When stamps had a denomination, it was usually easy to find them in the catalog. I know the catalog number of many stamps by heart. Sometimes I run into, say, a 15˘ John Paul Jones stamp and I draw a blank on the catalog number. No problem. I know 15˘ stamps are around Scott #1800. Turn the catalog a page or two and there it is – John Paul Jones is #1789. Piece of cake!

That is not so easy with Forever stamps though. Instead of 15˘ stamps spanning five pages of the Scott catalog, Forever stamps go on and on. Was this Forever stamp issued in 2011 or 2013?

Thankfully, the catalog editors have a subject index in the front of the catalog. Instead of turning to the middle of the catalog and trying to locate the image of the stamp I am looking for, I have to consult the subject index.

To me, it is easier to flip to approximate catalog number, flip a few pages and look for the picture. Some Forever stamps will take longer to identify. For example, is this stamp under “Chinese New Year” or under “Year of the Rooster?” Once you have the subject, there may be multiple Scott numbers across multiple years for that subject. Now I have to look up each of those Scott numbers until I have the right one. Ugh!