June 2020

5 mistakes to avoid when exhibiting your stamp collection

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Exhibiting your collection can vastly improve it.

Competitive collectors say that preparing their items for display helps them organise, research and discover new ways to grow their interest. 

However, the process can also be intimidating for those collectors who have not put their work up for scrutiny. Here we present the mistakes that beginners must avoid.

Starting with a competition

The best way to begin sharing your collection is in a non-competitive environment. Most local or specialist societies encourage members to bring pages of their collection to share. These pages can be taken from a stockbook or mounted on album leaves with a brief description. The experience of presenting to a smaller group will help you practice how to hold the interest of your peers. Regular practice will make presenting easier.

Focusing on the minutiae 

When sharing or displaying your collection, don't worry about sharing the detail of every individual item. Instead, share the overall story. It is better to call upon the hours of research you've conducted to share your knowledge on the subject with the audience before you. To avoid nervously glancing at the album pages, prepare a short list of bulleted items you would like to specifically mention and glance at it occasionally to remind yourself to stay on track. 

Describing your collection for too long

Your words should be well-chosen, informative and entertaining while conveying your enthusiasm for the subject. Simply provide audiences and judges with an introduction that adequately prepares them to examine the materials you are presenting. A good exercise is to remember the displays and speakers that have appealed the most to you.

Not preparing

Every society, show, competition and exhibition has its own set of rules. Check: how many sheets will you be required to show, how many sheets does each frame hold, what is the timetable for the evening? 

Reusing an identical entry

View the process of exhibiting your collection as a way to improve your performance. Take the comments in good heart and reassess some areas that may require more research or time. Hopefully, learn from the experience of others! By using carefully-selected advice from comments and feedback, your presentation will only be better in the future.

Stanley Gibbons Journal

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