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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : The in's and out's of Stamp Exhibiting for Newbies . . .

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CeeJay
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11 Jun 2016
12:50:12pm
I've been having an initial look into the topic of Stamp Exhibiting.
Yet another dimension to this vast and wide hobby !

This seems a daunting area for any new / born again collector to consider, and perhaps not for the faint hearted ?

Or perhaps should someone interested dive in and try putting one together, or wait a year or two and suss out other exhibits and exhibitions ?

What categories are worth entering for the newer exhibitor ?

What hints and tips have more experienced exhibitors got to offer ?
What are the judges looking for ?

Do's and Don'ts ?

Typical newbie mistakes/pitfalls to avoid ?

Best types and sizes of paper, mounts, protectors ?

Who / what / where is the top level of stamp exhibiting, national and international ?

As usual a thousand and one newbie questions ! Thank you all. Thumbs Up


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cdj1122
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11 Jun 2016
02:09:51pm
re: The in's and out's of Stamp Exhibiting for Newbies . . .

That is a great subject to peruse. The various sub topics have been discussed in many threads, but I am not sure it has been gathered together in one topic. Searching under "Exhibiting" produces about thirty threads, plus we do have a major topic "Exhibits" and another "Articles" listed along the tool bar.
The former can certainly provide examples of what to strive for and the latter some ideas about a tremendous range of philatelic facts, possibly providing a subject to build an exhibit around.

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Bobstamp
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11 Jun 2016
04:58:17pm
re: The in's and out's of Stamp Exhibiting for Newbies . . .

CeeJay asked several questions about exhibiting. I'll try to answer some briefly. (I've exhibited several times at VANPEX in Vancouver, and served as both exhibits chair on several occasions.)

Quote:

"This seems a daunting area for any new / born again collector to consider, and perhaps not for the faint hearted ?
Or perhaps should someone interested dive in and try putting one together, or wait a year or two and suss out other exhibits and exhibitions ?"



Quote:

"What categories are worth entering for the newer exhibitor ?"



I'm not sure what you mean by "worth entering". If you keep one overriding principal in mind, that exhibiting is for the exhibitor and not the judges or spectators, than any category at all is fair game.

Quote:

"What hints and tips have more experienced exhibitors got to offer?"



• Don't use borders on exhibit sheets — you'll need all the room you can get.

• Use a spellchecker!

• Don't "overwrite" your exhibit, although I myself am probably guilty of this. Say enough to cover the subject to your satisfaction. If that seems like too much writing for a judge or anyone else, well, that's too bad. Later on you'll be glad to go back to old exhibits and re-read them as if they're brand new, or at least old friends you haven't seen in a while.

Quote:

"What are the judges looking for?"



Don't think for a moment that judges study your exhibit thoroughly. They have far too many exhibits to judge and far too little time to do it. They scan, looking for interesting/special/unusual items and general overall appearance. Exhibit the best copies of stamps you can find. Badly cancelled, dirty, badly-cantered, scuffed, dull, thinned, or stamps with pulled perfs won't win you points. Judges really like new subjects or old subject treated in an old way. My first exhibit, about the wartime economy of Great Britain, was unlike anything any of the judges had seen before, and one of them was one of the best known philatelic judges the U.S. I won a small gold (vermeil) medal and the "Best Novice Exhibit" award.

• Question the judges about their judgment of your exhibit, and others. Attend their critique. Whether you agree with them or not, it will be a learning experience. You aren't required to follow their advice, but you would be well advised to take it seriously.

Quote:

"Do's and Don'ts?"



• Don't be sloppy!

• Don't assume that people who look at your exhibit are philatelists. Plan your exhibit as if it will be used as a high-quality, well-illustrated book.

• Don't assume that you have to have costly, rare items in your exhibit. I've seen gold-medal exhibits that cost literally nothing more than price of printing ink, paper, and sheet protectors.

• Number the back of each exhibit sheet sequentially, and identify each with your name and contact information.

• Read the exhibit prospectus carefully and follow the rules.

Quote:

"Typical newbie mistakes/pitfalls to avoid?"



• Assuming that the judges are blind, or unfair, or...judgmental! Some judges aren't very good at their jobs. The same exhibit can get wildly differing awards in different exhibitions. Live with it. Getting a less-than-wonderful award is not a sign of a personal attack.

• Asking the exhibits chair for special privileges — arriving late to mount your exhibit, taking it down early, asking to change exhibit sheets in the middle of the exhibition.

• Don't forget to be there! It's happened....

Quote:

"Best types and sizes of paper, mounts, protectors?"



• Heavier rather than lighter paper.

• As far as I'm concerned, coloured papers that complement the exhibit are fine, but some old-school judges insist on pure white or ivory paper. I won a silver medal for an exhibit on green paper, with some sheets that included a bamboo motif. See 37 Days in Vietnam — a hospital corpsman's story

• I've found that white paper can emphasize the faults (foxing, toning, dullness) of old stamps and covers. On the other hand, dull ivory paper can make the whole exhibit look like its entering old age or is already there.

• Mounts are entirely up to you. Clear mounts tend to camouflage perf faults while black mounts emphasize them. You can use black mounts to show off especially worthwhile stamps. Take pains to ensure that judges notice any rare or unique or especially interesting items.

• If I can find them, I use heavy-weight sheet protectors. I also use only semi-glossy sheet protectors. Glossy ones are so reflective that the exhibit sheets can be hard to see behind them.

Quote:

"Who / what / where is the top level of stamp exhibiting, national and international?"



Others can speak to the specifics, but the creme de la creme is international, and something to avoid for anyone but a very well seasoned exhibitor. The rules are very different from national/regional exhibitions.

Bob
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ikeyPikey
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11 Jun 2016
05:27:19pm
re: The in's and out's of Stamp Exhibiting for Newbies . . .

The American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors seem earnest & serious.

They allow stamp collectors to publish their philatelic exhibits online [here]

At WSS NY 2016, I had a chance to examine a copy of "The Path To Gold", 175 Proven Stamp Exhibiting Tips, By Steven Zwillinger, which can be ordered from the AAPE, and will certainly tell you useful things that you do not know today.

The "tip index" (rather like a Table of Contents) is [here] and is downloadable as a PDF [here]

Joe Bob says "Check 'em out."

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey

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auldstampguy
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11 Jun 2016
06:55:28pm
re: The in's and out's of Stamp Exhibiting for Newbies . . .

Thank you CeeJay for starting this thread and thanks guys for your comments. They were very helpful.

I really like exhibits but know very little about exhibiting. I have had a thought in the back of my mind for a several years now that it would be great for Stamporama to hold an online stamp show where members could put together exhibits and present them in a formal show. We'd have a formal judging and present awards, just like at a normal stamp show.

We have a number of very experienced exhibitors within our membership. Would some of you like to work with me in creating an exhibit/stamp show module for Stamporama? I see this as a great opportunity for our members with experience in exhibiting to help the rest of us learn how an exhibit is put together. I think it would be a lot of fun to have a Stamporama Stamp Show, and we'd all learn a lot through the process.

Thoughts?


Regards ... Tim.

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ikeyPikey
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12 Jun 2016
08:30:29am
re: The in's and out's of Stamp Exhibiting for Newbies . . .

Perhaps the AAPE would allow SOR members to include a link to SOR in their exhibits?

Cooperating makes us all stronger?

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
12 Jun 2016
09:37:04am
re: The in's and out's of Stamp Exhibiting for Newbies . . .

Great thread! I have posted that I exhibited back in the 1970s as a teen and built an exhibit that took silver awards in adult competition. I am interested in seeing what has progressed forward in the last 35 years, especially with the ability to computer generate and print pages. My goal is to build a significant exhibit of, well you probably figured that out already! Happy

On the question of what to exhibit, it's not a question of "what's hot" or "what topic are judges looking for", it's more "what is your passion"? Exhibitors are collectors who have assembled a collection on a specific theme over many years, gathering items and knowledge that will make that exhibit informative and interesting to viewers. If you are not passionate about your subject, it will show in the final product.

And per Bob's statement about Gold exhibits... back when I was a teen I was perplexed that many exhibits were of very costly items, like a plate study of US Number 1. And in those days anything 20th century was considered passee. So I went right over the century line to the Series of 1902 and started collecting my Ben Franklin One Cent Stamp. This stamp was about a dollar in mint condition at the time. I did a color study by buying 100s of ten cent postcards and tieing the color progression by the dates of the postmarks. Over time I got this up to a Silver award exhibit.

From what I remember, the APS set standards for judging. An exhibitor had to meet a criteria of winning awards before they could become an apprentice judge. The judges were fully accredited. There was an APS judging sheet, that the exhibitor was given so they could improve in the areas warranted. Exhibits weren't competing against each other, but against the standard. A show might not even have a Gold award winner but may have a dozen Silvers. And I remember the judging from event to event being pretty even.

As a teen who was serious about exhibiting and seeked the advise of experts, many seasoned people jumped to help me. I worked on honing the exhibit, adding material that improved my story and the look and composition of my pages. What other 15 year old boy wanted a typewriter that used a tape instead of a ribbon for Christmas? And each major show I'd be rewarded as my judging sheet got incrementally better. I never did get it up to Gold, and that is a goal in my Bucket List today!

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vinman
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12 Jun 2016
10:52:00am
re: The in's and out's of Stamp Exhibiting for Newbies . . .

Hi Cee Jay,
The previous responses are very accurate. If you want to exhibit start with what you collect and are passionate about. It will be a bit daunting at first but don't take it too seriously until you stat to get the hang of it. Exhibit for yourself first. I have been to many shows and always look at the exhibits. I enjoy looking at the "fun" exhibits although they can be pretty comprehensive in scope. Two of my favorites are one I believe called "Grandma's House". It takes you through grandma's house using post cards and envelopes with advertising
showing what is in each room or what the rooms are used for. My other favorite is a history of Mickey Mouse that was at the New York show. Both receive high awards when shown. I exhibited a few times but my medal level was dropping instead of improving. I think it may be time to give exhibiting another try.
Vince

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CeeJay
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12 Jun 2016
01:53:17pm
re: The in's and out's of Stamp Exhibiting for Newbies . . .

Great posts folks,thanks for all the comments and pointers. Keep them coming Happy

If you do put the time into having a go at putting an exhibit together, can you also enter it into more than one exhibition ?

Also a frame is 16 sheets right ? Is one frame the minimum, or are there any categories for entering a single sheet ?

Can new / born again collectors enter the novice categories regardless of their age ?

Can they also enter the non novice categories if they are particularly confident their exhibit is up to scratch after having compared it to others ?

I also notice that quite a few exhibits also have surprisingly few stamps.

What other things should people include as well as stamps ( and commentary ), and in what proportion to stamps should they be ?


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Bobstamp
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12 Jun 2016
02:14:49pm
re: The in's and out's of Stamp Exhibiting for Newbies . . .

Ceejay asked,

Quote:

"If you do put the time into having a go at putting an exhibit together, can you also enter it into more than one exhibition?"



Absolutely! The biggest challenge that most exhibit chairs have is getting enough exhibits. One caveat: Different shows might have different requirements. For example, back in the day when VANPEX had lots of volunteers and could afford to rent large hotel ballrooms or other exhibition space, we had a 10-frame limit to exhibits, and people could enter three exhibits, although very few collectors have three 10-frame exhibits available at one time. These days, in a much smaller venue, we've had to limit exhibits to five frames, and allow only two exhibits per exhibitor, as I recall (I haven't been involved in VANPEX for the last few years.)

Quote:

"Also a frame is 16 sheets right ? "



Usually the frames hold 16 sheets. However, some older frames still in use in smaller shows hold only eight sheets.

Quote:

"Is one frame the minimum, or are there any categories for entering a single sheet?"



Every exhibition I've attended includes one-frame exhibits. There are many possible exhibits which can be thoroughly explored in 16 sheets (certainly don't require 32 sheets). One the other hand, some exhibitors do go overboard. I remember one collector who mounted a 10 frame exhibit based on varieties and postal uses of Canada's 1/2 cent Small Queen stamp, featuring a portrait of Queen Victoria. He didn't get the gold medal he was hoping for; the judges told him that if he had kept the exhibit to six frames, he probably would have gone home with a gold medal.

One sheet exhibits are, I understand, increasingly popular although I couldn't my get my club very interested. The idea is that each exhibitor mounts one sheet in a sixteen-sheet frame.

Bob

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Bobstamp
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12 Jun 2016
02:28:48pm
re: The in's and out's of Stamp Exhibiting for Newbies . . .

A couple of additional thoughts:

• It's useful, obviously, to attend philatelic exhibitions to see what people are exhibiting and how they're doing it. But exhibitions aren't everywhere all the time, and some collectors may have to travel hundreds of kilometres to attend an exhibit. An alternative is looking at exhibits that have been posted on-line. iiKeyPikey mention those sponsored by the American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors. Another, featuring hundreds of exhibits from around the world, is Exponet Virtual Philatelic Exhibition.

• While it's educational to study the exhibits that other collectors have created, I think that there's perhaps a problem of diminishing returns if the wannabe exhibitor exposes himself or herself to too many exhibits by other people.

An exhibit should result from personal interest and a personal vision of what the final exhibit will look like and what it will have accomplished for the exhibitor. If it merely copies the form of other exhibits and rehashes old and tired topics, much time will have been spent but little will have been accomplished. The fewer exhibits of other collectors a new exhibitor examines, the more likely he or she is to come up with something new, original, and especially worthwhile for everyone.

One of the most interesting exhibits I've every seen was by a collector whose mother, a nurse, contracted polio while working with polio-stricken children and spent the rest of her life in an iron lung. The exhibit was as much an exploration of the collector's close relationship with his mother after she contracted polio as it was about stamps and covers related to polio. You can't get much more original, personal, and philatelic at the same time. The exhibitor is a doctor, and I know that he had never had much time to examine other people's exhibits before he started working on his own, the first he had done as I recall.

Bob

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Jopie
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12 Jun 2016
07:15:15pm
re: The in's and out's of Stamp Exhibiting for Newbies . . .

The APS has quite a bit of information on exhibiting, including a handbook. I just went on their web site and typed in:" exhibiting". The American Topical Society has info on topical exhibits.
I have done a couple of stories ("exhibits") and tried them out at our local stamp club and the club members liked them. I just have to find out how you can get to exhibit on the larger stamp shows.

Jopie

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CeeJay
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12 Jun 2016
07:37:08pm
re: The in's and out's of Stamp Exhibiting for Newbies . . .

Another quick question, if on any particular frame you cover your subject well in say 6/7 sheets, should you try to fill the frame up to 16 sheets to fill the frame, even though you might be taking the risk of padding things out slightly with superfluous material ? Just trying to get a handle on it. Happy

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ikeyPikey
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12 Jun 2016
07:45:44pm
re: The in's and out's of Stamp Exhibiting for Newbies . . .

I'd like to second (and paraphrase) Bobstamp: other people's exhibits are to look at, not to live by.

The exhibits that you see online may/not have won awards, may/not have been exhibited recently, and may/not comply with the rules of the venue at which you will be exhibiting.

And, yeah, if you don't have a passion modicum of enthusiasm for your topic, wait for the topic for which you have a passion modicum of enthusiasm.

Ben Rich (the guy who built the U-2) said that, at some point, you learn more from building the first one than you can by continuing the thinking, researching, planning, and designing.

If nothing else, building the first one lets you get a feel for the materials, get some practice with the tools, and smack into a few brick walls.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey

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Tom in Exton, PA
12 Jun 2016
08:07:12pm
re: The in's and out's of Stamp Exhibiting for Newbies . . .

Okay, I found everything you could want to know....

http://stamps.org/userfiles/file/judges/JudgingManual.pdf

The official APS Judging Manual

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smauggie
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13 Jun 2016
11:27:41am
re: The in's and out's of Stamp Exhibiting for Newbies . . .

At the Northern Philatelic Library where I live, we often host 1-hour presentations of a philatelic nature before the board meeting. I have given a presentation four times now. It is really enjoyable, and can be a good practice for arranging and presenting your material.

I present with a computer and a projector so everyone can see what I am talking about at the same time.

Perhaps there is a club or philatelic society in your area where you can participate in this type of activity.

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Bobstamp
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13 Jun 2016
07:20:23pm
re: The in's and out's of Stamp Exhibiting for Newbies . . .

The APS Judges’ guide is an excellent resource. I followed it closely in designing my exhibits. Well, sorta closely. I departed from the True Philatelic Path and the rule book when it suited my needs. Actually, the guide isn’t a set of rules, but suggestions which, if followed, generally result in an exhibit that is worthwhile for the exhibitor and the judges and other collectors who will see and learn from it.

I’ve done a total of five exhibits, not counting one-sheet exhibits, ranging from one to 10 frames. In every case, my exhibits were in the Display Division. Here’s what that’s about, from the APS guide (page 57):

Quote:

"Display Division exhibits combine philatelic elements from any or all of the General Class Divisions with a significant number, range and diversity of non-philatelic elements to tell a unified, cohesive story. The extensive inclusion of non-philatelic elements distinguishes exhibits in this division from all others. The Display Division exhibit is allowed the widest freedom of expression within the framework of a philatelic exhibit."



The Display Division suits my collecting style perfectly. My exhibits have sometimes included as much collateral material as philatelic material. I’ve found that postcards, especially, help to tell the story I’m trying to tell. Some other examples of collateral items I’ve used: a WWII cigarette package, cigarette collectors cards, airline luggage labels, a military ID cards, a military liberty pass, maps, antique photographs, and my own photographs.

One of my photographs, for an exhibit titled The Battle of the Atlantic — The Allies defeat Germany at Sea[i], pictures some Scottish heather that was enclosed in a letter posted in 1941 to a Royal Navy stoker on His Majesty’s Armed Trawler, HMT [i]Northern Isles. The heather is too fragile to and probably too sensitive to light to display in an exhibit. The judges accepted the photograph without a problem, and I won a vermeil medal for the exhibit. Wartime covers from large ships are relatively common, but one from or to a boat as small as Northern Isles is pure postal history gold.

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Note that I used light blue stationery for my Battle of the Atlantic exhibit; I figured that blue was complementary to the subject of the exhibit. When I first started exhibiting, long-time exhibitors told me that it would be suicidal to stray from the “rule” to use white or ivory paper. They were wrong.

Not so long ago, before the Display Division was created, not one of my exhibits would have been accepted for exhibition because none of them contain sufficient quantities philatelic material for philatelic exhibits. There was a time, in fact, when only “classic” stamps were acceptable for exhibiting. Even the inclusion of covers in exhibits is a relatively new phenomenon. If the Display Division hadn't been created, I might never have exhibited; I don't have a lot of interest in "pure" philately.

Bob
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