A quick review of Norma 2010, a specialized catalog of Finnish stamps

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Last thursday I managed to get a copy of “Norma 2010 – a specialized catalog of Finland postage stamps” from nearby public library. So I decided share yet another short catalog review.

Some background

In short, there are two major stamp catalogs in Finland – LaPe and Norma. Both have very long backgrounds with annual editions. Thick specialized catalogs are issued 3-5 times in decade, whilst rest are slimmed down basic editions.

Though both catalogs cover pretty much the same stamps, they do it in somewhat different styles. LaPe is heavy about details on stamp subjects and backgrounds (though the latest editions are far away from the 1980’s information packed encyclopedias). Norma on the other hand has always been very compact, and focused more about listing basic stamps as well as known varieties in simple and consistent style.

Table of contents

The 2010 edition of Norma doesn’t contain big surprises. There 324 information packed pages, and about 10 pages of full pages adds.

Table of contents for Norma 2010 stamp catalog. Click for larger image.

Table of contents for Norma 2010 stamp catalog. Click for larger image.

Contents

The catalog is tri-lingual (Finnish, Swedish, English) with very comprehensive translations. The page layout is usually very clear, though some of the pages are a bit overcrowded. As this is specialized catalog, there are loads of details including known prints, varieties etc.

This is pretty average looking page of Norma catalog - loaded with details about different prints and flaws.

This is pretty average looking page of Norma catalog - loaded with details about different prints and flaws.

Superb SOTN copies continue to be extremely popular amongst Finnish collectors, and the 2010 catalog continues to price all items in this condition. On average superb grade SOTN copies are catalogued 5-20 times higher than normal grade copies. For example

  • A 1937 Red Cross semi-postal high value is cataloged 3€ as normal grade used; a superb SOTN copy is 60€;
  • A 1963 Lion type 0.05p stamp is cataloged 0.20€ in normal condition; a superb SOTN copy is 3€.
  • 2009 Europa pair is cataloged 2€ in normal condition; a suberb SOTN copy is 7€.

Final verdict

For owners of previous specialized editions, there is very little reason to update. Pricewise there are some changes, but overall stamp prices seem to be in status quo. AFAIK, the only major change in catalog listings is the re-classification of Lion type 1963 advanced paper types (as recommended by FPF); in addition there are tens of newly found EFO’s listed.

All in all, this is a very recommendable catalog for anyone interested in Finnish stamps.

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