Stampex International 2020 virtually a hit

The Stampex International Virtual Exhibition was held on October 1-3, hosted by the Philatelic Traders’ Society of the UK, and I have to say it was lots of fun. Way more interactive than any previous online philatelic event, with participants able to wander from one virtual stall to another, engaging with dealers and other boothholders and chatting with other attendees. For more about what was on offer, you’ll find, at the bottom of this post, the preview that I posted prior to the show.

It was great to chat to the readers who called by my booth to say hello. And a big hello to those who weren’t readers who might have swung by here since. I also spent a lot of time exploring dealer booths and causing chaos in other boothholders’ chat threads.

If you missed the show, don’t panic! The site is still open until October 28. The booths aren’t interactive, but you can still download the information that was available from them. You can also visit the displays in the Museum of Philately.

I always try to wander through the competitive exhibits at a real-life exhibition, but they were a little tricky to find here. You need to head to the ABPS booth (that’s the Association of British Philatelic Societies) and click on the relevant links. This is where ordinary collectors display their collections for assessment by judges. If you’re a collector who’s curious about this world, browsing these exhibits is a great way to get a sense of what’s involved. (Here’s a tip when viewing the displays: you might want to right-click and select ‘open image in new tab’ to see the full-resolution scan.)

Towards the end of the exhibition, Graham Beck from the Exploring Stamps YouTube channel invited James Gavin from The Digital Philatelist and yours truly to chat about our experiences in an episode of his latest series, #Philately. You can watch that chat over at Exploring Stamps (and see the small personal touch I had given myself in preparation for Virtual Stampex!).

Inevitably, there have been comments about what might have been missing or what could have been done better, but overall I think that the PTS did an extraordinary job of pulling this show together. Not only has it served to somewhat alleviate the absence of exhibitions in the year of COVID, but if the feedback is anything to go by, they might just have created a regular event that will change the face of philatelic exhibitions forever.

Below is my original post previewing this event. It includes an embedded video of another edition of #Philately in which Graham gave us a guided tour of the virtual layout. Check it out, and then go and poke through the site while you still can!

As I write, we’re only a few weeks away from another massive COVID-19-inspired online collecting event. The Stampex International Virtual Exhibition 2020, presented by the Philatelic Traders’ Society, runs 24/7 on October 1-3 (UK time), and promises to be something special.

For one thing, it’s being promoted as the first-ever virtual stamp exhibition. There seems to be a lot of first-ever virtual stamp events around lately, but Stampex International 2020 takes ‘virtual’ to a whole new level. Check out the lobby that you virtually enter upon virtual arrival!

Virtual Stampex International 2020 lobby

To the right is the Museum of Philately, where you can browse through some sweet collections. In the centre, the Spink Auditorium will host a program of presentations. In the centre, there’s an info desk, while at Stamps in the Attic, you can have your own material appraised by experts.

And to the left, you’ll find the Booth Hall, where dealers, auction houses, collecting societies and other specialists await you at their own virtual booths. You can check out what each booth holder has to offer and chat with actual humans in real time. I’ll be there! Look! I’m waiting for you!

Virtual Stampex International 2020 Punk Philatelist booth

(Don’t get confused if you see this guy hanging out at other booths. I think he’s multitasking.)

Just about the only thing missing from this layout is virtual restrooms. Probably just as well too. Toilet cleaners speak with a shiver about wading knee-deep through discarded drug paraphernalia the day after any stamp event. Virtual toilet cisterns would have been no impediment. Octogenarian philatelists sure know how to exhibit!

I’m pretty stoked to be part of this event, because one of the biggest personal disappointments of the Year of COVID was that I had to cancel a holiday to the UK, where I planned to attend the real-life Stampex exhibition. That Stampex itself was cancelled, and this online equivalent is an inventive way to plug the gap.

Stampex 2020 is run out of the UK, but it’s operating round-the-clock, so wherever you are in the world, something will be going on. I’ll try to pop in at odd hours throughout the Exhibition so I can catch a bit of everyone. My timezone here in Australia means that in broad strokes, when I log on, it’ll be about midnight UK time and early evening US time. Don’t worry, Europe, I’ll still be around when you wake up! Not sure why you’d want to talk to me, but hey, come and throw virtual tomatoes at me while you’re on your way to see someone else.

For a fantastic preview of the Virtual Exhibition, watch the latest instalment of #Philately, the new series from Graham Beck of YouTube channel Exploring Stamps. His new series covers the developing world of online philately as it unfolds, which makes him the perfect guy to give us a sneak peek at the virtual exhibition (and some of the booth holders). Highly recommended. He’ll be there too!

You need to register to attend the exhibition, and once the presentation schedule is released, places are limited. So register now at and be ready to pounce!

See you there…

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5 thoughts on “Stampex International 2020 virtually a hit

Add yours

  1. Hi Graham
    I am very curious about some kind of a preview part from an exhibit, as I wonder how all the normal 16 pages are to be shown. Will there be scans of each single page, and if in which dpi??
    Best wishes
    Poul Erik Malmbaek


    1. Hi Poul! This isn’t Graham’s site – I just embedded his video. But I have seen the exhibit section, and I can tell you that every page was individually scanned at a very high dpi. If you find the pages too difficult to read or the images to small to appreciate, I recommend that you use your web browser’s functionality to open the image in a new tab. You should be able to do this by right-clicking and selecting “Open image in new tab.” Once you do that, they will be huge!


  2. Hi, My Grandma has passed ,and left me her stamp collection. How would I find out the correct value worth to each individual stamp . I have been to several different stamp collectors and one collector will tell me a total different value worth then what a different stamp collector has told me of the same exact stamp, I’m not quite sure I’m being told two different value worths on the same stamp or same exact stamps. I do know the condition of the stamp is important and has a lot to due with the value amount of it but how would I get a clue of what value would even be if it is in ment condition. Just maybe a around about value amount or just anything has in a hint around about quote of stamp value worth . Is their a sufficient way of knowing or of apprehending a around about value worth based on their individual value worth?


    1. Hi Jimmie! Sorry to hear about your Grandma.

      You ask a good question about stamp values. In general, there ARE two different values on every stamp. Stamp catalogues (such as the Scott brand in the US or Stanley Gibbons in the UK) list the value of every stamp (often with a price for mint condition and another for used). This is the ‘catalogue value’ (sometimes seen abbreviated to CV or ‘cat val’), and it represents the full retail price you can expect to pay a stamp dealer for that stamp in good condition.

      However… that’s not what your new collection will be ‘worth’. If you are looking to sell that collection, you are unlikely to get the full catalogue value for it. There are a number of reasons for this. Here are three. A dealer who buys it from you needs to make their profit margin, so they will buy it for under catalogue value. Secondly, ‘Grandma albums’ tend to have lots of very common, low-denomination, poor-condition stamps. There are very few buyers for this material, so dealers aren’t going to want to give you much for it – it is just going to sit around cluttering up their shelves. Thirdly, as with almost anything, any buyers would expect a ‘bulk discount’. Someone looking to buy your Grandma’s collection from you would not expect to pay the sum total of the full value for every single stamp – they’ll pay a flat fee for the whole thing.

      There can be a big difference between catalogue value and market value. That’s why, when you ask ‘How much is this stamp worth?’, collectors will say things like “It’s worth five dollars. You might get fifty cents for it.”

      So, how can you get a sense of what Grandma’s collection is worth? The first thing that should be said is that unless Grandma dealt in VERY high value material, you can’t really ask someone to value every individual stamp for you. It would take them too much time, especially given the high chances that a lot of the material is not going to be worth much. (An exception to this is if you have a collector friend who just LOVES poring over stamp catalogues.)

      So the best way to get an individual ‘value’ for every stamp would be to buy a catalogue and do it yourself. A stamp dealer will be able to advise you which brand is best, depending on where you are in the world, and what sort of material is in Grandma’s album. Then you can leaf through it, finding each stamp and determining its catalogue value. It will take time, but it’s a great way to get to know what you have. This is especially advisable if you plan to keep the collection.

      But if you want to get an idea of a realistic market value for your material, lurk around sites like Ebay, or and see what similar material sells for. You could also google local stamp auction results.

      If you’re looking to sell, then the best thing to do is to run it under under the noses of some stamp dealers, either at their shops or at a stamp show (COVID-permitting!). They will be able to give you an overview of how much you could expect to get for it. They might even make an offer.

      OR… you could register for the Stampex Virtual Show detailed in the above post! It’s on this weekend only. There is a section of the site called Stamps in the Attic, where dealers will appraise collections. In preparation, you should take good-quality photos or scans, and have them ready to send when you attend a dealer’s virtual booth. More information on that here:

      For more information, you might like to read my post on whether you are instantly rich when you inherit a stamp collection:

      And here’s the excellent YouTube channel Exploring Stamps with information on what to do when you inherit a stamp collection:

      Good luck!


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