bout the exhibition
The first post-war International Stamp Exhibition PRAGA 1955 was held in the year of the 10th anniversary of the liberation from 10th until 25th September under the auspices of the President of the Republic Antonín Zápotocký and with the support of FIP. The motto of the exhibition was: “The International Stamp Exhibition will contribute to understanding among peoples and to the consolidation of peace“.
The exhibition was held in two locations relatively close to each other – on the Slovanský Island where philatelists‘ exhibits were shown and in the Mánes Exhibition Hall were exhibits of the official class were exhibited (23 postal administrations).
320 exhibits participated in the exhibition, out of which about one third were from abroad (from 16 countries). 20 exhibits were competing in the national class. According to the rules, any competitive exhibit could take no more than 5 frames with ten album sheets each. Most exhibits were thematic exhibits (more than one hundred) where, however, the average extent was only two frames. In the Philatelic Specialities class, pre-stamp period letters and cancellations, philatelic rarities, private and local postal services, postal stationery, reprints and forgeries to defraud the post office were exhibited.
Both main prizes remained in Czechoslovakia. The international grand prize presented by the President of the Republic was awarded to Jaroslav Kovařík for the exhibit of Austrian stamps from the years 1850-1918; the national grand prize was awarded to Jan Mrňák. Gold medals were awarded to 8 more exhibits (out of which 5 from Czechoslovakia): they were mostly exhibits of classic stamps, namely stamps of pre-war Czechoslovakia, and exhibits from the class for aerophilately.
There were 18 foreign philatelists led by L. Berthelot in the Committee of Honour and more than sixty our philatelists. The international jury had 18 members, 7 of them from Czechoslovakia. The jury was headed by the President of FIP L. Berthelot, the Honorary President was ing. K. Ptačovský.
Assessment of the exhibition
Also PRAGA 1955 had a rich accompanying programme, including the festive performance of Smetana’s opera Libuše in the National Theatre. The attractions of the exhibition included rides of a historical stagecoach through Prague. The International Stamp Exhibition PRAGA 1955 surpassed all expectations – it was visited by 102,400 people.
During the PRAGA 1955 exhibition, a number of meetings were held with FIP officials with the objective that the first world stamp exhibition be organized in Prague. The following FIP congresses then officially approved this intention.