European Catalogs

There are three main Foreign catalogs for the non English speaking European specialties-Michel for Germany and German Area, Yvert for France and French Colonies and Sassone for Italy and the Italian Area. Michel is the Mercedes of catalogs with hundreds of thousands of specialized listings in all phases of German philately with covers, blocks, paper types and cancellations all addressed and priced. Michel Deutchland Specialized is the prototype of what a specialty catalog should be and no other country’s specialized catalog comes even close. Yvert’s France and Colonies catalog is good, handles well though without much excitement or acceleration-sort of like a Peugeot. Yvert’s listing often go little beyond Scott (especially the wonderful Scott Specialized) but still overall is a capable model. Sassone, the Italian catalog is sort of like a hybrid Maserati/Fiat. Some sections are excellent (modern printing varieties for instance) and it has thousands of listings that are beyond Scott. That’s the Maserati part. The Fiat part is no index, lack of consistency in listings (certain types of varieties are listed for some areas but not for others) and crazy high, often meaningless pricing. In years before Bablefish all of these catalogs could sometimes be daunting to use but now there us no reason for a serious collector not to have at least an older edition on their shelves. Especially when older editions can be bought reasonably on EBay.

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