Matchcover Collecting

How to Prepare a Matchcover Display for Competition

by "Billboard Bill" Thomas

Now that you've seen the new RMS display rules in the January issue, how about making up a display to take to Houston. It's not hard--everyone is just as amateur as you and I are. Look over the listed display categories & pick one or more that interest you, or that you have enough covers for. Pick a display size that will fit your luggage if you're flying. Pick a suitable artboard color to compliment your covers; they now come in fluorescent and in a thick, stiff board much like a miniature drywall panel.

Lay out your covers in some sensible or attractive order, not just straight lines like rows of Russian troops on parade. Back off & see how they look against the color of panel you have chosen. Decide on whether or not your display needs a nameplate or description; some do, some might, or you can always add a cute or clever nameplate even if none is needed at all. The descriptive nameplate need not be words; it can be a postcard or a photo.

How to mount your covers on the display? Are you gonna take it apart when done or leave it assembled forever? Do you have dupes of the covers on your display? If so, you can glue them down if you want, but bear in mind they lose their trading value if they have been glued. Double-sided Scotch tape works, too, but the same caveat applies. So, assuming you may want to remove and trade or sell the covers, mount them with stamp hinges, or with photo corners---the transparent ones. Measure & mount them neatly; neatness isn't supposed to count, but if you mount your set kinds sloppy and someone else mounts the same set very neatly, guess who's gonna win the award? Neatness shows effort & attention, and judges like that. You won't be told who the judges are--except by an informant.

How about boxes--should they be intact with tray, mashed flat, or flattened like a cover after opening the glued seam? There's no rule; I've made some each way. There's no use in flattening if the back of the box is blank if you mount the box intact, with or without the tray inside, wrap a piece of paper through the back of the box, and then glue or tape the paper to the display panel. A display with intact boxes will be thicker and take up much more luggage space---and it's far more subject to being mashed flat by your tuxedo, so think hard before making such a display. If you drive or fly your own plane, go for it!

Most display panels are rectangular or square, but they need not be; I've seen some cut in the shape of a shamrock or a butterfly. In fact nothing sez the display has to be on a flat panel; I saw one display of beer covers mounted onto a small beer keg! Important thing is to have the display panel fit its subject matter. Anyway, once the display is done you should cover it with polyfilm or whatever to keep it clean and to keep the covers safe from thieving fingers. The display room folks will guard your covers reasonably but they are not Brinks or Secret Service guards.

Put you name on the back, and then cover it with a hinged piece of cardboard (like a matchcover!) and put the category name & number on the outside of the hinged cover. NO ONE is permitted to pick up any display; the info on the back is for the judges only. And do all that BEFORE you bring your displays to the display room. Don't ask them what category your display should go in; you tell THEM what category you want it entered into. If they argue your choice, ask for the display room chairman to make a ruling, as the receiving people are NOT judges.

Viewing of displays is closed on Friday eve while the judges are judging; the room then opens & you can see if there's a ribbon on yours. But remember those are only the RMS winners.

This article was originally published in the RMS Bulletin, March/April 1996, issue #459.


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