50% when the books were in the Closing Soon list. That reduced some of the leftovers but I was left with the bulk of them. I am left with 2 choices try to recycle some by creating a new book with some additions - or just toss (donate) them - just like the leftover food in my fridge.
As for the day and time of the week I post a new book - I never noticed any difference. My regulars usually come in within the first 24-48 hours. The first few are like vultures. Then someone new comes along within the first week. This year I started to take down some books even before they wind up in the system dictated closing now limits. Finally this has come up before regarding Catalog #'s. When I first started I did not provide any. I then changed at one point of adding them - it made no difference to my sales. I now have a compromise - the lower cost stamps 25 cents or less I skip the catalog # but for the higher cost stamps I provide it. My stamps are put in the book in some sort of year order as best as I can. Some books follow the Scott order of putting the back of the book items after the regulars and sometimes I do it in the Minkus order of strictly by year. I always wondered what does everyone prefer ? Like Boxer or Brief (Scott or Minkus !) Steve

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
16 Apr 2021
12:30:31pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

Quote:

"I always wondered what does everyone prefer ?"



Steve, that's the $64,000 question.

We all have our own wee foibles.

Mind you its quite amusing trying to figure out the answers.
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sheepshanks
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16 Apr 2021
12:52:50pm
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

Although it really is each sellers choice, surely the end result is to make it as easy as possible for the buyer to find what they want.
I personally hate books that are in absolutely no order, it is a total pain having to jump back and forth in an album or catalogue to establish whether I need a stamp.
One advantage of having smaller books with less images on a page is that the scan can be of better quality, which makes identifying stamps easier, without having to use ctrl+ to increase the screen size.
I do also want to see the whole of the stamp without it being covered by another stamp or the item number.
If the vario has stamps and a lot of unused black space please crop out the wasted space, as it will allow a better scan. ( Black or white space takes up pixels)
I do wonder why some sellers think that folks want to buy very damaged stamps at any price, let alone when only 5 cents or so. Put them in the rubbish bin or send them to the Holocaust project.

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
16 Apr 2021
06:51:09pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

Quote:

"surely the end result is to make it as easy as possible for the buyer to find what they want."



Yes. BUT price versus production time has to be taken into account.

If there are four stamps of different value in a set the four stamps must be spread throughout the book resulting in the "looker" having to go back and forth.

No matter which way a seller does their books they cannot "win".

Like most things in life there has to be compromises made between the seller and the potential buyer.

Both I and Greg have suggested that every potential buyer should try and make up a book and see what actual work and time are involved to produce a book. Just take 120 stamps from a mixture of stamps and make up a book and put in order of country, date, value them, price them, examine them for condition and then either put and number them on stock leaves or hinge them on an approval sheet and then scan them. Then take 33% of the total selling price, then 50% of the total selling price. Now think of all the time you have spent producing the book and compare it with the 33% and 50% figures.

Only when you have done that you can get down on your knees and say "thank you stamporama approval sellers" 100 times.Rolling On The Floor LaughingRolling On The Floor Laughing

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sheepshanks
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16 Apr 2021
07:34:12pm
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

Ian, I have made up books but would say that a mixed country book is not what most buyers are looking for unless you are going to have perhaps full or almost complete sets.
I imagine that most sellers work with a catalogue to ensure their pricing is reasonable, when I made up books I would sort the country stamps into the catalogue so that when I made up the book sheets they were basically in year order, any stamps of a greater value can then be easily moved to a separate sheet.
It may be as well to remember that we are basically swapping spares between club members, albeit for a generally low price. If it is to be a sellers main business then perhaps employ basic wage earners to do the sorting etc. At least then there could be a tax write off.
Agreed you will never please everybody, or sometimes even anybody.

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
16 Apr 2021
08:51:19pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

This is what I love about stamporama.

Everybody has their own way of buying and selling. They have their own ideas on the how's the why's and the wherefore's.

We have a wide variety and nobody is right or wrong.

We have a saying in Old Caledonia "Pure dead brilliant, by the way."


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w019MzRosmk

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sheepshanks
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16 Apr 2021
09:17:04pm
re: Using catalogue (catalog) numbers

If you did it Franks way you would be quite rich by now. Then your good lady could have hand printed wallpaper to whatever design she wished.

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