Special Regulations for the Evaluation of Postal History Exhibits

[Applicable from 1 January 2009]
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 Postal History. Also refer to Guidelines for judging a Postal History Exhibit.
Article 2 Competitive Exhibits
Postal History exhibits are classified under three sub-classes (ref GREV Article 2.3)

  1. Postal History exhibits which contain material carried by, and related to, official, local or private mails. Such exhibits generally emphasize routes, rates, markings, usages and other postal aspects, services, functions and activities related to the history of the development of Postal Services.
  2. Marcophily (Postmarks) exhibits showing classifications and/or studies of postal markings related to official, local or private mails on covers, adhesive stamps and other postal items.
  3. Historical, social and special studies exhibits which examines postal history in the broader sense and the interaction of commerce and society with the postal system (refer examples in Article 3.2).

Besides these categories all Postal History exhibits are classified and judged in three time periods.

  1. Up to 1875 (pre GPU)
  2. From 1875 – 1945
  3. After 1945.

Each exhibit fits in to the period where it starts or where its main contents lies.

Article 3 Principles of Exhibit Composition
3.1 Postal History exhibits (sub-classes 2A & 2B) consists of used covers and letters, used postal stationery, used postage stamps, and other postal documents so arranged as to illustrate a balanced plan as a whole or to develop any aspect of postal history.Examples of postal history (sub-classes 2A & 2B) subjects include:

  1. Pre-adhesive postal services The development of local, regional, national or international postal services
  2. Postal rates
  3. Routes for transportation of mails
  4. Postal markings (Marcophily) – as described in Article 2B.
  5. Military mail, field post, siege mail, POW, civil and military internee camp mail
  6. Maritime mail and/or inland waterway mail
  7. Railway mail
  8. All kinds of Travelling Post Offices
  9. Disaster mail
  10. Disinfected mail
  11. Censorship mail
  12. Postage due mail
  13. Automation of the mails
  14. Forwarding agents markings
  15. Official mail, Free Frank mail

A Postal History exhibit (sub-classes 2A & 2B) may contain maps, prints, decrees and similar associated materials. Such items must have direct relation to the chosen subject and to the postal services described in the exhibit (refer GREV, Article 3.4).

3.2 Historical, Social and special studies (sub-class 2C) exhibits would include material developed by commerce and society for use in the postal system and may include non-philatelic material where relevant to the subject of the exhibit. The non-philatelic material should be incorporated into the exhibit in a balanced and appropriate manner in such a way that it not overwhelms the philatelic material.Examples of Historical, social and special studies include:

  1. Telegram services
  2. Greeting cards (including Valentines)
  3. Illustrated, Pictorial commercial envelopes used in a postal system.
  4. Studies of the effect of the postal system on commerce, society and industry.
  5. Historical, local and/or regional studies.
  6. Studies related to an event or historical landmark

All exhibits under sub-class 2C must be capable of being exhibited in standard exhibition frames.

3.3 The plan or concept of all sub-classes of postal history exhibits shall be clearly explained in an introductory statement (refer GREV, Article 3.3).
Article 4 Criteria for Evaluating Exhibits (refer GREV, Article 4)
The importance of understanding a postal history exhibit can mean that more text is included or that non-postal history or non-philatelic material is included as supporting documentation. However, all text must be concise and clear and the inclusion of related non-postal history or non-philatelic material must improve the understanding of the postal history subject and the attractiveness of the exhibit.
Article 5 Judging of Exhibits
5.1 Postal History exhibits will be judged by the approved specialists in their respective fields and in accordance with Section V. (Article 31-47) of GREX (refer GREV, Article 5.1).
5.2 For Postal History and Marcophily exhibits the following relative terms are presented to lead the jury to a balanced evaluation (refer GREV, Article 5.2):
1. Treatment (20) and Philatelic Importance (10) 30
2. Philatelic and related Knowledge, Personal Study showing new results 35
3. Condition (10) and Rarity (20) 30
4. Presentation 5
Total 100
Historical, Social and special studies exhibits (sub-class 2C) will be evaluated using the following relative terms in order to lead the jury to a balanced evaluation (refer GREV, Article 5.2)
1. Treatment (20) and Importance (Philatelic 5 & Historical & Social aspects 5) 30
2. Philatelic, Historical & Social Knowledge, Personal Study and Research 35
3. Condition (10) and Rarity (20) 30
4. Presentation 5
Total 100
All exhibits will be evaluated by allocating points for each of the above respective criteria. These will be entered on score sheets of an approved format.
Article 6 Concluding Provisions
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 Postal History Exhibits at FIP Exhibitions were approved by the 70th FIP Congress in Bucharest on the 28th June 2008. They come into force on 1 January 2009 and apply to those exhibitions granted FIP Patronage, auspices or support, which will take place after 1 January 2009.

Guidelines for Judging a Postal History Exhibit

Introductory Remarks
These revised Guidelines will come in force for exhibitions after 1 January 2009.
1.1 These Guidelines give practical advice on how to apply the GREV (1.1-1.4) and the SREV for Postal History exhibits approved by the 70th Congress at Bucharest, Romania.
1.2 The SREV for Postal History exhibits is the main framework for the general principles determining what each sub-class of Postal History exhibit should contain, what it should encompass and how it should be developed and presented. These Guidelines provide general guidance for the judging of such exhibits, and are also intended to guide collectors exhibiting in the Postal History class.
1.3 Where a dispute arises between the level of authority of the GREV, SREV for Postal History exhibits, and these Guidelines, the GREV has the highest order of authority, the SREV for Postal History exhibits the second order of authority and these Guidelines rate below all decisions made by the FIP Congress.
Scope of a Postal History Exhibit
2.1 A Postal History exhibit, by analysis of the philatelic objects within it, should show and explain the development or operation of one or more postal services; the practical application of postal rules and regulations, and the study and classification of the use of philatelic material and/or postal markings to illustrate the main subject of the exhibit. It applies to exhibits covering the start of organized postal services to those of the present day. Historical, social and special studies exhibits show the interaction of the postal system with society, events, commerce or the historical geography of an area and the effect the postal system has on humanity and humanity on the postal system.
2.2 The SREV gives a list of possible subjects for a Postal History exhibit; these are, however, not a limitation on the permissible subjects. It is possible to show the development of mails between two or more areas, nations or continents; to show the development of postal services in one country, one district or one single geographical locality. Alternatively the development of one special postal service can be shown – either world-wide, in a country or groups of countries or more locally.
2.3 Exhibits may be planned chronologically, geographically (e.g. by local/ national districts), by mode of transport/service, or by any other way that the exhibitor may feel appropriate to employ.
2.4 Exhibitors should avoid large-scale duplication of similar items, large chronological gaps where possible and the inclusion of expensive items not directly relevant to the subject shown.
2.5 A general rule should be that a Postal History exhibit should show interesting material (Philatelic and where permitted non-philatelic) to the best advantage, and not appear to be a manuscript for a monograph.
Marcophily (Postmark) Exhibits
3.1 A Marcophily (Postmark) exhibit is concerned with the classification and study of postal markings and obliterations, including manuscript markings, applied by official and private postal services.
3.2 Marcophily exhibits may range from the pre-stamp era to the present day.
3.3 The study may cover the function, the period of use, place of use, colour, state or other changes over the course of time, or other aspects of postal markings. The subjects can include marks of office or of services such as registration, maritime, traveling post offices, disinfection, instructional marks, and so on.Examples of Marcophily exhibits include the study of repaired datestamps and methods of showing distances used by postal administrations.

A study of the different types of automatic postal coding marks used would be a Marcophily exhibit; the introduction of automation by an Administration is, however, postal history.

3.4 A useful demonstration of knowledge and personal study of postal markings could include the earliest and latest recorded dates of use, or identification of place of use, where this is not apparent from the wording or particular types (e.g. identifying the place of use of mute or numeral cancellations).
3.5 Markings should be as clear as possible with all essential wording complete. Where Marcophily exhibits are based on obliterating marks, they should be complete and preferably on cover.Generally partial strikes should be avoided; so should unnecessary duplication other than early and late dates to demonstrate the period of use. Any attempt to improve the appearance of a postal marking, subsequent to its being applied by the postal authorities, shall be treated as being faked material. (See GREX Article 41.2)
3.6 Postage stamps displayed in a Marcophily exhibit are irrelevant except that they should be in reasonable condition. If used postage stamps are included in a Marcophily exhibit the evaluation will be based on the classification and study of the postal markings and obliterations on the stamps.
4.1 All Postal History exhibits must contain an Introductory Statement. showing the scope of the exhibit. The Title of the exhibit must correspond to the Introductory Statement.
4.2 The Title Page should be used as follows:

  • To give relevant general (Postal History) information on the subject being developed in the exhibit.
  • To include a plan of how the structure of the exhibit is shown – chapters or sections etc., which have postal history relevance – rather than a “frame by frame” or “page by page” description.
  • To indicate areas of personal investigation.
  • To include details of important documentary sources and references.
4.3 The judges will evaluate the material shown, and the associated text, in the exhibit against the information included on the Title Page (Title, Introductory Statement, information relevant to the whole exhibit; the way the exhibit is structured; research and references)A well thought out Title Page will assist both the exhibitor and judges.
Judging Criteria
5.1 Treatment and Philatelic Importance
5.1.1 A total of 30 points can be given for treatment and philatelic importance. Up to 10 points should be related to the relative philatelic importance and up to 20 points to the development, completeness and correctness of the material shown.Under Sub-class 2C, 5 points are related to the historical and social importance of the exhibited subject.
5.1.2 When evaluating the treatment and importance of the exhibits, judges will look at the general development of the subject, the completeness of the material shown in relation to the scope of the exhibit and the relative philatelic, or historical significance of the subject shown, as well as the difficulty in duplicating the exhibit. Exhibitors should ensure that their exhibit is cohesive and avoid combining largely unrelated subjects; such exhibits are likely to lose marks under the treatment and importance criterion.
5.1.3 The importance of an exhibit will be gauged in relation to the general postal history of the country, area or subject shown, and to philately in general or importance to history, mankind or geographic area with respect to sub-class 2C. It will usually be easier to adequately treat and provide completeness to unimportant subjects than to important ones in the space available.
5.1.4 For example, the postal history of a capital city may generally be more important than that of a provincial town or a rural area. A postal rate study of postal agreements between two or more states would generally be more important than the domestic internal rates of an individual state over the same period. An exhibit (e.g. of rates) which spans the pre-adhesive and postage stamp eras, but omits reference to the first postage stamp issues, will inevitably be downgraded under importance and rarity. This is equally applicable to exhibits of all periods which omit the most difficult sections.
5.1.5 The judges should also assess whether the material exhibited is relevant to the scope of the exhibit. With rare exceptions, unused stamps and unused postal stationery are irrelevant, and their inclusion must be justified. Maps, proclamations etc., used only if relevant to the development and documentation, should be restricted in number and the judges should in principle only evaluate the philatelic material shown (GREV 3.1-3.2). The relevance, balance and importance of non-philatelic material shown in Historical, Social and Special Studies exhibits will be evaluated by the judges.
5.2 Philatelic and Related Knowledge, Personal Study and Research
5.2.1 A total of 35 points can be given for philatelic and related knowledge, personal study and research.
5.2.2 Philatelic and related knowledge is demonstrated by the items chosen for display and their related comments. Personal study is demonstrated by the proper analysis of the items chosen for display. For exhibits where obviously a great deal of real research (presentation of new facts related to the chosen subject) has been done, a large proportion of the total points may be given for this research. In cases where a subject has been significantly researched previously, an exhibit showing new research and results should be rewarded especially. The study and right interpretation of the already available knowledge should be considered too under this criteria.
5.2.3 The proper evaluation of philatelic and related knowledge, personal study, and research will be based on the relevant description of each philatelic object shown. Judges and exhibitors should bear in mind that the information given should not overwhelm the philatelic material shown. A well thought-out plan (see 4. Introductory Statement above) may avoid otherwise lengthy descriptions later in the exhibit.
5.2.4 With regard to historical, social and special studies exhibits, the related historical and general non-philatelic knowledge will be considered in assessing all aspects of these criteria.
5.3 Condition and Rarity
5.3.1 A total of 30 points can be given for condition and rarity. Up to 20 points should be allocated to rarity and significance of the items shown and up to 10 points to the condition of the items shown.
5.3.2 Rarity is directly related to the philatelic items shown and to the relative scarcity of material of the type shown and in particular to the philatelic rarity (however, not the value), and the importance of the total exhibit and its subject eg a postal marking of a small town showing the only example known, but of a standard type used throughout the country, may be of less significance than a special type only used at that town.
5.3.3 As condition may vary considerably for postal history material, judges should bear in mind the quality obtainable. On the whole, good condition, clean, legible postmarks and other postal markings as well as the general appearance of the objects, should be rewarded, while poor quality should be penalized. When possible, covers and other objects carrying postage stamps should show the stamps in good condition. e.g. an exhibit of wreck/air crash covers, while the condition of the covers will by definition be poor, the postal markings applied upon salvage should be as clear as possible.
5.4 Presentation
5.4.1 Presentation may be given up to 5 points. It should complement the treatment of the exhibit by its general lay-out and clarity. Judges should evaluate the work put into the presentation from the point of view of how it facilitates the understanding and attraction of the exhibit to judges and viewers alike.
5.4.2 Illustrations of relevant postal markings are necessary only when the originals are not clear enough to the onlooker. When it is desirable to illustrate significant markings on the reverse side of a cover, such markings can be either drawn or illustrated with a reproduction, such as a photograph or photocopy, as long as the reproduction is clearly seen as a reproduction to onlookers. Coloured photographs or reproductions should be at least 25% different in size from the original. Full size reproductions of single cancellations or part of a cover are permitted. All material whether non-postal history or non-philatelic material, should be original where possible.
6.1 These guidelines do not answer every question an exhibitor or a judge may raise. Each exhibit will have to be evaluated on its own merits.
6.2 In the event of any discrepancies in the text arising from translation, the English text shall prevail.

Judging worksheet

To assist judges in assessing an exhibit a judging worksheet can be found at 

Judging worksheet – Traditional and Postal History