By Mike Walsh
Philatelic exhibitors and anyone thinking about becoming involved in the fascinating world of exhibiting now have full access to a treasure of helpful columns written by well-known philatelist, exhibitor and judge David Piercy.
Thanks to the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC), a series of columns written by Piercy is now available for free on the society’s website. The columns, which were only available exclusively to RPSC members through The Canadian Philatelist, are written under the header, “Let’s Talk Exhibiting.”
“Personally, I believe the columns will be of great assistance to exhibitors, experienced or not, looking to better their exhibits,” says the RPSC’s executive manager, Robert Timberg. “Our hope is that they will also show collectors who have never exhibited that preparing an exhibit is not complicated, and can be a lot of fun to boot.”
He adds, “The columns are clear, concise, straightforward. Each column covers a particular topic and topics follow one after another in a logical progression.”
The resourceful columns are now available at www.rpsc.org/exhibiting.htm, or can be found on the home page under the header, “Read about…”
“These columns are now included on the website to encourage even more collectors to get involved in philatelic exhibiting,” Piercy writes in an introduction on the website.
“Philatelic exhibits, entered by collectors interested in showcasing their material, are one of the mainstays at many Local and Regional stamp shows, and are a major part of our Canadian National exhibitions,” the author adds.
Piercy is a Fellow of the RPSC, a member of the Royal’s board of directors, and a chair of the RPSC National and Regional Judging and Exhibiting Program. His columns also discuss how to prepare successful exhibits according to the rules and guidelines of contemporary philatelic exhibiting.
“Each column is dedicated to a different topic, and each outlines a few of the best practices within the topic,” the well-known judge explains. “Tips and techniques are included, and illustrative exhibit pages from actual exhibits are often included for discussion. As well, how judging criteria are applied in the evaluation of exhibits is covered with each topic in order to help exhibitors understand how their material is evaluated within competitive exhibiting.”
The topics currently available on the website include:
• The Importance of Title Pages
• Preparing a Synopsis
• The Importance of Story
• The Importance of Your Plan
• The Importance of Research
• Single Frame Exhibiting and the Club One-Frame Challenge
• The Importance of Presentation
• I Think I Would Like to Exhibit, But I Don’t Know How to Start
• Exhibiting Thematics (Part 1)
• Exhibiting Thematics (Part 2): Demonstrating Philatelic Knowledge
And what has been the response to the public release of Piercy’s informative columns?
“It’s still too early to tell, as the information has only been on the RPSC website since early February,” the columnist tells Canadian Stamp News. “However, just in the past few weeks I have been contacted by two people, a Canadian and an American, seeking further information after reading my columns in The Canadian Philatelist. Certainly the interest seems to be there.”
Piercy tells CSN that interest in exhibiting “continues to emerge.”
“Exhibiting keeps slowly growing, and there are most always new exhibitors at each of our Canadian shows. Of course, we are always concerned about replacement rates, as our older exhibitors gradually curtail their activities and need to be replaced by newer exhibitors just to maintain the size of the cohort. “
He adds, “I think interest continues to emerge, because our collectors are drawn to another aspect of stamp collecting as it is all just part of our competitive urges in human behavior. Also, novice exhibitors are often more willing to experiment and ask hard questions, which keeps us all on our toes.”
As for novice exhibitors, Piercy offers the following advice:
“First, get out and visit stamp shows, and really take the time to look at the exhibits, even if they may not reflect anything you collect. Look at how they are structured and worded, paying particular attention to the Title Pages and how they state the intention of what each collector is trying to show.
“Then read along through one or two exhibits, seeing how they seem to have followed through with their stated intention. See if you can follow their narrative and decide if they have successfully followed through with their stated intentions. Then look at the exhibits to decide what seems to be visually appealing to you. Then decide if you could do something similar in all this with your own material.
“Secondly,” Piercy adds, “read a few books or articles on exhibiting. There is more out there than one might initially realize. Start looking on the American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors (AAPE) website, www.aape.org, for their various publications on exhibiting, and look at the actual exhibits they have archived for viewing.
“Thirdly, and tied in with this, take a longer perspective, and realize much of what any new exhibitor will create will involve much trial and error, false starts, and rewriting and reorganizing. Also, be prepared to ask for advice from other exhibitors, and be prepared for both positive and negative feedback. And ‘practice, practice, practice’, not expecting overnight success or immediate gratification.”