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General Philatelic/Gen. Discussion : Why did Scott's take over?

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Harvey
I think, therefore I am - I think!
06 Sep 2021
10:52:27am
I've been using Scott's for my 50 years of collecting and it is way too late to change now. I'm just curious why Scott's is the catalog of choice. Is it because of the fact it is American? Actually, in my opinion, Stanley Gibbons catologs stamps in a more logical way. No matter whether it is airmail, postage due or whatever SG catalogs in chronological order. There are no C's, J's, etc. to worry about. Does anyone know why Scott's is the catalog of choice and when this happened? Just curious!
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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
06 Sep 2021
12:13:28pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Why did Scott's take over?

I believe it depends on which country you started your collection.

Here in the UK it was always Gibbons, France had Yvert, Germany had Michel, Japan had etc.

The only reason I use Scott is that stamporama is North American.

When I sold on ebay it was Gibbons I used. Delcampe was also Gibbons.

To sell in a particular market you have to adhere to that markets wishes.

Try selling fur coats in the Sahara. It doesn't work.

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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..
06 Sep 2021
02:08:36pm
re: Why did Scott's take over?

" ... Does anyone know why Scott's is the catalog of choice and when this happened? Just curious! ..."

Well, it was not always so, but the big dog swallowed any smaller dogs that appeared.
My parents used Scott in the late 1930s and I have their 1935, '37, '38 and '45 Scott catalogs. So Scott was simply available to me as a child, but when I returned to collecting in the 1960s, I chose the far better Minkus catalog.
Now Minkus' catalogs had some good features. The stamps were listed in the order issued regardless of regular or airmail status. Minkus had a space in Gimbals' big department store in New York, as well as a few other cities. Thus, Minkus actually sold the stamps listed and included some countries Scott skipped. Minkus catalogs had far more comprehensive information about the stamp's purpose and design.
Just behind me and slightly to my left, I have my last set of Minkus catalogs, published in 1973. I still prefer looking things up in those two chubby catalogs.
But poor Jacques Minkus became ill and retired to a rest home in upstate New York, near the Finger Lakes, if my memory is right. So his interests closed or were sold off. Eventually a company named Krause, a magazine publisher, tried to pick up the baton, so to speak, but by then Scotts grip on the market was too tight and eventually Amos Publishing, which by then owned Scotts rights, bought out Krause's interest.
Remember J. W. Scott & Company began the catalog about a hundred and fifty years ago with a small sales list, hung on a cork board by thumb tacks. Minkus was not even born for another forty years and only produced his first bound world-wide catalog and Master Global stamp albums in the 1950s.
I hope I did not write anything inaccurate, but that is my recollection.

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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..
06 Sep 2021
02:15:28pm
re: Why did Scott's take over?

Oh, yes, Gibbons catalogs, excluding their prices, are far better than Scott in most listing details, and the Robson Lowe's "Encyclopedia of the British Empire is in general even more inclusive. Unfortunately, the Robson Lowe books only go up to around the 1960s.

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
06 Sep 2021
04:31:43pm
re: Why did Scott's take over?

Harvey,

the responses highlight that Scott dominates in the US (in Canada, it's unitrade, which uses the Scott numbering system), and is the best for US issues. Leave the US physically or philatelically and you're likely to use a different catalogue.

Many of us have Scott as our prime resource, wtih specialized catalogues bought for other collections.


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angore
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Collector, Moderator
07 Sep 2021
07:22:43am
re: Why did Scott's take over?

I always thought Scott was the predominant catalog for US collectors since almost from the beginning. If someone wanted to have another numbering system to supplant it, the key is to get the dealers to start using it. There would need to be a very compelling reason.


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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..
07 Sep 2021
08:43:24am
re: Why did Scott's take over?

" ... the key is to get the dealers to start using it...."


Aye, there's the rub.
Stamp dealers have so much time and effort invested
in the Scott system that they will never change.
And the monetary investment necessary to launch and
develop a viable (improved) version is out of the reach
of all but the most affluent collector or the wealthiest
of corporations.
Then would come an analysis of the gain for the effort
and expense, which would hardly be worthwhile in such s
small niche market.
There are far more impressive windmills with which to tilt.
So, we will just have to deal with the existing system
and cope with its weaknesses.
As someone once observed, "What does not need to be changed,
needs to not be changed."



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".... You may think you understood what you thought I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you think you heard is not what I thought I meant. .... "
DaveSheridan
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07 Sep 2021
09:07:36am
re: Why did Scott's take over?

Scott NEVER took over. Gibbons is, was, and always will be, THE catalogue for real collectors.

Now I've got your attention, I wish either Scott or SG would approach the other and discuss a concordance agreement so we can recognise catalogue numbers. When they started, we didn't communicate in seconds. I doubt that an American would ever have seen an SG and vice versa, so different systems were irrelevant.

I search for varieties and misdescribed stamps. Hipstamp is a wilderness for me, as searching is nigh on impossible when something is listed as "247". I kid you not, this must be the laziest seller on the planet!

I've posted so many times that, if you want to sell to someone outside of your own country, at the very least provide a year of issue.

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
07 Sep 2021
09:49:57am
re: Why did Scott's take over?

careful what you wish for, Dave

if the major cataloguers WERE to combine, even just cross-referencing, imagine the huge cost, which will surely be borne by the users, not the publishers


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angore
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Collector, Moderator
07 Sep 2021
09:51:59am
re: Why did Scott's take over?

Colnect comes as close to a cross reference that we will likely ever see. Colnect is a key resource to me to locate stamps without any identifier except for country such as SOR approvals and it bridges multiple numbering system.

The challenge in any cross reference is dealing with different depths of specialization (or is that specialisation?).


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BermudaSailor
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07 Sep 2021
10:40:08am
re: Why did Scott's take over?

I live in the United States, and I collect British Commonwealth. As such I use Stanley Gibbons. I do so because the Gibbons catalog lists many many varieties that are totally ignored by Scott. I should also say that while I use the pricing in the Gibbons as a rough rule of thumb, I do not rely on the prices listed as having any bearing on what I might or might not pay for a particular stamp, nor do I use the values listed as any measure of the my collection's monetary value.

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musicman
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APS #213005
07 Sep 2021
08:56:59pm
re: Why did Scott's take over?

ALL catalogs have shortcomings - no one catalog is THE best over the others.

SG is not the best;
Scott is not the best;
Unitrade is not the best;
Yvert is not the best;
Michel is not the best;

NO ONE CATALOG IS THE BEST.

It is all in what YOU as an individual collect and prefer.



RANDALL

(...who is tired of the 'catalog wars'....)

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
10 Sep 2021
12:42:14pm
re: Why did Scott's take over?

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Since we are discussing catalogs...
Back in 2016 I bought this HE Harris Catalog at Hobby Lobby. With my 40% off coupon it was something like $10. I got it because of a few attributes I liked..

It uses Scott Numbers. I like the Scott numbering. I keep different types of stamps in different albums. I like to look through my US Airmail book and see them all in order.

I like their organization and reference to all the face same stamps under each color image. I never liked that Scott had separate image numbers that you had to look through the entire catalog to be sure you found them all.

The catalog is spiral bound so it will lay flat on any page.

Shortcoming is that they don't list the first day of issue like Scott does.

I don't care about the reported values in any catalog, because we all know how that goes. But, HE Harris will sell you all those stamps at their inflated prices!

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Soundcrest
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10 Sep 2021
03:35:06pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Why did Scott's take over?

For finding a stamp I prefer Stampworld as they give a picture for almost every stamp. Additionally they have an awesome search engine. I have a good many catalogs as Scott does not list everything. I use Scott for prices when I can but the bottom line is always that something is worth only what someone will pay for it, be it stamps or any other collectible.

Greg

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DavidG
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APS member since 2004
11 Sep 2021
10:34:37am
re: Why did Scott's take over?

In Canada, dealers use Scott. For Canada, Unitrade. Unitrade numbers are Scott numbers licenced from Amos. If the Unitrade number ends with a letter (405a, 798b, etc.) it is a Scott number that you could find in a Scott catalogue. If the Unitrade number ends in a Roman numeral (624ii, 1509ix, etc.) then it is a Unitrade number only in the Unitrade Canada Specialized Catalogue.

Beyond Canada, other specialised catalogues are used. For example, on the 102 cards at our shop, you may see a stamp that is a variety not listed in Scott, but in Stanley Gibbons. So the card will say:

Scott 203 var
SG 210e

Also used as well as SG for Stanley Gibbons is:

Y & T = Yvert and Tellier (France and Colonies)
Mi = Michel (Germany and other countries)
Barefoot = John Barefoot Revenue Catalogues
Van Dam = Van Dam Catalogue of Canadian Revenues
FACIT = FACIT Scandinavia Catalogue.

There are others, too. We tend to keep up-to-date catalogues of most major countries.

The thing to remember about Scott is that it is the only major catalogue that produces a new catalogue each year. As well, as stated on the cover it is a STANDARD catalogue,, not a SPECIALSED catalogue.

As a dealer, using Scott makes finding something in your stock quick and easy. From there you can check for varieties in the specialised catalogues of given areas.

As Randy (Musicman) stated, no catalogue is perfect. But we start with Scott, and go further as needed with other catalogues. Sometimes we have been known to reference three catalogues for a stamp as it is listed differently in each catalogue.

David... at the shop

Retail Manager
Chris Green Stamps
151-D Second Ave.
Ottawa, Ont. CANADA


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joshtanski
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11 Sep 2021
04:24:50pm
re: Why did Scott's take over?

Pre-internet days in the USA, how readily available was information that there even were other catalogs than Scott? I did not become a serious adult collector until 2004 - 2005, and the Internet was well established by then. When I was a kid collector in the 1980s, I remember borrowing Scott catalogs from the local library, I do not think I had even heard of anything besides Scott.

Thanks,
Josh

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jbaxter5256
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11 Sep 2021
05:48:00pm
re: Why did Scott's take over?

When I was a young collector I knew of Scott, Minkus, and Stanley Gibbons catalogs as the hobby shop which had philatelic items for sale as well as some stamps in Milton, FL had a couple of journals from each on display. After we moved from Florida to Dothan, Alabama similarly Scarborough Drugs and Hobby (the two men who operated the pharmacy, also, had a stamp and coing counter as well as plastic models and related items for assembling them, train layout and hobby trains, and electric race car sets) displayed a variety of hobby related items as well as some journals to which they subscribed.

I learned about Yvert and Michel catalogs through articles in the stamp magazines that I read although I had never seen any of those catalogs until the last few years when I joined a local stamp club and other members brought them for show and tell along with Zumstein. We, also, talked about the Deegam catalog for Machins during a show and tell meeting.

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snowy12
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12 Sep 2021
04:46:08am

Auctions
re: Why did Scott's take over?

No one has mentioned Brookmans ?How long did they produce stamp catalogues ,my copy is 1998 and it states on the cover 60 years as the Nations most accurate and respected Guide for retail stamp prices .Price was US $15,95 ,picked it up for a couple of $$ from a second hand shop.
Brian

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angore
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Collector, Moderator
12 Sep 2021
06:23:20am
re: Why did Scott's take over?

I consider Brookman, Harris, Blackbook and others that use Scott numbers in a different category than Scott. These books used to be ones you found in book stores.


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