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Topical Exhibiting & Judging 1 Frame Exhibits

by Eileen Meier
(OWA 06/00 - Part 2)

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

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In my second version, I combined the two pages on why Hercules performed the labors into one page as I needed a page elsewhere for new material.

Good points:

I was using chapter numbers and had identified the figures above the stamps on which they appeared.

Bad Points:

Page is too crowded and I had failed to change text and arrows so that Zeus, Hercules' father, came before his son to agree with the thematic text.

Postal stationery should not be cut so I made slits in the page in order to obtain room for the philatelic write-up. On both pieces of postal stationery the parts that I wished to show (Ancient Delphi and Ancient Mycene) were not printed on the same side as the stamp; therefore, a reduced copy of the stamp side was placed to the right of the Greek aerogram and postal card.

There was no need to give year of issue as this was easily obtained catalog information. A judge would also know by looking at the postal stationery which type they were so no need to identify type in the page write-up. One does not mix philatelic write-up and thematic write-up in the same sentence. It is necessary to separate thematic and philatelic write-ups by placing the thematic write-up above the philatelic write-up.

A good idea is to use a different typeface for each type of write-up making it easier for the reader to follow your storyline and how you used philatelic elements to develop it. Remember an exhibit is a stamp exhibit not an article illustrated with stamps so make your philatelic items the focus of your page and let each philatelic item have room to be noticed and not be lost in a sea of text and other philatelic material.

The third and final version of the page has a greatly improved thematic write-up. In earlier attempts I had not made it clear that King Eurytheus wanted Hercules to fail at the tasks that he asked Hercules to perform. New thematic text explains that the King saw Hercules as a strong political rival to his throne at Mycene. The weak King hoped that Hercules would find the labors to be impossible and likely to result in Hercules' death. No philatelic element showing a mad Hercules killing his family has been issued yet. His dreadful deed was the reason Hercules went to the Oracle at Delphi to learn how to atone for his crime. Therefore, to understand this, I included this unsupported philately fact in my thematic write-up.

Other interesting information that I was unable to include for the same reason was that Eurystlieus was prematurely born due to Hera's jealous maneuvers. If Hera had not interfered Hercules would have been first.

I have included a copy of a Greek booklet cover to remind readers that designs on booklet covers may fit their story line. A booklet cover may have an enlarged version of a stamp within it such as this one (Greece 1988, Scott 1623-1627, stamp design on booklet cover is Scott 1623), or a completely different picture on the same topic as the stamp within it. A booklet cover of an enlarged stamp design may show small details clearer.


The exhibitor obtains a great deal of information during the research process. In exhibiting due to limited space and time for judges to evaluate your work one must resist the temptation to put all one learned on a page. Remember you must try to be brief. Do not have thematic text which is not supported by philatelic material unless it is absolutely necessary to your story line. To my knowledge there are many mythological scholars that believe Hercules' performance of the twelve labors represent a conquest of a death theme. So that Hercules not only atones for his crime but wins the prize of immortality in the after life.

All agree that Hercules' Journey and conquest of the monsters along the way results in Hercules becoming a hero and a demigod which is a common theme in mythology worldwide.

Page 6, right hand column, 2/3s down the page:

Other problems; please remove the words "the downward arrows need to be reversed as father precedes the son in the thematic text as arrows and text agree".

Add: There is no need for the years of issue above the stamps as they have different values and colors. Years of issue are used when one is doing a study of an issue and the stamps are not easily identifiable to the eye. For example same printing plates and ink but different paper.

Page 7, bottom of right hand column:

Please add not to text on the earlier page two, there were problems as I had NOT identified the stamp design subjects above the stamps on this page.

Enclosing my fourth version of pages two and three - which I showed at NTSS 1999 and earned a Gold Award. (Editor's Note: These are Pages Eleven and Twelve of this issue.)

This is probably my last article on this subject as I prefer to answer specific questions from our exhibitor membership in future issues of our publication.

My typewriter "died" so I bought a new one with very different typefaces so that the typeface for thematic, for philatelic and for footnotes could easily be determined by the viewer. This trend is widely used at the international level as the judges have very little time to read and study each entry.

The mounts that I was using were from an earlier exhibit "The Olympian Gods" and they looked tired. So I changed the color and used new mounts throughout the exhibit to give it a fresh look.

In reference to the first page of "Why" chapter (here on Page 11): 1 added thematic text to stamps whose design was not easily identified.

Removed price from postal card front. As card is buff and price is in light pencil I had not noticed it before.

Doing an exhibit over gives one an opportunity to restudy each page and to make corrections to improve each page.

On the second page of the "Why" chapter (Here on Page 12): To make the thematic clearer I changed the first paragraph of text.

I added the Monaco Hercules postmark as it is harder to obtain than the Greek booklet In pagan times, Hercules was the patron hero guardian of Monaco.

Just realized that philatelic order of items does not agree with the thematic text order. Before exhibiting again I will change write-up to read, "Hercules, as an illegitimate son of Zeus was the subject to Hera's* jealousy".

With the footnote to read, "Goddess of marriage and wife of Zeus".

Even a Gold medal exhibit can be improved.

Again thematic captions are placed above stamps whose designs are not easily identified.

I hope to revise the exhibit again and try for a Platinum at NTSS 2001. For ten years I have been searching for six items which fit into this exhibit and I hope to find them this year.

I am thinking of eliminating page two - as the good item on the page the Greek postal card shows Hermes not Hercules. I also continue to get negative comments about the use of the Paraguay stamp.

I plan to use page three as page two. I hope to add a new page three using Greek booklet cover to explain that the official chronological order of Hercules' labors was set by the metropes of the Zeus Temple at Olympia.

The room at the bottom of the page will be devoted to where Hercules performed his labors. Readers of the Plan might not be familiar where the Peloponnese, Outside Peloponnese and Ends of the Earth geographic terms were used by the ancient Greeks.

A good newspaper story tells the reader the Who, What, Why, When and Where of a story so I hope these changes in development of theme will improve my exhibit. end of story.


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