What is Traditional Philately

"It is all about Stamps"


Traditional Philately is mostly about the study of postage stamps. Initially there were no separate exhibiting categories, but over time certain aspects of philately were developed as separate categories, like Postal History, Postal Stationery, Thematic Philately and others. However, everything that does not fit anywhere else still remains in the Traditional Philately category.


Traditional Philately has the broadest scope of all the exhibiting categories, allowing all aspects of philately to be included in one form or another. However, the focus remains the postage stamps, and all other aspects should support the basic story of the postage stamps in some way.


The ideal exhibit should have a balance between the different aspects, with the core being the postage stamps. However, a collector should always be able to exhibit his or her passion, even if it forms a somewhat unbalanced exhibit. For example, for narrow subjects like a single issue or set of stamps, or for a small country with very limited issues, the story may need to include pre adhesive stamp mail, or a considerable amount of interesting usage. Those who collect this way may not have enough postal history or other material to fit into another exhibiting category, but they can exhibit their material in the Traditional Philately category, where all aspects of philately are accepted.


Such a small country or limited stamp issue exhibit that has, of necessity, to be out of balance, will not score maximum points for Treatment (due to the imbalance), but a top class exhibit of such a subject will still achieve the top level of a Large Gold medal. Many have done so.


Basically, jurors in the Traditional Philately category do need to have an open mind and a great degree of flexibility when evaluating exhibits within a much broader philatelic context than may be the case with the other categories. In other words, the “rules” are broader and more open to interpretation than in the other exhibiting categories.


In the special regulations for evaluation of Traditional Philately (SREV) it indicates that "Traditional philately embraces all aspects of philately". These special regulations should be carefully read, as they do define in some detail what constitutes a Traditional Philately exhibit.


Under the “Exhibiting” tab of this website there is an adapted article by Gary Brown that provides a guideline for people thinking about getting started with collecting and exhibiting. Also under the same tab is an article by Jan Berg, aimed at the more experienced exhibitor. Both of these provide some background as to “What is Traditional Philately”.

Lars Peter Svendsen 2012-17