Using a stamp catalogue

Site: ASPS StampIT
Course: Let's Look at China - through stamps
Book: Using a stamp catalogue
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Friday, 22 October 2021, 4:48 AM

1. How to look up a catalogue

For this example, we are going to find out more about this stamp. 


If you know the year the stamp was issued it is easier to find the stamp in a printed catalogue. If you don't know the year, online catalogues can help. Read StampIT's language leaflets on 'The Story of a Stamp' to find out more about how to investigate a stamp. 

This stamp has the year it was issued on it. You need a magnifying glass to see it. 


The year this stamp was issued is 1963. 

Next page you'll find out how to use the catalogue

2. Using a catalogue

Look up 1963 in the catalogue and find the picture of the stamp. Although sometimes the stamp will be part of a set and not all the pictures of that set will be shown. It is usually easy to see a similar stamp. 

This catalogue page is taken from Stanley Gibbons ' Stamps of the World' 2020.  




















This stamp is not the same as the stamp we are trying to find out about but you can easily see it is in the same set.  

We now know much more about the stamp:

  • It was issued in a set of three stamps. 
  • The set is called 'Giant Panda'
  • The picture shown in the catalogue is of a stamp with a giant panda eating apples. 
  • The stamp we are trying to find out about has a picture of a giant panda eating bamboo.
  • The third stamp in the set has a picture of two giant pandas.

We also know that this is quite a valuable stamp. The value on the stamp when it was issued is 8 分 fēn (fēn is 100th of Chinese Yuan). Now the catalogue value is £48 if it is unused (mint condition) and £7.50 if it has been used in the post. It is important to note that catalogue values are usually a lot more than you can actually sell the stamp for. 

[Catalogue pages have been reproduced with kind permission of Stanley Gibbons]

Next page try the catalogue quiz



3. Catalogue quiz

Using the catalogue entry below, answer the following questions about this Hong Kong stamp. 


What is the title of the set and when was it issued? 

How many stamps are in the set? 

What is pictured on this stamp? 

What is pictured on the other stamps in the set? 


[Catalogue pages have been reproduced with kind permission of Stanley Gibbons]

Click here for answers

4. Answers - China catalogue quiz

The title of the set is Chinese Inventions and it was issued in 2005.

There are 4 stamps in the set. 

This stamp has a picture of an early Chinese compass. 

The other stamps have pictures of printing, gunpowder and paper making on them. 

The Chinese invented the compass, printing, gunpowder and paper as well as many other things. 

You may also like to read 'What's it worth' which has more information about the value of stamps and how to use catalogues.


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