24 July 2012
Olympex 2012, an exhibition dedicated to Olympics stamps and postal history is now open at the British Library in London. ...
Olympex 2012, an exhibition dedicated to Olympics stamps and postal history is now open at the British Library in London.
The free exhibition, organised by the International Olympic Committee and the British Library, will run until 9 September, 2012, and is located in the foyer of the British Library on Euston Road, near to London’s St Pancras train station.
Following a long-held tradition of holding a philatelic event during the Games, Olympex 2012 offers visitors the chance to discover the story behind many Olympics stamps, and learn how postal history can provide fascinating insights into our past.
The exhibition covers the first Olympics in 1896, the London Games of 1908 and 1948, and the 2012 Games, with private collections of stamps, postcards and other memorabilia bringing the many stories of these Games to life.
The displays for the 1908 Games are largely made up of postcards, including the messages on the reverse, and make for intriguing reading. But the philatelic items on display are accompanied by wonderful pieces of historic memorabilia. 'The highlight from 1908 has to be the marathon tape,' says co-curator Bob Wilcock. 'Broken by Dorando at the finish of that very controversial and historic marathon.' Few philatelic displays can boast such relevant relics, and additional treasures such as the finishing tape - no more than a piece of string - an England singlet and tickets - in addition to an Olympic torch and torch relay uniform - are sure to attract casual visitors during the exhibition.
With an impressive selection of frames dedicated to the many different sports that make the Games so exciting, together with a philatelic recreation of the torch relay, there is something for every type of stamp collector. But what makes the Olympex exhibition even better, is the use of interactive, digital displays.
Making use of 10 terabytes of disk space, and an incredible quarter of a million images, the three touch-screen displays dotted around the exhibits allow visitors to see many many more philatelic items, and by zooming in to each image, the smallest of flaws or varieties can be seen. Clive Izard, Head of Exhibitions and Multimedia at the British Library, describes the interactive displays in a video below.
Olympex 2012 is certainly worth a visit for anyone interested in the philatelic aspect of the Olympic Games, and since it runs until 9 September those wishing to avoid the rush can still come along once the sporting events are complete.
Find out more about the exhibit in the official Olympex catalogue given away free with the September issue of Stamp & Coin Mart.