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Why Exhibit?

by Eileen Meier
(OWA 11/98 - Part 1)

(8kb Read the article in pdf format. pdf version)

"Why exhibit?" you may ask an exhibitor - doesn't it involve a lot of work - a great amount of money and being subject to judge's personal bias?

I have exhibited over 30 years, 10 years in the traditional class (A Study of the 1 1/2¢ UN 1951 Definitive Issue) and 20 years in the thematic class (The Olympian Gods). Why? I enjoy sharing my stamp collections with other collectors and learning the opin-ions and evaluations of my efforts by the judges.

Having a date on which an exhibit has to be ready to participate in a show forces me to work on my collection in a goal oriented manner - looking through my stock and cover books to develop a story line - studying carefully each item to determine if it is in the best possible condition and where it win fit into my plan - learning what items I may be missing that would be useful to the thematic and philatelic presentation of my knowledge of my chosen topic. Yes - it is hard work - but well worth the time and effort when one sees the finished product in the exhibit frames.

A great deal of money? It depends on the level of competition one wishes to compete at. The first level one enters is the local or regional show. Many shows have thematic and one frame exhibit classes. The open class thematic section has a minimum of 2 or 3 frames (16 x 2 = 32 pages or 16 x 3 = 48 pages) up to 10 frames (16 x 10 = 160 pages). In general one needs 3 to 5 frames to earn an award. Therefore, the open class tbematic exhibit at this level requires a moderate amount of money.

To compete at the national level in an American Philatelic Society (APS) Champion of Champions exhibition - the next higher level requires a greater amount of money than a local or regional show. The highest level is an International Federation of Philately (FIP) exhibition which requires at least a vermeil at the national level to apply. It requires the highest financial commitment as one is competing against the most demanding standards of one's philatelic and thematic knowledge.

In my opinion the easiest path for the beginner to take to find out if exhibiting is for you is to enter a one frame (16 pages) exhibit in the nearest local show which has this class. If no show is available then one may consider entering a national show such as the National Topical Stamp Show (NTSS, was Topex) or the nearest APS C of C exhibition in your area. I prefer the American Topical Association (ATA) Convention Show NTSS as one receives a written critique and a point count for one's exhibit, so that one can improve an exhibit. The APS national level show does not issue these helpful guidelines. Both NTSS and APS National level shows have Critique Sessions where one can question the judges on how to improve and thus earn a higher award. I strongly urge both exhibitors and non-exhibitors to attend these critiques to learn why one exhibit received a higher award than another. Many shows offer sessions on how to judge the various classes - for aspiring judges. Again, these sessions are open to all who wish to attend and one can learn the thought processes of the judges.

Another way of learning how to exhibit is to attend a meeting of the American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors (AAPE). Check the show's listing of activities to see if AAPE is present at the show. They are Present at some local regional shows but always at national level shows. If you want to become a member of AAPE contact: Paul E. Tyler, 1023 Rocky Point Court Northeast, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87123. Dues are $18 per year which includes the journal The Philatelic Exhibitor. The journal has articles on exhibiting for every level from local to international and well worth the price of membership. AAPE offers members a Critique Service. Photocopies of a member's exhibit are sent to the Critique Service Chairman Harry Meier who then sends it on to an APS judge who is qualified to evaluate your level and class of exhibit. Some of the judges are accredited by both the APS and ATA in the thematic class. You receive your pages back with written comments on how to improve. A very helpful service.

Being subject to judge's bias? Not true as every judge is subject to the APS Code of Ethics which states that one must abide by predetermined standards not against each other. These standards are given in the Manual of Philatelic Judging (Fifth Edition). The manual is written by the APS Judges Accreditation Committee. It is available from the American Philatelic Society, P.O. Box 8000, State College, Pennsylvania, 16803. They can give you the current price. This is a "must have" reference book for anyone who plans to exhibit at any level of competition. The ATA Accreditation Committee has worked with the APS on the thematic section. The NTSS, as an APS C of C Show, uses these guidelines.

I will gladly send the AmeriStamp Expo '93 (first national level One Frame Exhibition) official prospectus and Topical Time article by Ann Triggle covering One Frame Exhibiting published in the November/ December 1996 issue. Please send three mint US first class rate stamps to cover expenses. I will also answer your questions about this article. The address is P.O. Box 369, Palmyra, Virginia, 22963.

- on to part 2 -


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