The Nottinghamshire Philatelic Society

Competition Rules



1. The Society competition shall be held annually.

2 The Society competition shall have four classes: Traditional, Postal History, Thematic and Open,

3. Entry is open to paid up members of the Society, and each member may enter once in each class. No entry fee is charged.

4. Each entry shall be the property of the competitor. The competitor must exhibit the original material: whole sheet photocopies and scans are not accepted.

5. Exhibits shall not exceed, nor be less than 16 sheets or items, not exceeding the size 12 inches by 10 inches or the metric equivalent. A title page counts as one of the 16 and any text must be the competitor's own work. Any practical form of word processor may be used.

6. Two judges shall be appointed by the President and they must reach agreement on the winning result for each class. The judges' decision will be taken as final.

7. Judges are asked to use the National Philatelic Society marking schemes,  (NOT the Midland Federation Schemes). Medals will no longer be awarded.

8. The winners will be presented with certificates and the appropriate trophies and will hold them for one year, during which period they undertake to maintain them in good condition.

9. Notes for Open Philately:  Philatelic Material will not be less than 50% of the extent of the exhibit and the non-philatelic material will be no thicker than 5 mm to fit into the standard exhibition frame.

10. These rules may be added to, repealed or amended by decision taken at an AGM.

Note: An additional rule of MPF competitions: where a whole reverse of an item (e.g. envelope) is displayed by means of a photocopy, the size must be altered. (Phoenix Judges are likely to presume this rule). For MPF competitions, whole sheet scans/photocopies are currently required instead of the original material (see below).

MARKING SCHEMES: The National Philatelic Society marking Schemes will be used for the competitions:

Traditional, Postal History and
Open Classes


Philatelic and related knowledge


Personal study and research




Originality and philatelic Importance


Relative condition




Presentation, write up and arrangement



Thematic Class


(plan 15%, development 15%, originality 5%)


Personal Study and Research
(thematic 15%, philatelic 15%)






Presentation, write up and arrangement




The original Egg Cup Competition was started by Douglas Harvey when he donated a small trophy during his year as President. This was a one-off competition and the winner (Sandra Poole) kept the cup.
Alan Squires designed and made a trophy in 2014 to be fought over during the Christmas Social in future years. The trophy is a wooden bowl,  height 114 mm, having a maximum diameter 53 mm, made from pear wood.

The rules for this competition will follow along these lines:
1. One sheet on any philatelic topic. Competitors may make a two minute presentation, but this is not a requirement.
2. Seasonal themes, humour and/or wit are important, or a clever way of dealing with your title or theme.
3. The winner is decided by popular vote and the President has a casting vote in the event of a tie.

This has proved to be a popular competition. The competition winners are mentioned on the Members' page of this site.




      Information for Competitors

The Inter Society competitions (9 sheet) are held at the MPF Spring Convention.
The Individual competitions (16 sheet) are held at the MPF Autumn Convention. 
At both Conventions there are the following classes:

Gold 85%
Silver Gilt 80%
Silver 70%
Silver Bronze 60%
Bronze 50%
Diploma 40%


1 It may seem a far cry from Society 9-sheet exhibitions to large International exhibitions, but like all other organised activities rules .are necessary to ensure competitors are dealt with fairly. Philately is no exception The International body, "Federation Internationale Philatelie" (FIP) at the 56th Congress in 1987 and at subsequent Congresses approved revised Regulations for Exhibitions and for the Evaluation of Competitive Exhibits.

2 These Regulations are in four parts
  GREX - General Regulations of the FIP for Exhibitions
  GREV - General Regulations of the FIP for the Evaluation of Competitive Exhibits
  SREV - Special Regulations of the FIP for the Evaluation of Competitive Exhibits
  (Separate SRSYs exist for Postal History, Traditional and Thematic exhibits)
  IREX-Individual Regulations of Exhibition Management

3 In turn these Regulations have been adopted, and where necessary amended, for National, Federation and Society Exhibitions 

GREX became the Rules governing the number of classes, eligibility of entrants, judging, awards, insurance, etc.
GREV and SREV which set out the "Principles of Exhibit Composition" and "Criteria for Evaluation and Judging Exhibits" became the Rules specifying the scope of each class and the marking systems to be used in judging exhibits.

IREX are the Regulations peculiar to each exhibition issued by the management about such things as the size of frames or sheets, handling of exhibits, etc. (See Section V for the Rules governing the MPF Inter-Society and Federation Exhibitions)

4 The revised FIP Regulations introduced two important changes

4.1 The inclusion of an "Introductory Statement" as the first sheet in Postal History, Traditional and Aerophilatelic exhibits, setting out the scope and concept of the exhibit.

Thematic exhibits are already required to begin with a "Plan Page".

4.2 The use of a points system for evaluating exhibits.(A points system had been in use in the MPF for several years). The opportunity was taken to revise this to bring it more closely into line with the FIP and Autumn Stampex BPE systems to enable members to prepare their collections/exhibits on lines acceptable at National and International levels.


Exhibition rules are defined to enable exhibits to be evaluated according to a uniform set of criteria. These guidelines set out the principles to be aimed for in the composition of collections/exhibits in the various disciplines.


A traditional exhibit embraces all aspects of philately. It is based on the collecting of all postal items, including items related to the production of postage stamps in as specialised or as generalised nature as the collector desires.

1.1 Material appropriate to traditional philately includes among other things:

 2 Varities of all kinds, such as those of watermark, gum, perforation, paper and printing.
 3 Essays and proofs, whether of adopted or rejected designs.
 4 Postal stationery showing the manner of availability and usage, physical form of paper or card, or postal service for which intended.
 5 Other specialised items including forgeries, postally used fiscal stamps, or used postal/fiscal stamps valid for postal use.

1.2 The first page shall contain an introductory statement outlining the subject and scope of the exhibit. (See Section II. 6.2)


Postal History exhibits fall into two groups:(a) "Postal History" being an exhibit of documents or postal items which have been carried by a postal service, whether official, local or private, showing Routes and Rates.(b)' "Postal Marking" (also called Marcophily) being an exhibit of the classification and study of postal markings on covers or stamps applied by the postal services, and of the marks of obliteration on postal items.

2,1 The material in a postal history exhibit ahould be arranged to illustrate a balanced plan as a whole, or to develop one of the following aspects of postal history:

1 Pre-adhesive postal services
2 Development of national or international postal services
3 Postal rates
4 Routes for transportation of mails
5 Postal Markings
6 Military mail, Field-post, POW, Concentration Camp
7 Maritime mail
8 Disaster mail
9 Disinfected mail
10 Railway mail
11 Censorship mail
12 Postage Due mail
13 Automation of mails
14 Forwarding Agents' markings

2.2 A Postal Marking (Marcophily) exhibit is concerned with the classification and study of postal markings and obliterations, including manuscript markings applied by official and private services. The study may cover the function, period of use, place of use, colour, state or other changes over a period of time, or other aspects of postal markings.

2.3 The exhibits may contain, where strictly necessary, maps, prints, decrees and similar associated material having a direct relationship to the chosen subject.

2.4 The first page shall contain an introductory statement outlining the subject and scope of the exhibit. (See Section II. 6.3)


An aerophilatelic exhibit is composed essentially of postal documents transmitted by air and showing evidence of having been flown.

3.1 Material appropriate to an aerophilatelic exhibit may contain:
 1 Postal documents dispatched by air
 2 Official and semi-official stamps issued especially for use on airmail, mint or used, but preferably on cover.
 3 All types of postal marks, vignettes and labels related to aerial transport
 4 Postal items connected with a particular means of aerial transport, not through a postal service, but with official sanction.
 5 Leaflets, messages and newspapers dropped from the air as a way of normal postal delivery, or in the event of interrupted postal services
 6 Mail recovered from aircraft accidents

3.2 Exhibits which consist solely of airmail stamps will be judged in this class.

3.3 Aerophilatelic exhibits in MPF Exhibitions will be judged on the same points scale as for Postal History exhibits.

3.4 The first page shall contain an introductory'statement outlining the subject and scope of-the exhibit. (See Section II. 6.4)


A thematic collection, of which the exhibit is a part, develops a theme according to the plan, demonstrating the best thematic and philatelic knowledge by the items chosen. The thematic exhibit uses all types of related and appropriate philatelic material. Non-philatelic items cannot be admitted.

4.1 A thematic exhibit comprises the following thematic elements:(a) A Plan defining the structure of the work and its sub-divisions into parts. It must be consistent with the Title.(b) A plan based on classification by issue date, country, type of material is not considered adequate.Neither can it be replaced by a literary description or generic introductory statement.(c) The plan page presented at the beginning of the exhibit, should comprise all major sub-divisions of the plan and show for each chapter the number of pages in the exhibit (not collection). Where the Exhibit is part of a larger collection, the Title and Plan should refer to that section only.(d) In Inter-Society (9-Sheet, Youth 8-Sheet) exhibits, the Title and Plan may be contained within -part of the first page.

4.2 Development of the theme is based on an in-depth knowledge of the chosen subject and of philatelic material strictly related to the theme. The thematic text must be correct and relevant to demonstrate the thematic link.

4.3 Each item must be strictly related to the chosen theme and arranged to show its thematic information in the clearest way.


5.1 Because of the widely differing marks allocated for "Presentation" in the Melville Competition for the different age groups, and to encourage more junior members to enter Society and MPF Exhibitions, junior entrants will, in future, be divided into two Classes related to the lower age groups in the Melville-Competition, and the broad division of children between primary and secondry schools as follows:

                                                Melville                   MPF                            Melville         MPFx
                            Age   16-18,14-15, 12-13         12-18             Class:     B,C,D         B-D 
                                          8-12, under 8            under 12                             E,F            E,F

5.2 Entries from junior exhibitors should follow the basic  Rules for competitive classes in all disciplines and  should tell a story.

5.3 The first page of each exhibit should begin with the Title and a Plan or brief statement setting out the purpose of the exhibit, ie. what is being shown and why.

5.4 Particular attention should be paid to the presentation of each sheet to ensure a clear and pleasing layout of the material, comments pertinent only to the subject, accurate and without spelling mistakes or corrections.

5.5 The number of sheets required in Youth Classes are: eight sheets


In turn these Regulations have been adopted, and where necessary amended, for National, Federation and Society Exhibitions, An introductory statement is now regarded as an integral part of all exhibits, and should form part or the whole of the first page. It corresponds to the Plan of a thematic exhibit, which has been required for several years.

6.1 The allocation of a specific Title and the preparation of an Introductory Statement setting out the plan or concept of an exhibit can help to clear the mind of exhibitors as to what they are trying to achieve, and enable the judges and public to get a better appreciation of the purpose of the exhibit.

The introductory statement can also be used to give general information on the subject which need not then be repeated on subsequent pages.
In 9-sheet exhibits the Title and Introductory Statement may be contained within all or part of the first page. Introductory statements might include the following items.

    Title of exhibit
    Purpose or concept of exhibit
    Period covered
    Printing - method, designer, engraver, printer '
    Paper - type, watermark, perforation
    Development of subject

    Title of exhibit (Relevant to aspect of Postal History. chosen - See Section II. 2.1)
    Purpose or concept of exhibit 
    Period covered
    General information relative to chosen subject
    Development of subject
    Personal research

    Title of exhibit relevant to aspect of airmail service and period chosen
Postal items and markings pertaining to airmails
    Leaflets, etc. dropped from air
    Air crash covers
    Airmail stamps
    Personal research


Two competitive exhibitions are held each year: (a) the Inter Society Exhibition at the time of the May Convention and the Federation Exhibition at the time of the November Convention.
1.1 Both exhibitions are open only to members of Societies affiliated to the MPF. All junior stamp clubs and those school stamp clubs formed under the Stamp Active scheme are accepted as affiliated to the MPF.
All entries must be the bona fide property of the person submitting the entry.
1.3.INTER SOCIETY EXHIBITION. Societies may enter all classes but only one entry per class. Youth classes in the exhibition are individual competitive exhibitions and societies may submit more than one entry.
1.4 FEDERATION EXHIBITION. Individual members may enter all classes but only one entry per class.
1.4.1. A non-competiitive court of honour will be held during the Federation Exhibition in which entrants may submit entries of 32 sheets in any discipline or subject.
1.5 A prospectus and entry forms giving details of classes, dates andd venues will be sent to the societies well in advance of each convention.

2.1 All entries are judged in full by a panel of judges appointed by the MPF Executive Committee.
2.2 Entries are judged entirely on their own merits according to the Criteria for Evaluation of exhibits.
2.2.1 Specimen Marking Sheets incorporating the Criteria of Evaluation are available for photocopying by Societies to use for their own competitive exhibitions. Copies may be obtained from the News & Printing Editor, please enclose, s.a.e. with request.
2.3 The judges have the right to transfer an exhibit from one Class to another without reference to the entrant, if in their opinion the entry would benefitfrom such a transfer >2.4 Time permitting, the judges should be available after the awards have been announced to discuss with entrants how their exhibits might be improved.

3.1 Entries in both Exhibitions will be marked according to the Criteria for Evaluation in Section IV A, B and C

 	Treatment of Subject and Importance		25
 	Knowledge and Research				35
	Condition and Rarity				20
	Presentation........				20 
	Treatment of Subject				15	
	Development of Theme				30
	Philatelic Knowledge				20
	Condition and Rarity				15
	Presentation........				20
	AGE GROUPS 12-18 years          Under 12 years
	Treatment		25			15                
	Knowledge		20			10	
	Material		20			20
	Presentation		35			55

A list of all entries by Class, Exhibit Number and Title shall be sent to the Judges in advance of the Exhibition to enable them to check-up on unfamiliar subjects. The completed Marking Sheets, signed by the Judges, shall be returned to the Convention Officer.

4.1 Subject to the following minimum marks being attained, a certificate for the appropriate grade will be awarded:      Gold 85;  Silver-gilt 80;  Silver 70;   Silver-bronze 60;   Bronze 50;     Diploma 40;      Certificate of participation under 40
4.2 Special awards in the form of Trophies, tenable for one  year, are awarded for the best exhibits in the following Classes:

Traditional . - Silver Salver
Postal History - John Adams Rosebowl
Thematic - Thematic Cup
Youth: 12-18 years - President's Cup
Under 12 years - Chairmen's Cup

Traditional -   The Coventry Trophy
Postal History - The Dudley Trophy
Aerophilately - The Streetly Trophy
Thematic - The Solihull Thematic Trophy
Youth -The Federation Trophy

4.3 The winners of these trophies also receive a MPF Medal.
4.4 Special Certificates of Appreciation are awarded to exhibitors in the Court of Honour.
5 INSURANCE (This section is subject to  amendment, as photo-scans of entries are currently required).
5.1 All reasonable steps will be taken by the organisers of the MPF Exhibitions (normally the Host Society) to protect the property of exhibitors within the exhibition premises or in the care of the Competition Organiser.
5.2 It is in the best interests of all collectors/exhibitors to protect their material with "All Risks" policies with reputable Insurance Companies Such policies normally include protection for exhibits at Local and National Exhibitions within the U.K. and for transit to and from the exhibition. In such cases no further insurance cover is necessary for exhibits at MPF Exhibitions.
5.3 Uninsured exhibits submitted to MPF Exhibitions will be insured up to a maximum market value of £2000 for the period they are on public exhibition, and in the care of the MPF.
5.4 Exhibitors are advised to send their entries by Registered Post, or deliver and collect them by hand.
5.5 Entrants asking for their exhibits to be returned by Registered Post will be expected to pay the registration fee and first class postage.

Summary of Forward: The aims of these rules and guidelines remains (a) to provide the members of societies in the MPF area with basic guidelines and rules of philately to enable them to prepare and improve their collections; (b) to encourage members to display their collections to other societites and at competitive exhibitions at society, federation and higher levels; (c) to ensure that exhibits in society and federation exhibitions in the MPF are judged according to uniform standards compatible with Autumn Stampex, BPE and FIP marking schemes.The opportunity has been taken to carry into these rules and guidelines the latest changes which have been approved by Autumn Stampex BPE and FIP during the past five years. These affect (a) Introductory Statement - it is now obligatory for every exhibit to have this (see section II.6) and (b) Thematic Plan Page - it is no longer necessary to show the number of pages in the collection as well as those in the exhibit, but where an exhibit is part of a larger collection, the title and plan should refer to that section only (section II 4.1.c)  [C T Poynton, MPF General Secretary, March 1994.]

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