By Jesse Robitaille
The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) will launch its first book in more than two decades during CAPEX 22 later this month in Toronto.
Entitled Let’s Talk Exhibiting, it’s authored by philatelist David Piercey, of Edmonton, Alta., who’s a well-known author, exhibitor and judge. Piercey has written an exhibiting column of the same name for nearly every issue of the Canadian Philatelist, the RPSC’s bimonthly journal, since 2013. For about half a decade, he has also written CSN’s book review column, “Philatelic Bookshelf.” His upcoming book, which features all 45 of his Canadian Philatelist columns with real-world examples from 20 award-winning exhibitors, will first be offered on June 9, the opening day of CAPEX 22, with Piercey on hand to sign copies beginning at 2 p.m.
“I’m very pleased, and I’m very honoured,” Piercey said of his nine-year column finding new life in a book format. “You couldn’t ask for anything better because you’re going to have an audience of collectors who are looking for stuff at CAPEX. They’re looking to spend money, and they’re looking to add exhibits or perhaps thinking about exhibiting, and here’s a book that’s coming out at the right time for them.”
In addition to Piercey, the 20 exhibitors featured in the book include (in alphabetical order):
- Bob Anderson, of Brantford, Ont.;
- Dave Bartlet, of Calgary, Alta.;
- Sam Chiu, of Toronto, Ont.;
- Earle Covert, of Raymond, Alta.;
- Larry Davidson, of Stratford, Ont.;
- Neil Donen, of Victoria, B.C.;
- Robert Elias, of Winnipeg, Man.;
- Doreen Fitzgerald, of Port Williams, N.S.;
- Alec Globe, of White Rock, B.C.;
- David Hobden, of Hamilton, Ont.;
- Rob Leigh, of Urbana, Illinois;
- John McEntyre, of Montréal, Qué.;
- David McLaughlin, of Pickering, Ont.;
- Kevin O’Reilly, of Yellowknife, N.W.T.;
- Mike Powell, of Ottawa, Ont.;
- Gary Steele, of Middle Sackville, N.S.;
- James Taylor, of Calgary, Alta.;
- Jean Wang, of Toronto, Ont.; and
- Joel Weiner, of Edmonton, Alta.
Each chapter focuses on a specific topic with details on what exhibitors “need to consider when they put their own exhibits together,” Piercey said. In an example related to CAPEX 22, which includes an extensive single-frame exhibition, one of the book’s chapters delves into the single-frame exhibit format.
“If you’re going to do a one-frame exhibit, you really have to think about a concept called ‘fit’ – how closely the exhibit meets the criteria – so there’s a whole chapter on fit and what fit entails,” added Piercey.
Some of the other chapters highlight how to use whitespace, how to display non-philatelic material on a page with philatelic material and how to exhibit postcards, postal history plus thematic and topical collections.
“No matter what you might want to exhibit, there’s probably something there that you can use for your own exhibit development.”
The book also includes a bibliography, “so anyone who wants to dig deeper into this practice can look there and see what else is available,” he added.
It’s also believed to be the first modern book published with a specific focus on how to exhibit from a Canadian perspective.
“It’s hard to find books on exhibiting, and a lot of them have an American slant because they’re written by Americans,” Piercey said, describing his book as a comprehensive “do-it-yourself” guide to exhibiting for all levels of exhibitors, including people who are interested in exhibiting.
PIERCEY’S WRITING ‘SPEAKS FOR ITSELF’
The forthcoming book is part of the RPSC’s strategic plan to pursue more publishing endeavours – one of many initiatives developed under President Ed Kroft, of Vancouver, B.C., who came to the helm in 2017.
The book also stands as Kroft’s last major presidential project before his term ends at the society’s 2022 annual general meeting, which will be held at CAPEX on June 12, the show’s final day.
Following Kroft’s suggestion, Piercey began working on the book late last year.
“I wanted the book to be approachable, and I wanted exhibiting to look approachable,” Kroft said, describing exhibiting as “a gateway to the hobby for non-collectors,” echoing a similar statement in the book’s foreword, which he also wrote.
Bucking a long-time misrepresentation of philately as a solitary hobby, Kroft hopes the book – like the RPSC’s ongoing virtual seminar series – “gets people interested in the hobby who are not necessarily ardent collectors.”
“It’s piquing curiosity and it’s piquing interest, especially for people who are finding time as they grow closer to retirement or their children have left their establishment, or they have no kids, and they’re looking for other ways to diversify in their lives.”
Through his five-year term, Kroft has focused on making the hobby more accessible to not only RPSC members but also the wider philatelic community.
“Philately and stamp collecting don’t benefit from keeping the hobby in a closet or keeping it secret,” he said, adding the hobby’s current purveyors “have to let people know what the hobby is all about.”
“That’s why people should write about it and that’s why people should speak about it and share their knowledge: it’s the only way more and more people will come into the hobby.”
While he believes anyone with even fleeting philatelic interests will enjoy Piercey’s book, Kroft said exhibitors stand to gain the most from “the best source of exhibiting in Canada.”
“His writing speaks for itself,” said Kroft, who added Piercey headed the RPSC judging program for 13 years, during which time he updated and created North American exhibiting standards for the latest Manual of Philatelic Judging and Exhibiting, published by the American Philatelic Society.
“David is way up the curve in terms of having written extensively on the subject.”
Not just for exhibitors, the book could also find a fulfilling home in the hands of judges, dealers and collectors in general,” Kroft added.
“We all can learn from looking at the work of others.”
Let’s Talk Exhibiting retails at $60 but will be sold to RPSC members for a reduced price of $45/
“The $15 RPSC discount off the book will almost entirely offset the cost of your year’s digital membership,” said Kroft, who encouraged non-members to purchase a digital membership, which costs $17.50.
While the book will be launched on June 9, CSN is accepting pre-orders until CAPEX 22 opens that day.