It is always encouraging to both collectors and the trade to see a new stamp show launched at a new venue. The Southern England Stamp Show took place on 11 and 12 March at the Farnborough Leisure Centre situated about ten minutes from the M3 motorway in Hampshire.
The show owes its origins to the Salisbury Stamp Show which unfortunately, was forced to change venues in the city and then move to Andover. The new show was larger than its predecessors but still organised by Melvyn Philpott of the Machin Collectors Club and Tony Hender of Arun Stamps.
The venue was an excellent choice with plenty of space and chairs for all stands. There were nearly 60 dealers covering all aspects of stamp collecting present. An added bonus was a free raffle sponsored by Sutton Stamps. At the event Stanley Gibbons and their associated auction company, Apex Auctions, joined forces to offer a large range of competitively priced collections, which worked well for collectors. SG’s recently reorganised road show concentrated on album pages, catalogues and collections and had a very good show.
The centre offered a lunch menu delivered to the stands as well as a couple of cafes. Car parking, however, proved somewhat difficult and the event could have done with a guide to direct visitors who had not been to the venue before to the overflow car parks which were not well signed.
Encouragingly, the organisers have listened to feedback, announcing that in 2017 they will be introducing two major changes to address the problem. Firstly, there will be a 15-seater circular shuttle bus service between the largest car parks in Farnborough and the leisure centre. In addition, an A4 leaflet will be published which will contain details of the shuttle service, as well as the location and capacity of each car park, along with details of and charges where applicable.
Collectors patronised the event well on both days and it is hoped that attendances will increase as the show establishes itself at its new home over the next few years.