The Michel catalog (MICHEL-Briefmarken-Katalog) is the largest and best-known stamp catalog in the German-speaking world. First published in 1910, it has become an important reference work for philately, with information not available in the English-language Scott catalog.
The catalog started out as a price list for the dealer Hugo Michel of Apolda. By 1920 it was split into two volumes, for "Europe" and "overseas", and eventually grew to a present-day size of about a dozen volumes covering the entire world, with additional specialized volumes bringing the total to some forty catalogs. It extensively covers specialized Germany collecting including the complex WW2 era stamps of Germany, occupied territories, and provisional stamps.
Unlike Scott, Michel does not issue a complete set of catalogs every year, instead updating only several of the volumes. Michel is also more detailed, with quantities issued, sheet formats, and so forth. Also of significance to some collectors is its coverage of countries and periods omitted by Scott for editorial or political reasons. For instance, US embargoes against Cuba, Iraq, and North Korea are reflected by Scott's failure to show market values for those countries' stamp issues (as late as 2002, Scott did not supply any information at all about North Korean stamps), and Michel is one of few sources for that information.
Michel also documents stamps issued apparently with little or no intent of being used to pay postage and stamps issued by regions or areas with dubious political status. Scott excludes many issues that were unlikely to be actually used to pay postage.
Recently Michel publishers (Schwaneberger Verlag) has issued some English-language titles, viz.:
- Gulf States (2006, all colour focussed on the Arabian semi-island from Abu Dhabi-Yemen inc. the "sheikhdom issues"); - Germany Specialized Vol. 1 (2007, empire, colonies ec. up to 1945), Vol. 2 (2009, WWII and aftermath inc. related as Generalgouvernement, allied occ. zones); not covered up to now old German states and post-1949, probably in a Vol. 3. The Germany specializeds are issued in co-operation with the APS affiliate German Philatelic Society.
- MICHEL online – German