The biannual “Stampex International” exhibition reported nearly 20,000 visitors this year while boasting attractions for experienced philatelists as well as promoting discussions about developing the next cohort of collectors.
The four-day show hosted this September by the Philatelic Traders’ Society (PTS) saw many world-class philatelic rarities, among the highlights of which was the unique centreline block of four “Inverted Jenny” U.S. error stamps, which later sold for $1.74 million US, becoming the most expensive U.S. philatelic item sold at auction this year.
“There was much attention and an excited atmosphere surrounding the centreline block of ‘Inverted Jenny’ stamps, which we had on show ahead of the sale of them in New York,” said Josh Barber, philatelic specialist at Spink, which sold the iconic rarity.
The stamp’s appearance was “a huge success,” added Barber, “with many visitors coming to see this great rarity and have their photograph taken with them”
Also on show was one of 214 Apollo 11 covers – known as “cosmograms” – carried on board the Apollo 11 spacecraft and bearing the signatures of the crew.
U.K.-based philatelist Brian Asquith also displayed his collection celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Concorde, a British-French turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner in operation from 1976-2003.
Other successes included a sell-out of Royal Mail’s Stampex show exclusive: 7,500 mini-sheets were printed especially for Stampex to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
The Association of British Philatelic Societies (ABPS) also hosted two well-received tours of the competitive exhibits while “Stampex Talks” were also held throughout the week for both advanced and beginner philatelists.
Some of the discussions centred on why people are becoming more connected with the hobby.
“Advancements in technology are seeing younger collectors get involved,” reads a statement issued by the ABPS following this September’s Stampex. “The rise of the online philatelists means that social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are being more widely used within the hobby.”
Owing to the hobby’s worldwide nature, organizers also saw an increase in guests from China and India this September.
“Stampex International and the PTS offer a safe way for people to get into the hobby,” adds the ABPS statement. “All the traders at Stampex are members of the PTS, therefore they have all been vetted and can be trusted. If you have inherited a collection, it is important to have it reviewed by someone you can trust.”
Suzanne Rae, owner of Art Stamped Exhibitor and chair of the PTS, specializes in “philatelic arts and crafts, so I can always tell when new people come into the show as they will pop past my stand and perhaps buy a birthday card or small gift featuring postage stamps.”
“This show was one of the most dynamic we have ever organized,” she said, adding it was “packed full of activity to further engage our audiences, from those new to philately to those who have been in the pastime for many years. It is about extending the interest and the passion that this great hobby can create.”
For more information about the biannual Stampex International shows, which are free to attend, visit stampexinternational.com.