Postal cards and stamped envelopes are listed in the Scott US Specialized catalog. However, the listing pales in comparison to what is really out there if you look deep enough.

If you collect US postal stationery, I invite you to go beyond the Scott catalog. The publications I'm about to mention are available from the United Postal Stationery Society (UPSS). UPSS members get a discount price on publications. If you are interested in postal stationery in general (because the UPSS studies postal stationery from the US and all over the world), then you should consider becoming a member. If you need an application for the UPSS, I can send one to you. Or you can find an application on line at the UPSS website, www.upss.org.

The US Postal Card Catalog is available for $55 for a hardbound version and $45 for a loose leaf version ($45 and $36 respectively to UPSS members). This catalog is 425 pages long.

U.S. 20th Century Stamped Envelopes and Wrappers is available for $40 in loose leaf format ($32 to members). A hard cover edition is also available for $50 ($40 to members). The latest edition (2004) lists over 8500 envelopes, wrappers, and aerogrammes with catalog prices for each one. That's not a typo. It really is over 8500. This catalog is about 500 pages long.

U.S. 19th Century Stamped Envelopes and Wrappers is available for $35 loose leaf format ($28 to members). The hard cover edition is sold out. This is the companion to the 20th century book. This catalog is 375 pages long.

Together, these 3 catalogs contain 1300 pages of listings for US postal stationery. That's a tremendous amount of information. How can the UPSS catalogs have so many more listings compared to the Scott catalog? Here's why

I think the Scott catalog is OK for the average collector of postal stationery. That is, the collector who wants one of each variety of postal card or stamped envelope to fill a space in a printed album. However, the UPSS catalogs go much, much deeper. They look at watermarks, paper varieties, plate varieties, knives (the way the stamped envelopes were cut apart with the sizes of the folds and flaps), and much, much more.

This is where I think the Scott catalog falls short. Because in the front of the catalog (postage stamps), the Scott catalog goes into great detail with perforations, watermarks, paper types, etc. And each of those varieties has a Scott number. But with the postal stationery, the Scott editors have not gone to that same level of detail. This is where the UPSS publications take over.

I'm proud to be a UPSS member. It's a terrific society with a professional looking and informative bimonthly journal. My membership is worth every penny. I get tons of useful information from the UPSS. Dues are a very reasonable $18 per year.

For more information, you can contact the UPSS at: UPSS Central Office, PO Box 3982, Chester, VA 23831. Or check their website, www.upss.org. And by the way, the UPSS has many more publications available than what I've mentioned here. It really is the premier society for collecting postal stationery.

If you buy all 3 catalogs I mentioned from the UPSS, the money you save will more than cover the cost for a year's membership dues. It's money well spent.