Booklets, international

This is how it started

Presumably the Luxemburg Post in 1895 has, unaware, laid the basis for a new collector's item which has become increasingly popular in the last decades: the stamp booklet. Stamp sheets were cut in small sets, a carton was put around them and they were offered for sale as a handy booklet for regular users. It did not take long before other postal administrations followed the Luxemburg example: the United States (1900), Canada (1900), Hungary (1901). Recently new countries joined them: Belarus (2000), Montenegro (2001), Kosovo (2002).


A recent stamp booklet from Belarus

Catalogues have trouble with booklets

It took quite a while for collectors to discover that there is more to a booklet than only a couple of the same or different stamps. Few catalogues payed attention to booklets. In the USA and Canada for instance, separate panes were paid attention to, but only since 1978 complete booklets are listed in their catalogues. The German Michel catalogues still make a difference between booklets with different stamps in one pane and booklets with panes of the same stamps. The latter usually are not listed. Therefore Dutch booklets have a different number in this German catalogue. Yvert only lists French booklets. On the contrary, the British Stanley Gibbons in general has an excellent overview of booklets, especially from England and the (former) Commonwealth countries.


    
Old Dutch booklet: not to be found in the Michel catalogue.

How to collect booklets?

There is a variety of options as follows:
0.
Maniacs could collect all booklets world wide. Up to now roughly 7,000 booklets have been issued. When one would also include different varieties, the total is more than 15,000. Every year about 200 new booklets appear. We rate this option as 0, because it may be more than a lifetime achievement.
1.
Booklets from one or more countries or groups of countries. Many a collector favors this option of collecting just booklets.
2.
Booklets of one or more countries as part of a stamp collection of the country or countries concerned.
3.
Booklets per theme with numerous possibilities like animals, architecture, ships, Christmas, zip code, flowers, sports, etc.
4.
Special kinds of booklets, such as booklets with "wish you" or "love" stamps, self adhesives or stamps without value. Also of interest: the bar code on booklets or booklets with internet addresses.

Fire houses on booklets: scores to be found.

Epilogue

The collector of booklets needs to be creative and investigative, as there are no preprinted albums, hardly good catalogues and very little traders with sufficient stock. Nevertheless many collectors find their own ways to create an interesting collection.


Dutch mills on a booklet from Latvia

Many booklets present additional information about the theme concerned. In older booklets, one may find such information in seperate information panes or in advertisements on or inside the booklets. Also technical aspects are of interest: the counting blocks on the carton (every 10th booklet), cylinder numbers on the panes, different papers, etc. This way a collection of booklets may not be complete very soon, so there is always something to keep looking for.



Counting block on back of German booklet.









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