GBPS Discussion Boards

Research versus high value
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Author:  Robinr [ Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Research versus high value


Tony Walker made a remarkable quantity and quality lot of contributions to the last issue of The GBPS Newsletter, (No.340, Marc h/April) and being a fan of Tony I read every bit of what he wrote. Considering that I am a specialist (manic-obsessive in the eyes of my wife) focused on the stamps of KEVIII and The 1937 Coronation stamp of KGVI (as Tony knows), that is a compliment. But it was his article about Machin that sparked a strong reaction in my mind. Tony wrote:

“International judging guidelines have quietly moved away from high marks for original research (ask Ray Simpson about that), to allow high-value collections short on original research to compete for the high prizes. This could, or should improve the standing of serious modern exhibits”.

Since the profundity of satisfaction in collecting KEVIII and the Coronation stamp derive entirely from original research, my bias in this matter is probably obvious. In fact I suspect that I’m slightly twisting Tony’s remarks and taking them out of Machin context into general principle thereby misinterpreting them. But I felt almost outraged. Implicitly it seems to say that money wins over work. It means that a very large portion of stamp collectors are virtually excluded from possible recognition for all the studying and following up, and attempting to find out the what, where and why of their stamps.

The ability to lay down large amounts of cash for a rare item places the onus for research on the dealer, not the collector.

I don’t think Tony wrote thoses remark as the point of his article, and would very much welcome an enlargement of his opinion about value versus virtue. And I wonder what Ray Simpson has to say? I know that I’ve over-simplified this but we never get any discussions on the Discussion Board and this is one subject I’d love to see discussed…

Robin R

Author:  mozzerb [ Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Transfer from previous board: original post 29310

As far as I can tell, Tony actually has it the wrong way round -- the big money exhibits have always been more likely candidates for the top prizes, and the "research route" alternative to high marks is something that has really only come in over the last few decades?

Author:  jake [ Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Transfer from previous board: original post 29458

Hi Robin, many thanks for your kind comments.

You have indeed raised an issue frequently discussed in the Newsletter in the past. At the risk of boring you to insensibility, can I refer you to a Post in this General Queries category way back on 10 July 2009. This was the result of a very detailed examination of the FIP Guideline to Exhibiting (GREX), including discussions with three international judges, who I thank again for their views.

Rather than you ploughing through the whole post, scroll down to the section 'Philatelic Knowledge, Personal Study and Research', which is relevant to the current discussion. This represented my considered view at that time, and it remains largely so today, although I do feel there has been an undercurrent of change. Peter Shaw's worthy Large Gold for QEII Castles high values supports this.

With reference to my "This could or should improve the standing of serious modern exhibits" in the March/April Newsletter which Robin has quoted, it does perhaps need clarification.

Peter's exhibit contained a significant element of great original research,and (I'm sure Peter will not be offended)whilst showing superb and rare items, in terms of £££ value it would not compete with even scarcer line-engraved material at the present time. Time may change that. Thus I feel maybe modern material of the very highest order is starting to be taken seriously in the award of FIP medals.

However it is down to the serious modern collector to make sure the popularity of modern issues is kept to the fore, so that judges realise this material is serious philately, and deserves the highest consideration. Discussions such as this are also an essential element in 'progress'.

I don't entirely agree with Mozzerb, early high £££ value exhibits would have had the opportunity to present original research, and could as a result score highly from this section. As time has passed and the line-engraved have become saturated with ever more miniscule research (there go another six friends), the marks contributed from this section should have consequently shrunk, making it very difficult to score in the upper 90's for Large Golds. This hasn't happened, due I suggest to a moving of the goalposts. However this is a matter on which I'm sure we would be pleased to see more posts.

I think Ray Simpson must have lost his pen, such silence is definitely uncharacteristic.

Tony Walker

Author:  Robinr [ Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Transfer from previous board: original post 29473

Dear Tony and all,

Thank you Tony for the reminder and the link. I went back in time to a post from Boxmaster headed National Competitions, November 2007.

It is absolutely illuminating with contributions from many stalwarts, a little heavy on Robin T's contributions perhaps, and it even includes a couple of shots from me. Ray Simpson says what was needed. In all it stands as a real discussion, very well balanced (although Robin T's point that a contribution from a judge would have helped is certainly valid).

It proves that the Discussion Board can really function as such. (It also proves that my memory is degrading fast.

At one point, Tony asks what became of my book on the Coronation stamp. Guess what, Tony, I am so deep into original research that I seem to be going backwards! I have discovered that there were two cylinders 7, the first had a transfer shift and was quickly replaced with a new cylinder also numbered 7. Cylinder 7 had some (so far mysterious) magic significance for the printing crew, for it produced possibly as much as half of all the Coronation stamps, and was rechromed quite a few times.

My aim is to eventually get the write-ups finished and submitted to the Display Board. It is far too educational or didactic to make an exhibit, but I hope that I'll still have sufficient time and memory to be able to edit it enough to makle a reference book.

As for the current discussion, I fear that my heading, Research Versus High Value might have been wrong - I meant high ticket price!

Best wishes to all,

Robin (Restall)

Author:  mozzerb [ Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Transfer from previous board: original post 29474

My point was that until relatively recently -- say the last 30 years -- as I understand it there generally wasn't such a thing as an explicitly followed mark scheme, things were a bit ad hoc. So we had the concept of a "Gold Medal country" which (to borrow a phrase from Geraint Jones) was one on which a small fortune could be spent without too much duplication. Research was nice to have, but probably focused more on plating than anything else, and high awards could be obtained by simply lining up the rarities. I suspect that hasn't changed, especially when you get to Championship Class level.

I also suspect that marks for research were something of a concession to those who (reasonably enough) objected to this. The Traditional Philately rules say:

Research and new discoveries should be given full coverage in accordance with their importance. Major discoveries deserve important coverage and recognition and should be identified by the exhibitor, while minor discoveries should not overpower the main exhibit. It must be remembered that many classic and modern issues have been very heavily researched over a long period and the results of these studies have been published. To gauge knowledge, the jury will consider how well the exhibitor has made use of these resources. It is unrealistic to require a collector to develop new findings in a heavily studied and researched area. For this reason, such exhibits will not be penalised for a lack of personal research, but will be given additional consideration if, in spite of previous research that has taken place, the exhibitor has managed to come up with new findings.

For postal history it's:

Philatelic and related knowledge is demonstrated by the items chosen for display and their related comments. Personal study is demonstrated by the proper analysis of the items chosen for display. For exhibits where obviously a great deal of real research (presentation of new facts related to the chosen subject) has been done, a large proportion of the total points may be given for this research. In cases where a subject has been significantly researched previously, an exhibit showing new research and results should be rewarded especially. The study and right interpretation of the already available knowledge should be considered too under this criteria.

There seem to be two separate routes to gold medals here: cash or research! Or at any rate secondary and primary research. That's probably inevitable: quite apart from the "primacy of classics" thing, it would be rather unsatisfactory if one good exhibit on a subject depressed the possible marks for all other exhibits on that subject.

Author:  Ray Simpson [ Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Transfer from previous board: original post 29477

My original response to this thread seems to have disappeared into cyberspace. But there is not a lot that I can add to the 'Marking of Exhibits' message that Tony refers to above when commenting on my silence.

I remain of the opinion that the FIP is factually incorrect when it implies that we already know all that there is to be known about the heavily studied areas of philately Three examples will suffice:
1. The research in to stamp perforation undertaken by Peter Sargent and me in the last 10 years.
2. Current research by a group of GBPS members into the circumstances of the change to rose-red ink for the 1d stamp in 1857.
3. Research into early plate use, repairs and printing numbers inspired by Granzow's recent book.

I also deplore the FIP guidelines because they encourage complacency. Until Hollywood style and research-based exhibits can compete on equal terms for the Grand Prix prizes, the system remains flawed.

Ray Simpson

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