By Jesse Robitaille
David McLaughlin’s eight-frame exhibit, “The Maple Leaf Issue of Canada 1897-1898,” won the Grand Award at the 160-frame exhibition held during The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) Convention this June.
The exhibit also earned the RPSC Excellence Award (Title Page/Synopsis); the American Philatelic Society (APS) Medal of Excellence (Research); the British North America Philatelic Society (BNAPS) Best BNA Exhibit Award; and the BNAPS Best BNA Research Award.
“This was a very traditional exhibit; in others words, it had pre-production material, a really good in-depth showing of the stamps and a good representation of the usages of each of the values,” said chief judge Joel Weiner, who has been an RPSC-accredited national-level judge for more than two decades.
The material for McLaughlin’s exhibit, which was published in book form in 2014 as the 77th volume of BNAPS’ Exhibit Series, has been assembled and studied throughout the past 20 years.
“Some interesting material has come on the market in recent years,” said Weiner, who was recently appointed as the chair of The RPSC’s national and regional judging program committee.
“It’s a very, very thorough, in-depth study of an issue only used over three years. When a stamp is only used for three years, finding usages of different values and locations is much more challenging, so it’s a really good example of a traditional Canadian exhibit.”
12 LARGE GOLDS
Of the 36 competitive exhibits, a total of 17 entries – nearly half – earned a Gold award or higher at the June 22-24 show held in St. Catharines, Ont.
“It was really good in the sense that we had 12 Large Golds and five Golds among 36 exhibits – there were no awards at the lower levels, below silver – so it was a very powerful exhibition,” said Weiner, who’s a life member of the APS and the Society of Israel Philatelists.
“The overall quality of the exhibits was extremely high. In terms of scope, there was a really good mix of strong Canadian exhibits; strong British Empire exhibits, including Britain as well as Australia and New Zealand; and a good mix of thematic exhibits, which are always of interest to the general public.”
Some of the thematic entries included:
- Jean Wang’s five-frame exhibit, “Blood: A Modern Medicine,” which won the RPSC Excellence Award (Treatment), the American Topical Association (ATA) Best Thematic Award and the Most Popular Exhibit Award;
- Larry Davidson’s five-frame exhibit, “Beavers: Natures Engineers,” which won the RPSC Excellence Award (Presentation), the ATA Second Award and the American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors (AAPE) Award of Excellence (Planning/Headings); and
- Marion Ace’s four-frame exhibit, “Heinrich von Stephan: Much More than a Postman,” which won both the ATA Novice Award and the AAPE Novice Award.
“They are the ones the general public really seem to hover over, and that’s the way it should be because they tell a story,” said Weiner, a University of Alberta professor who’s also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, which is the senior national council of distinguished Canadian scholars, humanists, scientists and artists.
“We also had exhibits that challenged us, like ‘Great Britain Used in Ireland,’” added Weiner, of Ken Magee’s Large Gold-winning exhibit that also took home the AAPE Creativity Award.
“If you looked at that exhibit, you wouldn’t say it’s a classical exhibit or a postal history exhibit or a macrophily exhibit; it was something really different, and it challenged the judges because they had to think outside the box. It was a very interesting way to put together a story.”
Mary Pugh’s eight-frame exhibit, “Great Britain, George V Commemorative Stamp Issues,” won the Reserve Grand.
“This had many items that are unique, and it’s an area that’s very popular both in North America and Great Britain,” said Weiner, who added George V – king of the U.K. and its dominions as well as emperor of India from 1910 until his death in 1936 – disliked commemorative stamps.
Only three events were marked with commemoratives during the reign of King George V: these include the British Empire Exhibition of 1924-25; the Ninth Postal Union Congress in 1929; and the king’s silver jubilee in 1935.
“She did every one of those in great depth; everything from artist drawings, proofs and usages were included. She had all the key pieces from booklets to coils to stamps and pre-production material that I didn’t believe was in private hands” said Weiner.
“She covered that area very thoroughly, and I don’t think you could do much better.”
BEST SINGLE FRAME
Lastly, Les Molnar’s “Victoria’s English Mail TPO System” won the Best Single Frame Award.
According to Weiner, it was a toss up between this exhibit and another one of Molnar’s single-frame entries, this entitled “Victoria TPO Services – The Early Years,” which also earned 93 points and a Large Gold.
“When it comes to Australian TPOs (travelling post offices), they are very difficult cancels to find – and very rare – so they were both very appropriate one-frame topics,” said Weiner. “There’s a limited amount of material, and the winning exhibit just had a very simple study between Adelaide and Melbourne. It was a very nice study of these very rare cancellations.”
For more information about the recent exhibition, visit rpsc.org.