An Aug 25, 2016 article by Donna Houseman talks about the criteria used when considering reorganization to the Scott catalog. One of the criteria she mentions sticks out to me. Houseman writes, “… the Scott editors must weigh the usefulness of reorganizing and renumbering sets of stamps with the impact it will have on collectors.”
In this case, Houseman was talking about the recent decision to revise the catalog of Jordan overprints, Scott numbers 1-63. The Scott catalog now distinguishes between stamps that are perf 14 all around versus the perf 15 by 14 varieties.
I understand, but respectfully disagree with that viewpoint.
Yes, any shuffling of Scott catalog numbers is going to cause some pain in the collecting community. This is especially true of dealers who must revamp the listings of their stock.
In my opinion, the impact on the collecting community is a non-issue. The only criteria in reorganizing the Scott catalogs should be for the increased accuracy of the listings.
Take a more recent example from 2013. The 8¢ Pershing stamp was renumbered from #1042A to #1214. The change was made to more accurately reflect that the Pershing stamp belongs with the Jackson (#1209) and Washington (#1213) stamps that were this quasi-regular issue series of stamps that falls between the Liberty series (#1030-1059A) and the Prominent American series (#1278-1305E).
There will always be two camps of opinion on this issue. Some feel that Pershing belongs in the Liberty series, where it lived for many years. Others feel that it belongs with the Jackson and Washington stamps. Those differences in opinion have existed for years. Those differing opinions will continue on for the foreseeable future.
There was no concrete proof from the USPOD or the BEP with the intent behind the Pershing stamp being in the Liberty series of stamps or not. How these stamps are organized in the catalog is of no consequence to them. There was a request for this 8¢ stamp which was fulfilled. The design elements suggest that this stamp is not in the Liberty series, but that is not proof positive of where it belongs in the catalog.
Granted, this was one small catalog number change. The impact to the collecting community is small, but not zero.
This change was not made to recognize a new perforation size, a difference in tagging, and so forth. There was absolutely no change in characteristics in this stamp at all. Other than to more correctly align it with the set of stamps it belongs to (if you are in that camp of collectors), what was the point in making the catalog change?