Catalogue Numbers

There are many stamp catalogues and everyone has their favourite but this leaves the programmer with a problem. If one catalogue lists a stamp with a number to uniqely identify a stamp and another does not list the stamp then which catalogue should the database be based on? Coupled with this is the question of copyright.

The only way to resolve this is to invent a completely new system for cataloging stamps. Some attempts have been made in this direction most attempting to cram into the number information about the stamp such as date of issue etc. Most fall down where this information is not known.

The world collector has what is, I believe, a unique approach.

The first assumption is that all stamps are issued by a particular stamp issueing authority. This is not included in the catalogue number at all but serves to identify a stamp. The second is that each stamp is issued on a particular date, the third is that each stamp has a different face value the fourth and last being that all the above being the same then the stamps are issued in a particular order.

An example of a world collector catalogue number would start with  "0001". A stamp with this number would be the first stamp issued by any stamp issueing authority sorted first by date then by face value (in ascending order) and then by the order in which this stamp was issued.

Of course for any particular stamp issue the first perfect stamp is not the only one seen as there are almost always flaws in the printing including paper folds, missing colours and even plate numbers from early plate printed stamps.

To cope with this the world collector catalogue numbers have two parts. the first as above is the four digit number which defines the issue of the stamp as intended. A second four digit number is added to handle differences.

So a perfect penny black from the united kingdom would have the catalogue number "0001.0000". Ideal for a simplified listing of stamps. All plate numbers and errors, variations etc after this would have numbers such as "0001.0001" and onwards. This allows any stamp issueing authority to issue 10,000 different stamps with up to 10,000 variations on each stamp. Of course it only remains to have all the stamps identified and numbered which can only be accomplished by a dedictaed society or organisation with the output from this being available to all collectors, either as a specialised listing or a template for a simplified listing.

Posted in February 2018 by William Atkin