Here is a very useful checklist that can serve as a basis for acquiring
material for your exhibit. It will help you obtain the variety of material you
need . Even the experienced exhibitor can refresh their knowledge by reviewing
Using this checklist will not only enable you to exhibit your subject with a
good variety of material, but it will also introduce you to some new and
challenging philatelic areas. Later, your checklist can be adapted to
determine which elements you can use. While topical/thematic exhibits use
these elements extensively, all exhibits show some of them.
are trial designs for a stamp unlike the final accepted work in some way-
major or minor. Oftentimes, several designers are asked to send in sketches of
their proposals. Those not selected remain as essays. In fact, even the
accepted design may become an essay if additional changes are made to it before
are a test printings of a stamp from an original plate or die.
are a test of the stamp design printed in different colors to find out which
are the best colors to use. Trial colors are types of proofs.
are final examples of approved regularly issued stamps but without postal
validity. At the turn of the century it was common for countries to issue
specimens as examples for other countries to view as acceptable and valid
stamps. Such would have "Specimen" overprinted on them, or perforated into the
design to stop people from using them in the mail. Specimens continue into
this day primarily for journalist use. They are overprinted in a variety of
entail an assortment of possibilities. Paper varieties are just that- stamps
issued on different paper varieties. Perforation varieties are stamps issues
that through the production process are found with different perfs. Watermark
varieties are symbols in the stamp paper that can be seen where the paper is
slightly thinner. Sometimes paper having a different watermark were used to
produce stamps, intentionally or not.
are important. It's good to show not only single stamps, but pairs and blocks
if they are significant, including any with special production salvage markings on them.
are stamps produced for vending machines or ease of use.
are another production format.
contain multiple stamps mostly with the same design.
are similar to a miniature sheet but imply some form of commemorative
inscription in the sheet margin.
are typically the sheet form found in a post office. Then there are complete
sheets as printed at the printers.
Stamp types include
(used for a prolonged period of time),
(having a short usage),
(with regular postal value and a tax for a worthy cause),
Postage Dues, and
(exclusively to denote a tax paid);
There are more types as well, but these are the most common.
are specially made envelopes, post cards or letter forms for use in the mail
with postal value.
are thin paper letter forms used for international mail.
look as you would expect, but have a prepaid indicia on them denoting their
postal value. Also in this category are wrappers, commonly used for mailing
newspapers and pamphlets.
are found on covers and other postal documents. Common types are machine,
hand, and pictorial. These explain in what manner they were applied or their
are routing cancellation marks applied to the reverse of a cover showing where
and when a letter passed through postal handling.
meters. These are common today, especially on bulk and commercial mailings. Several
companies around the world make meter machines, and their types and history are
When it comes to
Covers (envelopes or similar wrappings which carried mail), those postally used and
non-philatelic in origin are best.
Censored Covers are mail pieces which were opened for inspection. Always look for
Auxiliary Markings which denote special handling, delays, etc. Whenever possible, explain the
route a cover may have taken from origin to destination.
is a post card bearing a stamp cancelled on the picture side. Ideally, the
stamp used, cancellation and picture post card should all be related by topic
in some way.
This is just a short list of the possibilities!
One Page Exhibiting- A Simple Start
Who said that you need to enter a contest to consider yourself an exhibitor?
Here's a challenge to each and every one of you with a fun project that you
will be proud of.
Can you make up a one page exhibit on a subject of interest to you? It's easy.
First, go out and buy an inexpensive picture frame. The size is up to you,
but an 11x14 or 12x16 works best. Make sure that you have enough philatelic
material to fill up the frame size that you buy.
What you put in it is totally up to you, but using at least one cover or piece
of postal stationery would be best, as well as a good number of stamps, mint or
used. Then arrange the items in a pleasing way on a white or colored
background paper the same size as your frame. You may wish to place the cover
in the center and have stamps around it. In any case, remember to spread the
stamps out evenly, giving a balanced look to the page and attach your items
neatly using hinges or mounts. Slip it into the frame and presto!
When you're done, you have a personalized one page (or should that be
one-frame?) exhibit good enough to hang in your room. Ask your friends or
relatives to "judge" your display and decide what level award to give it; gold,
silver or bronze.
It's that simple, and a real fun time for everyone. These make great gifts,
too! Now you don't have any excuse for not taking the next step, getting into
real exhibiting. Read on to learn more!
This article briefly lists some of the many exhibit categories recognized by
the American Philatelic Society and the FIP (International Philatelic
Foundation). Once you've decided what you wish to exhibit, find the category
that best suits your intent.
Traditional: explores all aspects of a single stamp or a series of stamps, including essays, proofs, printing methods, configurations (singles, blocks, plate positions, etc.), varieties, errors and uses on covers.
Postal History: deals with covers and the routes and rates used during a particular time period.
Thematic: topical exhibit telling a story through the use of worldwide philatelic material covering a variety of elements spanning all eras.
Postal Stationery: similar to Traditional but focussing on postal cards, envelopes, aerograms, wrappers and other stationery.
Aerophilately: everything about airmail stamps, their uses, routes and rates.
Revenues: stamps, stamped paper, etc. used in any fashion to collect taxes or revenue.
Special Studies: a thematic study using philatelic material but not adhering to a strict diversity of thematic elements.
Youth: a separate category for collectors up to age 18. It can be in any of the above areas, but is usually judged in two divisions: thematic and non-thematic. A sliding point system is used for determining awards depending on the division entered and age of the exhibitor.
One Frame: a display of philatelic material confined to a complete study within 16 pages.
Display Class: a blending of philatelic and non-philatelic items which tells a story.
The Importance of a Title and Plan Page
I've just returned from spending two weeks at Pacific 97 and had just a
wonderful time. Of course, I had my eyes on the exhibits! There were some
exceptional displays, and some which just didn't deliver what was promised.
Here's a reminder about the all-important title and plan page.
The title page is the one page in your exhibit where you can be as creative as you like, but
given a choice between artwork and a nice philatelic item, put in the item. Be
very specific with the title. It's expected to have your title prominently
displayed in bold lettering, followed by a brief few sentences of what you will
be showing and why. Never put your name on this page! Remember that this is
the first page of your exhibit, and leave the best impression possible with it.
The plan page (used mostly for topical exhibits) should look like the chapters of a book.
Each chapter is then divided into subcategories on the plan page.
For each exhibit page, list the chapter name in the upper left, and the
sub-chapter description on the upper right. This allows the viewers (and
judges) a clear understanding of what will be seen below.
Coming up with these chapters and sub-chapters will be a big challenge, but
when done well will outline the whole story of your exhibit from start to
Exhibit Plan Page Numbering
Is there a correct way to number the plan page of an exhibit? The plan page is
one of the most important pages, detailing for the viewers and the judges what
you are showing. The numbering system used is also to be followed on your
exhibit pages, so a logical sequence is a must. While there are many ways to
do this, one system is recognized as being the most widely accepted approach.
An example is found below that closely resembles the numbering system found in
the library. Major headings are followed by one or two smaller subheadings.
The plan page should list these vertically:
1 Winter Sports
1.1 Skating sports
1.1.1 Figure skating
1.1.2 Ice dancing
1.2 Skiing sports
1.2.1 Ski jumping
1.2.2 Cross country
2 Summer Sports
2.1 Team Sports
2.2 Individual sports
It's also a good idea to list the total number of pages displayed for each
subheading as well. Your page headings will resemble the outline. For
example, one of the page headings should read:
2.1 Team Sports- .2 Basketball
A similar heading should be used throughout the exhibit, giving it a uniform
look. That's all there is to it!
Elements of a Cover... Take a Closer Look!
Covers are important to every exhibit. Judges will especially reward you for
showing unusual covers which tell a story, and they needn't be expensive.
The most commonly found cover is a first day cover (FDC). You probably have
some in your own collection. Philatelic bureaus, companies and individuals
produce them with a design on the left side of an envelope displaying a design
relating to the stamp. This design is known as the cachet (pronounced ca-shay)
and often times is quite detailed and colorful. Use them very sparingly, if at
all, in your exhibit.
A better cover is a non-philatelic one, also known as a commercial cover.
These show actual usage of the stamp on an envelope mailed at the proper
postage rate. You and your family make these up every week with letters posted
to a relative or when a bill is mailed. While these covers aren't as flashy as
a FDC, they are much harder to find covering a specific topic, especially
You can "top" a singly franked cover with one showing multiple copies of the
stamp you wish to highlight in a strip or block. Heavier envelopes weighing
more than a regular letter or ones needing special services like insurance,
certification or registration are a good source for these, or those going
overseas. Avoid mixed-franked covers which have too many stamps not of the
type you are writing about.
Auxiliary markings are great finds on covers, adding interest and philatelic
elements to your display. Any marking applied by a post office falls into this
category. A redirected cover has the original mailing address crossed off and
a new one hand written or labeled over by a postal worker. Be on the lookout,
too, for "fingers", markings that point to the sender's address with comments
like return to sender, undeliverable, etc.
Backstamps are postal routing markings found on the back of some covers,
showing a location where the mail passed through or its final destination.
Registered covers always have these types of markings and should be noted in
your write-up. If multiple backstamps are shown, list them (city and date) in
order of their date.
Don't neglect the cancel on the front of a cover! It should "tie" the stamp to
the envelope. If the stamp missed the cancel, don't bother showing the cover,
as it could easily be faked! Occasionally you can mention if the cancel used
was done by hand or machine, as there are several types of each. Pictorial
cancels, almost always hand stamped, are easy to recognize because of their
I hope this brief look at covers will get you to examine them more closely from
now on and don't forget to give them a proper write-up when exhibiting. Some
of my best finds have come out of dealer's junk boxes and my own mail!
Fun With Watermarks
Too often we only look at the front of a stamp, totally neglecting the other
side! You may miss entirely the stamp's watermark, if there is one.
Watermarks are older than stamps themselves, used first hundreds of years ago
as a security measure to prevent fraud. They are created when the paper itself
is made. Paper pulp runs under a device called a "dandy roll," a cylinder with
fine wires around it in a specific pattern. When dried, the paper is thinner
in the sections which were depressed in the moist pulp.
This thinned section leaves a design that can be seen when the stamp is held up
to a light or placed in a watermark tray with a few drops of watermark fluid.
Even well seasoned collectors are unaware of the variety of designs found in
the watermarks of the world. Topical collectors should also take note, as this
adds another element when exhibiting.
Here are a few examples of what can be found. Give yourself a challenge and see
how many you can locate in your stamp catalog, but beware, it's going to be
Some Common FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Will judges dock me if I show mostly used stamps in my exhibit?
Your long term goal is to display either all mint or all used stamps, along
with other philatelic items. Absolute adherence to this rule is expected at
national or international competitions. However, at lower levels, judges will
understand if you mix mint and used. Some very inexpensive stamps are
difficult to find in mint condition, despite the myth that all mint stamps are
expensive. As for used stamps, postally used are preferred rather than
cancelled to order stamps- those with a printed cancel on them.
How important is it to have variety in a thematic/topical exhibit?
The best exhibits use a great variety of philatelic "elements." Displaying an
assortment of items, such as stamps, cancels, covers, postal stationery,
booklets, etc. helps to show your philatelic knowledge. Once you have these,
the next challenge is to mix them so that at least two to three elements appear
on each page. The better your variety, the more points you will score in that
Sometimes covers are exhibited with their address hidden. Why?
As exhibitors, we often write away for examples of special postmarks, or
friends mail them to us. At one time, exhibitors using covers which had their
own name and address on them were forced to hide them. Judges are never
supposed to have any clues as to whose exhibit they are looking at, and it was
thought that hiding addresses would accomplish this. The "hide" rule is no
longer enforced, but some exhibitors continue to cover their addresses for
Almost everyone including world class exhibitors, can improve on page balance.
The ideal exhibit page is one that looks symmetrical if "split" in your mind.
Here are a couple of simple tests to follow:
1. The "pie" test: Think of each page as a pie cut into eight equal pieces.
Do most pieces have an equal amount of "filling" (your philatelic items) and
"shell/crust" (your write-up and non-covered page)?
2. The "grocery bag" test: Pretend each of your stamps, etc. is going into a
grocery bag at the supermarket. Heavier items should go on the bottom, lighter
ones on top. In general, this means to place larger items (especially covers)
on the bottom of a page and smaller ones (single stamps, etc.) towards the top.
All of this is much easier said than done and there are no absolute "right"
ways of doing it. But follow these simple thoughts and you will be well on
your way to exhibiting like a pro!
Mounting Your Exhibit
One of my biggest pet peeves when judging is the way exhibits are mounted.
Presentation doesn't count for many points overall, but if done incorrectly it
makes a bad first impression.
First off, use white or very lightly colored paper. Too strong a color will
detract from the stamps and philatelic items you're showing. It's best to find
a heavier grade of paper rather than just a 25 pound weight typically used for
copier paper. If you try lighter paper, your pages will droop from the items
placed on the page, so I'd suggest a 67 pound card stock, easily found in a
stationery or office supply shop. You may prefer to use pages with ruled
quadrille lines or light gray dots on them to assist in mounting. Just make
sure that these do not overpower the overall page appearance.
As an exhibitor, you have several options. For a display of all used stamps,
simply use hinges. Should you have a mix of mint and used stamps, or all mint
stamps, consider using Scott Mounts or a similar product. Stamp mounts are
plastic looking foils of various heights, split on one side to allow for easy
entry of your stamps. They have adhesive on the reverse so that they can be
attached to the page. Know that they come in two major types- with a black or
Most stamp dealers only carry the black version. The black mounts may look
better by "framing" your stamp in a dark background, but beware! Use the mount
with the right height or the "frame" will be top heavy and look terrible. Cut
these mounts very carefully and straight as well. Whenever possible, use the
clear backed mounts instead of the black variety. They have several
advantages. If you don't have the right sized mounts available, the clear ones
will not look as out of place as the black ones.
You also have an option of making your own "frame" for each mount if you use
the right sized mount. Cut a piece of colored or construction paper (a lighter
shade works best) which is slightly larger than the mount by an eighth of an
inch or so. Always be sure to cut straight! Glue the colored paper to its
position on your page, then place the mount on top of the colored paper. The
result will look great against the white page.
By the way, this technique also works well if you hinge used stamps right on
the colored paper cut to size. You can do the same for covers, using corner
mounts.Covers and larger philatelic items pose another problem for mounting.
Large, clear corner mounts work best. You can find these in most photo shops.
It's not necessary to use a mount in each corner if you don't want to. If
you're showing the entire cover, put them on opposite corners, in the upper
left and lower right, away from the stamps and/or postmarks. A glue stick can
come in handy, as these corners are reusable when you redesign a page and
remount the exhibit.
Windowing is a technique used by exhibitors to hide a portion of a cover. Many
times you will want to focus the viewer's eye on the stamp and/or postmark,
rather than a cachet or irrelevant part of an envelope. One of these three
windowing procedures will help you, so give them a try! All you need is a
cover, a ruler, scissors, a pencil and full size sheet of paper to practice on.
Let's start with a "slit." This is used when you want to show only the right
side of a cover. First, measure the width of your cover. Draw a vertical line
equal to the measured width in the center of the paper. Cut along the line and
slide the cover through the slit, allowing only a portion of the right side of
the cover to show through. A slit is good to use when hiding a cachet, for
Next is a "corner window," which will hide every part of the cover except for
its upper right corner. Measure the length and width of the corner which you
want displayed. Draw those dimensions in the shape of the letter "L" where you
want it on the page, with the corner in the lower left. Cut the lines and
slide the cover from behind, exposing only the upper right corner.
Perhaps easiest is a true window. Measure the size of the opening to be
exposed, draw it and cut out the square or rectangle. Make sure that the
opening leaves an even margin completely around the highlighted item.
No matter which technique you use, your cover needs to be mounted to the page
from behind. There's also a chance that your cover will extend beyond the
borders of the exhibit page. If so, you will either have to move the window to
another part of the page, or fold a portion of the cover. In any case, you
must plan ahead and practice, practice, practice!
Sending Your Exhibit Away
What do you do after you've prepared an exhibit? Hopefully you have a local
show to display it at. Whether you do or don't, there are hundreds of local,
regional and national shows to consider as well.
The first step to take is check show listings in the various stamp newspapers
and magazines. Most give dates, mention if exhibits are included or not, and a
contact person for further information. Write to those you are interested in
and ask for an exhibitor's prospectus, which is a listing of the official
rules. Read each carefully. They will all be different. Take special note of
the date an exhibit must be received by the organizing committee, any special
mailing requirements, and the number of pages per frame.
Be aware that putting all exhibit pages into individual plastic page protectors
is usually mandatory. This is a good idea even if you aren't exhibiting them!
Fill out the application with the required fees by the deadline and wait for a
There is usually a fee charged to exhibitors based on the number of frames you
will show. This cost helps pay for a variety of expenses, including the
exhibit frames themselves, security guards, awards and judging honoraria. At a
national level show, fees can range from $7 to $10 per frame. However, youth
exhibit fees are often discounted. Local or regional shows are typically $3-$4
each and sometimes free. Frame fees are requested at the time you submit the
application. If a show fills all of their frames and cannot accept your
exhibit, your money will be refunded. You will also be required to pay all
postage costs to send and receive back you exhibit.
What is the best way to wrap an exhibit up for mailing? Here you have several
options. I store my exhibits in a three-ring binder and will often mail the
binder and all in a very sturdy box. If you prefer, find a box or cardboard
envelope that allows your pages and page protectors to fit snugly inside
without moving around. You should include a return address label and return
postage as well, unless the show committee requested payment for this instead.
No matter which method you use, securely wrap the package to survive the rigors
of the Postal Service or mailing company.
The hardest part is left - waiting for your exhibit to return and check out the
awards you have won! One final cautionary note. Unless you have a mentor or
have exhibited for a while, consider showing only at local or regional shows.
National shows have a much higher degree of standards, as are the expectations.
Judging an Exhibit
In this article, I'll share a few points with you about what a judge thinks
about when looking through an exhibit. Perhaps it will help you with your own
exhibit. Simply put, exhibiting is "show & tell". You are telling a story
using stamps and philatelic items which must be clear and concise. There are
strict guidelines for judges and exhibitors at the national and international
level stamp shows in order to obtain the highest possible medal award. At the
local and regional level, the exhibiting committee is free to set their own
The three most popular exhibiting categories include: topicals/thematics;
postal history, a study of postal routes and rates; and traditional, all about
one stamp or a particular set. Each of these have their own rules and relative
point systems, but a judge notes common features among them.
Even though the overall appearance of an exhibit receives relatively few
points, it weighs heavily on a judge's mind. A poor looking exhibit may not do
well even though it has wonderful material. Handwritten lettering, if done
neatly, is to be looked on no differently as one which is typed. Either way,
it must be neat, with mounts evenly cut and material placed in a different way
on adjoining pages.
Keep the text brief. Avoid long paragraphs. The text must relate directly to
the material being shown. For example, you can't talk about a baseball umpire
without showing one on a stamp, cancel or cover. Separate the story text from
the philatelic text. Many exhibitors do this by putting the story text above
and the stamp description below the item being shown.
You will pick up extra points by using unusual, diverse material and explaining
your philatelic knowledge about it. No judge can or could ever "know it
all", but I enjoy seeing an exhibit that tells me something new or gives me a
new viewpoint on a familiar subject.An exhibit must show a logical sequence
with a beginning, middle and end. The categories should be evenly divided if
possible. The scope of the exhibit should be clearly defined in your title
page. Avoid too broad a topic, like "animals". Instead, try picking a
particular animal to explore in depth.
As you can see, this article turned out as a "do's" and "don'ts" on exhibiting.
So it should, because exhibitors and judges are playing by the same rules,
like them or not. Finally, all judges would love to talk to you at the stamp
show about your exhibit, but remember, since you can't always be there, the
exhibit must do the talking for you.
A Look at a Judge's Scoring Sheet
Let's look at a judge's score sheet for topical/thematic exhibits. The score
sheet has three major sections: General Impressions of the collection, Thematic
Treatment, and Philatelic Material & Knowledge. Other exhibit types
(postal history, etc.) have similar breakdowns but weigh each section
means just that. The judge will overview your entire exhibit for the following
items: title page, plan of collection, subdivisions and arrangement of
philatelic material, the setting-off of stamps and philatelic material, neat,
clear and brief text, mounting and general eye appeal.
must be the first page in your exhibit and it must clearly state what your
exhibit is all about. A good tip is to do your title page last even if you
have a title in mind. The title page is often the most fun because you can use
artwork, greeting cards, postcard pictures, computer graphics, almost anything
goes; and as a set rule this is the only page which allows non-philatelic
of the collection is often where juniors become confused by judges notes and
comments on their sheets. The plan is merely an outline and as you begin to
develop as an exhibitor you will include a plan page as the second page in your
exhibit. This outline, used as a reference tool, makes it much easier to
subdivide and arrange your philatelic material. This plan page can and will
affect your scores, between 18-25 points for development, in the Thematic
Subdivision and arrangement of stamps and philatelic material
- Each page of an exhibit should have a well rounded mixture of philatelic
elements: stamps, covers, cancels, maximum cards, souvenir sheets, postal
stationery, meters, etc. Exhibitors should try to have at least two if not
three elements on a page. More than this would be ideal.
refers to the layout of each page and the "look" when all the pages are put
together. A good example is if your exhibit contains only two or three covers.
Mix them up! Don't put them on the same page, nor on adjacent pages when
possible. This is one of the greatest challenges for an exhibitor.
Setting-off of philatelic material
is an often mis-understood category. The stars of any exhibit should be the
stamps, covers and other philatelic material. The material you select to show
should speak for themselves.
You should always strive for
clarity and pertinence of text. Many judges have used the term "telegraphed" when referring to text. This
just means to make your statements non-wordy, brief, and concise. Most youth
exhibitors ( and adults, too!) have a tendency to get very wordy with the
descriptive text in their exhibits. Forget it!
General impressions include mounting of materials and general eye appeal. Mount your material
with clear mounts, which are preferred by most exhibitors and judges. They may
be outlined in black pen, neatly, with a uniformly-sized border. The size of
the mounts you use is very important. They can be trimmed to meet your needs.
Don't make them over-sized. Eye appeal means exactly that! You'll want to
design page layouts with individuality. Avoid them all looking the same.
The Judging Critique
A "critique" is the philatelic term describing the process of reviewing an
exhibit, either in person or by mail. As an exhibitor, this is a vital way to
learn how to improve your display.
"In person" critiques are best. If you exhibit at a regional or national show,
a formal judges' critique is almost always scheduled. This is your opportunity
first-hand to hear from the judges why they gave you the award level you
received. It takes place in a meeting room away from the frames.
The jury chairman starts off with a few words about the show's exhibits as a
whole and then invites exhibitors to ask about their own presentation, starting
with the lower level awards. Often, certain judges are assigned specific
exhibits to comment on, spending 3-4 minutes on each, then allowing other
judges to add their observations. Many times judges will also offer to visit
with you afterwards at the frames to give you additional tips for improvements.
Whether you attend in person or not, a written critique also will be sent to
you after a show. It breaks down the exhibit into categories such as
presentation, material used, philatelic knowledge, and alike. Each will be
scored using a point system, with written suggestions to help you. This will
not be an in depth review, but general guidelines to help you overall.
A "critique by mail" is another option. You send the 'judge" photocopies of
your exhibit pages, either in whole or selected portions. This person will
write ideas and comments on each page, mailing them back to you. I'1d be happy
to review any exhibit this way. All I ask is that you include return postage
and be patient for my reply! Just remember, every judge has their own opinion.
You make the final decision as to whether you follow his or her advice or not.
What awards can you expect to win when you exhibit? While there are standard
award levels, special youth awards are available from a number of sources.
National level shows have five basic award levels. From highest to lowest, they
are: Gold, Vermeil, Silver, Silver-Bronze and Bronze. Local and regional shows
usually leave out the "middle" ones, opting for Gold, Silver and Bronze.
Sometimes these are termed First, Second and Third place instead.
A variety of societies also offer specialty awards. Here are just a few of them
specifically for those under age 18. Each has their own requirements, and it's
advisable to write to them for specifics, including a self-addressed stamped
American Topical Association - ATA Youth Award. Arlene Crosby, ATA Awards, 1348
Union NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505.
North American Youth Stamp Exhibiting Competition (available to national level
APS shows only). NAYSEC Award, Ada Prill, 130 Trafalgar, Rochester, NY 14619.
International Society of Worldwide Stamp Collectors - ISWSC Youth Merit Award
for best display of worldwide stamps. ISWSC Youth Merit Award, 42 Maynard
Street, Rochester, NY 14615-2022.
A Stamp Exhibit Evolves
Have you heard the classic joke, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" The answer
is, "practice, practice, practice." So it is with exhibiting.
When you start thinking about an exhibit, you probably have some thoughts of
what you want to show, what's to go on each page and the general flow of the
story line. The tough part comes after you've put it all together and shown it
for the first time. Your friends, relatives or the judges will all have
suggestions on ways to improve it. Then additional material will come your way
that you just
to fit into the exhibit somehow. Time to make changes!
It's a never ending process. As you graduate to higher levels of competition,
the rules become more restrictive. Material acceptable at a local show, for
example, may be (and often is) considered improper at regional, national and
international ranks. The same goes for any personal drawings and artwork, or
any non-philatelic items, like picture post cards, etc. These are strictly
taboo. Remember, this is supposed to be a
You can follow the general guidelines mentioned in the prior articles. Always
strive for showing exclusively mint or used stamps in the exhibit. Yes, this
can get expensive, but it's financially easier a little at a time. Don't
forget that it also takes time to find what you're looking for. No one dealer
will have everything you need and many surprises will come your way.
Replace colorful first day covers with commercial usages. While they won't
look as pretty, they are appreciated more and add to difficulty of acquisition.
Mount your material with clear mounts and avoid the black backed kind. When
possible, type the text for your exhibit and keep it as short as necessary to
get your point across. Always use a wide variety of philatelic materials,
mixing them up on each page. This process can go on for years.
What sets the national and international exhibits apart at all levels is the
depth and development shown. Rarer material is expected to be displayed. What
might have started off as being a single frame exhibit of 16 pages is expected
to be at least 2-3 frames at nationals and 4-10 frames at internationals. The
exhibitor should have received a lot of help from experienced philatelist in
determining appropriate material and had the flow structure critiqued many
times as well.
No matter what level you're exhibiting at now, or if you're just starting to
get your feet wet, it will expand your knowledge of all aspects of philately.
And best of all, it' s fun!
So remember, "practice makes perfect" when exhibiting!