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Postage Stamp Show Exhibiting

 
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Posted 06/06/2023   08:51 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add jogil to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Stamp exhibiting has been something that I have been thinking about but have never done so. Does it require one to have expensive items to show? Does it need to have covers if it relates to stamp production or printing? If one doesn't have much time by working, should it be something to consider when retired? Does one start locally first? Does one have to travel much to exhibit? Are there any good books on the subject? Have any on here exhibited?
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Edited by jogil - 06/06/2023 08:54 am

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Posted 06/06/2023   09:10 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Does it require one to have expensive items to show?

No. The important facet is thoroughness or completeness of the scope you carve-out by the wording of your title. There are gold medal level exhibits which have been made almost exclusively with material found on ebay. Likewise having million dollar material does not guarantee a high award if the organization and write-up are poor.


Quote:
Does it need to have covers if it relates to stamp production or printing?

Not necessarily. It depends on the subject matter and your title. Note the difference between titles of:
"The production and printing varieties of stamp x", versus
"The production and use of stamp x"


Quote:
If one doesn't have much time by working, should it be something to consider when retired?

It does take quite a bit of time to sort-out and arrange your material into a logical order, then write-up the pages, mount, etc.


Quote:
Does one start locally first?

That may have been the path for beginning exhibitors many years ago, but there are fewer local shows with exhibiting opportunities. The "starting local" part is to find an exhibitor who is local to you to mentor you through the first steps, to do a sample layout on your dining room table, etc.

Along those lines of starting small, most exhibits gradually expand their frame-count. Get your feet wet with a 1-frame exhibit (16 pages), then see how you like it. I have an exhibit which started 20 years ago at 1 frame and is now at 6 frames and could be expanded to a 7th. You will get constructive feedback from the judges, which may take a thick skin to absorb comments about your own collection, but is usually correct. The exposure will also be an advertisement for you and likely lead to being offered new material.


Quote:
Does one have to travel much to exhibit?

That is up to you. Some exhibitors show only where they can easily travel to, while others mail their exhibits all over the country and may not even attend the show where their exhibit is on display.


Quote:
Are there any good books on the subject?

The Judging manual is available for free download from the APS, near the top of this page:
https://stamps.org/events/judging-information


Quote:
Have any on here exhibited?

Yes. and many here have exhibited. Even if you do not get an exhibit made, the act of sorting and studying your material more closely is very rewarding to discover new things among you collection and to identify gaps to search for.

There are different reasons why people exhibit. Some do it for the pure enjoyment of sharing their collection and are not caught-up in the awards, while others are totally immersed in the award chase. And not all exhibits are made for showing at judged shows. Many exhibits are geared toward display at historical societies. The March 2023 American Chemical Society convention in Indianapolis had 14 frames of chemistry-on-stamps, which was a completely different type of audience.

And not everyone is a natural exhibitor, or an author, or a presenter of programs at club meetings, or web content creator, album filler, organizer, etc., but hopefully everyone can find a niche for their talents to share their collections and knowledge back to the hobby in some way.
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Edited by John Becker - 06/06/2023 09:41 am
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Posted 06/06/2023   09:28 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I agree with John about the intrinsic educational value in doing discovery and ultimately presenting content to other collectors. (For me, this is easily done online.) I think that for some, there is also value in a physical stamp show experience, traveling with friends, meeting those people you care about, building memories.

In the context of ribbons, awards, and notoriety; I will only say that I have an attic full of antique car show trophies that I am willing to give away (bring a truck).
Don
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Posted 06/06/2023   09:30 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add SPQR to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Agree with everything John says, but wanted to add that the Judging Manual is written primarily for philatelic judges, not for exhibitors. The book, The Philatelic Exhibitors Handbook now apparently in a 3rd edition, is a better source of information for a beginning exhibitor.
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Posted 06/06/2023   6:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Al E. Gator to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Richard Frajola's web site has lots of exhibits that you can look over to get a feel for how others have exhibited.
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Posted 06/13/2023   11:17 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add 2RealesAzul to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hello all,

I have a specific question about preparing an exhibit. If I am showing together all the stamps of a particular issue, will I get penalized by mixing mint and used stamps? I am talking about the type of XIX century issues one has to acquire one stamp at a time. The image below is an example of what I mean.

A collector friend indicated that I should only show together stamps in the same condition, so either all used or all mint. If so, I would have to default to used stamps because some of them I can not afford in mint condition. What would then be the proper way to showcase the mint copies?

Thanks for any insights and opinions.

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Posted 06/13/2023   12:39 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cjpalermo1964 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
S. Zwillinger, "The Path To Gold: 175 Proven Stamp Exhibiting Tips," pub. American Assoc. of Philatelic Exhibitors (2016), shows numerous examples of pages that mix mint and used, BUT the two types are separated, presented in a balanced or symmetric arrangement, and presented with content that tells a story driven by the stamps. As Zwillinger says, "the content of an exhibit is more important than the material." Tell a story, and arrange the stamps to support the story. That said, the pages shown in the book always separate mint in one part of the page and used in another, with content explaining what they are, why the cancels are significant, etc.

Cost is definitely an issue in exhibiting. If the mix of mint and used doesn't support a story of some kind, then yes, you could lose points. There are times when you have to buy stamps, at a cost that you otherwise wouldn't incur, to support a successful exhibit. The willingness of some exhibitors to spend big to tell a story properly is one reason why their exhibits score higher than others.
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Posted 06/13/2023   12:43 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
...Cost is definitely an issue in exhibiting. If the mix of mint and used doesn't support a story of some kind, then yes, you could lose points. There are times when you have to buy stamps, at a cost that you otherwise wouldn't incur, to support a successful exhibit. The willingness of some exhibitors to spend big to tell a story properly is one reason why their exhibits score higher than others.


Truer words never spoken. Symmetry and feng shui is often costly.
Don
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Posted 06/13/2023   2:04 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The exhibiting and judging literature is naturally slanted toward striving for gold. However, not everyone has gold medal material, nor must have their ego stroked. Some just want to exhibit their collection for the pure joy regardless of what the judges say or ribbons or medals. Their sets are mixed with mint and used, yet complete. Their covers have small wrinkles, stains or tears. Go for it. Start somewhere.

About 10 years ago I won a silver-bronze medal I am extremely proud of. The material is arranged in a logical manner, neat, etc., but directly ignores several of the "musts" from the exhibiting/judging guidelines. It was penalized in the scoring and I didn't care because it had to satisfy *ME* first. Adding the "musts" would have added clutter and NOT have improved the story, shown philatelic knowledge, etc.

Another reason to satisfy yourself first is judging panel contradictions. I have another exhibit, 1-frame in size. Two completely different judging panels a few months apart at two different shows provided contradictory judging and "advice" on how to improve it with one panel praising it for being the perfect topic for exactly 1 frame and the other panel calling it highly "padded". Yes, the exhibiting/judging manuals are extremely useful, but there is still a considerable amount of "art" to both. I do not envy the judges who are asked to judge a varied fruit bowl of exhibits and determine which is the sweetest.
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Posted 06/13/2023   2:39 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add essay_proof to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
the Judging Manual is written primarily for philatelic judges, not for exhibitors. The book, The Philatelic Exhibitors Handbook now apparently in a 3rd edition, is a better source of information for a beginning exhibitor.

Here I disagree. It is just as important for exhibitors to read the Judging Manual as it is for judges. Exhibitors need to understand the criteria and process of judging just as much as the judges. If you have your sights set on winning awards (and hey, why not) then your exhibit has to be tailored to suit the judges and the judging process as much as it needs to engage your audience.

The questions of how and where to exhibit are secondary to the questions of what and why what do you want to exhibit and why do you want to do it? Collecting the material may take years (unless you have it already). If you do have the material, you'll likely find that as you assemble the exhibit that you find (out of necessity) or feel (for your personal gratification) that you need to upgrade some of what you've got or acquire additional items.

Doing the research and write-up will take considerable time, and then there's the page creation and mounting which is painstaking work. I don't say these things to dissuade you. Not at all. It's just the reality of what it takes to create an exhibit a mini museum-quality presentation on a particular topic or specific focus. And like museum displays, everything on the page has to be captioned or explained quite concisely. Even if you're a skilled writer, just the wordsmithing alone can take considerable time.

In short:

1) Figure out what you want to exhibit and why
2) Download the Philatelic Judging manual, and spend time at The American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors website (https://aape.org)
3) As mentioned, the Frajola website has some marvelous exhibits available for viewing online, and there are many other resources as well (Classics Society, etc. etc.)

If you decide to exhibit, the stages are:

A) Writing the Synopsis. This is a requirement for exhibiting, but even more importantly, writing the synopsis up-front will help you formulate and consolidate your thoughts on the all-important questions of "what" and "why."

B) Acquiring the material and doing the research necessary to explain the importance or relevance of each item

C) "The Arts and Crafts Phase"
Creating pages
Refining captions
Mounting & presentation

D) Refining your page captions, layout, and synopsis (this will cause you to revisit "C" many times)

Build it first and then decide where to exhibit. "Build it and they will come."

Hope that helps!

[EDIT/Addendum] To the OP's question of "has anyone here exhibited," in my case I've been assisting other collectors with their write-ups, page layout, and synopses for several years, all of whom have won Gold or better. Earlier this year I exhibited at the San Diego show and won Large Gold, Best Presentation, and Best First-Time Exhibitor awards. It took me over 20 years to acquire the materials/do the research. Once I had the materials to show it took me about 6 months to formulate the exhibit as described above.
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Edited by essay_proof - 06/13/2023 5:16 pm
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Posted 06/13/2023   3:36 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
As I mentioned above, I have accumulated large amount of antique car trophies including at a national level with very high scoring cars.

I think that like stamp exhibiting, winning at significant car shows also requires spending significant amounts of investment. There is no getting around it, you will invest a lot of time and a lot of money if you want to be competitive.

This investment includes not just buying the material and spending the time required doing the discovery, write-up, and mounting; but also the amount of money and time needed for the logistics of attending the shows themselves.

And although I agree there are intrinsic rewards in exhibiting including a 'job well done', the show experience itself, the learning opportunities, and the relationships; I question how many people would do this if there were no ego-boosting awards given at shows (car or stamps). No one really cares that I scored 396 points out of 400 back in 1988 and I ended up with a big trophy. (I am pretty sure that that trophy cost me five figures). My wife used to ask why I didn't simply go to the trophy store and buy myself my own trophies and save thousands of dollars.

So now I tend to develop 'exhibit' pages for myself, a few friends, and occasionally will post some online. For me, this supplies me with the intrinsic pleasure but with the added savings of not having to deal with the logistics (and medical difficulty) of travelling to far away shows.

I, like many of us, do not have an unlimited philatelic budget. So, instead spending money on the logistical investments of time and money of a show exhibit into being able to buy more material each year. I view this as basically trading 'travel/motel' time and money for 'stamping' time and money.

But I support however each person participates in our hobby including the (very?) small percentage of those who can afford and are willing to peruse exhibiting over a 20-50 year period.
Don
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Posted 06/13/2023   3:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add blcjr to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
You've received lots of good answers. I'll just add a bit from my own perspective. Starting first with the response by essay_profit, I concur that the Judging Manual is not just primarily for judges. The "voice" that it is written in is often directed specifically toward exhibitors, and exhibitors are expected to know intimately what is in the manual. One thing that might help you to know about the manual is that is describes in detail the many different kinds of exhibits. You will have chose one of them when you enter your exhibit for a show. You should look over the various descriptions of the types of exhibits and see what most matches the story you want to tell with your exhibit. And that is the second point that has been made that I would join in on. Judges expect your exhibit to tell a story. You will be expected to submit a brief synopsis of your exhibits to help the judges understand what you are trying to convey with your exhibit. There is a nice little book entitled "Creating the Philatelic Exhibit Synopsis -- a Master Class" by Andrew McFarlane that can help you with that.

Another thing you might consider is subscribing to "The Philatelic Exhibitor" (https://www.aape.org/). A benefit of membership in this organization is that you can send a copy of your exhibit to them and they will have someone review it and give you feedback on it.

One thing I would point out about the different types of exhibits in the Judges Manual is that not all exhibits fall neatly into the main categories, and there are two categories that allow a bit more flexibility than the most common types, the "Display" category and the "Experimental" category. I'm still a bit of a novice at exhibiting. I've created three different exhibits which have been shown a total of five times (2x2 + 1x1). Of those three exhibits, one is a "traditional" FDC (first day cover) exhibit. The other two exhibits did not fall into any of the more traditional categories. One was an exhibit using both philatelic and non-philatelic materials to tell the story of the life of General H. H. "Hap" Arnold. The "Display" type of exhibit allows for the the use of non-philatelic materials such as photographs, newspaper clippings, and other items that would normally be used scarcely, if at all, in the more traditional types of exhibits. I entered my exhibit on the WWII Patriotic Covers of Victory, VT in the "Experimental" class (for reasons I explained to the Judges in the exhibit synopsis). So study the Judging Manual and in particular the different classes to see which is closest to what you think you want to do with your exhibit, and then pay close attention to the manual says about what such an exhibit should show.
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Posted 06/13/2023   4:14 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hoosierboy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Jogil and all,

My advice is to exhibit to satisfy your reasons for exhibiting realizing that a successful exhibit from your personal point of view may not win a high award. We are all just temporary stewards of our philatelic treasures. Exhibiting and writing about your treasures is a great and personally satisfying way sharing with others. Whatever you do, enjoy doing it.
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Posted 06/13/2023   7:31 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add 2RealesAzul to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you for answering my question and to all the posters for sharing your thoughts. This is all really helpful and I appreciate how different collectors can have different reasons and motivation for exhibiting. And that's perfectly OK if you ask me.

I think I'll have to adapt the story to the material I already have, which means I won't be able to show some of my favorite stamps. Too bad :-(

I think there are several factors that motivate us to exhibit. Ego and recognition for sure play a big part, but there is also a willingness to share and educate. I get those who don't care about the points but then, why do it competitively? I've exhibited non-competitively multiple times and I'll continue to do it. I love the "no constraints" format. I had fun with these exhibits, met new collectors in the process and even won "most popular" awards. Personally though, I feel that the goal in exhibiting competitively is to get points so I'd rather give myself the best shot. Maybe it's the thought of trying to do the best I can.

I actually exhibited competitively for the first time last October at NOJEX with a single frame collection and got a vermeil award. I was quite happy with the outcome and carefully studied the evaluation form. There were a lot of comments about the treatment of the collection, which told me the judges had not really understood the story... pointing to some room for improvement on my synopsis. But the one thing that bothered me most (despite only losing me one point) is that they recommended I removed the borders on my pages. A totally preventable mistake had I had more experience or coaching in preparing the exhibit.

I see BALPEX coming up, maybe I'll give it a shot. I have all summer to prepare.
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Posted 06/14/2023   03:05 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
A retired US Coast Guard CWO by the name of Jim McDevitt who happen to like stamps should be a most useful story for how one can look at Exhibiting.

Last century he began to exhibit and his first exhibit was titled The U.S. Coast Guard in Philately which if memory serves was much maligned by the judges but loved by the public. Its problem was no one, Jim nor judges really understood where it belonged but I believed it settled into the Display Class. If the Experimental Class existed then that may have been a good fit. But Jim persevered. By StampShow 1998 he had won a Silver Bronze award. As he "educated the judges" I believed that he slowly worked up the medal levels. Alas, It did not win the most popular exhibit as voted by the public that show.

No, Jim's The U.S. Coast Guard in Philately lost to an exhibit entitled Introducing the USS Maine (SSBN-741) which won the Most Popular Exhibit Award as voted by show attendees. It also won a Bronze Medal, the lowest of the metal named medals judges can award. That is not too surprising as the covers below show it is a modern subject, just being launched three years prior. And yes, that was Jim's other exhibit at the show.

StampShow 2006 saw Jim's The Coast Guard Commemorative, in Open Competition win a Gold Medal.

Jim exhibited to spread information about the Coast Guard, stamps, and because of how the public reacted to his exhibits; even if he may have thought the judges needed an occasional long walk on a short pier.

Jim really enjoyed philately and spent very much volunteer time doing so.

Jim was presented with the 2015 Luff Award for Outstanding Services to the American Philatelic Society.

Jim was also presented the 1999 EFO Collector's Club Clyde Jennings EFOCC Hall of Fame Award. Plus, the EFOCC created The James McDevitt Award for Service to the EFOCC.

In summary, exhibiting can bring low honors, middling honors, high honors, wonderful honors, personal enjoyment, frustration and sometimes a little of bit of everything at the same time.







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