Most of the pre-1940 listings for most counties in the Scott catalog contain many varieties. The “a” and “b” numbers are legion, listing subtleties of shade and perforation. After 1940, variety listings are seldom found. Most collectors think this is because advances in printing technology made for fewer varieties of more modern stamps. But this is not so. The real reason that there are so many varieties of stamps that are over a century old is that collecting standards have changed. Collectors in 1915 had far fewer stamps to collect, and so they examined and studied them more closely. There are just as many shades of many worldwide stamps that are issued today as there were one hundred years ago. But with nearly two hundred new issues worldwide coming our way every day, collectors have enough trouble just looking carefully at the stamp they have without looking for varieties of it.

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