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Articles On Philately - VI

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Articles On Stamp Collecting: Topical/Thematic Collecting
Going For Glory In Competitive Philatelic Exhibition
     An overwhelming majority of stamp collectors simply enjoy the hobby of collecting philatelic items. What does this mean? It means only one thing: pure enjoyment of the hobby itself. Naturally, they know what they collect and they know the "basics" of stamp collecting. Some of them add more fun to their recreation by participating in competitive philatelic exhibitions. It is at this stage when one's status as a philatelist is tested and confirmed in public by recognized philatelic organizations. On the national level, these organizations are the local stamp clubs and national philatelic federation and associations. On the international level, there are four well-known and highly respected organizations, namely: the Federation of Inter-Asian Philately (FIAP), the Federation of European Philately Association (FEPA), the Federation Interamericana de Filatelia (FIAF) and the Federation Internationale de Philatelie (FIP). 

     Competitive philatelic exhibition is an important event in the life of a stamp collector, and the collector has to take the necessary preparation in order to insure that a good exhibit will be displayed in public. Listed below are some pointers to remember.
A. Host Of Competitive Philatelic Exhibition
     1. The stamp collector must join a local stamp club or national
         organization which serves as host of competitive philatelic
         exhibition. Thematic exhibit is a major category of philatelic
     2. The club must be a member of the national philatelic federation
         which is the representative member of the country in international
         organizations such as the FIAP, the FEPA, the FIAF and the FIP.

B. Basic Requirements In Competitive Philatelic Exhibition-Thematic Category
     1. The stamp collector must apply for participation in the competition
         and pay the application fee for the use of the exhibit frames if the
         local club or national organization requires such payment.
     2. Exhibit frames are standard display boards in competitive philatelic
         exhibition. A frame can accommodate 16 pages of standard size 
         bond paper (8 1/2"  X  11"). In philatelic exhibition, the white vellum
         paper is used rather than the ordinary bond paper.
     3. Local clubs do allow a one-frame thematic exhibit for beginners in
         stamp collecting. Whatever the initial number of frames used, the
         beginner is encouraged to develop the exhibit into a five-frame
         exhibit which consists of 80 pages.
     4. A five-frame exhibit is the minimum requirement for international
         philatelic exhibition. Other requirements include the number of
         times the thematic exhibit had been displayed in local and
         national competitions, the awards it had received, years of owner-
         ship and application fee.
     5. A thematic exhibit is a synthesis of all the requirements of a good
         exhibit. There are five requirements: the plan, the theme which is
         based on the plan, thematic knowledge, philatelic knowledge and
         philatelic materials. The plan defines the structure or establishes the
         parameter of the exhibit while the theme  (a story or a thesis) is
         developed within the parameter of the exhibit. Both the plan and
         the theme are freely chosen by the collector. Development of the
         theme is based on knowledge of the chosen theme, the judicious
         use of philatelic items and the application of philatelic knowledge
         relevant to the chosen theme.
     6. The criteria used in evaluating thematic exhibits in competitive
         philatelic exhibition are the following:
         6.1. Plan
         6.2. Development (Treatment and Importance)
         6.3. Philatelic Knowledge, Study and Research
         6.4. Condition and Rarity
         6.5. Presentation
         Each category is assigned a maximum point, ranging from 5 points
         to 30 points. The total is 100 which is the highest possible score for a
         thematic exhibit.
     7. "Guidelines on Thematic Exhibition" can be obtained from local
         stamp clubs, national philatelic organizations, the continental
         federations and the Federation Internationale de Philatelie.   
C. Preparation For Making The Thematic Exhibit
     1. Have an adequate supply of white vellum paper (standard size of a
         bond paper) and plastic covers for the exhibit pages. Check the color
         intensity of the white vellum paper. Some are "very white," others
         are "dull white" and still others are "dirty white." Use only one shade
         of white paper.
     2. Use clear stamp mounts as protective covering for the philatelic
         items since their usage is a requirement.
     3. Use a large stamp album and/or stock pages as temporary "place-
         holders" for the philatelic items. These philatelic accessories keep
         things in an organized manner and they can serve as temporary
         exhibit pages until the actual exhibit pages are made.
     4. Make an outline of the thematic exhibit. It serves as a guide and can
         be used as the plan of the exhibit
         4.1. The title page, which is the first page of the exhibit, should give 
                the exact title of the thematic exhibit and a short but clear and
                concise description of the theme of the exhibit.
         4.2. The plan page, which is the second page of the exhibit, should
                contain the sections (and sub-sections) of the thematic exhibit.   
     5. Make a list of what you have in your collection, what you do not
         have and what you need for the thematic exhibit.
     6. Check the philatelic items.
         6.1. As a rule, philatelic items in "very fine" condition tend to get
                higher scores than philatelic items in "poor-to-fine" condition.
         6.2. As a rule, older and rare philatelic items tend to get higher
                scores than new philatelic items.
     7. Review the story or thesis of the thematic exhibit.
         7.1. As a rule, a thematic exhibit which shows considerable research
               work tend to receive a higher score than a thematic exhibit
               which provides few information on the chosen theme.
         7.2. As a rule, a thematic exhibit which gives short but clear
               and concise descriptions of the chosen theme tend to receive a
               higher score than a thematic exhibit which is either "too wordy" 
               or "too stingy" with words.
     8. Check the exhibit pages.
         8.1. Make sure the exhibit pages are clean.
         8.2. Use an imaginary border when arranging the text contents and
                philatelic items. "Balanced and symmetrical" exhibit pages tend
                to be viewed favorably by judges.
         8.3. Use a variety of philatelic materials for the exhibit pages without
                violating the imaginary border. It is one clear indication of the
                depth of an exhibitor's philatelic knowledge.

     These are some of the things a stamp collector should remember when planning to participate in competitive philatelic exhibition. Finally, have fun learning about philately. If the stamp collector follows these simple reminders and continues to enjoy the hobby, then the collector is most likely to get the highly-prized goal in stamp collecting: an award in international philatelic exhibition which is a public confirmation of one's status as a philatelist.


Updated: October 12, 2010
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Alex Angara Moises. Advance Thematic Collector. Philippines