Each year, Scott Publishing Company produces a catalog of U.S. and foreign stamps listing estimated values for each stamp and identifies each with a Scott Number. Stamp collectors use Scott numbers to identify specific stamps when buying, selling or trading stamps, and for easy organizing their collections. Each stamp issued by a country has a unique number.
What is the idea behind this unique Scott numbering system? It is very simple. First of all, each stamp is assigned with a special number. Secondly, special-purpose items are marked with the corresponding capital letter such as B for semi-postal stamps or C for airmail. Of course, this traditional system can be changed if more stamps than expected appear or because of some minor variations. In this case Scott will add a capital letter as suffix or use the strategy of stamps renumbering. Minor variations, such as shades or errors, get a lowercase letter.
The additional descriptors include date of issue, illustration number, denomination and color. The illustration number correlates to the actual design of the stamp, minus the denomination and color, and a photographic example of each design can be found on the page of each Scott Catalogue.
It should be noticed that Scott numbering system is unique that is why the company claimed copyright on it. Moreover, the system has a high commercial value.
Editors of Scott catalogues are very powerful figures in the world of philately. It is explained by the fact that they have the right and a great influence on what should be considered a valid postage stamp. The editors can refuse to include some stamps in the catalogue so that the philatelists won`t be able to add them to their collections. Some years lately such stamps can appear in the catalog provided their copies appeared on the market. Stamp that is not in a Scott catalog is deprived of its value and philatelic interest.
In case the editors cannot get the copy of some interesting stamp it is published in the catalogue without its value. It happened, for example, with stamps from countries embargoed by the US government.
The popularity and usefulness of a Scott Catalogue is proved by the fact that many stamp collectors know some of its numbers by heart and dealers need only mention the number in their price lists. For example, Inverted Jenny is widely known in the philately field under the Scott number "C3a".
The Scotts are issued separated for each country and the stamps in them are listed alphabetically. One should notice that a catalogue doesn`t offer stamps for sale or any trading purposes. It provides collectors only with helpful information that can be used by collectors for their own aims.
The Scott Catalogue is highly respected authority and it was the first who offered philatelists a comprehensive and detailed identification system for philatelic items from around the world.
A stamp should answer a long list of criteria to be approved to be listed in Scott Catalogue. Occasionally, the company decides a particular stamp doesn't fit their criteria and declines to list it even though the issue is valid for postage. A recent example is the imperforate press sheets released by the U.S.
Each Scott Catalogue is edited and produced every year so the information there is renewed regularly. If you are devoted professional stamp collector you cannot do without this special philatelic literature. So, browse in the web and check each edition of annual Scott Catalogues.
Just so you know, you can search for stamps with the help of these unique numbers on our website. If you are experienced stamp collector, orient yourself in the system of Scott Numbers, visit this link that will be extremely helpful for organizing your collection: ADVANCED STAMP SEARCH.