Special Regulations for the Evaluation of Philatelic Literature Exhibits at FIP Exhibitions

(Last revised November, 1985 – includes corrections per “Flash” #94)

Article 1 Competitive Exhibitions
In accordance with Article 1.4 of the General Regulations of the FIP for the Evaluation of Competitive Exhibits at FIP Exhibitions (GREV), these Special Regulations have been developed to supplement those principles with regard to the Philatelic Literature.Also refer to Guidelines to Philatelic Literature Regulations.
Article 2 Competitive Exhibits
Philatelic literature includes all printed communications available to collectors related to postage stamps, postal history, and their collecting, and to any of the specialised fields connected therewith.
Article 3 Principles of Exhibit Composition
Philatelic literature will be sub-divided as follows:

  1. Handbooks and Special Studies:
    1. Handbooks,
    2. Monographs,
    3. Specialized research articles,
    4. Bibliographies and similar special works,
    5. Exhibition catalogues,
    6. Specialized catalogues which besides philatelic issues of one or more countries treat varieties, cancellations, or other specialized aspects,
    7. Transcripts of philatelic lectures presented to the public (including radio, television, film and slide show scripts),
    8. Similar special works.
  2. General Catalogues:
    World-wide, regional and single area catalogues whose depth of coverage does not qualify them as specialized catalogues.
  3. Philatelic Periodicals:
    Philatelic journals and newspapers, society organs, house organs, yearbooks and similar publications.
  4. Articles:
    Articles of a general nature, in philatelic or non philatelic publications.
Article 4 Criteria for Evaluating Exhibits
4.1 Literature exhibits will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
– treatment of contents,
– originality, significance and depth of research,
– technical matters,
– presentation.
4.2 The criterion “treatment of contents” requires an evaluation of the literary style, clarity, and skill in communication shown in the exhibit.
4.3 The criterion “originality, significance and depth of research” requires an evaluation of the overall significance of the subject matter presented in the exhibit, as well as the degree to which the exhibit displays original discoveries, research, analysis or approaches to a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter.
4.4 The criterion “technical matters” requires an evaluation of such aspects as title page and imprint, pagination, credits, bibliography, index, and use of illustrations.
4.5 The criterion “presentation” requires an evaluation of the effect of binding, typography, and similar production factor on the usability of the publication. To avoid the impact of purely commercial aspects, this criterion will only be evaluated to the degree that it represents a negative factor.
Article 5 Judging of Exhibits
5.1 The literature exhibits will be judged by approved specialists in their respective field and in accordance with Section V, Art. 31-46 of GREX (refer GREV. Art. 5.1).
5.2 For literature exhibits, the following relative terms are presented to lead the Jury to a balanced evaluation
[refer GREV. Art. 5.2)
Treatment of contents 40
Originality, significance, and depth of research 40
Technical matters 15
Presentation 5
Total 100
Article 6 Concluding Provision
6.1 In the event of any discrepancies in the text arising from translation, the English text shall prevail.
6.2 These Special Regulations for the Evaluation of Philatelic Literature Exhibits at FIP Exhibitions have been approved by the 54th FIP Congress of 5th November 1985 in Rome. They came into force on 5th November 1985 and apply to those exhibitions which are granted FIP patronage, auspices or support at the 54th FIP Congress and thereafter.

Supplementary Rules for the Philatelic Literature Class in FIP Exhibitions

[The supplementary rules are for FIP exhibitions and do not apply for New Zealand national exhibitions. They are included here only for completeness (Refer Sec. D-1, Art. 10).]
Rule 1 These supplementary rules for the admission of Literature Exhibits have been developed under Art. 3.3. of the General Regulations of the FIP for Exhibitions (GREX) and will apply to all Literature entries in General and Specialised Exhibitions of FIP (GREX, Art. 2).
Rule 2  In amplification of Art. 17.1 (GREX), entries may be exhibited by the author, compiler, editor, publisher, sponsoring organisation or society or any other individual holding proprietary rights.
Rule 3  A literature exhibit may be admitted provided the exhibitor, as defined under Rule 2 above, meets the qualification requirement of GREX, Art. 10.1.Recently published works which have not had the opportunity to be exhibited at a national exhibition may directly participate in a FIP exhibition. (GREX Article 10.3)
Rule 4  A separate form will be used for entries in the literature class. In addition to the other information needed by the Exhibition Management, this form should also include the publication date, publisher, number of pages, frequency of publication (for periodicals) and means of ordering the publication (address, price).
Rule 5  Two copies of each literature exhibit shall be provided by the exhibitor: one copy for judging, and the other for a reading room as per Art. 6.8 of GREX. Following the exihibiton these copies shall be sent by the Exhibition Management to a library designated by the member federation hosting the exhibition, unless the exhibitor specifically asks for the return of these copies.
Rule 6  The entry fee for the literature exhibit shall be equivalent to the price of one frame in the general competition class of the same exhibition.
Rule 7  The Exhibition Management shall furnish the judges a list of literature entries at least three months prior to the exhibition.
Rule 8 Handbooks and special studies must have been published not earlier than 5 years prior to the exhibition year. For all other entries the publication date should be not earlier than 2 years prior to the exhibition year.For multi-volume works, the date of publication of each volume shall govern. Revised editions will be considered as new publications. For periodicals, the most recent complete volume or year shall be exhibited. A selection of at least ten different newspaper articles is required for exhibition.
Rule 9  Medals in the literature class will bear the word “Literature” either abbreviated or in full. Literature entries are also eligible for special awards (Art. 8.6 GREX).
Rule10  Literature Judges must have a reading ability in at least two languages, one of which must be any of the four official FIP languages. (Art. 29.3 of the Statutes).
Rule11  In the event of any discrepancies in the text arising from translation, the English text shall prevail.
Rule12  The Supplementary Rules for the Evaluation of Philatelic Literature Class in FIP Exhibitions have been approved by the 54th FIP Congress on 5 November 1985 in Rome, and replace all previous special regulations for literature. They came into force on 5 November 1985 and apply to those exhibitions which are granted FIP patronage, auspices or support at the 54th FIP Congress and thereafter.Note: The cross references to the Statutes and GREX have been updated to refer to the Statutes and GREX approved by the 69th FIP Congress on October 13th, 2006 at Malaga.

Guidelines for Judging Philatelic Literature

[Last revised June 2012]


These guidelines are intended as a checklist which is detailed enough to be of service for specialized literature exhibitions as well as for general philatelic exhibitions in which literature is only one of several classes.

General Principles

While the majority of the principles in exhibiting philatelic literature is identical to those which apply to other philatelic classes, as well, there are certain distinct differences.

In the first place, the significance and importance of a piece of literature cannot be seen from the outside. Literature must be judged by its content, and obviously the judges have to be familiar with that content before the start of the exhibition. While three to five days available for judging will allow time for review and some reading, it in no way suffices for each judge to read each entry thoroughly.

Second, literature exhibits cannot be taken apart and improved from one show to the next. In many cases, the exhibit represents a lifetime of research and effort which will serve philately for years to come. For this reason, the exhibiting of philatelic literature must be looked at primarily as a means of encouraging and promoting such literary efforts, and only secondarily as a competition for various levels of awards.

Third, it follows that the public must be able to examine the literature. A glance at a row of books in a locked case gives little information, and is a disservice to the viewer and the exhibitor. It is the content that is of interest, not the covers.

The FIP has developed a comprehensive set of regulations for evaluating philatelic exhibits, incorporating those FIP principles common to all competitive classes. For philatelic literature, these principles are expressed in the Special Regulations for the Evaluation of Philatelic Literature Exhibits at FIP Exhibitions. They are supplemented by provisions which recognise aspects of philatelic literature which are unique to this class, the Supplementary Rules for the Philatelic Literature class in FIP Exhibitions.

The two documents, taken as a whole, constitute the requirements for exhibiting and judging philatelic literature at FIP exhibitions.

Use of the Evaluation System

The use of a point system, together with appropriate “Scoring sheets”, can be helpful in reaching balanced and rational evaluations. However, it must be emphasised that such a system cannot be applied mechanically: the final points total also must be looked at in terms of the overall quality of the exhibits.


How well is story indentified and told?

  • Evaluation of literary style, clarity
  • Skill in communication


  • Overall significance – global importance to philately
  • Degree of original discoveries, research, analysis
  • Comprehensive – depth and scope
  • Understanding of subject

TECHNICAL MATTERS – Editorial aspect 15
How well is work constructed?

  • Title page, imprint, pagination, list of contents, use of footnotes
  • Acknowledgements, bibliography, index and use of
  • Illustrations and tables – captions, consistency in layout and text

PRESENTATION – Publishing aspects 5

  • Effect of binding, clarity of print, paper quality, page size
  • Use of colour in illustrations

To avoid impact of purely commercial aspects, this criteria only to be evaluated to the degree that it represents a negative factor.

Two aspects of the thought process in judging are worth stressing:
First, judges should look first for the positive aspects of the exhibits rather than merely looking to see ‘how many points can I take off”.
Second, all evaluations have to be made on a comparative basis with respect to what else has been published on that subject, how well similar matters are handled in other publications, even such questions as how significant a given publication may be for one country or language group as compared with others. These comparative factors can all change from one year or one exhibition to another, and it’s conceivable that such changes may affect the evaluation of an exhibit.

The marking system is the same as for hard copy literature. However, there are difference.
Technical matters: At 15% would included such things as ease to load, compatibility with your software (even though nominally the same software, some CDs can be difficult or impossible to open depending on the country).
Clarity of images, use of contents pages, index, etc. are all important considerations.
For a CD to gain high marks under this heading, it must use the unique features of a CD. For instance, has it got a search capability, one of the key matters for electronic literature.
Treatment of contents or authorship 40%, Research 40% and Presentation 5% are the same standards as are used for hard copy books.

Date: 24 June 2012

Judging websites

At the November 2019 meeting of the NZPF executive committee a paper was presented suggesting guidelines for judging electronic media, particularly websites. The executive agreed these guidelines seemed appropriate and, in the absence then of any specific FIP guidelines, should be adopted to guide literature judges in assessing material of this type. These guidelines can be found at Guidelines for Judging Websites