The following hints and tips may assist exhibitors
when submitting competitive exhibits. The comments
are mainly directed at exhibitors of Postal
History, Open Philately and Aerophilately,
however the majority of the comments and criterion
can be interpreted for all aspects and classes
of Exhibiting and
Exhibits are judged and displayed in frames of
sixteen sheets arranged in four rows of four sheets
each. The pages are arranged to flow from the top
left along the top row and so on from left to right
with the sixteenth sheet placed in the bottom right
hand position on row four. When considering the
overall impression of an exhibit this arrangement
should be borne in mind, looking at the balance of
objects on each page and how they appear together
in the frame. A second frame is arranged in a
similar manner for 32 sheet competitions.
Whether the exhibitor likes it or not, the judges
have a limited amount of time to judge a whole
competition. In the case of HAMPEX, the judging
team starts at 10 am and aims to finish by about 5
pm with a break for lunch. In this period they view
and mark about 50 frames of exhibits and review the
winning entries for consistency. The competitor
must therefore identify clearly the main points of
their exhibit and create a winning impression that
the judge can absorb quickly and easily.
A copy of the introductory page (also called the
Title Page, and submitted with the entry form) is
sent to the judges prior to judging day to give
them a flavour for all the exhibits to be seen and
an opportunity to check points with which they may
be unfamiliar. The introductory sheet (aka
introductory page) should therefore show the
exhibitor's knowledge of the material they have
chosen and help the judge (and the public) to
appreciate the significance of key items on
display. Bluntly, tell the judges what you are
showing them, how you are going about it and point
out anything that you think they should take
particular note of. All classes of exhibit require an introductory page.
Philatelic Importance requires an evaluation of
philatelic significance of the subject chosen by
the exhibitor, in terms of scope, degree of
difficulty of the subject and the philatelic
interest of the exhibit. The following points
should be considered when evaluating the Importance
- Is this exhibit important? Why?
- Is the subject significant for the overall
development in its field?
- Does the area covered contribute to the
development of the infrastructure?
- Is a wide enough area covered?
- Does the exhibit cover a long enough
- Is the area and period important?
- Does the exhibit cover a small field of
- Should the scope be enlarged or reduced?
- Is this an exhibit difficult to build, material
hard to find and difficult to improve?
The Treatment of the Exhibit requires an evaluation
of completeness and correctness of the selected
material made by the exhibitor to illustrate his
chosen subject. As for any story, an exhibit should
have a clear beginning, a central theme and a
logical ending. The title and a clearly defined
plan (or introductory page) are important parts of
an exhibit which explain to the Judge and the
viewer what the exhibitor is trying to show. The
following should be considered when evaluating the
- Does the exhibit conform to the plan and
- Is the exhibit balanced in relation to the
plan, the introduction page and the scope?
- Is the exhibit complete; are any important
parts, or objects missing?
- Is the exhibit space used properly for showing
- Is scarce or expensive material
- Is the material proper and relevant philatelic
material for the subject matter?
- Does the exhibitor show originality of
Philatelic and Related Knowledge, Personal
Study and Research
Philatelic and Related Knowledge, Personal Study
and Research require the following evaluation:
Knowledge is the degree of knowledge of the
exhibitor as expressed by the items chosen for
display and the related comments; Personal Study is
the proper analysis of the items chosen for
display; Research is the presentation of new facts
relating to the chosen subjects. The following
should be considered when evaluating the criterion
of Philatelic and Related Knowledge, Personal Study
- Are the correct items chosen for the display?
Why? What don't you have?
- Are the displayed items properly analysed?
- Is there any information about the dates /
postal rates / postal routes / markings etc.
- Is the provided information correct?
- Does the exhibit show outstanding personal
- Is new and original research documented?
- Is available research used successfully?
- Is the information given balanced against the
Condition and Rarity
Condition and rarity are obvious but can often be
contradictory. The exhibitor will have to decide
whether to display a scarce cover in poor condition
or a not so scarce cover in a better condition. One
must bear in mind the best quality available.
Modern material should be in first class condition.
Rarity is directly related to the philatelic items
shown and the relative scarcity of material
available. Rarity is not always equivalent with or
proportional to value. As condition varies for
various material and items, judges should consider
the quality obtainable. In general, good condition,
clear legible postal marking and cachets, and a
good general appearance should be rewarded, while
poor quality should be penalised. Stamps on covers
and other items should be in good condition. Crash
and postal damaged covers and items are an
exception to the general rule on condition.
However, the postal markings applied to salvage
covers should be as clear as possible. Repaired
items are to be mentioned in the description. The
detection of obviously faked or repaired material,
which is not described as such, will result in a
The following points should be considered when
evaluating the Condition criterion:
- Is the quality of the rare material of
an acceptable condition?
- Is the quality of more common material
- Are repaired objects mentioned in the
- Are postmarks and manuscript markings
- Are stamps, vignettes and labels shown in good
- Does the exhibit contain many overpaid
The following points should be considered when
evaluating the Rarity criterion:
- Does the exhibit show all the objects of its
- Does the exhibit display newly discovered
- Are items of this field of exhibiting easy to
- Is common material dominating the exhibit?
Presentation should complement the treatment of the
exhibit by its general layout and clarity. Judges
should evaluate how the presentation enhances the
understanding and attractiveness of the exhibit.
Illustrations of relevant postal markings are
necessary only when the originals are not clear
enough to the observer. When it is desirable to
illustrate significant markings on the reverse side
of a cover, they may either be drawn or illustrated
with a reproduction (photograph, photocopy or
scanned image), but a reproduction should be
apparent as such to the observer. Colour copies or
photographs should be reduced at least 25% in size
from the original and clearly marked as a copy.
Presentation may be worth up to 15% of the mark and
some exhibitors do not give this enough attention.
A nicely presented exhibit may assist the jurors in
a better understanding of the Treatment, Knowledge
and Rarity of the exhibit and therefore gain extra
points under those sections.
The following points should be considered when
evaluating the Presentation criterion:
- Is there too little, or too much material on
- Is there a lack of balance between the sheets
in the exhibit?
- Are colour reproductions not reduced by at
least 25% of the original?
- Is the text visually un attractive?
- Is the information easy to read?
- Is the relevant spelling correct?
- Does the information overwhelm the objects; is
it too informative?
- Are there too many non relevant illustrations/
- The Title Page (Plan, Introductory Page) is
intended to introduce the subject of the exhibit, give structure and set out its scope and content to
the viewer / jury. It should also include something pictorial
(e.g. a map, proof, or cover) for a one or two frame exhibit.
An Introductory Page is required for all classes of exhibit and
the jury will deduct marks for failure to include one.
Indeed, since 2009 the rules for the ABPS National One Frame Exhibition require every exhibit to have one.
- The title must agree with the contents of the
- In their report on the Sheffield 2011 exhibition the jury noted "we would draw exhibitors' attention to the need to have
clear introductory pages that explain what they are showing rather than a list of key items, ..."
- The exhibit should demonstrate a clear 'story line' throughout.
- An exhibit should finish with strong material
and a clean end to the subject of the display.
- An exhibit should not span too great a period
of time for the number of pages available.
These notes were prepared by Brian Presland and
Julian Jones. The
published Booklet No. 3: Competitive Exhibiting at Local and
, By Dr A Huggins, 2001.
Tony R Findlayson wrote about the
importance of the introductory sheet in the ABPS
of October 1997. The British Philatelic
Trust published a booklet entitled Guidelines
for Thematic Judges and Exhibitors at Local and
by Franceska Rapkin, FRPSL.
For Open Philately entries the following may prove useful:
Handbook for Open collectors and exhibitors in Open Class,
by Gunnar Dahlvig, RDP, published by the Swedish Association of Thematic Stamp Collectors (in English),
available from the Swedish Philatelic Federation.
Exhibiting Postal History: this is a good, basic resource for all exhibitors - not just for FIP shows. Go to
Fédération Internationale de Philatélie Postal History Commission.
Then click on Seminars and Exhibits in the left column.
Click on Streamlined Seminars in the middle column.
You should now see How to Win a Gold Medal in the Postal History Class (SS3) with the download links in the right hand column.
Select and download the appropriate file.
Review that article for guidance on what one has to do to achieve Gold at international level.
It will help to put your own efforts into perspective.
Click here to
the HAMPEX Organising Committee
members. For guidance on International Competition
and Exhibiting review the General Regulations of
for the Evaluation of Competitive Exhibits at FIP Exhibitions
on the FIP website below.
A free copy of the General and Special
Regulations and Guidelines for the Evaluation of
Exhibits at FIP Competitions
can also be
obtained from ABPS