World Stamps

Interpreting the World Stamp Show-NY 2016 attendance figures

May 3, 2021, 6 PM
World Stamp Show-NY 2016 organizers report that 23,017 people attended the international show held May 28-June 4 in New York City.

By Donna Houseman

Linn’s associate editor Michael Baadke reported this week that the officials of World Stamp Show-NY 2016 took a new approach to counting the attendance at the show.

The international stamp show took place May 28-June 4 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.

Show officials report that 23,017 individuals attended the eight-day show. Show president Wade Saadi explained that until now the attendance at all previous international shows held in the United States has been measured by “gate clicks.” 

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Collectors who were fortunate to attend the New York show will recall, and were no doubt relieved, that there were no turnstiles or personnel with hand-held devices at the entrance to count clicks.

Baadke reports that “Saadi said technology makes it possible to provide a more accurate tabulation.”

We commend the organizing committee for their honest approach to reporting the final attendance figure. For the past five months, we have patiently awaited the final attendance results. We salute American Philatelic Society manager of shows and exhibitions Megan Orient and APS staff members who tabulated the registration information for WSS-NY 2016.

However, we would be remiss if we didn’t point out that the show organizers used the overinflated attendance figures of previous U.S. international shows to promote and sell booths at WSS-NY 2016. The show’s fact sheet, which can be found online, shows an attendance estimate of 250,000. Estimates varied from 200,000 to 250,000 in promotional material leading up to the show.

We agree with Saadi that past show attendance tabulations could possibly reflect “32 gate clicks for one person,” and that the traditional method of counting attendance results is a distorted view of reality.

The best practice is to follow this new approach to counting from the time the organizers begin promoting a stamp show through to the final tabulation of attendance. We hope that we can count on future shows, both in the United States and elsewhere, to follow practices that provide a more accurate picture of attendance at shows.

Attendance figures aside, we salute the organizers of WSS-NY 2016 for staging a remarkable event that invigorated the stamp hobby. We agree with Saadi’s statement that “the hobby was well served by the exhibition.”

The fruits of the organizers’ labors have resulted in a pledge for a $100,000 donation to the Boston 2026 World Stamp Show and a recent donation of $25,000 to support an ongoing industry council on the future of philately.