Make your stamp catalog great

A stamp catalog (or stamp catalog) is a standard stamp catalog with descriptions and prices.

The stamp catalog is an essential tool of philately and stamp collecting. Quotation catalogs are part of philatelic literature.


The first stamp catalog was published in France by Oscar Berger-Levrault on September 17, 1861 and the first catalog illustrated by Alfred Potiquet in December 1861 (based on the previous work).

The first catalogs in Britain were published in 1862 by Frederick Booty, Monte Brown, and Dr. John Edward Grey. The first in the United States was The Stamp Collector’s Manual by AC Kline (a pseudonym of John William Kline), also 1862.

Originally catalogs were price list dealers’, although today it is less common. The catalogs of some major publishers continue to serve as an official price list for the publisher. For example, Stanley Gibbons in the UK specifically states in the catalog that the price listed is the estimated selling price by Stanley Gibbons Ltd. Instead, the Scott catalog serves as a reference document for the expected prices used by buyers and sellers. Over time, as philately developed, catalogs tend to accumulate additional supporting details about stamps, such as issue dates, color variations, and so on. As their use became widespread by collectors, catalogs came to define what was and was not a legitimate stamp, as many stamp collectors would avoid having them described in the catalog. In recent years, the Internet has become a common resource for information about coupons. Some catalogs have an online version, while others are only available online.

The following catalogs have worldwide coverage:

Michel – print, software and online
Scott – print, pdf and online
Stanley Gibbons – print and online
Yvert et Tellier – printed only
These are the big companies, as there are thousands of new stamps to describe each year, and the prices of all stamps can go up or down. For non-trading publishers, prices are estimated by dealer and auction data.

In addition, general catalog publishers turn off specialized volumes with additional details, usually by nationality: Michel has a German specialized catalog, Scott a U.S. specialized catalog, and so on.

Many countries have their own “national” catalogs, usually put out by a leading publisher or distributor in that country. Postal administrations may put out catalogs themselves, although they tend to be targeted at less experienced collectors, and rarely provide fully detailed brand data. Some notable country catalogs include:

ABDA (Philippines)
Aerophil (Switzerland)
AFA (Denmark)
AFINSA (Portugal)
Brusden-White (Australia)
Edifil catalogs (Spain and its former colonies)
Facit (all Scandinavian countries)
Fischer (Poland)
Hellas (Greece)
Hibernian Catalogue and Manual (Ireland)
JB Stamp Catalogue Malta and postal history (Malta)
Lamy (Peru)
Ma Catalogue (China)
Catalog of Chan (China)
Yang Catalogue (China, published in Hong Kong)
Phila India – Manik (India)
RHM (Brazil)
Sassone (Italy)
Sakura’s Catalogue (Japan)
NVPH Catalogue (Netherlands)
Zumstein (Switzerland)
The online catalogs
Colnect Worldwide Catalog Stamps 401 countries, 751,043 Stamps (2018-11-28), free
Find your valuable stamps – from USA, Great Britain, Russia, Germany membership based on fees, search by photo
Freestampcatalogue 210,919 stamps from all over the world, with track lists
Stamps Italian Catalog 22,522 stamps, Italian website
New Zealand Online Catalogue by Topic, Years and Nominal Values
StampData 622,964 stamp items (2018-11-28), free
StampWorld Stamps 750,000 (2018-11-28), free, with values
Stamps of the World Wiki pages containing 351,293,267,276 images (2018-11-28), free of
The WikiBooks Catalogue stamp all over the world

List of Quotation Catalogues – List of stamp catalogs

This article is an incomplete list of Quote Catalogs

AFA specialkatalog: Danmark, Færøerne, Grønland, Dansk Vestindien og Slesvig (Denmark)
Afinsa (Portugal)
Anfils (Spain)
Australasian stamp catalog (Australia)
Austria Netto Katalog (ANK) (Austria)
BALE (Israel)
Barefoot Catalogue (Revenue)
Bolaffi (Italy)
Borek (catalogs)
Brusden-White (Australia)
Burak Pul Evi Kataloğu – Spesyalize Türk Pullari Kataloğu (Specialized Turkish Label Catalog)
Burak Pul Evi Yayinlari – Ilk Türk Pullari / Tugrali Pullar (the first Turkish stamps with the monogram of the Sultans)
The catalog of the USSR stamps (Soviet Union, Russia; Каталог почтовых марок СССР )
Campbell Paterson (New Zealand)
Chan stamp China Catalogue (1878-1949)
CEI (Italy)
Cérès (France)
Chuchin, FG (Russia – Zemstvos)
Colnect (online only)
Comprehensive color catalog of Australian stamps
Dallay (France)
Domfil (Spain)
Edifil (Spain)
Facit catalog (all Scandinavian countries)
Farahbakhash Catalogue 2010: The Seals of Iran – Qajar, Pahlavi, Iran (Iran)
Fischer Catalogue (Poland)
Find your valuable stamps (specialized in the United States, UK, Russia and Germany stamps)
Froede (Germany, active as of 1941)
Hellas 2012: Stamp catalog and postal history = katalogues grammatosēmōn kai tachydromikē history (Greece)
Hermes (Greece)
Hibernian (Ireland)
Holmes ( Canada , published 1935-1968 )
Inoubli (Tunisia)
Isfila (Turkey)
Jacobs, VA (Russia – USSR special catalog)
JB Catalog (Malta)
EYEBROWN Nissen Japanese stamp Specialized Catalogue (Japan)
JSDA Japanese Label Catalog (Japan)
Katalog Prangko Indonesia = Indonesia Postage stamp catalog (Indonesia)
LAPE (Finland)
Len Jury Stamp catalog – New Zealand
NZ Stamps – New Zealand
Lipsia (until 1990), only the GDR catalog stamp . (Publisher: Verlag Transpress Leipzig, GDR)
Livingston “Catalog of the Shanghai Postal System” (Wei-Liang Chow second edition 1990) / (LF Livingston First edition 1971)
Ma’s Illustrated Catalog of China’s stamps (China)
MacDonnell Whyte (Irish Specialty Catalog Stamps)
Magyar Posta és Illetékbélyeg Katalógus (Hungary)
Maury (France), a specialized catalog of France formed from the combination of Cérès and Dallay
Michel’s Catalogue (Germany)
Minkus (USA, active until 2004)
Newfoundland catalog specialized label (Canada)
Catalog of Ngo of the Republic of the Philippines Postage Stamps and Stationery (Philippines)
Norgeskatalogen (Norway)
Norma Norma [years] – a specialized Finnish stamp catalog published annually, in three languages (Finnish, Swedish, English)
NVPH Speciale Catalogus (Netherlands and the colonies)
OBP-COB (Belgium)
Phila India (India)
Philex (Germany)
Catalog of Pofis (Czechoslovakia)
Stamps Catalog of the People’s Republic of China (China), China Post and Telecommunication Press
Prifix (Luxembourg)
Pulko (Turkey)
Pulko Osmali İmpararatorluğu ve Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Posta Pullari Kataloğu (Ottoman Empire and Republic of Turkey Seal Catalog)
Pulhan: Türk Pullari Kataloğu (Turkey Stamp Catalogue)
Richard Zimmermann Catalogue (The Joint Stamp Issue Catalogue)
Catalog of Ruch (Poland)
Sakura Catalogue of Japanese stamps (Japan)
Sanabria Post Air Catalogue (airmail stamps worldwide; last complete catalog 1966; partial, 1972)
Sassone (Italy)
Schiffer Catalog : Selos do Brasil Catalog (Brazil)
Scott’s Catalogue (USA)
Argentine Postal Stamps: 1856-2010 (Argentina)
Standard Catalog of Maylaysia, Singapore, Brunei , Steven Tan, International Seal of Currency and Sdn. Bhd.
VU Soloviev (Russia)
Siddiqui Stamps Catalog (Pakistan)
The color catalog of the South African stamp (South Africa)
Stanley Gibbons (Great Britain)
Suriwongse (Sakserm) until 2004 (Thailand)
Stamps Thai Catalog (Thailand), Somchai Saeng ngern
Taiwan Catalog of Color , Alex Yeh
Umungwan postage stamp Korean catalog (South Korea)
Unificato (Italy)
UNITRADE’s specialized catalog of Canadian stamps
Yang (Hong Kong, the liberated zones, People’s Republic of China)
Yvert et Tellier (France)
Standard Collection Zagorsky (Russia)
Zonnebloem (Netherlands, Indonesia, Israel, Surinam, Europe States)
Zumstein (Switzerland)

Stamp catalogs are the bedside book of any philatelic collector. Whether you are just starting, or already entering the “world” of stamps, this mini-tutorial will explain all the basics about philatelic catalogs.

The “tools” that accompany our stamp collection are varied. Some are used to manipulate them, like tweezers, others to preserve them, like sheets or albums. But we also have other elements that help us to study and understand them, such as UV lamps or philatelic catalogs.

Unlike product or travel catalogs, with a stamp catalog you can see the history and evolution of a particular country or theme just by flipping through its pages. The issues of the different countries not only evolve in technique, but also reflect the political, social and economic changes that are taking place.

With it, we learn to familiarize ourselves with the location and classification of stamps, documenting their characteristics, such as their date of issue or printing. It also provides us with approximate information on the estimated price of the stamps it deals with.

What is a stamp catalog?

A philatelic catalog is a special book whose main subject is philatelic issues. These books provide us with very valuable philatelic information that in some cases would be impossible to know otherwise.

Although there are a large number of catalogs, normally all of them provide information about the date of issue, the print run, the image of the stamp and its approximate price (its market price).

However, if we count from the beginning of the correspondence, the amount of documents, types and philatelic marks is amazingly large. Therefore, there are several types of catalogs covering different subjects and periods. In future articles we will detail all the varieties that exist.

What is a philatelic catalog for?

To focus my collection

Choosing a catalog is very useful to start focusing the stamp collection. Whether you choose one from a particular country or theme, it will help you start defining the collection. Normally all catalogs follow the same structure: chronological, by country…etc. and will give you an insight into how to start organizing your stamp collection.

If you have many stamps from a country, you have catalogs that collect all the stamps from a particular country, from the first to the last of the year before the issue. For example, the catalog of stamps of Spain 2017, gathers from the first stamp (year 1850) until half-final of 2016.

Classifying this “jumble

In stamp catalogs usually comes the image of the stamps, as well as their name and description. Many times in the “foot” of the seal puts both the country and the year, but in most cases this is not so and we must help a catalog to identify and catalog them.

If you have many stamps of a certain theme (boats, Walt Disney, animals…) a thematic catalog can help you identify the country and the year they belong to. Normally, stamps are classified by country and then by year. Although thematic collections usually have a different order, it is also convenient to know the origin of the stamps.

Identifying which stamps are missing

By reflecting the image and description of the stamps we can easily identify those we have and those we do not, as well as identify those we want to acquire.

A trick that many collectors use is to make a small mark next to the number of the stamp we already have. This way the catalog becomes a “mancolista” or list of faults, in which we know in a quite visual way the pieces we have.

Communicate with other collectors and dealers
There are billions of stamps in the world. If you wanted to refer to just one specific one… how would you do it?

Normally you would have to indicate the country, the year, the value printed on the stamp, the image that appears…etc. which would make it very long and tedious to have to communicate, for example, 10 stamps.

For this reason, the codifications that come in the stamp catalogs are usually used to communicate with other collectors. For example, in Spain the most widely accepted is the unified catalog of the Edifil publishing house, so if you ever read something like “Edifil 4411**” don’t think it’s just to annoy. It is to avoid saying “Hoja Bloque de España nueva con goma original y sin charnela de la Exposición Filatélica Nacional (EXFILNA) celebrada en Oviedo en el año 2008”. It is more comfortable, isn’t it?

Knowing how much my stamps are worth

The value of stamps can be understood in many ways and we will discuss this in depth in future tutorials. If we understand value as a purely economic issue, the catalog can help us because it indicates the approximate market price at which we can buy it today.

Catalogs usually explain the price, usually called “quote”, of each stamp issued. It should not be confused with the “nominal” or “face” value that is printed on the stamp. For example, the stamp of 2 reales by Isabel II (from 1851) would have a very low nominal value if we converted the reales to euros, as opposed to the approximate market value of 27,000 euros in the catalog. Although a great variety of factors influence this, the catalog helps us to have an approximate idea of the economic value of our collection.

How do you use the catalog?

In previous articles we talked about how to start organizing a stamp collection and a catalog is a very good way to start getting “on the job”.

The first thing is to acquire a catalog according to our collection. The simplest thing is the specific countries, so we can start with a catalog that is the country that has more stamps (such as Spain, France, Cuba … etc.). If we want to specialize in a particular subject, a thematic catalog is your option (for example, sports, animals or painting). They are usually a bit more expensive and difficult to get, but it will save us a lot of headaches.

Once you have purchased the catalog, clear the table and put only the stamps you want to classify and the catalog. Usually catalogs are ordered by chronology, countries or subjects, so we recommend you to take a quick look at it to familiarize yourself with it.

If you have any doubts, the first pages usually have an explanatory index with the symbols used, for example, in the Edifil catalog you can see in a column these symbols ** it means that this column indicates the price of these stamps in new, without the stamps/badge (a kind of plastic that was used in the past to stick the stamps to the album).

To identify the stamp, look for some information that guides you, as in the image or in the letters at the bottom. If a stamp, for example, you see the image of Franco, you know that this stamp can be found in the pages from 1939 to 1975.

Each time you identify the stamp, you can place it on the album pages or, if you don’t have one, in a stamp classifier. In the latter case put a post-it next to the issue (never on top!) with the data that interests you or helps you identify it.

If you don’t find it, don’t despair! Put it aside on one side and put it on the next, in 95% of the cases you will find it by chance while looking for another 😉

In short

Catalogs are a very important source of philatelic information and are the basic bedside book for anyone who collects or is starting to collect stamps.

There are many types of catalogs. Focus on getting the one that best fits your collection. Country-specific catalogs are a good place to start.

A catalog helps us organize the collection and shows you a way to classify it.

It also helps us to know what stamps we have and what we are missing. In addition to knowing their approximate economic market value, that is, the price at which a certain stamp is purchased.

To identify a stamp, look in the image for something that will guide you and corroborate it by looking for that same image in the catalog. Besides being entertaining, it is easier than it seems 😉