THE PHILATELIC JOURNALISTS: Debate on Participation Fees in Exhibitions

Debate on Participation Fees in Exhibitions

Topic for Debate:

Recently the participation fees of the international exhibitions is hiked very steeply, as high as AUD$ 90  (90x60= 5400 Rs.) per frame for general & AUD$ 150 (150x60=9000 Rs ) for One-frame entry for Australia 2013. This is topped by other exorbitant “out-of-pocket” expenses of the Commissioners, which they charge from the participants. This will discourage / unable a large number of philatelists to participate in these exhibitions in India and a number of other nations. Is there any way out ? Can these charges be subsidized by the National Federations or the Philatelic Departments of various nations to promote philately ?

The participation fees in the Competitive Class of forthcoming INPEX 2013  are Rs.1,000/- per frame and in Championship Class Rs.2,000/- per frame. Is this appropriate amount for a national stamp exhibition ???



Naresh Agarwal - Bilaspur (C.G.)

Few days back when the information about INPEX 2013 was flashed, that sent a wave of excitement amongst the philatelic fraternity in India as every one started looking forward for yet another good show at National level. Soon after the prospectus was made available online and then a  similar sound was heard from all the corners of India mentioning that frame fee fixed for the participants was very high. Everywhere over phone, over face book or in mail exchange every one talked about high frame fee which was fixed at Rs. 1000/- per frame.

Frankly, I was surprised by the reaction of the philatelists. They started comparing fee with other shows held in past at different places by different societies at different levels with different quality and standard. Before we say the fee is low or high, we must look upon various factors. Only comparing with the other shows only will not do.

There is a need to understand who is conducting this show. This particular show is being conducted by the PSI (Philatelic Society of India) with no financial aid from India Post. The projection given about the show which seems to be very high looking at some parameters such as the venue…World Trade Centre, the size… 800 frames, the medals to be awarded…. very high in quantity and quality, the geographical area covered… entire India, the level…National Level.. From these five parameters one can understand a private society has taken the task to organize such a large show certainly needs support and appreciation from the philatelic fraternity. The frame fee if all the 800 frames are occupied will not be more than Rs.7lacs, considering 100 frame to be allotted to invitees and others without fee. Is this amount sufficient for organizing such a big show? This is just a very small contribution.

Though estimation of expenditure for this show is not possible for us right now but the collection from fee will just help in a small way. Looking in to the fact the cost/charges of material, overheads and services have increased tremendously; escalation in total expenditure of such exhibition has to go very high and so requires huge amount not only through frame fee but other sources too. Otherwise also we see that in other forthcoming international exhibitions, the frame fee has also increased from 30 USD to  up to 90 USD.

We must understand and appreciate that these exhibitions are held for promotion of philately and no body has personal financial gains out of it. The organizers spend huge time , energy and spend money to make such shows successful. We too need to change our attitude and look positively at it. Frankly, I personally feel that Rs. 1000/- frame fee for this exhibition is not very high as is propagated. Those philatelists who  have not applied for participation in this show must think again and those who have this notion of this fee being very high too need to look upon it differently.

Prof. (Dr.) V.K.Gupta - New Delhi

High fees and other charges are a matter of concern, yet in every exhibition demand from allotment is more than supply. To subsidize by dept. of post is impossible, which is already running in losses. National societies do not funds. Therefore smile and participate.

Vijay Seth - New Delhi

I believe India Post and PCI is supporting this show, the frame fees for the senior class should not have been over Rs 500 per frame. I f I have to visit the city Mumbai my daily expense shall be over Rs.1000+, five days means Rs 5000+5000, I would love to add some good items to my collection for 10K sitting in Delhi, the material sold at these shows is also not cheaply available, as we are indirectly paying for the dealers stalls also.

The exhibition should be subsidized by all the stake holders. Let us not kill the Golden Goose who feed the dealers. Investors are have a field of a day "Black is turning into White", "Cash into Gold ".

PCI can be de - recognized as a national body by both India Post and FIP, that is if serious thoughts are made and taken by us. Individual collectors attach PCI, they get a loly pop from the unopposed president and members of the Gov Council (defunct body) and settle down till the next agenda is on their mind.

Why can't the senior members of PCI with tremendous experience, get out and call a spade a spade ????????? can any one give any concrete answers..

keep the debate alive by more comments!!

Avinash B. Jagtap - Binningen (Switzerland)  

The  amount which you have mentioned for the Australia 2013 is so high that very few Indian participants could afford to pay. One has to remember at the same time, that the cost of holding such exhibitions has multiplied in the recent years. The committees which are holding such international exhibitions have to increase the participation charges to meet the expenses.

The aim of the participants in such exhibitions is not just to "upgrade" their collection but also to gather sufficient proof to sell their collection at a later date. Not all would have this view. First of all, before criticizing the host countries, which arrange such mammoth international show, it will be better to draw a graph of the participation charges vs. years. This will enable the reader to know where we stand. All the prices of commodities in life are increasing from year to year, the philatelic exhibitions are not exceptions. Also one will have to differentiate between the National and International Philatelic Exhibitions.Philately is an interesting hobby, but taking part in an exhibition, at the national level or international level is not cheap, it can become expensive in the long run.

We in India always demand that some body, committee or a certain organization should come to our help.The help sought from such an All India body, is the financial help. We must also understand how much financial capital is necessary to hold such exhibitions? In India many exhibitions (not only philatelic) will not be visited at all, if the entrance is not free. We should also know who are the donors towards such exhibitions. I have no idea how much financial help the exhibitions holding committee gets from India Post, but I think India Post would refrain itself from giving any financial support to such national or international exhibition. All these governmental portfolio holders will be mentioned in the reports with their photos, even when they have no idea about philately, forget then if they had ever collected  stamps in their life!  If we in our panel do not have any members from the organization committees who are responsible for holding national or international exhibitions, we can not know where the shoe pinches and why the increase in the participation fees have become inevitable and at the same time unbearable for Indian participants.

One has to take into consideration that today there can not be a real comparison of international currencies.Rupee value has reached to its bottom in comparison with other world currencies. I do not know on which basis the participation fees paid by Indian participants are accepted by FIP.

When I consider all these points, I can not just blame the exhibition holders or their managing committees for the hike in participation charges. Also the expenses of the National Commissioners will differ from country to country. One can limit the amount which one can afford to spend on one's hobby, this is very much so in case of philately, but with the time it will not be so "cheap" to gather the points and medals for one's display at national or international level.

Then comes the question, does this at all paying to exhibit one's treasures at national and international levels at this much price? Ultimately, one will have to answer this question for himself or herself. How would you respond?

Pradeep Kumar Mallik - Patna

The purpose to charge Entry fee or Participation fee from the exhibitors in a Philatelic Exhibitions is perhaps to discourage the non serious contenders. But to raise it vertically will jeopardize the purpose. In India National Philatelic Exhibition (INPEX) 2008, held in Chennai, the entry fee for competitive class was Rupees four hundred, per frame, only. It can be argued that it was organized by India Post supported by government grant to hold such mega event. But in December 2009, the One Frame National Philatelic Exhibition was organized by Baroda Philatelic Society at Vadodara. There also the entry fee was the same – Rupees four hundred only. Every year, since 2010, Stamps of India National exhibition (SINE) is being organized by Bhartiya Daktikit Sangstha in Delhi. The entry fee for competitive class in SINE 2010 was Rupees five hundred per frame.

The participation fee should not be raised more than twice in a span of just three or four years. This 200% plus hike will discourage many philatelists to participate in INPEX. Many of us will decide to not participate as an exhibitor. Thus the purpose to encourage new exhibitors to provide a National platform in philately will not be served. The main problem is that in India as there are no regulatory bodies in the field philately. It was the duty of Philatelic Congress of India to act as a watchdog of the welfare of philately and philatelists. But it is very sad that what this umbrella organization of philately in India is doing, only God knows!

And the philately in India is also lived on Bhagwan Bharose!

Dinesh Chandra Sharma - Lucknow

Participation Fee in INPEX 2013

The participation fees in the Competitive Class of forthcoming INPEX 2013 are Rs.1,000/- per frame and in Championship Class Rs. 2,000/- per frame are really very high for a national stamp exhibition taking place in India not only from the financial point of view but also from the philatelic promotion point of view.

I have some different experience regarding fee. In UPHILEX – 2011, it was decided that there will be no entry fee so that more people particularly those who cannot afford to pay the fee may also participate. The impact was that more applications came as people applied for as many exhibits as they were entitled for participation. Unfortunately a lot of absenteeism was there as most of them did not consider important to put up their exhibits. This was because they were not worried about losing any money towards fee. Therefore participation fee doesn’t seem to be a big issue.

Participation Fee in International Stamp Exhibitions

Philately has always been considered the hobby of Kings. Therefore the organisers of the exhibitions increase the participation fee considering that exhibitors can pay any amount for their participation. Definitely the increase in participation fee and total participation cost for an international philatelic exhibition are discouraging philatelists to participate in the exhibitions.

The charges for participation fee may be subsidized by the National Federations or the Philatelic Departments of various nations for the promotion of philately. International Olympic Committee had been the leader in doing so and all the “World Philatelic Exhibitions of Olympic and Sports Philately” organized by its sub federation the “Federation of International Olympic Philately” were exempted of any participation fee. This proved to be very successful in the promotion of Olympic and Sport philately around the world. In 1985 there were only 3 participants at “World Philatelic Exhibitions of Olympic and Sports Philately” from Asia which grew to more than 50 participants in 2008. Everything depends on the desire of the organisations.

Abhai Mishra - Dehradun

The participation fee in the philatelic exhibitions has shot up to a considerable amount over the past years. There is no doubt that the expenses in organizing the exhibition has also rocketed.  The money required for the exhibition is generated from various sources, such as sponsorship, exhibit fees, dealer’s booth, advertisements etc. The exhibits are the heart of any exhibition. Therefore the fee for the exhibits has to be kept to a minimum, so that general philatelist can participate in it. The fee of 1000 bucks for the INPEX - 2013 seems to be a bit on a higher side. 500 could have been a more generous figure. As far as internationals are concerned, participation has become very difficult due to exorbitant fees. International participation is now confined to the richer class. The solution to this problem is not easy because there is no dearth of rich philatelist in the country. In order to safeguard the general philatelist, we need exhibit sponsors, who can sponsor some deserving exhibits to the internationals.  For this the state/regional societies need to be more strong and active so that they can also act as sponsors to deserving exhibits.
Col J. Dutta - Pune

Yes I agree this is just too high a frame fee not only for INPEX 2013. For Australia 2013 the charges are a way too high. It is for this reason there is hardly any Indian participation in international stamp shows. PCI should take it up with FIP and get these reduced.

Ajay Kumar Mittal - New Delhi

Participation fee is really a burden on philatelists. Yes we know that organising an exhibition is very expensive but the cost should be recovered from sponsors or other commercial activities like special covers, Maximum Cards or other philatelic items.

For those who are eligible of participating with an 8 frame exhibit it will cost them 6,400/- and if they wish to participate in championship class it will be further doubled at Rs. 12,800/- per collection.

I think officials at INPEX 2013 should rethink and decide to reduce the rates of participation.