The Best World Wide Stamp Albums

First, let's be clear that I mean "best world wide stamp albums made in the United States." For example, Gibbons publishes albums in the UK, and Canadian Wholesale Supply publishes albums in Canada. What I have in mind are the albums that are or were made in the United States. The most lasting lines of U.S. albums, those still widely available in used condition, today, are those from Scott, Harris, and Minkus.

Scott goes back the farthest, having published albums since the 1800's. The capstone of its world wide line is the Scott International Postage Stamp Album, a multi-volume album most of which is still available today. (I've heard it reported that the plates to Part I and Part II were destroyed by fire placing the pages that cover the years 1840-1949 out-of-print.)

Of the three lines, Scott probably displays the best quality binder, with Minkus a close second. The vinyl binders used by Harris tend to split at the seams and are less attractive than the fabric binders used by Scott and Minkus in their larger albums.

As for pages, Scott, again fares best, with their later pages (say, since 1955) having an archival quality that seems to resist yellowing. Of course, Scott pages are less white than Minkus and Harris having a creamy color to them, but their resistance to yellowing goes beyond that. Older Minkus pages seem to yellow the most, but it's possible that since the 1960's or 1970's this has been corrected.

The Harris pages I have seen in collections seem to maintain whiteness, but the outside edges of a Harris collections such as in the big Citation album, always look distressed from handling. Something you don't see with a Scott International or a Minkus Master Global or Supreme Global album.

As for page layout, I think Minkus is best, being both sensible and attractive.

The Minkus albums are sensible because they don't differentiate between standard postage stamps and what is referred to as "back of the book" material, the airmail, semi-postal, postage due and others that Scott has always listed separately in its albums and catalogs and Harris chose to follow.

With the Scott Internationals, these back-of-the-book issues create the problem of having so many pages with just one or a few stamps on them that in anything beyond Part I (which was, itself, packed too tightly and left out too many issues when compared to the parts that followed) you get a lot of empty, blank space on far too many pages. Plus as new supplements were added, they never picked up the slack, maintaining a lot of empty space, pages that are not fully used, and more binders needed to hold everything, making the albums that much harder to use. For ease of use, you can't beat the Minkus albums.

The page layout of the Scott Internationals might give stamps the most attractive display, but a lot of open space can make the pages of some countries look empty and detract from their overall appearance. The Minkus Supreme Global page layout is a very close second, and since the Minkus system of supplements eliminates empty space and empty pages, they can present a more attractive display than the Scott pages.

The layout of the Harris albums is the least attractive. With the Harris intent of getting as many stamps on a page as possible to create the largest album holding the greatest number of stamps possible, the Harris albums are aesthetically unpleasing, with stamp after stamp after stamp packed in on every page. A page from a Harris album has virtually no eye appeal.

My choice would be to have an album with the sensible and attractive Minkus style pages printed on Scott's cream colored paper using the International style binder rather than the larger Global style binders.

With Amos now owning the rights to both lines, I hope they would consider doing this, possibly calling it The International Global Album!

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