Tell A Story with Your Stamps
Although some may view philately as a solitary hobby, it is no different than most sports in that it provides a similar opportunity for competition and the ability to show off your skills. An exhibit is a way of telling a story using stamps, covers, and other related items. It may be the story of a single stamp, a set of stamps, some aspect of a country’s postal service, or even your favorite subject completely unrelated to stamp collecting illustrated using philatelic material.
Just like a sport, development of a high caliber exhibit requires an understanding of the rules and strategy to showcase a portion of one’s collection. The successful exhibitor needs to demonstrate knowledge as well as exhibit a high degree of difficulty by showing hard to obtain (but not necessarily expensive) items.
As you work your way up in sports you also can work your way up in exhibiting from the local or regional show, to a national show (in the United States often referred to as a World Series of Philately show), or an international show (FIP). Most shows have a series of rules (the exhibit prospectus) and require an application to enter. And you may be required to obtain a certain level of award before moving up to the next level.
Why exhibit? Mainly, it is a wonderful extension to simple collecting. It forces a collector to learn more and to organize, plus it provides a real purpose to collecting. Here is an excellent article on why one may choose to exhibit and the basics of creating an exhibit. Click on the images below to see some examples of large shows with many individual exhibits.
For much more information on exhibiting, including many online examples of award-winning exhibits, go to http://www.aape.org.