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by Lloyd A. de Vries

Vol. 5 - Online Exhibiting

Can online exhibiting be far away?

Actually, it's here already: Many stamp collectors already are showing their collections on their Internet Web sites. From first day covers of the Breast Cancer Research semi-postal stamps (VSC member Mike Smith, http://www.in.net/~smith/BreastFDC.htm ) to a philatelic history of opera (Paul den Ouden, http://home.prcn.org/~pauld/opera/ ), there already are "exhibits" on the Web.

The advantages are many. First, an exhibitor can reach many more people via the Internet than at a stamp show. Second, there's no cost in either shipping the exhibit to a show or in traveling to a show to see an exhibit. And third, there's no security risk: Once scanned and "mounted," the exhibit's elements don't need to leave the vault or safe deposit box, or, if you're like me, the drawer, again.

There are disadvantages, too, of course, primarily fakery. I have a .jpg picture file of the first ArtCraft first day cover, from 1939 (Sc. 839), and can easily include it in my online exhibits.

Except I don't own one.

With a little artistic talent and computer art programs, I can create new Earliest Known Uses, inverts, color varieties — the possibilities are endless.

Let's see, how 'bout a nice first day cover for a ZIP block of C24a, the Inverted Jenny, dated April 13, 1918 (a full month before the announced first day), on a Kendall Bevill hand-painted cachet?

Or, on a lesser scale, why not fix that rip, clean up that toning, reattach those perfs?

At a real exhibit, the judges have the option of opening up the frame and examining the stamps and covers in an exhibit. They can also ask to see any certificates of authenticity the material may have received. Electronically, you can fake those, too.

If an exhibit is being judged on presentation, philatelic knowledge and other intangibles, then competitive electronic exhibiting should be fine. If exhibits are evaluated on the basis of ownership, then I think there will be a problem.

Of course, as "show 'n tell," electronic exhibiting is perfect.

©2002 Lloyd de Vries

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A version of this article appeared in the June 2000 issue of Global Stamp News. It was updated in January 2002 for publication here.

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