Friday, April 11, 2014

Stamps of the World - Stanley Gibbons

I have been collecting stamps since my high school days and though, initially, I didn't know of the existence of catalogues as reference, I always thought it would be the most ideal to have and refer to. Eventually I learnt about all the catalogues available and knew then that a complete set of world stamps catalogues had to be sitting on my shelf along side my collection of stamps. A few years ago, I almost dropped the idea of having an entire set of catalogues after I found out of the many references available online. Let me tell you here, there is no substitute to these hard copies and after all these years of collecting, I have finally been able to get myself this complete 6 volume set of Stanley Gibbons' Stamps of the World catalogues.

My world knew no joy like I did the day this parcel landed at my doorstep. Well, as you see here, it is the 6 volume set of the Stamps of the World, Simplified 2013 edition by Stanley Gibbons. I am not going to mention details about where to get these and how much I paid for these. It is all available for everyone to see on the Stanley Gibbons web-site and it will cost you just as much plus the shipping and duty.
What I am going to mention, is what you get in this voluminous set, what's in it for a collector like me or any collector for that matter and a brief review or my opinion of this wonderful set of books.
There are 6 volumes here with listings of all the stamps issued around the world since the very first Penny Black of 1840. Here below is, how I have stored them on a shelf alongside my stamps collection. If you look closely at the picture below, each of the catalogues has on its spine a clear mention of which countries you can find in each volume. e.g., Volume 1: Abu - Char contains stamps listings of the countries Abu Dhabi to Charkhari, a former state of Central India. Likewise there is Volume 2: Chi - Geo, Volume 3: Ger - Jas, Volume 4: Jer - New R, Volume 5: New S - Sin and Volume 6: Sir - Zu

A typical page from the catalogue. What you see here, is the page listing the stamps of India from the year 1948. You can click on the image for a closer look. What you get is the catalogue number, year of issue, the face value and pricing for the used and mint variants. The price for the mint 1948 Rs 10 Mahatma Gandhi stamp is £275. This is a simplified catalogue. It is called so because it contains listings of postage stamps only. Fiscal or revenue stamps, Local stamps, Local carriage labels and Private local issues, Telegraph stamps, Bogus stamps, Railway letter fee stamps, perfins, Labels and Cut-outs are not included.

Another page from the catalogue. A full page here. The catalogue lists countries in alphabetical order with country headers on each page and extra introductory information such as philatelic historical background at the beginning of each section. Each country lists postage stamps in order of date of issue, from earliest to most recent, followed by separate sections for categories such as postage due stamps, express stamps, official stamps etc. This page here is the beginning of the list of Indian stamps.

The other picture above is the cover of one of the volumes, Volume 3 of the catalogue.

The SOTW simplified catalogue from Stanley Gibbons is a great resources for those trying to identify and value stamps. The catalogue contain basic stamp listings, which is more than sufficient in my opinion for a general world wide collector, and acts as a quick reference guide. Of course, for more detail such as watermark variations, errors, plate flaws, paper and print methods and perforation varieties there are the comprehensive and specialized catalogues too, which are country specific, obviously.

Do feel free to add your thoughts, comments or suggestions
NOTE: Please click on the images for a larger view / closer look.

No comments:

Post a Comment