Is there a resource for U.S. stamps where I can input a Scott number, the stamp info will pop up and it will tell me (for one) whether the gum is water-activated or if the stamp is self-adhesive so that I can easily know if soaking is the easy way to get the stamp or if trimming around the thing and keeping the envelope material is the better way?
Some of the descriptions for telling stamps apart are difficult to use, such as "small date" when you don't have "large date" to compare size with. Or, "faded, dull colors" when you don't have the one with bright, vibrant colors to compare with. After all, size and color are pretty subjective.
I guess it boils down to this: is there a (hopefully free) on-line resource that is handier than pockets for stamp I.D. and discerning the difference between "twins" or "multiple births"? The Mystic catalog is great to a point and I really appreciate the company, but it does have its limits and it's errors.
Exists Soaking US info ATFP-Dec2008.pdf You shall have to Google for it.
American Philatelist Oct 2010
Hope this assists.
As for your "varieties" subsequent to finding answers, merely place the stamp in your hagner, and compare with others of the same ilk, as they arrive, and compare, Some of the more challenging "varieties" of other countries (aka "flyspecking") requires a scan of both stamps, then toggle using the keyboard. Minute differences can be easily ascertained.
Your best reference, will be this forum, if you can manage a good scan, and post it here, country specialists should be able to offer advice (eg large and small type)