From the issues of Stamps of India Collectors Companion

Part 32, Issue # 91 - November 14, 2002

Jeevan Jyoti is a well-known philatelic journalist and has been contributing to philatelic press in India for nearly two decades. We welcome her first contribution to this newsletter. 

Thematic Philately has emerged as the most popular section of philately among the youth. Over the last five years the number of thematic exhibits have considerably increased in exhibitions. But the participants are very much disappointed with the results. Number of complaints are increasing regarding the improper judging of the thematic exhibits in philatelic journals and Internet Philatelic magazines. Do the members of the jury judge the thematic exhibits properly? Why the thematic philatelists seem to be unsatisfied in the exhibitions? 

The cases of unsatisfactory results seem to be increasing in state and national level exhibitions. The reason behind the unsatisfactory results is that most jury members are experts of traditional philately. Here I want to mention that in State level exhibitions the number of thematic exhibits is quite large, but the judges are usually traditional philatelists. No doubt the number of top thematic experts in India is very low. They can be counted on fingers as compared to experts in other fields of philately. But at the same time in the last few years thematic philately is taking the place of traditional philately. 

A new section of young thematic philatelists have developed but it is quite disheartening that this section of philatelists are the biggest sufferers of misjudging. They are disappointed and unsatisfied with the results in the exhibition. The Thematics deal with a particular subject and the development of story is explained through different philatelic items. But it is usually seen that the judges do not go through the subject and its plan. They only have a general look at the exhibit and they search to see if any rare, scarce or high cost items are shown. Their approach is entirely different. 

Here I want to mention ORPEX 2002 where I also displayed my collection on Tourism. The exhibit deals with the subject of tourism, its meaning, nature, historical development, its various elements and its significance. It is not a collection showing various tourist spots and culture of the world. There was one more collection on Tourism entitled "Glimpses of Indian Tourism" which was about Indian tourism explaining Indian Culture, monuments, wildlife etc. These two collections though dealing with the same topic - tourism were totally different in explaining the subject. Just like the two different books about birds, one explaining the nature, habitat and anatomy of birds and other explaining the different kinds of Indian birds. I discussed my collection with the judges and wanted to know their suggestions in order to improve my exhibit. But they could not give me a satisfactory explanation. They compared my collection as on world tourism and the other on Indian tourism and opined that it is difficult to prepare five frames on Indian Tourism than on World Tourism. So the collection on Indian Tourism gets better score. I tried to explain that the subject is different and it is not on tourist destinations and world culture but tourism as subject. 

From the discussion with jury members, I only drew the conclusion that judges have not gone through the plan and its development and have not understood the subject. There may be many other participants who had not got proper explanations. What does this show? It is clear from such instants that the exhibits are judged very superficially not necessarily because the judges become partial but also because the judges are not experts of thematic philately. They may be expert in their respective fields but how they can judge thematics where it is more important the way material has been displayed than what material is shown or cost and rarity of the material. 

Here I want to draw the attention of readers that the number of thematic collections is more in philatelic exhibitions. So there must be at least one qualified judge from thematic philately in state level exhibitions also. To cope with all these problems it is necessary to make a change and improve the judging procedure. 

In my opinion following suggestions should be considered. 

In the panel of jury the number of thematic experts should be more than the experts of traditional philately since the number of thematic exhibits have considerably increased in the last few years.

The judges should be provided with the photocopy of the thematic exhibits so that they can properly go through the plan and its details. It is not possible to read and understand the theme in a few minutes glimpse towards the exhibit.

Sufficient time should be given to judges and participants for open discussion on the exhibit.

It should be kept in mind that proper judging at state level exhibition is very important because it prepares to develop collections for national level shows.

If the judging is not proper and the exhibitors are dissatisfied and do not get proper explanation about the exhibits, good collections can never reach in the national and international level. The collections will die on the way before they reach the destination. This is the reason the hobby is losing its charm. 


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