Origins of the Scott Catalogues

The Scott Catalogue has 6 volumes which cover stamps from all the countries that have ever issued stamps.  The numbering system is used almost exclusively by stamp collectors in the United States, Canada and Mexico.  The use of this catalogue is so dominant that US collectors actually know many of the stamp numbers by heart, e.g. C3a is instantly recognised as the Inverted Jenny, a rare US airmail error stamp.

The first Scott Catalogue was published in 1868 by John Walter Scott, a stamp dealer from New York.  He is known not only for producing the first Scott catalogue, but also for conducting the first stamp auction in New York City on 28 May 1870.  He was America’s first major stamp dealer and was known as “The Father of American Philately”.  He was also the first person to sell a postage stamp to a collector for over $1000. 

The catalogue includes price information on the stamps as well as factual information about the stamps. The Scott catalogue does not list stamps which never went on sale.   To find these stamps, one must use a Stanley Gibbons or Michel catalogue.  Since 2011, the catalogue consists of 6 volumes.  Every year new catalogues are published.  The new catalogues feature stamps on a specific theme every year. Since 2006 colour images have been included in the main Scott catalogues.  There is also a Scott catalogue which lists all United States stamps and postal history.  This catalogue is known as Scott Specialised.  A new edition is published every year.  The continued use of the Scott catalogues ensures that philatelists the world over know about John Walter Scott.  His contribution to philately is enormous.

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