12 - 14/9/2008


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We Are Tying in with the Tradition of PRAGA Exhibitions

 Photo - Vít Vaníček

International and world exhibitions under the patronage of the FIP entitled PRAGA have a  long tradition in this country and have always been a  big holiday for philatelists from the whole country and for visitors from abroad. The importance of these exhibitions in the Central European region is undisputed. They have also always been an important milestone in the development of Czech and Czechoslovak philately, and without a  doubt they have attracted many new collectors to the ranks of philatelists. Thanks to the high level of expertise and the possibility of international comparison, they have significantly help shape opinion about what can be collected and especially about how to make a  good presentation of the results of a  collector’s efforts. The opportunity for gaining qualifications at these exhibitions and to succeed there has become a  great motivation for many collectors.

PRAGA exhibits have always presented not only the cream of the crop of our stamp collections, but also the most widely diverse contexts in postal history, and have made use of those artifacts for the creation of thematically oriented collections. Visitors have had the opportunity of familiarizing themselves with very valuable material of great interest to collectors including many rarities and extraordinary documents from this country and from around the world.

The first exhibition named PRAGA was in 1938. With its 513 exhibits it became an important philatelic event just before the outbreak of World War II. The first post-war PRAGA exhibition in 1955 indicated certain possibilities for a  gradual relaxation of foreign and actually became a  preparation for the following monumental world exhibitions held in 1962, 1968, 1978 and 1988. The size and the promotion of those world exhibitions were really exceptional. On the one hand, there was clearly apparent an effort by the old Communist regime to promote itself. On the other hand, those exhibitions indicated the great interest of people in philately and the interest of many knowledgeable collectors in supporting unselfishly the further development of philately in this country. The exhibitions also showed the high level of expertise of philately in our country an often also the fact that without large financial resources it is possible to create valuable philatelic collections and exhibits.

Here are some figures showing how exceptional the events from 1962 to 1988 really were.
For example, participating at the PRAGA exhibit in 1962 were collectors from 85 countries, and 64 postal administrations sent exhibits for a  total of 6500 frames. In 1968, such a  year of upheaval in this country, the exhibit covered 10,000 frames with official exhibitions from 150 postal administrations. The exhibition was seen by 345,000 visitors, 60,000 of whom were foreigners. Likewise, the size of the exhibitions in the following years was not much more modest. Also indicative of their high level was the number of medals awarded. For example, in 1978 a  total of 40 large gold medals were awarded, the greatest number in the history of world exhibitions up until then within the framework of the International Philatelic Federation (FIP).

PRAGA exhibitions gradually built up an excellent reputation worldwide, so it is no surprise that it was possible to attract both many excellent exhibits and many visitors from abroad who enjoyed coming here repeatedly. The impression from those exhibitions was thus always significantly bolstered by the rich cultural and historical tradition of Prague.

The PRAGA 2008 exhibition being prepared under the full sponsorship of the FIP will surely be more modest in many ways than its predecessors between 1962 and 1988. Still, the chief goal of the organizational committee is to follow up in a  dignified manner on the event’s predecessors and to ensure the high expert and social level of the exhibition. Once again, many outstanding philatelic exhibits will be displayed here, providing visitors with the most comprehensive offering possible of widely varied services, including a  central information service.

On behalf of the entire organizational committee of the exhibition, I  would like to express my pleasure at the opportunity of welcoming visitors from around the world to the PRAGA 2008 exhibition. We will do everything we can to be able to provide them with a  rich philatelic, cultural and social experience in this beautiful city in the heart of Europe, hundred-spired Prague. 

Vít Vaníček
Chairman of the Organising Committee of PRAGA 2008

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