In the IPDA monthly newsletter Michael Dodd (editor) recently asked "does anyone have The Stanly Gibbons catalogue (Vol 4) of Queen Elizabeth Decimal Definitives and if so what did they think of it."
Although it was not released until 2008, Gibbons promoted the catalogue with this text : "The new volume 4 will list all the Machin definitives issued between 1970 and the end of 2007 (except those mentioned above, from volume 5), with booklet panes and complete booklets in the comprehensive detail which collectors have come to expect over the years"
So if they say so it must be good. Right?
Wrong: This is my opinion , others may disagree with me.
I only have vol 4, and after reading certain sections from it I decided I would not purchase vol 5. Both catalogues are not cheap. They will set you back somewhere in the region of £70.00 for the pair. Although I have seen vol 4 advertised on eBay for £29.95 + £3.00 postage.
Rather than explain what information it does have, I will tell you what it does not not have.
Exclusions : Are numerous .
Colour shifts, dr blade flaws, omitted colours and various other sheet markings are missing other than cylinder numbers, warrant and date blocks (which are nowhere up to date).
There is no mention of 00 values, neither are stamps overprinted with training bars mentioned.
Would you believe it? Inset and short phosphor bars are excluded, but broad bars do get a mention. The listing of specialist booklets is a joke, I wont go there.
If the Gibbons editor is reading this, why not just print a catalogue with Constant Flaws? After all said and done all the other information you list is available elsewhere (and up to date I might add).
Michael take my advise if you want a decent catalogue (handbook) treat yourself to the New Deegam Handbook. Then if you still want more information on booklets, cylinder blocks etc obtain a second hand copy of the MCC catalogue. There will be plenty of these going spare via eBay soon. The reasoning for this is a new updated version should be available to MCC members soon, as this was promised for 2010.
NB: The IPDA newsletter is only available to paid up members, if you would like to see a recent copy write to Michael and he may send you a sample. If you are a Internet stamp dealer, or sell stamps via the Internet on auctions such as eBay. The IPDA are now recruiting new members. More Information on the IPDA is available on their official website.