By: Aslam Zahid
Thematic collecting is collecting by theme or topic or subject. There is only one rule for thematic collecting: do it your way. So it is completely up to you as to what you include, and how you organize your thematic exhibit.
Thematic exhibiting is putting together an exhibit for competitive exhibition purposes using a theme or topic, according to the rules established by the organizing authority (FIP FIAP). One experienced exhibitor once said “It is a bit like baking a cake. You combine a recipe, ingredients, and tools are different ones. There are as many ways of putting exhibit together, as there are exhibitors, but one suggested series of steps is as follows:
Decide to put an exhibit together get the rules and guidelines, try to visit an exhibition, looks at the exhibits, and talk to exhibitors.
Find a theme that you like and that you are prepared to read about, learn more about, and stick with patiently for some time, maybe even many months. It also needs to be one that is suitable for the size of the exhibit you are doing. If you choose a limited theme, such as species of birds or flowers, it may be difficult to expand it into a larger exhibit. On the other hand, can you tell the story of the Red Cross in a big exhibit of 80 pages and do it justice?
Gather philatelic material of all type not just stamps but postal stationery, pre stamps covers, post marks, proofs, specimens, and so on. This will be the most time consuming part of the exercise, and it will continues forever. Your exhibit will never be finished completely. During the stage, you may have rewrite parts of your story to accommodate good material or to cover some gaps in the material.
Begin planning ensure that your title, material, and storyline all match and are complete in relation to the title.
Do a story board layout for the exhibit. Make up a practice sheet for each point that you want to make in your story and put the relevant material with it.
Now do the tough layout for each page. Check for layout balance, variety of philatelic elements, and the proportion of material to text on the page. The material is the highlight; the text must not overwhelm the material.
Survey the philatelic strength of each page. How can you improve it?
Check the balance of material, text, and layout across the whole exhibit. Are all items strive for a balanced distribution.
Star work on the pages for exhibiting. Check the consistency of layout. Keep the text to the minimum needed to tell the story. Make sure that you show what you say and say what you show. In other words make sure that the material and the text on each page are tied closed together. Recheck you facts and material. Show your work to other knowledgeable people for their comments and suggestion.
Judging Criteria In a competitive exhibition, entries, consisting of text and philatelic material on sheets of paper 23x29 cm in size, are examined by a team of judges and given a point’s score on a number of criteria. The number of pages in an exhibit range from 80to about 120. These points are totaled to give score out of 100. Awards of various levels are awarded, depending on the total points received by an entry. Exhibitors work to improve their exhibits so that the will get higher and higher awards.
For thematic exhibits, the following relative terms are presented to lead the Jury to a balanced evaluation.
Development (treatment and Importance) 30
Philatelic Knowledge, Study and research 20
Condition and Rarity 25
Plan of the exhibit at the beginning of the exhibit, there must be an overall plan of exhibit. It is not an index of the pages or table of contents. It is more like a story of the exhibit in point form, with chapters and sub-chapters to shown how the story of the exhibit develops, this enables the judges and other viewers to read their way through the exhibit and understand what the exhibitor wants to tell and show them.
Development this criterion looks at how the exhibitor develops the story through the text and philatelic material from the plan. It also examines how the material and story develops on each page. A logical, well sequenced story line that flows through each page to page will be awarded higher points than one that does not flows smoothly and is badly sequenced.
Philatelic knowledge is a measure of the exhibitor’s knowledge of the range of types of philatelic material available for the theme and the most appropriate ways of using it to help tell the story of the exhibit.
Condition & Rarity the first term refers to physical condition of the material, old envelopes from tropical countries may not be available in perfect condition, whereas modern stamps should be in pristine condition. Rarity refers to level of presence in the exhibit of material that is difficult to acquire, either because of small number produced or because of high demand for the item. Exhibits that receive higher awards should contain more “rare” material from all period of history than lower level exhibits.
Presentation is the appearance of the exhibit as it is displayed for viewing, including such aspect as balance of the layout, the neatness of the pages, and readability of the exhibit. This criterion has the lowest weighting in absolute terms, but first impression counts. As the result, the judges’ impressions of the presentation may affect on their judgment in other criteria.