Countdown to London 2020… something for every collector


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18 February 2020
We take a look at what collectors can expect from this once-in-a-decade stamp extravaganza.

Every London international stamp exhibition has historically attracted many of the best exhibits from across the world, and this is certainly true of London 2020, writes Richard West.

Regrettably, the organisers have had to turn down many top class exhibits but hope that the goal of offering the visitor examples of the finest exhibits across a wide range of subjects has been achieved.

An exhibition of two halves

As with previous international stamp exhibitions held at the Business Design Centre in Upper Street, Islington, this exhibition is divided, for the purposes of the competitive exhibits, into two halves. On Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, 2 to 5 May, exhibits will be shown covering Postal History, Revenues, Postal Stationery, Open Class, Postcards (experimental class), and part of the Youth section.

Over Tuesday night every frame will be dismounted and new exhibits will be mounted. Thus, on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 6 to 9 May, exhibits will be shown covering Traditional, Thematic, Aero and the remaining part of Youth plus the World Stamp Championship class.

As usual for the once-every-decade London FIP International Exhibition, the available frames were heavily over-subscribed. However, by using some ingenuity and finding room for frames in every conceivable corner of the space, the organisers have been able to increase the number of frames from 2,750 to 3,400 across the two halves. This was achieved despite a tight budget.

Therefore, London 2020 is showing that it is able to stand on its own feet and, at the same time, is bigger in frame numbers than either the 2010 FIP International or the 2015 FEPA exhibitions.

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An a to z of stamps

Each half of the exhibition is dominated by either the Postal History (186 exhibits) or the Traditional (147 exhibits) classes, offering material from every continent and from every period. Everything is covered from Aden to Zululand.

In addition, the Postal Stationery class offers 36 exhibits, the Revenue class 23 exhibits while in the the Aerophilately class there are 26 exhibits. Among the other classes, there are 43 exhibits of Thematic Philately, 32 exhibits in the Open Class, a class that has been growing in popularity at national and international levels, and 15 exhibits in the experimental Picture Post Card class. The popular ‘One Frame’ class has generated over 100 exhibits across all classes.

The organisers are pleased to announce that there are 39 Youth exhibits across all three age categories, coming from a number of countries across the world. The only disappointment is there are very few ‘Modern’ exhibits (defined as material from approximately the last 20 years). Although such material is widely collected, it seems not by those who wish to exhibit. 

To the surprise of the organisers, there are also over 250 literature exhibits (believed to be a record for any FIP exhibition) including over thirty in the digital literature class, all of which can be seen in the Reading Room at the exhibition.

What to expect

Every visitor will enjoy some of the finest collections across the wide spectrum of philately, and has the opportunity to see and learn about their own and other interests; and will also be able to see many and varied examples of how to display material. It will be another decade until a similar opportunity arises, so a visit is thoroughly recommend – or rather two visits, one for each half of the exhibition.

The international Jury will be headed by Jury President Chris Harman, with Andrew Cheung, Brian Trotter and Dan Walker as Jury Vice-Presidents. The Jury Secretary will be Lars Engelbrecht, assisted by Michael Smith. The FIP Jury Honorary President is Bernie Beston, while the FIP Consultant is Bernard Jimenez.

London 2020 details

For more information visit the London 2020 website and don’t miss the May 2020 issue of Stamp Collector, which will include the official London 2020 Exhibition Catalogue – pre-order the issue right now from here

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