About the exhibition
The eighth exhibition – World Stamp Exhibition PRAGA 2008 – was held in the Industrial Palace at the Exhibition Grounds in Holešovice and in the Postal Museum from 12th until 14th September 2008 on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the issue of the first Czechoslovak stamps and the establishment of the Postal Museum and, at the same time, on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the Czech Republic. The main partner was Česká pošta, s.p. and the Union of Czech Philatelists. The exhibition was also associated with the philatelic trade fair that was situated in one of the wings of the building. Czech philatelists will certainly remember that one of the wings of the Exhibition Grounds building burnt down one month after the end of the event.
The exhibition was traditionally held under the patronage of the President of the Czech Republic Václav Klaus. In terms of philately, it was held under the patronage of FIP – Fédération Internationale de Philatélie and AIJP – Association Internationale des Journalistes Philatéliques.
For philatelists, the greatest attraction were competitive exhibits that arrived from 60 countries. Altogether 512 exhibits were shown (traditional philately 155, postal history 158, literature 156 and one-frame exhibits 43, the rest out of competition). The quality of the exhibition is evidenced by the fact that 22 large gold medals and 90 gold medals were awarded in total. The number of large gold medals and gold medals indicates the demanding selection of the best exhibits in the world.
Three exhibitors received 97 points: H. Goeggel from Columbia for the exhibit “Classic Ecuador – the First Stamp Issue 1865-1872“ in the class for traditional philately, and H. Mirsky for the exhibit “USA Issue 1847 – Stamps Changed the System“ and K. Heister for the exhibit “Venezuela – Classic Postal History 1790-1880“ (he was also awarded the main prize of the exhibition) in the class for postal history.
Among Czech exhibitors, the most successful was Otto Grosz with the exhibit “Czechoslovakia 1918-1939“ (91 points), Miloš Červinka was awarded only one point less for the exhibit “The Postal History of the Děčín Region“ and so was Václav Košťál for the exhibit “Czechoslovak Republic I – Newspaper Stamps 1918“.
Rarities from the collection of the British Queen Elisabeth II. could be admired in the Court of Honour (blue Mauritius or a block of ten of the first stamp of the world used on a letter on the day of its issue), as well as e.g. an exhibit of classic stamps of Afghanistan. The disadvantage of the Court of Honour were extensive safety measures which allowed the access of only several thousand visitors. Visitors sometimes had to wait in the queue for unimaginable four hours.
The exhibition was judged by the international jury headed by J. Wolff (Honorary President) and L. Brendl. It had 34 members, only 2 of them being from the Czech Republic. The international character of the jury was evidenced by the fact that the members were from 28 states.
Assessment of the exhibition
An accompanying programme was prepared for the exhibition. In addition to issued stamps and special cancellation postmarks, transport of postal items by a balloon and a historical stagecoach was offered. Small visitors certainly enjoyed the children’s post office where young philatelists could act as postmasters and to postmark stamps and postcards for the visitors. Foreign exhibitors certainly enjoyed the pleasant atmosphere of the Trója Chateau (social evening) and the National House of Vinohrady where palmare took place.
Although the exhibition only lasted for 3 days, it was visited by 45,000 people.