Top 5 free online stamp catalogues reviewed

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One of the frequently asked questions by newbie stamp collectors concerns free online stamp catalogues: are there any, and how to find them. So, I thought it would be fun and useful to write a short review list of what I consider the top5 alternatives. I hope You have fun exploring the below websites.

Stanley Gibbons Allworldstamps.com

And this one has been closed down as of 06/2014… SG is now focusing on selling paid (annual subscription) MyCollection alternative.

PostBeeld Freestampcatalogue.com

PostBeeld catalog

PostBeeld catalog

Site address: http://www.postbeeld.com/en/fsc/home/

Pros:

  • Lists 500,000+ items (estimate).
  • Most listings contain a somewhat good quality image of stamp/set.
  • Provides somewhat consistent cross-references to Scott/Michel/SG/Yvert numbers
  • Somewhat easy to navigate around, very powerful and useful search functionality
  • Multi-lingual

Cons:

  • In reality the site is a combination of stock lists and buying lists of the largest stamp dealers in Europe
  • Thus it does not list/contain every issued stamp; main focus is on 20th century stamps while rare and valuable stamps are missing altogether.
  • Due to same reason, the catalog does not contain philatelic background information (such as perforation, printing methods etc)
  • nor does the site provide any kind of values for stamps (besides buying / selling prices)

Overall verdict: Personally I find myself using PostBeelds catalog when traditional catalogs (Michel, Scott etc) fail to provide accurate image of stamp. But otherwise I don’t use the site at all.

Colnect

Colnect stamps

Colnect stamps

Site address: http://colnect.com/en/stamps

Pros:

  • Lists roughly 336,000 stamps with varying quality of images.
  • Provides some philatelic background information for stamp sets / issues
  • Provides somewhat consistent cross-references to Scott/Michel/SG/Yvert numbers

Cons:

  • Incomplete (especially smaller and developing countries lack most, if not all, information of issued stamps).
  • Does not provides values for stamps / sets
  • Somewhat difficult to move around (requires lots of clicking) – search is somewhat useless

Overall verdict: Personally I don’t use Colnect much due to their pushy marketing. But it’s a nice asset to have for checking new issues and color images for countries where traditional (printed) catalogs fail. There is a paid premium service which helps to get rid of ads (as well as gives access to some other tools).

Stampedia

Stampedia catalog

Stampedia catalog

Site address: http://www.stampedia.net/

Pros:

  • Lists roughly 118,000 stamps
  • Provides complete lists of all issued stamps for countries they catalog
  • Uses very high quality stamp images
  • Very easy to use/navigate
  • Provides some interesting charts (such as annual stamp production)

Cons:

  • Missing stamp images
  • Does not provide references to popular catalog numbers
  • Does not provide philatelic background information for issues
  • Does not provides values for stamps / sets

Overall verdict: Stampedia websites state they strive to become one of the major stamp catalogues. The website has plenty of potential assuming they can keep up the pace and list all 600,000 stamps issued after 1840.

Stamps of the World

Stamps of the World catalog

Stamps of the World catalog

Site address: http://www.stampsoftheworld.co.uk

Pros:

  • Lists over 66,000 stamps with images
  • Easy to use advanced search

Cons:

  • Varying level of details: many pages are nothing but blank skeletons waiting for image or philatelic details to be entered.

Overall verdict: This is one of many collector-to-collector type of Wikipedia-like projects I’ve been following. Like with Stampedia, it’s still on early stage, but I seriously do wish it the best.

Closing words

Though getting something for free is great, the harsh and undeniable truth IMO is that none of the above don’t stand in comparison to commercial catalogs (Michel, Scott, SG, Yvert etc.).

Only one of the above options offers free stamp values, and with it the catalog values are nearly 10 years out of date. This is a serious sideback for anyone trying to figure out stamp values online. That said, if you want real world prices, then you are always best checking what the stamps actually sold for in auctions, dealers etc.

Another serious drawback is the lack of details & accuracy of information provided. Print catalogs usually win hands down on this area.

But all in all the above websites do play a major role by opening up otherwise so hard-to-find information to more wider audience.

As usual, please feel to share / add Your insights and comments for this post below.

additional informationBe sure to check out these related articles: Ask anything about stamp catalogues & other publications

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All original content and images of this blog is under copyright protection; any kind of reproduction of full contents without permission of the owner is hereby denied. All Rights Reserved © Keijo Kortelainen, 2009-2014. All photos of stamps in this blog are enlargements or reductions of original stamps from private collection of author of the blog (unless otherwise stated). The designs of stamps and postmarks are copyright of issuing postal authorities and their designers. The comments / discussion on this blog are copyright of their retrospective authors, and represent the opinion of their authors. Catalog numbers (Scott, Michel, SG etc) are the copyrighted property of their publishers. | See our privacy policy