The Germany Philatelic Society encourages and supports its members to exhibit parts of their collection(s) and offers a variety of awards (refer to “Awards” on GPS Website) as well as a special financial award given to novice exhibitors.

The purpose of this information is to give members/non-members an overview of the subject of ‘Exhibiting’, which offers heretofore collectors and/or accumulators of philatelic material, to reach a higher stage of maturity with their hobby.

I.       Why Exhibit?

Three fundamental reasons for exhibiting are to:

A.   Organize, arrange & learn about your philatelic material, which you may have accumulated for years;

B.    Share your material, knowledge and research with others in the philatelic community;

C.    Experience the challenge and competition of showing your material with that of others.


II.    Why view Exhibits?

Viewing exhibits at exhibitions and shows offers the viewer a number of important benefits:

A.   An opportunity similar to visiting a postal museum;

B.    The opportunity of seeing what others collect, how they collect, and potential ideas for new areas to collect.

C.    Learning opportunities on exhibiting approaches, material mounting methods and presentation ideas;

D.   Observe and learn methods of ‘storyline’ development for an exhibit, subject layout techniques and discipline, presentation and treatment of the exhibit material and title page principles.


III.            Preparation for Exhibiting


A.   American Philatelic Society Guidelines

Since all exhibits shown at APS-sanctioned philatelic shows are judged by APS-certified jurors, it behooves the exhibitor to become familiar with the four basic criteria used for exhibit evaluation:

1.   Title Page, Treatment of Subject, Importance      

30% of award

2.   Philatelic Knowledge, Study & Research

35% of award

3.   Rarity & Condition

30% of award

4.   Presentation

5% of award


        Details and explanation of each of these judging

        criteria are explained in the Sixth Edition of the   

        American Philatelic Society (APS) Manual of   

        Philatelic Judging, available gratis from the APS 

       Website www.stamps.org under “Exhibition Forms

        and Information”.


B.   Determination of the Exhibit Class or Division


Once you have determined your exhibit subject, you will have to determine under which ‘class’ and ‘division’ your exhibit falls.  Construction of your exhibit may be influenced by the judging parameters of the ‘Class’ you select, as elaborated in the aforementioned APS manual.


General Class: Postal Division



Postal History



Postal Stationery

First Day Covers


General Class: Revenue Division



Fiscal History


General Class: Illustrated Mail


Cacheted First Day Covers

Advertising, Patriotic & Event Covers



General Class: Display Division


General Class: Cinderella Division


General Class: Thematic Division


Special Studies


Picture Postcard Class


One-Frame Class


Youth Class


C.   Outline Development


Having determined your ‘subject’ and your ‘Class’, i.e. type, of exhibit, and before arranging any of your material for the exhibit, the exhibitor needs to formulate a structure for an exhibit and develop

an ‘outline’ covering the main ‘storyline’ tenets, such as the following theoretical or fictitious example:


Evolution of German Post Offices in East Bongoland


I.                  Title Page & Exhibit Overview

II.               Pre-1900 German Presence in East Bongoland

III.            Post-1900 German Presence in East Bongoland

IV.           Provisional Stamp Usages

V.              Other Mail Activity 1902-1919

VI.           End of German Presence in East Bongoland


       That outline will be your guide to organize your      

       material and construct your exhibit as well as the

       information which you should have indicated on your

      “Title Page”.


       The Title Page must include (1) Subject), (2) Scope

        and (3) Purpose of the exhibit.  Do not tell the exhibit

       story on the Title Page, as the exhibit is to do that. 

       Brief relevant information that will make the exhibit

       easily understood by a viewer should also be



IV.           Organizing Your Material & Creation of an Exhibit


In preparing the material for your exhibit, it is suggested that you use a loose-leaf binder or stock-book to commence arranging your material as it might eventually be mounting on each page of the exhibit.  This offers you the possibility of creating your text for each page before commencing to mount the page, i.e. following your intended ‘storyline’ of the exhibit.





V.     Preparation of a Synopsis


One you have prepared your exhibit, it is important that you prepare a ‘synopsis’ of the exhibit.  A synopsis is only given to the judges, in advance of the show, and it provides the exhibitor with the opportunity to tell them, i.e. the judges, what you really want them to know about your exhibit.


A ‘synopsis’ is like a “sales prospectus” which gives the jury your comments on your exhibit by using the four judging parameters as indicated in above.  Those parameters are also the basis of the ‘Unified Exhibit Evaluation Form’, which will be returned to you after the philatelic show with the jury’s award comments.


Remember that ‘YOU’ are the expert on your exhibit subject.  However, it behooves you to inform or “educate” the jury on information only you might be familiar with, such as length of time collecting the material, difficulty in acquisition, missing items not attainable, important rare items included, presentation style or approach, and a key reference.


Remember also that a jury has very limited time to prepare to review possibly 30 or more exhibits at a show.  Thus, your synopsis enables them to prepare in advance using your information for judging ‘your’ exhibit.


A synopsis is also an excellent exhibit summary which potentially could be used for later submission to dealers, auction houses or potential buyers for them to get an overview of the exhibit, i.e. a sort of “sales prospectus”, which you one day might offer for sale.


VI.           Germany Philatelic Society New Exhibitor ‘Novice Awards’


In an effort for your society to support new exhibitors, who have never previously exhibited, the society offers the following award at its annual convention:


Single Frame Exhibits:     US$ 25.00


Multi-Frame Exhibits

(Four or More Frames):   US$ 100.00


Awards are determined by the show jury and announced at the show banquet.  Potential recipients must be GPS members and show Germany & related subject material.