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!
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!
(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 https://stampex.vfairs.com/ and be ready to pounce!
See you there…