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Lester Williams
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Guide Mondial des Timbres du Football" Catalog Review
By Lester Williams

In 1998, Yvert and Tellier issued a thematic stamp catalog listing the worldwide issues of soccer(football) stamps. Jean-Louis Villeseche, who is himself a soccer stamp collector, compiled the catalog which is based off of the Yvert and Tellier catalogs. While more updated lists of soccer stamps can be obtained from philatelic organizations or downloaded from this website, this work is the most recent philatelic offering pertaining to soccer stamps and as such is worthy of review.

As would be expected, the 288 page “Guide Mondial des Timbres du Football” is written primarily in French. It begins with an index, a publisher’s note, and the authors introduction giving the rationale for the compilation. Following the introduction is a brief four page history of the sport of soccer and a summary of the results of many of the international soccer competitions. The appendices contain translations of the publisher’s note, the authors introduction, and the history of soccer in English, Chinese, German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. The illustrated portion of the catalog, placed after the authors introduction, runs for over 190 pages. The stamps are presented by country and are somewhat in chronological order. According to the publishers note, there are over 6500 items in the list which is intended to include “a comprehensive inventory of stamp issues connected not only with football, but also with stadiums, balls, places, or objects closely related with this sport.”

The presentation follows the Yvert and Tellier catalogs by listing and enumerating the stamps in the first portion of the country and listing the souvenir sheets, miniature sheets, and booklets in a separate section with a prefix of “BF” (see bottom left). Many of the issues are illustrated with a reduced color scan of the stamp or a representative stamp of the set. All listings contain a brief description of the issue and the year of issue. They may also contain a reference to the associated souvenir sheet of the issue or an indication that the stamps were also issued imperforate. Stamps within an issue are listed separately and contain the Yvert catalog number, the denomination , and a brief description of the stamp. No values are given for any of the stamps listed.

This catalog is not without its faults. The decision to include the brief history of soccer was questionable, especially in light of the fact that the article was entitled “Football Stamps”. The article failed to mention stamps a single time, and would have been more useful if it dealt with a brief history of soccer stamps, as the title stated. Similarly, the list of major competitions, though interesting, was unnecessary because it did not have any bearing on the subject of the catalog. On a couple of occasions stamps and illustrations from one country were incorrectly placed under a second country (see right).

There are a few issues with the stamp lists in the catalog which could be improved upon as well. Many of these are a direct result of the lists in the catalog being primarily a compilation of the Yvert catalogs. The description of each set would have been more useful as a reference if it contained the entire issue date, not just the year. The lack of values and the split groupings of the sets and their souvenir sheet counterparts somewhat diminish the utility of the catalog. Yvert catalogs are not quite as comprehensive with regards to their stamp listings as some of the other worldwide catalogs, resulting in some gaps in the lists of this catalog.

“Guide Mondial des Timbres du Football” did have some excellent features. First, the catalog was printed completely in color, which is very helpful when attempting to identify stamps. Second, the inclusion of multiple translations of the publisher’s note, the authors introduction, and the history of soccer is beneficial in allowing the catalog to reach a wider audience. Finally, the author included numerous scans of the stamps listed, which is a major plus.

Overall, though faulty at times, this catalog is a handy resource for the soccer stamp collector. The catalog shows up occasionally on Ebay and can usually be purchased for a reasonable price. The Yvert and Tellier also has them for sale here for 38 Euros, plus shipping. For the beginning soccer stamp collector, this catalog will provide a wealth of knowledge. For the intermediate or advanced collector this catalog will only see limited use. On a scale of 1 to 10 this catalog merits a 7.5. If it can be found for a reasonable price, acquire it.

Copyright 1/18/2006 by Lester Williams.

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