Blue Book Guidelines for Restrictions and Quantities Issued

Brandon Ellis left a comment on an earlier post regarding the Blue Book policy on printing information on quantities issued, restrictions and other matters. I’ve reproduced it below for those who don’t otherwise read the comments on older entries.

  1. Brandon Ellis Says:
    As an avid patch collector and trader, I have to ask… Why wouldn’t you want to include the restrictions as well as the run amount information in the Blue Book. It seems that the information would be very beneficial for a collector or trader trying to assess rarity/scarcity of a particular issue. And with lodges coming in and going out of existence, isn’t that information part of the history of that particular lodge that without documentation could become lost forever? Thanks for all you do for the Hobby!

    YIS,Brandon “Happy” Ellis
    Eagle Scout / Vigil Member
    Tsoiotsi Tsogalii Lodge 70

  2. And I replied…

  3. nyoatrader Says:
    Brandon, Of course the short answer is that when the initial Blue Book policies were being made, there was a decision of the National Editors not to include that information when they set up the guidelines.The longer answer and no offense meant to John Tegtmeier, but who do you believe? Unless I order the patch myself or have a copy of the invoice, I can’t confirm if the information is true.Nor can I confirm that the information won’t change. If the issue John brought to our attention sells out in 1 week and the LEC votes to reorder, the lodge will reorder them and the information is no longer accurate and could be misleading.Then a printed quantity of 100 which would also have been accurate at the time and printed in the Blue Book is no longer accurate.

    Arapaho listed an F issue from Nischa Nitas Lodge #410 as only 100 issued. At one time, several years after the issue date, I had 4 in my possession. I never was in the lodge and it was located 250 miles away. I have probably seen another 10-15 over the years. It is not particularly uncommon. The information Arapaho received was either incorrect (perhaps deliberately) or the lodge reordered.

    I’ll likely continue to list information like I received for the 4S31, but it won’t make it into the Blue Book and will have a caution attached to it here.

    Thanks for the kind words.


Here’s the official guidelines from page 22 of the First Edition of the Blue Book copyright 1996.

Things that will not be found in the comments

Restrictions – some insignia are or have been restricted in terms of who they may be issued to and how many a person may get. This information changes in timeand sometimes changes for a particular issue. Much restriction information is untrue or unknown and can be misleading.

Number issued – sometimes it is known exactly how many of a certain patch or neckerchief were made. Many times this information is either inaccurate or unreliable. For most listings, this information is not known.



  1. John says:

    I may also write about this in my blog… especially since Brandon is a lodge brother I have known since he first got into the OA.

    I have only seen one lodge in my own experience where the lodge keeps accurate records of quantities ordered, Catawba 459. Their trading post adviser has been “on the job” for decades and has been meticulous about this.

    Another reason goes back to the old Bill Price books. They would list which lodges had restricted flaps. Traders used that as if it were Gospel truth. It wasn’t as many lodges were also starting to issue unrestricted flaps at that time, which didn’t get mentioned in the book.

    Also, what does “100 made” really mean? Is it rare? Common?
    When our lodge makes 800 of an issue, it will sell out within hours and become a “rare” patch. Another lodge in our section might make 400 of their patch, only to still have them in their trading post years later. Without being put into context, the number issued is meaningless information.

    As you hint, the whole line of reasoning behind this gets rather complicated. But on the whole I think this is the right decision.

  2. nyoatrader says:


    Agreed, 100 patches can mean a lot of different things.

    If 100 patches issued for a 3-5 person NOAC or Jambo contingent where all but a handful are traded at the event, it can mean the issue is somewhat readily available in the collecting community.

    If the same 100 are issued to a 50 person contingent, the collecting community may only see a handful of them. Even in the home lodge, it may disappear quickly and be a ‘rare’ item although more will exist within the lodge.

    As you point out a 100 patch issue in a lodge with 300+ active members may sell out in a very short time span and be rare within the lodge and not see the light of day in the collecting community for years.

    For collectors, what does this mean. Well if you are just collecting an old style number set or one from each active lodge; it means very little. You will just get one of the ‘common’ issues.

    If you collect everything from the lodge, it means you have a tough issue to track down.

    Now if a lodge issues too many ‘tough’ issues making it impossible for any reasonable person to “ever” collect a lodge set; it may stop people from collecting that lodge.

    Since many lodges use their patches to balance the budget; it can have a knock-on effect to lodge financing. As people no longer buy or reduce the number of patches they buy from the lodge finances and cash flow suffer.

    Now thats the subject of another post 😉


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