Philately is not something to be taken for granted. It came into existence a mere 160 years ago, and it can live on – but it also does not have to. Recognising this leads to concerns for philately, which in turn paves way to active questioning of what philately encompasses and stands for, which of its aspects should we accentuate, and also how to present them. These questions reveal values, attributes and traits that philately has gained and proven during the 160 years of its existence. Philately is first of all creation and the deep satisfaction it brings, it is joy from ownership, it is a path to enlightenment and recognizing the world and its distinctions. Its objects are unique traces of events, circumstances of their creation and the fates of their owners. It is a common language exceeding time, continents and cultures, it creates both a global community and a personal identity, it is a lifestyle, it gives sense of life, it is timeless, culture-forming and inspirational, it shows how something can be unattainable, it is prestigious, a good investment etc. etc.
These are universal values and characteristics easily understandable and inspirational also for the world outside of philately. It is thanks to them, that philately (as of yet) has a traditional and respectable position in the socio-cultural area and in the minds of the public. Thanks to them, it can have a great future.
But philately, and this is true worldwide, has reached a certain point of self-conservation where it diminishes and limits itself. Philately does not “pay attention” to the surrounding society and vice versa. Some of the values mentioned above were forgotten and are not formulated, reminded of, or being presented any more. Therefore philately is gradually alienating itself, and starting to be incomprehensible to the outside, making it discouraging, and leaving it far behind its potential of having influence and a significant social and cultural function. This is all due to the incapability of philatelic communities to have an outward impact, the incomprehensibility and lack of form of most philatelic exhibitions, zero influence of philatelic publications on the non-philatelic public, “scientific” research of marginal subjects, hypertrophy of specialized collecting, and on top of that all of this is preached as the correct paradigm by a part of the so-called “organized” philately.
It is therefore absolutely vital to give a new face to philately, approach the public and make philately more attractive, communicative, and in line with the values, means and mentality of the 21st century. Raising of awareness of philately, the enrichment of society through it and inspiring the non-philatelic public, those are the goals and tasks of Prestige Philately Club Prague, because we know that it is the world outside of philately that ultimately decides its future. The two years of our work on these goals have shown, that there are certain capabilities of philately that resonate with contemporary society. Those are the abilities of recounting timeless and captivating stories that exceed our own lives and with to which we can relate and in a sense relive them, being formative in our own personal identity, offering a sense of belonging with otherwise completely different individuals, and bringing joy of ownership, economical value and also prestige, which was co-formed by numerous brilliant and famous personalities throughout history.
Connecting of identity, stories, lifestyles, traditions, money and knowledge – it is a subject transcending itself, but virtually non-existent in the public sphere, even though it is beneficial and attractive to the contemporary world. It is necessary to promote it in “big” media, to use PR and marketing tools, and also to cooperate with institution that form and organize the cultural and social environment In order to address and attract the non-philatelic public.
The 2020 Biennale international project is one of the steps taken towards the fulfilment of the mentioned goals. It is the start of a completely new trend in philatelic exhibitions and the presentation of philately and its values and traditions to the public.
David Kopriva, founding member of the PPCP