Handout #1: The Synopsis Page

AN ALLIANCE HANDOUT …… helping collectors

Number 1: The Synopsis Page


So I’ve been asked to submit a synopsis page … What do I do?”

A synopsis page is an opportunity for exhibitors to impress the judge(s) with information about their exhibits that is not possible to present on the pages of their exhibits.

Why is this procedure important?

Exhibitors will have already come to the realization, while preparing the text for their pages, that one has much more information about the subject of the presentation than one can present in the exhibit. Remember you’ve been told to keep the text brief, to the point, and never allow the text to overshadow the material. The synopsis page is your opportunity to enlighten the judge(s) about the fine material you have accumulated, the personal research you have undertaken, and the philatelic significance of the work presented. Also, one must be sensitive to the fact that judges today face an ever-expanding knowledge base and an ever-increasing number of subjects, which require expertise to make wise evaluations. Judges need all the help you can provide in elucidating the material that is being presented.

Above all, it is the one chance you will have to boast a little, about your collection. One warning: don’t exaggerate or mislead. It would be a mistake to assume that a judge knows nothing about the subject.

Here are a few examples of statements taken from exhibitor’s synopsis pages, to give you an idea on the type of comments you might create for your synopsis page:

Here are a few further examples of the uniqueness of my material that I was unable to include in the title page, because of the space limitations.


A more in depth explanation is given here than on page 9, which could not be included with the stamps on that page.


Although relatively low in catalogue value, the material was very difficult to locate.


This material is rare but under-appreciated.


Four examples are known, one is damaged and the rest are used.

Consider these key words in forming your synopsis page:

• Treatment and Importance of the Subject Matter

• Philatelic Knowledge and Research Pursued

• Personal Study Undertaken

• Condition and Rarity of Material

• Presentation Focus.

If you use a computer to create you pages, consider employing the regular fonts for the story line, and italics for the philatelic information.

New research is seldom necessary but if you have created new knowledge by your investigations, be sure to include this information along with the relevant bibliography.

If you have not included a bibliography in your title page, consider doing so on your synopsis page. If you do have a bibliography on the title page consider moving it to the synopsis page, thus saving space for other important material there.

Finally, think of having a discussion with a neighbour who knows nothing of your expertise. A synopsis page should answer all the questions your neighbour might ask of you, in clarifying what you have done, and why!

Remember, a carefully prepared synopsis page could go a long way in impressing a judge about your work. The only person you will be helping is yourself, so spend a little time and see how it can be used to your best advantage. Give it your best shot! You will be glad you did!

Prepared by Peter Butler, GTAPA, with points taken from Robert Odenweller’s article in the Philatelic Exhibitor, 07/99