Presidents View March 2012
By the time you are reading this
column it is likely that Canberra Stampshow 2012 will be ended. Wearing one of
my other philatelic hats I am, of course, very involved with this exhibition.
This was the 17th straight biennial exhibition to be held by the
Philatelic Society of Canberra and is a popular event with collectors and
dealers. It is also a useful fundraiser for the philatelic society and helps it
maintain a clubroom and library for its members. I am not mentioning this
exhibition just because of my involvement but as introduction to the issue of
exhibitions in general.
There is sometimes a concern in
the wider philatelic community that the Australian Philatelic Federation has
too big a focus on exhibitions. However, I do not believe this is correct.
Stamp exhibitions, at whatever level, are the focal point of collecting where
collectors, dealers and postal administrations meet. Surely it is the role of
the national body to ensure that such events are well run and managed as well as
having consistency (in judging, for example). The APF certainly ensures that
national-level exhibitions maintain a high quality and are, perhaps even more
importantly, rotated through the States. State-level exhibitions do not need
approval from the APF, although are often supported financially with loans. The
APF for its part tries to ensure that such exhibitions are run regularly and
perhaps even more importantly, do not clash.
By maintaining the consistency
and management of exhibitions, there are two useful outcomes that I hope all
collectors and exhibitors appreciate. Firstly, Australian judges are, on the
whole, well trained and relatively consistent in their judging. The end result
is that when our exhibits go overseas they usually maintain their award levels.
This is not true in some other countries. Indeed Australian judges are trained
to carefully assess exhibits that are on the cusp of being eligible for
international exhibits (a national vermeil) so that our exhibitors are not
usually disappointed on their first international exhibit. The other plus is
that our international judges are usually well regarded as well. We currently
have 19 qualified international judges and another few working their way
through the system. This is a high number and on a population basis well above
virtually all other countries.
It is now a far more difficult
process to become a FIP qualified judge, with the need to be a suitably
qualified national judge with experience at a number of national exhibitions
before the APF will look at seeking a FIAP level apprenticeship for you. Once
this is completed you then need to do probationary judging at another FIAP
exhibition within two years. Both of these are at our own expense. Once this is
completed you may apply to be a FIP apprentice, also at your own expense. I
would note, however, that the APF tries to assist in this process by making at
least one of these paid for by the APF by making the judge an assistant
commissioner. This whole process can take years, which is why the APF is always
seeking out suitable people to move through the system. In my own case I first
undertook a State level judging course in 1993 and in 2012 I will undertake my
FIP apprenticeship - a period of 19 years. This is why the APF must continually
be looking at moving younger people through the system, and preferably at a
faster rate than in my own example.
All collectors should attend
exhibitions where they can see amazing collections, find material for their own
collections and meet the dealers they have often only corresponded with by mail
or e-mail. For stamp clubs, they can be a great source of new members. I know
the Philatelic Society of Canberra offers low rate memberships at the
exhibitions, and while we don’t manage to keep all of the new members I know
that a number of our society committee members were recruited this way. No
society can afford to stay static. So I would encourage you all to attend the
next national in Perth (17-20 May 2012) that will have 850+ frames of exhibits
from Australia and a number of other countries. Then there is Australia 2013 in
May 2013, our next international that celebrates 100 years of the kangaroo and
map stamps. No collector should miss an international exhibition in their own
country (see www.australia2013.com).