Special Regulations for the Evaluation of Traditional Philately at FIP Exhibitions

(Last revised June 2008)

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 Traditional Philately.Also refer to “Guidelines for judging Traditional Philately Exhibits”
Article 2 Competitive exhibits
Traditional philately embraces all aspects of philately. This includes also those aspects, which may be used in other FIP classes and which are supporting the story the exhibitor is telling by his exhibit.This story must be developed according to a logical plan leading through the exhibit. It may include aspects of the story of the stamp such as the way from the essays via proofs to the issued stamp with its printing phases and all kinds of varieties. It includes all kinds of appropriate material, even material, which might be used to form an exhibit of one of the special classes. The usage of the stamp must normally be demonstrated throughout the exhibit but this might also be a special section of the plan. Then it must be well balanced with the rest of the exhibit. The usage means here the different ways of cancelling, the postal rates and also routes if needed. The presence of rare postmarks, unusual frankings and postal forms has to be considered in judging.Exhibits that do not principally follow the special rules of other philatelic classes shall be considered and judged as traditional philately exhibits. If an exhibit is transferred into another class, the exhibitor has to be informed about the reason.

A transferred exhibit from another FIP class not following the regulations of that class, can be judged as traditional, but will normally receive lesser points for treatment, if not built up traditionally.

Article 3 Principles of exhibit composition
The Title page must contain an introductory statement, which explains the aim of the exhibit. It must be followed by a logical plan. (Refer GREV 3.3).
3.1 Material appropriate to traditional philately includes, among other things, (Refer GREV Art 3.2).

  1. Adopted or rejected essays, die-proofs, plate proofs, colour trials, plate flaws and other errors in stamp production.
  2. Postage stamps, whether unused or used, singles or multiples, and stamps used on cover, postal forms, mixed franking with other countries etc.
  3. The different usages of the stamp including the different cancellations, rates, routes, although an exhibit consisting entirely of this material would be more appropriate under Postal History.
  4. Local stamps, private delivery services, parcel company and carrier stamps, shipping company stamps etc.
  5. Varieties of all kinds, such as those of watermark, gum, perforation, paper, printing and colour as well as specialities of a single country.
  6. Plate reconstructions and studies of printing plates.
  7. Perfins, postally accepted overprints and value surcharges, all kinds of postal labels like registration labels, parcel stickers etc if they are supporting the story to be told.
  8. Postal stationery if they are printed with the same cliché as postage stamps and stationery outcuts, if they are used as postage stamps.
  9. Postally used fiscal stamps and unused fiscals valid for postal use.
  10. Postal forgeries. Other forgeries and reprints only in comparison with the genuine stamp if used in a traditional exhibit presenting for instance one issue, see 3.2.4 below.
3.2 Exhibits will also be considered as traditional philately, if they are made up as following

  1. Collections showing the development of postage stamps.
  2. Special studies of papers used in stamp production, gums, perforations, colour variations, errors of graphic design, perfins.
  3. Collections of borderline postage items such as letter-culture, letter closing, newspaper labels, etc.
  4. Collections of fakes and forgeries, reprints, registration labels etc.
  5. Research collections like plate reconstructions, development of plate flaws.
  6. Comparative collections e.g. issues of several countries including “omnibus” issues or covering the first issues of a certain region.
  7. Other collections with special aspects such as events – “Day of the stamp”, Christmas mail, fairs and other philatelic events.
Article 4 Judging of exhibits
4.1 Traditional philately exhibits will be judged in accordance with Article 39 GREX (Refer GREV Art. 5.1).
4.2 For Traditional Philately exhibits the following relative terms are presented to lead the Jury to a balanced evaluation (Refer GREV Art. 5.2).
Treatment (20) and philatelic importance (10) of the exhibit 30
Philatelic and related knowledge, personal study and research 35
Condition (10) and rarity (20) 30
Presentation 5
Total  100

Exhibits will be evaluated by allocating points for each of the above criteria.

Article 5 Concluding provisions
5.1 In the event of any discrepancies in the text arising from translation, the English text shall prevail.
5.2 These Special Regulations for the Evaluation of Traditional Philately Exhibits at FIP Exhibitions were approved at Bucharest, June 28, 2008



Guidelines for Judging Traditional Philately Exhibits

(Last revised June 2008)

Article 1 Competitive exhibitions
These guidelines have been developed to assist judges in the evaluation and exhibitors in the preparation of traditional philately exhibits.In the event of any discrepancies in the application of these Guidelines with the GREV and the SREV the GREV take precedence over the SREV and the SREV take precedence over the Guidelines.
Article 2 Principles of exhibit composition
2.1 In a traditional exhibit the exhibitor tells a story or stories with her/his exhibit. Normally it is a story of the stamps or issues themselves. It can begin with the reason why the stamp was issued following with the possible essays and/or proofs. It can then describe the development of the stamp, different printings, colours, perforations, papers, errors, etc. The usage of the stamp, the rates, routes, postal forms, cancellations and other items as described in SREV 3.2 are an essential part of the story.The plan is organizing the chapters of the philatelic story to be told. The title, treatment and the plan must be consistent with each other and naturally with the exhibit itself. All the important aspects of the area chosen must be shown in a well-balanced way. The different aspects like for instance the postmarks can be shown in a separate chapter or within other chapters.
2.2 A listing of basic groupings of “Material appropriate to traditional philately” (Ref: SREV Art. 3.1) will always be inadequate when applied to some traditional specialities. Traditional approaches to collecting the stamps of one country will make the inclusion of certain items obligatory, while including the same sort of items in an exhibit of another country would be quite inappropriate. Many small sub-specialities are unique to different countries and the inclusion of some of them may be obligatory to achieve the highest awards. The material that is required and the techniques for exhibiting it vary from country to country.
2.3 “Material appropriate to traditional philately” is meant to include virtually all items that are in any way connected with transmission of matter by, or outside of, the postal service. This includes railway, local and private mail services. Letter culture like embossed ladies covers, valentine covers, illustrated decorative covers, patriotic covers, etc can be included if they are supporting the story. Pre-stamp and stampless items and postal markings must have a direct relationship to the shown material and should not normally exceed 15 % of the exhibit space.
2.4 If the status or genuineness of any item is in doubt, but the item is considered significant enough to be included in the exhibit, it may be included, but its status should be indicated by means of a certificate from an approved authority or by other explanatory remarks.
2.5 Traditional exhibits should contain material that is related and can be described as a unit. The coverage should be clearly and concisely stated in the exhibition catalogue description and on the title page. Actual arrangement of the exhibit is a matter of personal taste and the choice of one of the many accepted forms of presenting the material is left to the exhibitor. Innovation is always encouraged.
2.6 The introductory statement describing the story (see Art. 2.1 above) and showing the exhibitor’s knowledge of the material he has chosen required by Art. 3.3 of GREV must be added to the exhibit. Its purpose is to help people to easily understand the treatment and objectives of the exhibit and to appreciate the significance of the key items on display. The Introductory statement should include the plan as well as a list of literature references. All exhibits should make full use of the introductory statement.
Article 3 Criteria for evaluating exhibits
3.1 The selection of material for a traditional philately exhibit involves a compromise between the many pages of material the exhibitor may wish to show and the number of pages that will fit in the frames allotted by the exhibition management. This selection is an important factor not only in assessing treatment, but also knowledge. The exhibitor may omit material that is of lesser significance. In general, the common values of an issue may be represented by a token showing, while the better material of the same issue should be shown in depth. The judges will appreciate that this treatment shows the exhibitor’s knowledge of the material.
3.2 If a stamp is considered common in unused or used condition, but relatively scarce on cover or in a particular combination, then the showing of only the cover or combination on cover would constitute a commendable understanding of the issue in question. However, a page of examples with no differentiation as to shade or other characteristic, or several pages of covers all showing the same rate and usage, regardless of value, is likely to detract from an exhibit.The write up in the exhibit doesn’t need to describe the clearly visible facts, but all philatelic background information demonstrates the philatelic knowledge of the exhibitor. In some cases even the historical or social context might be helpful to fully understand the role of the exhibited stamps or Issues.
3.3 Treatment of the exhibit reflects the degree to which the exhibitor is able to create a balanced exhibit characteristic of the chosen subject. A logical progression that is easy to follow and a clear concise write up will help the jurors to appreciate the exhibit. In assessing treatment Jurors will check that the statements made in the introduction and plan are adequately represented in the display.Consideration will also be given to:

  1. The difficulty of obtaining relevant and interesting material for the exhibit. This should not be seen as a factor of rarity or value, but one of time and dedication.
  2. The philatelic knowledge and skills required to assemble and present the exhibit.

Even if postmarks and frankings are an essential part of a traditional exhibit, they must be in a well-balanced relation to the whole exhibit (not for instance 1 frame of pure traditional and 7 frames of marcophily)

3.4 In assessing the importance of the exhibit consideration is given to:

  1. How much of the key material of the chosen subject is present
  2. The significance of the subject within the philately of the country or area exhibited
  3. The significance of the subject on a worldwide scale.

The introduction of three time periods has solved some of the problems with the importance. For instance an excellent modern exhibit with outstanding material, knowledge and treatment is often more important than a weak classic exhibit.

Also the completeness of all important aspects of the chosen area increases the importance of an exhibit. Excluding some important aspects is lowering the importance even if that is mentioned in the introductory statement.

3.5 Research and new discoveries should be given full coverage in accordance with their importance. Major discoveries deserve important coverage and recognition and should be identified by the exhibitor, while minor discoveries should not overpower the main exhibit. It must be remembered that many classic and modern issues have been very heavily researched over a long period and the results of these studies have been published. To gauge knowledge, the jury will consider how well the exhibitor has made use of these resources. It is unrealistic to require a collector to develop new findings in a heavily studied and researched area. For this reason, such exhibits will not be penalised for a lack of personal research, but will be given additional consideration if, in spite of previous research that has taken place, the exhibitor has managed to come up with new findings.Only the knowledge documented in the exhibit can be judged. Not only the background information about the postage stamps but also about the rates, routes, postmarks etc. is the best way to show the overall knowledge of the exhibitor.

Where appropriate references should be given to the exhibitor’s own or other previously published information. Where the exhibitor has extended such information a reference can be placed either in the introductory statement or on the exhibition page to which the research refers.

3.6 The material in overall good condition is essential to traditional exhibit. Exhibitors are encouraged to show unique or very rare material that does not occur in fine condition, but are cautioned from including other items in a condition that may reduce the perceived overall condition of the exhibit. The condition of common material should be impeccable.The rarity of the whole issue or one value from the Issue counts normally higher than the rarity of a small variety. The rarity and importance of varieties is not the same for different countries or areas. This has to be taken into the consideration when judging the exhibit.

Judging worksheet

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

Judging worksheet – Traditional and Postal History