Stamps of the World 2011 by Stanley Gibbons

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Stamps of the World 2011 by Stanley Gibbons

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Category: Business and Finance
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The Stamps of the World reduced to an amazing six volumes of user-friendly text and illustrations. An investment for the collector and necessary tool for the dealer.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 6 x 406 Date: November 2010
Publisher: Stanley Gibbons Ltd
ISBN: 978-0852597897

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In describing reference books the word bible has been used too frequently of late. Slim booklets on a particular subject have the word emblazoned on their cover, which makes it rather difficult when you encounter a book – or in this case a set of six books – which merits the word. Stanley Gibbons 'Stamps of the World 2011' is genuinely a bible – an essential tool for a dealer and the serious collector. It's now available in six soft-bound volumes and is rightfully the company's flagship publication.

The catalogue is supremely easy to use and includes commemoratives, definitives, air-mail, postage dues, official stamps and miniature sheets and all are listed according to date of issue. The first volume also has useful articles about how to identify stamps (essential reading if you're new to philately or even for the more exprienced collector), what to include in your collection and how to put on a good show. I did wonder if the last two articles might be a little basic for a collector who could afford to buy this set, but I found them interesting and informative with points which were well-worth revisiting.

I know that the cover price seems expensive, but the first point to note is that the production values are second to none. Colour illustrations of stamps capture the nuances of colour and detail. They're clear and easy to look at and comparisons are simple. Print is small, but I'm afraid that goes with the territory: larger print would mean more volumes and an increased cover price. The balance is fair – provided that you make certain you read in a good light! Amazon suggests that this edition is spiral-bound, but my copies are normal soft-bound books. Spiral bound might well be easier to use as there's the usual tendency for the book to flop closed if you're working near the beginning or end of a volume, but usage will certainly cure this and once again there would be the additional cost to be considered.

If you have an earlier edition you might well wonder if it's worth making the investment. There are obviously all the new stamps which have been included – over two thousand of them – along with six hundred new images and a further four hundred internationally recognised SG numbers. In addition – and the point which might well sway you – there's been an extensive and noticeable re-pricing in some fifteen areas including the ever popular GB, Commonwealth and British Empire 1840 – 1970 and the USA.

I know that I've quibbled about the size of the print and the lack of spiral binding but I really do believe that Stanley Gibbons have done supremely well to balance quality and cost in the way that they have to produce such a user-friendly catalogue. It can only be a five star publication. I'd like to thank them for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

Philatelists might also be interested in our reviews of Great Britain Concise Stamp Catalogue 2010 and Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue Commonwealth & Empire Stamps 1840-1970 2011 by Hugh Jefferies.

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Buy Stamps of the World 2011 by Stanley Gibbons at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Stamps of the World 2011 by Stanley Gibbons at


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