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Collecting Discworld stamps

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roastchicken View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote roastchicken Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 June 2021 at 01:40
Thanks again Elmstead, I can see I have a LOT to learn.

But that is what makes it interesting!


I suppose at some stage, Terry had to decide which protocol to follow. Had he chosen the version which recorded each new year name we completists would all have felt obliged to buy new sheets every time it changed. Perhaps that helped shape his decsion making. 

Thanks also to those who have sent me private messages with their comments, particularly the one about some Merchants sheets having extra perforation guide marks. There is so much to learn  :-)


...

:-)
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Joolz View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Joolz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 June 2021 at 02:30
Great answer, elmstead. But there is one wrinkle to be aware of, which is that the policy for the common stamp being the 'A' stamp and the sports or other variants/errors being the 'B', 'C', 'D', etc stamps has varied over the years.

So, taking the Koom Valley (1 October 2015) issue, the two stamps issued within the set were given different SHS stamp numbers, 33 and 34 (and so full catalogue references SHS-AM0033-Aw and SHS-AM0034-Aw), both with the 'A' designation as commons (and there were no sports for this issue).

But both stamps appeared on the same sheet, and it was felt that, to keep the SHS stamp number element of the system complete and without gaps, the same sheet would be given two numbers related to the numbers of the two individual stamps (so SHE-0033-A and SHE-0034-A are indeed the same sheet).

However, there have been more examples in recent years of sheets with multiple commons on them, particularly at Hogswatch, but also others. These have usually been listed with the same SHS stamp number, with the common stamps being the 'A', 'B', etc stamps up to however many commons are in the issue, and the sports being continued on from the end of the sequence of commons (for example: Hogswatch 2017, the farthing commons are 'A' to 'D', sports are 'E' and 'F'; Hogswatch 2018, the 2p/5p/2p commons are 'A' to 'C', sports are 'D' to 'F'; Hogswatch 2019, the 5p commons are 'A' to 'C', sports are 'D' to 'F'; the Great Taste of Ankh-Morpork 2021, the 6p commons are 'A' to 'D', sports are 'E' to 'H').

Note that the Hogswatch 2017 is particularly complicated because the Hogswatch penny stamp is given a separate SHS stamp number (437) from the four Hogswatch farthing stamps (436) but all five stamps appear on the same sheet, and, like the Koom Valley issue above, the same sheet is given two numbers (SHE-0436-A and SHE-0437-A are the same sheet; and SHE-0436-B and SHE-0437-B are the same unperforated proof sheet awarded as a prize).

However, again, there are exceptions to the new rule. For example, the three 3p stamps in the Hogswatch 2020 set are on the same sheet, but are listed separately with different SHS stamp numbers (504, 505 and 506) as individual stamps. But the only sheet number is 504; sheets 505 and 506 do not exist in the catalogue. This may just be an oversight and sheet numbers 505 and 506 should have been put in the catalogue as copies of sheet number 504. Why Hogswatch 2020 is treated differently to 2017, 2018 and 2019, in terms of not giving the individual stamps just one SHS stamp number, and labelling the commons 'A' to 'C', and the sports 'D' to 'F', is unclear. But this may again just be an oversight.
Originally posted by elmstead elmstead wrote:

I'm not an expert  (I've only been collecting for 2 years) but this is my understanding of the Koom Valley issue

there is a long answer (If your are asking how the numbering system of the catalogue is structured) the catalogue number for a stamp always begins SHS and a sheet of stamps begins SHE
then there some letters to show which part of Discworld printed the stamp (eg AM for Ankh-Morpork) 
next, a number which increases as each new stamp its published 
the Stamps catalogue number is
followed by a letter which shows whether it is  the Common stamp (a) or a sport/variant (b, c, d etc)
and lastly a letter show the perforation (eg w is Wincanton)
However, the Sport/Variant/Common stamps are usually all printed on the same sheet and so the catalogue number for a sheet will always end with an A

and a slightly shorter answer (if you are asking why there isn't a sheet 33B) 
A sheet could contain only Common stamps
or it could contain lots of Common stamps and one Sport
sometimes (rarely) it may have lots of common stamps and two different sports

So, there is one sheet from 2005 (SHE-0033A) which contains both the Koom Valley 10p Trolls attack and Koom Valley 10p Dwarves attack stamps. 
These are two different (common) stamps and so they are catalogued as SHS-AM0033-Aw and SHS-AM0034-Aw. (if one was a sport (33b) and the other the common (33a) there would be loads of 33a and only one33b on the sheet)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote roastchicken Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 June 2021 at 04:38
So the Catalogue is flawed, and has been inconsistent over the years. I could understand this in the early years when everyone was pretty much making it up as they went along, but in recent years I woul have thought it better to stick to an established pattern rather than vary the classification. Is this what happens with Stanley Gibbons numbers, they just amend or invent as they go? I doubt it it. It makes it very complicated for us newbies to really have confidence in what we are buying. 

Thank goodness my collecting interests only run to 2009.

Thank you Joolz for your detailed observations!  I am a little more informed than wehn I started  :-)
...

:-)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote elmstead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 June 2021 at 05:07
I'm sure there are many people better qualified to explain how the Discworld catalogue has evolved over the years. Some points to consider are that the people who created it were/are not employed by the Emporium but give up their own time (and presumably money to host the website) and ,although there are inconsistencies, it is still an invaluable resource for "newcomers". 


 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote roastchicken Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 June 2021 at 05:21
Yes, forgive me, I had not intended to turn this into a complaint about the catalogue, my initial disappointment got the better of me. 

I completely understand what it must be like to have such an emotional and financial investment to update and curate without the help of the stampmakers themselves.  It must be a thankless task.

 It is a great first point off contact but as I have discovered here, nothing beats personally sourced information and the expertise of established collectors, particularly those who understand the evolving numbering system.

Thanks again for all your help, I must be more careful what I post in future.
...

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Steve Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 June 2021 at 06:29
The Discworld Catalogue is a labour of love for Steve James. He inheritted the catalogue numbers from an earlier listing available as an excel download, whih was updated wuarterly. He has expanded it immensely, with some very good facilities, such as displaying all the Penny Patricians for example.
He has done this single-handedly, and it is inevitable some errors will creep in. I am sure that the SG listings also have errors or ommisions, and that would be double checked and proof read.
Steve is reliant to some extent on collectors informing him of possible new entries and of errors. However if one of us found a previously undiscovered sport it is quite possible to keep silent about it in the hope of finding more before the cat is out of the bag. And do not forget that many just cannot be bothered to contact him.

Treat the Catalogue as a starting point, but make your own decisions as to what should be there or what you want to put into your collection. You don't have to rigidly follow the Catalogue. Do it your own way.
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