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YPA Competition Rules


All non-literature exhibits must be the bona fide property of, and entered by, just one person, a married couple or civil partnership.  Literature exhibits with co-authorship are admissible.



Traditional philately can embrace all aspects of philately. It is based on the collecting of postage stamps and related items, including materials related to the production of postage stamps. It also includes Telegraph, Railway and Local stamps.


Postal History

This class includes studies of the development of postal services, including the evolution of rates and routes, postal markings and marcophily. It is not normally advisable to include unused adhesives or unused postal stationery.

Exhibits in the sub-class 2C, being Historical, Social and Special Studies which are broadly defined as covering the impact of humanity on postal services and of postal services on humanity, may include material developed by commerce and society for use in the postal system. They may also include non-philatelic material where relevant to the subject of the exhibit. The non-philatelic material should be incorporated into the exhibit in a balanced and appropriate manner that does not overwhelm the philatelic material. Non-philatelic items must relate directly to the Postal History material.



This class is based on studies of the development and operation of airmail services and the material prepared for these services, both official and unofficial. It can also include exhibits of airmail stamps and their usage.


Postal Stationery

This class is for exhibits of Postal Stationery. Exhibits can include proofs, essays and formula items where appropriate. Exhibits entirely comprising items without printed designations of face value or service are likely to be transferred to another class.


Revenue Philately

A Revenue exhibit comprises embossed, imprinted or adhesive tax, fee or credit stamps issued by or under the aegis of a Government Authority or other official body.



An astrophilatelic exhibit comprises philatelic material related to space exploration. It does not develop a theme. It is a philatelic study of the scientific and technical progress achieved in the conquest of space, including stratosphere research, early rocketry and the precursors to the various types of spacecraft, chronologically recording the relevant events within the different programmes.


Modern Philately

Modern philately has been created by the FIP to encourage collectors of recent or modern material to exhibit at the highest level. Currently it covers material that would comply with the Special Regulations for the Traditional, Postal History and Postal Stationery Classes, but that has been issued by postal authorities within approximately the last 20 years. This is currently defined by the FIP as stamp series or philatelic topics that were substantially issued after 1991. However, there is meant to be some latitude on dates of eligibility so there is not an arbitrary rule that material issued before 1991 cannot be shown as long as the majority of the exhibit fits the Criteria of Modern Philately


Thematic Philately

This class is for entries based on a theme or a subject which is developed to a logical plan by the use of the widest range of appropriate stamps and other philatelic material. Revenue stamps may be included where no other philatelic material will convey the intended message. However, such material should be used sparingly.


Open Philately

This class gives an exhibitor complete freedom to present an exhibit on any subject using up to 50% of non-philatelic items. The non-philatelic material must not be thicker than 5 mm so as to be able to fit into standard exhibition frames.


Picture Postcard

A picture postcard exhibit can have a geographical (topographical) treatment, including for example illustrations from a place or area, or it can be developed thematically. An event may be shown as a form of reportage, or the exhibit may have the photographer, the artist, the printer, the printing process or the material as the topic. Original thinking and creativity may also lead to different treatments of an exhibit. The emphasis is on the picture rather than on philatelic aspects of the card.



A maximaphily exhibit is composed exclusively of ‘Maximum’ cards. The constituent elements are a picture postcard, a postage stamp and a cancellation. The aim is to achieve the maximum possible concordance between the elements with the aim of illuminating a theme.


Literature Categories:

This class contains a number of types of literature. The first four of these may be in paper or digital format:

a. Handbooks. Includes specialised works and studies that are not more than five years old at the date of the exhibition.

b. Catalogues. Should have been published in the last three years, and may not be entered at less than five yearly intervals, unless a major revision of the contents has been made.

c. Periodicals. Published by individual philatelists, Philatelic Societies or other organisations with a philatelic connection. Any exhibit in this section must have been published in the last three years, cover a period of at least one year and cannot be entered more frequently than once in three years.

 d. Articles. Published by individual philatelists, Philatelic Societies or other organisations with a philatelic connection within the three years preceding the closing date for applications. Articles submitted should state the publication in which the article first appeared.

e. Websites. Any philatelic website can be submitted.

 f. Software. Any computer software. This can include PC programmes or apps.

Medium: a. Paper products. One copy of all entries in the Literature Class must be submitted.

b. Digital products. Entries can be accepted in the format in which they are generated, for example: a url, a data stick etc. One copy should be provided of any physical product.

Literature exhibitors are asked to provide an A4-sized document (on either paper or digital) with an illustration and marketing details so that these can be mounted in a frame at the exhibition.

Handbooks and articles which have previously won an award at a UK exhibition will not be eligible for entry.



Cinderella exhibits may include local stamps, telegraph stamps, railway stamps, revenues/fiscals, forgeries, bogus/phantom issues, Christmas, Red Cross, TB and other charity seals, registration labels, advertising and exhibition labels. However, such items as trade, cigarette and telephone cards (unless the image of a stamp is incorporated in the design), matchbox or cheese labels, aerial propaganda leaflets, and other forms of ephemera are not considered as Cinderella items should be entered in the Ephemera class.



The following guidelines have been adopted for exhibits of Ephemera:

The definition of what constitutes ephemera will be as broad as possible. If the material fits in a frame, it can be used.

It is not essential to include philatelic material in an ephemera exhibit. Any postal material included will play a supporting role.

The judging criteria used will be the same as for Cinderella and other classes to ensure that sufficient weight is placed on the material shown as well as on treatment and knowledge displayed. Production of a synopsis for a competitive ephemera exhibit is strongly encouraged to give judges essential background. The main judging criteria which will be applied to Ephemera exhibits are as follows:

Treatment (20) - Effectiveness in dealing with the chosen topic. Is there a plan and is it followed clearly and concisely throughout the exhibit, e.g. through the use of running headings?

Importance (10) – How significant is the subject (and the material) and how complete is the exhibit in illustrating it?

Knowledge (20) - How much knowledge of the subject is the exhibitor showing, both in describing what is shown and in setting it in context? Is the material selected relevant to the development of the story, and does it demonstrate depth of knowledge?

Research (15) - Does the exhibit describe original research. Are any new discoveries on show?

Condition (10) - Is the material shown the best that is available?

Rarity (20) - How easily could the material shown be replicated, and is information provided about this (especially important for non-philatelic material)?

Presentation (5) – Does the manner in which the exhibit is presented show a good balance that displays the material to best advantage and enhances the telling of the story, thereby contributing to the overall appearance?


Evaluation System

The criteria and points available will be as follows.

Traditional, Postal History, Postal Stationery, Aerophilately, Revenue, Astrophilately, Maximaphily, Cinderella and Ephemera Classes


Treatment & Importance    Treatment                            20

                                           Importance                         10             30

Knowledge and Research  Knowledge                          20

                                      Research & Personal Study     15            35

Condition and Rarity         Condition                              10

                                          Rarity                                    20            30

Presentation                                                                                     5

Total                                                                                              100

Modern Philately:

Treatment & Importance    Treatment                              25

                                           Importance                             5            30

Knowledge and Research  Knowledge                           20

                                      Research & Personal Study      15            35

Condition and Rarity           Condition                             10

                                            Rarity                                   10            20

Difficulty of Acquisition                                                                    10

Presentation                                                                                     5

Total                                                                                              100

Thematic Philately:

Treatment                                   Title and Plan                        15

                                                   Development                         15

                                                   Inovation                                  5               35

Knowledge, Study & Research  Thematic                                15

                                                   Philatelic                                15               30

Condition and Rarity                  Condition                                10

                                                   Rarity                                      20              30

Presentation                                                                                                  5

Total                                                                                                           100

Open Philately:

Treatment                            Title and Plan                                           10

                                            Development                                            20         30

Knowledge and Research   Philatelic Knowledge & Research            20

                                            Non-Philatelic Knowledge & Research    15          35

Material                               Condition                                                  10

                                            Rarity                                                        20          30

Presentation                                                                                                         5

Total                                                                                                                  100


Treatment of Contents                                                                                       40

Originality, Significance and Depth of and Research                                         40

Technical Matters                                                                                               15

Presentation                                                                                                         5

Total                                                                                                                  100

Picture Postcards:

Idea, Plan & Treatment of Topic        Idea and Plan                              10

                                                         Treatment                                     20         30

Knowledge and Research                                                                                  35

Condition and Rarity                         Condition                                     10

                                                          Rarity                                           20         30

Presentation                                                                                                         5

Total                                                                                                                  100

Awards - Minimum Points Required:

Large Gold          90                       Silver                                   65

Gold                    85                       Silver Bronze                       60

Large Vermeil     80                        Bronze                                55

Vermeil               75                        Certificate of Participation  Under 55

Large Silver        70

One Frame Exhibits need to have an introductory page and the treatment should be as complete as possible in relation to the subject chosen. It is crucial to choose a subject that can be covered adequately in one frame. Simply extracting one frame from a multiple-frame exhibit is unlikely to produce an optimal result.


Whilst all due care will be taken in the handling of exhibits, all material is submitted entirely at the owner’s risk and s/he should make his/her own arrangements for the insurance of the entry.  (This must include transit risks, temporary housing of the exhibit, its use for judging purposes and its display at the exhibition.)


Last updated November 2021

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