The Council Guide

A new guide for those who collect Council Issues was announced on Patch-L a couple of weeks ago.

It is an attempt at a comprehensive listing of all Council and District identification patches whether RWS, CSP, JSP, SAP or CP’s.

It was described by its author:

Volumes 1 & 2 cover council shoulder insignia, including red & white strips, pre-CSPs, CSPs, and JSPs. Volumes 3 & 4 cover council shoulder insignia, including community strips, military base strips, and state strips. Volumes 5 & 6 cover all other council patches and council activity patches. (Volumes 7 & 8, coming out later this year, will cover district patches & district activity patches.)

How you can you get a copy? It is available for free download at By making The Council Guide available electronically instead of in printed form, publication costs are minimal and the savings can be passed along to users. Additionally, an electronic edition is completely searchable and allows users maximum flexibility to easily create needs or collection lists. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, an electronic version allows for the cataloging of tens of thousands more issues than a printed version without becoming heavy, bulky, and unusable.

Opinions on Patch-L were mixed. While many laud the work involved in creating this list, by creating a single source for all council patch types it causes issues to be renumbered from existing guides for separate patch types. e.g. mixing RWS, JPS and CSP into a single numbering system.

Providing updated comprehensive lists for Council Patches and JSP’s.

The author countered with the following:

That topic is what/how much people collect. I could certainly be wrong about this, but my impression over the past several years has been that with the huge increase in the volume of issues, to say nothing of the cost to acquire those issues, a growing trend within the hobby is collecting one’s own council/lodge/camp rather than “everything” or even just one’s state or section. I can’t predict what the hobby will be like in 20 years, but if there is a trend towards localization happening, it is erasing the divisions that have developed in the past. Consequently, some collectors may find a reference that presents the entire scope of a council’s issues, in their historical order, to be useful. Or, how the leaves came from the tree, so to speak. The Council Guide attempts to do that.

One thing I do think the Blue Book should adopt is this section regarding variety identification:

Backing. A change in backing from one type to another (e.g. cloth to plastic) will be recorded as a different variety, even if the fronts of the patches are identical. Among newer plastic backed patches, a change in the logos printed on the plastic back (e.g. from “Scout Stuff” to “BSA 2010”) will result in the listing of different varieties.

Your mileage may vary. Kudos to the author John van Velthuyzen for his services to the collecting community.
“To cherish and stimulate the activity of the human mind, by multiplying the objects of enterprise, is not among the least considerable of the expedients, by which the wealth of a nation may be promoted.” –Alexander Hamilton


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