The World Stamp Exhibition Australia 2013, scheduled to be held next year in Melbourne, announced a few days ago the participation fees for exhibitors: 90 Australian dollars (72 euro) per frame or philatelic literature exhibit and 150 Australian dollars (121 euro) per single frame exhibit. Comparing to an average fee of 30 euro per frame in world exhibitions during the past decade, exhibitors are called to pay outrageously high fees, which to most are quite discouraging, to say the least.
Since the early 1980s, the classical issues stopped dominating the exhibit pages in major international exhibitions. Exhibitor participation was broadened and, upon the introduction of the grading system and the objective evaluation, exhibits of any sort and any period of time were given the chance to distinguish themselves, almost ignoring the old cliché “how much they worth”. So, the spark went off for research activity to flourish among prospective exhibitors, which caused diverse philatelic material to be thrown into the market by stamp dealers, which in turn refuelled research, which demanded more material, and so forth.
Year in year out, exhibition philately managed to embrace exhibitors with absolutely no discrimination, until it gave up once and for all its older elitist label. It would be a pity to get it back as a consequence of unfortunate rulings, like the one of Australia 2013, which FIP, FEPA and the other Continental, as well as National Federations do not have the ability to prevent or the nerve to overrule.