News Archive

Former cancels of the Baltics in use from 1944/45 onwards

At the 2019 general meeting, the working group decided to take on the cancels that continued to be used in the Baltic States from 1944/45 onwards. The aim was to record all cancels that had been used
– in the previously independent states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania 1919–1940
– during the First Soviet Occupation 1940/41
– during the German occupation 1941–1944/45
and as such continued to be used or were used again during the second Soviet occupation from 1944/45 onwards..

The stamp reports were processed by our publication editors, Thomas Löbbering for Estonia, Ruud van Wijnen for Latvia and Martin Bechstedt for Lithuania. This resulted in the Auxiliary guide No.3 of the ArGe: Former cancels of the Baltics in use from 1944/45 onwards. On 80 A4 pages (many with mostly coloured illustrations) it contains a total of 372 re-used cancels from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania together with 18 coloured illustrations of covers.

The auxiliary guide is sent to ArGe members as a gift for the 5–th anniversary of ArGe Baltikum together with Baltikum No. 10. From mid-2022 it will be available as a PDF file on this web. You will then find it in the menu under publications.

Are you interested in the publishing beforehand? Become a member of the ArGe! See here!

ArGe Baltic States successful at ESTONIA 2020

At ESTONIA 2020, several members of the working group took part in the competition, and others joined as spectators.

Our member Oliver Hanschmidt (Estonia) achieved 78 points with his postal history exhibit "Temporary, Periodic and Seasonal Post Offices in Estonia 1919-1940" and thus achieved Grand Silver.

In the area of jury and invited exhibits, our member Hannes Westendorf (Luxembourg) took part outside the competition with an exhibition on "Special pieces of Estonian stamp issues and postal history".

ESTONIA 2020 - the first International Philatelic Exhibition under Corona Conditions

The year 2020 brought many restrictions because of the corona virus, especially in the philatelic exhibition world, simply because people were not allowed to meet in large numbers.

However, after the first wave of infection subsided, the Estonian philatelic association REFS succeeded in obtaining permission for a competitive exhibition. The application deadlines were extended; some participants from countries with travel restrictions were not allowed to come, but there were still 36 competition entries from 14 countries!

ERM shows philatelic treasuries

The Postal Museum in Tartu became part of the Estonian National Museum (Eesti Rahva Muuseum, ERM) in Tartu a few years ago. This moved into a beautiful new building, where you can see many parts of the collections all the time, but unfortunately not all of them.

However, in a special exhibition room entitled "Open storage", the otherwise closed philatelic treasures of the museum are currently on display until the end of 2020.

Special highlights are: the collection of cancelled postmarks of the Republic of Estonia (see picture above and some details), several printing and overprinting plates for stamps from 1918 to 2018 and a collection of covers from the geographical area of today's Estonia.

Come by and have a look at these unique treasures! Next time this will be possible only in many years! You can find more information about the museum at .

Starting signal for new BDPh online seminars

The Corona crisis brings with it a lot of changes. One can no longer meet and club evenings, exchanges and exhibitions fall through. But the Corona crisis has also brought one thing with it: an enormous increase in digital communication. Skype, facetime phone calls, team meetings and whole club evenings with Zoom are being organized. Around the globe, whether in India, the USA or Great Britain, online seminar series on our hobby of philately have recently been launched. We don't want to be left behind and have recently launched the BDPh online seminar series. From now on, there will be an online seminar on a philatelic topic every Saturday or Wednesday from 16 to 17:30h (CET).

The seminars are conducted using the software platform "ZOOM", which requires only a small installation and is free of charge.

The current seminar programme can always be found on the BDPh homepage at . Here you will later find the links to the seminars already held, so that everyone can have a look at the seminars afterwards. On the site you will also find hints for the installation of ZOOM and the rules of conduct for the participants..

Registration in advance is necessary for participation in the seminar. The links for the registration for each seminar can be found on the BDPh homepage. Participation is basically free of charge.

The seminar series is organized by Eric Scherer. He is available for all questions and is also looking forward to speakers and interesting topics in the future. You can reach him under

A hard-fought capital

The Italian magazine "L' Arte del Francobollo" published an article by Riccardo Bodo about the city of Vilnius under the title A hard-fought capital in No. 101 of April 2020.

Stephan Jürgens of the ArGe Italien in the BDPh kindly pointed this out to us. This issue is exceptionally free of charge due to the Corona pandemic and can be downloaded here (Article and illustrations on pages 15 to 18).

For those who do not speak Italian, our webmaster, with the help of Stephan Jürgens, has prepared a translation into English, published here with the kind permission of the publisher Unificato, which publishes the magazine. (The translator does not work professionally in this field, so the text does not claim to be completely accurate. Improvements are welcome!)

Riccardo Bodo: A hard-fought capital

Based on the name in different spellings, the capital of Lithuania has been controversial for centuries and changed rulers and status several times, as stamps and postal history clearly show.

Postal history physically concretizes the complex geopolitical events of the recent past. The First World War, for example, left a poisoned legacy of bitterly disputed territories and urban centres: a "classic" case was that of Vilna, the Italian name of the city that is now the capital of Lithuania. She was fighting for her name: Vilnius after the Lithuanians, Wilno after the Poles., Вильна (i.e. Vilna in the Latin alphabet) after the Russians, Vilnius after the Germans, Wilne after the large Yiddish speaking Hebrew-speaking community. Only the dramatic events of the Second World War (from the extermination of the Jews to the forced resettlement of the population) allowed overlapping claims – at the appalling cost of many people – to disappear.

As the historical capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which had been united with the Kingdom of Poland for centuries, Vilnius was involved in the partition of Polish territory and was under the control of the Russian Tsar. But it was then successively occupied by Napoleon's French, by the Germans in the two World Wars, by the Bolshevik troops, by the Polish, by the Lithuanians, and in the 1920s it was also the "capital" of the short-lived state of "Central Lithuania", which is listed in the stamp catalogues attached to Poland or Lithuania. Exactly to this area (in practice the one of Vilnius, as can be seen on this map from the Internet), is dedicated a remarkable complex of postal documents, which are auctioned by the German auction house Köhler, from which I can use most of the pictures for this article.

Under the rule of the tsars

(Note by the editor: for the following versions, please refer to the illustrations in the original article!)

The first postmarks are in Russian. I present one on the back of a letter from 1807. After a few years in 1812 Napoleon's Grande Armèe came to his unfortunate invasion of Russia. To remind you, here is a letter sent by a military office and addressed directly to Vilnius. As soon as Napoleon was defeated, the Russians returned: I choose one of the various letters from that period with a Vilnius postmark from 1821. Later, tsarist stamps were of course used: Here is a document from 1914, the year the First World War broke out. German troops occupied Vilnius as early as 1915 and stayed there until 1918: the city used German stamps and postal stationery overprinted for the occupation of Russian and Polish territory. A collection offered at the auction enables us to establish the existence of a city postal service in Vilnius, for which a fee of 10 pfennigs was charged: Here is a piece on which the German franking GEBÜUuml;HR 10 PF is indicated.

The independent Lithuania and Polish objectives

Lithuania declared its independence even before the Germans left the territory. With the withdrawal of German troops, a dispute was sparked between the states that had emerged from the dissolution of the empires: Lithuania, Poland and Bolshevik Russia. Polish-speaking citizens organized themselves to keep control of the city center. However, the Bolsheviks succeeded in occupying Vilnius to make it the capital of a Lithuanian-Belarusian Soviet Republic. But already in April 1919 the Poles returned to occupy it. The city remained disputed between Poland and the Red Army until the Bolsheviks were defeated at the gates of Warsaw and withdrew from the area, while Vilnius was officially recognised as the capital of Lithuania.

The birth of the Republic of Central Lithuania

The Poles had no intention of abandoning the city and staging a coup de théâtre: On 9 October 1920, the Lithuanian-Belarusian division of the Polish army under the command of General Lucjan Želigowski conquered the city after staging a false mutiny. A new state was proclaimed, Central Lithuania with the Polish name Litwa Šrodkowa, consisting of the city and surrounding areas. And of course stamps were issued, some with the portrait of the President appointed by the General: here he stands on a letter. The short-lived state existed until 20 February 1922, when the local parliament (the Sejm) proclaimed annexation to Poland. Despite the short life span of this "state", there are plenty of postal items. Here are some examples from the years 1920, 1921 and 1922. The Lithuanians did not recognize the annexation and therefore renounced diplomatic relations with Poland, where Vilnius became a regional capital.

The annexation by the USSR

During the period of relative stability, Lithuania was plunged into a crisis by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, which paved the way for the German invasion of Poland. The Red Army also invaded Polish territory and occupied the eastern territories, including Vilnius: The Soviets offered the city to the Lithuanians in return for the entry of Russian troops into Lithuania and warned the Lithuanian authorities that the Red Army would march in even without approval. And so on 10 October 1939 Vilnius (the old Lithuanian name) was annexed to the Baltic country, as whose capital it was proclaimed. Already in June 1940, Lithuania was occupied by Russian troops and a Soviet republic was proclaimed there, which was annexed to the USSR.

The Second World War and its aftermatht

The rest is a well-known story: The German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941 led to the Nazi occupation of Vilnius, where the large Jewish population was literally exterminated. Vilnius was freed from German control in July 1944 and became Soviet territory again. The massacres and deportations during the war were accompanied by the resettlement of the Polish community after the war, which the Soviets imposed on the new communist regime in Warsaw. And it was not until 1991 that Lithuania became independent with the capital Vilnius.

Für mehr Informationen siehe auch unsere Vorstellung der litauischen Sammelgebiete in diesem Web here.

General meeting of the ArGe Baltikum 2020 cancelled without replacement

The general meeting of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Baltikum e.V. planned for May 22nd and 24th, 2020 is cancelled without substitution.

The extensive restrictions on public life due to the corona pandemic do not allow for any other decision. The executive board of the ArGe Baltikum im BDPh e.V. unanimously follows the recommendation of the president of the BDPh, Alfred Schmidt.

ALL philatelic events until the end of June, including the HBG (Het Baltische Gebied) meeting in Geldermalsen, the annual meeting of the Bund Philatelistischer Prüfer e.V. (BPP) in April, Messe Essen in May and OSTROPA 2020 in June are cancelled. Our conference venue in Hennef is and remains closed for the foreseeable future.

The ESTONIA 2020 in Tartu on 10 –12 July is scheduled to take place as planned. About half a dozen members intend to visit the exhibition and meet personally with members from the Baltic and Scandinavia in Tartu. OSTROPA 2020 is to be held in autumn. Here, too, the opportunity for an informal meeting will be extended.

The board of the ArGe Baltikum wishes all members and visitors of our website: Stay healthy!

C.G. Award 2019

On 28 November, the award ceremony for applicants for the 7th Christoph Gärtner International Philatelic Promotion Award took place at the Monacophil.

A total of 44 working and research communities worldwide took part this time in the three categories print, digital and youth. Our Arbeitsgemeinschaft Baltikum e.V. im BDPh e.V. faced the competition and achieved the following ranking:

Print: Place 13 of 39 participants with 78,667 of 100 possible points.

Digital: place 9 of 44 participants with 25,333 of 30 possible points.

Youth: Rank 27 of 44 participants with 12.667 out of 20 possible points.

We have thus once again successfully placed ourselves in the top third of all participants worldwide. I would particularly like to highlight the 9th place out of 44 competitors for our website A special thanks therefore goes to our webmaster, Friedhelm Doell. My sincere thanks to all those who have contributed to this success through their active cooperation and continue to contribute!

The detailed results can be found on the web at

Exhibition announcement ESTONIA 2020

The International Estonian Philatelic Society (REFS) organises the philatelic exhibition Estonia 2020 in the Estonian National Museum (ERM, Eesti Rahva Muuseum) in Tartu from Friday 10 July to Sunday 12 July 2020 (note changed date!).

The competition classes include:

2.1 Traditional Philately, 2.2 Postal History, 2.3 Aerophilately and Astrophilately, 2.4 Postal Stationery, 2.5 Thematic Philately, 2.6 Open Philately, 2.7 Modern Philately (with up to 50% non-philatelic content), 2.8 Fiscal Philately, 2. 9 Postcards, 2.10 Youth Philately (A. up to 15 years, B. 16–18 years, C. 19–21 years) and 2.11 Philatelic Literature (published in 2016 or later, philatelic magazines in the latest issue; class also includes electronic media). The inscription must be in English or German.

Participation in competition classes 2.1 to 2.9 requires a prior national show evaluation of at least 70 points (silver); in literature class 2.11 there are no such restrictions. Participation in the youth classes requires at least one bronze medal (60 points) in age group A and at least one silver medal (70 points) in age groups B and C.

The deadline for applications is 28.03.2020. Further information is available on the website of Estonia 2020, The exhibition and the evaluation will follow the rules of the FIP. The special rules for this exhibition are available in the downloadable PDF document on the left.

All ArGe-members and other persons who would like to deepen their philatelic contacts and cooperation around the Baltic Sea are invited to participate in the exhibition!

Exhibition successes in Stockholm

The Stockholmia2019 took place from 29.5. to 2.6.2019 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Royal Philatelic Society, London. Accordingly, only members of the Royal could exhibit in the competition.

From our ArGe Baltikum e.V., the following members took part in the competition:

Exhibitor Country class Exhibit Awarded
Jaan Roots Norway Class 2: Postal history Estonia 1918 92 Points, Gold
Kaido Andres Estonia Class 6: Thematic Philately University of Tartu 1632–2012 81 Points, Vermeil
Kaido Andres Estonia Class 9B: Catalogues in the latest edition Kaido Andres (Ed.), H. Jakobs, A. Valm, A. Kuuskvere, K. Andres et al. (Authors):
Catalogue of errors and varieties of Estonian stamps 1991–2014
71 Points, Silver

We congratulate you on these successes!

Cooperation with the ArGe Deutsche Ostgebiete (German Eastern territories)

The ArGe Baltikum has expanded its cooperation with other philatelic associations. After HBG and ROSSICA (see the archive of this web from January 18, 2018) there is now a digital exchange of the circulars also with the Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Deutschen Ostgebiete e.V., a study group of the "Poststempelgilde" in the BDPh e.V.

The Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutsche Ostgebiete e.V. is an association of post-historical philatelists and homeland collectors of areas of the German Reich east of the Oder-Neisse line within the borders of 1914 including the areas of the Sudetenland and Austrian-Silesia. It is divided into the groups General, East and West Prussia, Memel, Pomerania/Border Mark, Posen and Poland, Silesia including Upper Silesia and Sudeten/Beskid.

Further information under

Since the circulars of the ArGe Deutsche Ostgebiete, which have been published since 2008, are stored and accessible on their website under Publikationen/Services -> Rundschreiben -> ArGe-Rundschreiben, there is no separate storage on servers of the ArGe Baltikum.

List of postal, telegraph, telephone and radio equipment in Estonia (1926 and 1929)

Only a few months after the publication of the first auxiliary guide of the ArGe Baltikum, the auxiliary guide No.2 on the subject Directory of the Postal, Telegraphic, Telephone and Radio Equipment of Estonia (1926 and 1929) is following.

It is a reprint of the 1926 and 1929 index with an introduction to the content and translation into German of all Estonian terms used by Friedhelm Doell. A4 format.

Introduction and translation of the table contents (29 pages)
Annex A: Posti telegraafi ja telefoni asutuste nimestik 1926 (137 pages)
Annex B: Posti telegraafi telefoni ja raadio-asutuste nimestik 1929 (148 pages).

The work aid is available as a PDF file on this web. You can find it in the menu under Publications.

General meeting elects new board of directors

The general meeting of the ArGe Baltikum elected a new executive committee.

May 2019: the new executive board of the ArGe Baltikum (from left to right): Michael Haslau (Treasurer), Friedhelm Doell (Webmaster), Michael Wieneke (Managing director and secretary) sowie Thomas Löbbering (Chairman and editor)

The picture shows (from left to right): Michael Haslau (newly elected treasurer) and the re-elected founding board members Friedhelm Doell (webmaster), Michael Wieneke (managing director and secretary) and Thomas Löbbering (Chairman and editor).

Saying goodbye to Tobias Huylmans

The previous treasurer Tobias Huylmans was bid farewell with a small gift and a big thank you.


The participants enjoyed themselves at a barbecue party (here with the eager waiting for the barbecue).


Of course the shop talk was not neglected here either.

The general meeting was enriched like every year by phatelic lectures:

– Martin Bechstedt explained to the participants the stamp project de ArGe with the stamps still in use after 1944/45.

– Thomas Löbbering reported on the TALLINN N (for outgoing mail) and TALLINN S (for incoming mail) censorship stamps used in Estonia, which were even re-cut in 1949.

– Martin Bechstedt reported informatively on the 1922 De-Jure edition of Lithuania.

– Hannes Westendorf asked for stamped covers 1862–1875 from the Baltic States in order to be able to research his next article even more intensively.

– Finally Friedhelm Doell presented the administrative reform in Estonia 2017, to which the Work Aid No. 1 has also been published.

Thomas Löbbering

Thomas Löbbering and TALLINN N & S

Martin Bechstedt

Martin Bechstedt and the De-Jure edition

Hannes Westendorf

Hannes Westendorf and the 1862–1875 franked foreign letters

The ArGe members receive detailed information about the general meeting with BALTKUM No.7, which will go to print in June.

The Administrative Reform in Estonia 2017

The first own publication of the ArGe Baltikum has been published as auxiliary guide No. 1 on the topic The administrative reform in Estonia 2017.

The author Friedelm Doell uses numerous evaluations of official documents to introduce the goals and measures of the administrative reform and describes the changes in territory associated with the reform, mergers of municipalities (with details of all post offices and post points as of 3.12.2018 and their changes since 6.3.2018) and changes in place names. The effects on the postmarks used are shown: so far, there are no postmark changes that can be traced back to the administrative reform of 2017!

A4 format. 30 pages. 5 tables. 4 colour illustrations. The auxiliary guide is available as a PDF file on this web. You will find it – like all future publications – in the menu under Publications.

Exhibition successes of the last weeks

The following members of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Baltikum e.V. exhibited successfully in the past weeks (in chronological order, further successes in 2018 see results of EstEx 2018 in Tallinn):

At the Word Stamp Exhibition Thailand in Bangkok from 28.11.–03.12.2018 exhibited

Exhibitor Country Exhibit Award
Hannes Westendorf Luxembourg Postal History of Estonia during the Russian Period 92 Points, Gold
Oliver Hanschmidt Estonia Railway Post Offices (TPOs) in Estonia 1919–1944 83 Points
Kaido Andres Estonia University of Tartu 1632–2012 85 Points
Kaido Andres Estonia Coat of arms stamp Estonia 0.15 ruble issue 86 Points

At the International Philatelic Exhibition ITALIA 2018 in Verona 23-25.11.2018 Wilhelm van Loo scored 87 points in the literature class with his exhibit Postverkehr Kurland 1944-1945 and thus gold. See also our news archive from September 2016.


Gold Award Certificate

At the International Stamp Exhibition in rank 1 and bilateral exhibition Germany – Israel FELBA 2018 in Fellbach (Germany) 16.–18.11.2018 there was gold for another Arge member:

Exhibitor Country Exhibit Award
Jehoshua Eliashiv Israel Postal History of the Latvian Airmail 1921–1940 87 Points, Gold with Honorary Award

At the National Stamp Exhibition "100 Years of Independence" of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania at the Postal Museum in Meiro, Tokyo (Japan) 02.-04.11.2018, an exhibition without competition, our member Hirotaka Araki participated with 4 exhibits:

Exhibit see also
Lithuanian postal history 1895–1943
The Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara, savior of 6,000 Jews Article "Chiune Sugihara – Gerechter unter den Völkern" in BALTIKUM 05/2017 pages 59–60
Registered mail items in Lithuania 1889–1996 News article from November 2018 about the exhibition
The exhibit won Gold at the 68th National Japanese Stamp Exhibition 2018.
Christmas stamps – Letters and special postmarks of Lithuania 1994–2017  

 Congratulations to all exhibitors!

Stamp project "Further use from 1944/45" started

The ArGe Baltikum has decided to collect information on the stamps used from 1944/45 onwards of the Socialist Soviet Republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The aim is to create an inventory of further used stamps, which can be published afterwards. The systematics offers the possibility to extend the period under consideration later on to other stamp types and periods of use, if necessary. The following stamps are searched for:

  • postmarks of the independent republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania 1918–1940
  • postmarks of the first Soviet occupation 1940/41
  • postmarks of the German occupation of Ostland 1941-44/45
Postcard with Tallinn N postmark used further

Figure 4

Examples are shown in the illustrations:

Figure 1: TALLINN N 15 XI 48, H/O (Hurt/Ojaste) 644:57 shows the stamp TALLINN *N* from the time of the independent republic Estonia 1918–40. It was used unchanged from 1944 until at least 21 XII 48.

Figure 2: Kretinga, Fu (Fugalewitsch) K245a shows the stamp Kretinga from the time of the first Soviet occupation of the Baltic States 1940/41, here Lithuania. It was used unchanged from ...1944 until at least 9.3.49.
The stamps to be examined for this period include both newly introduced stamps in Latin transcription and the respective national language and newly introduced bilingual stamps in Latin-Cyrillic or Cyrillic-Latin transcription.

Figure 3: Riga Meza Parks b, HvH (Harry von Hofmann) ... shows the bilingual stamp RIGA-KAISERWALD (RIGA–MEZA PARKS) b from the time of the German occupation of the Ostland 1941-44/45, here general district Latvia. The stamp was apted and used from August 1944 until at least 24.3.45.

Figure 4: Foreign postcard from Tallinn to Porvoo / Finland, 15 XI 48th The postmarks should be recorded as such on the one hand. On the other hand, they are to be examined for their changed use. An example is the postmark TALLINN N in Fig. 4, which was introduced in 1939/40 during the independent republic to devaluate postage stamps, but from 1944 onwards also served as a covert censorship stamp on foreign mail under Soviet occupation.

Please forward your stamp finds to Martin Bechstedt at the e-mail address: This e-mail address is protected against spambots! JavaScript must be activated in order to view it. Please scan cancellation cutouts with 600 dpi, complete mail pieces with 300 dpi. Those collectors who do not have an internet connection with scanner can also send a photocopy of their finds to the following postal address: Martin Bechstedt, Roggenkamp 80a, D–22941 Bargteheide, Tel.: +49 (0)4532 282528.

  • The standard postmarks (apted or not apted) should be examined: Fist-, hand-roll- and machine stamps including railway-, air- and ship postmarks.
  • No interest exists in secondary postmarks like "Postage", "Back", "From the mailbox" etc.
  • For identification purposes, the postmark numbering of the original postmark is used, as already applied in the respective manuals of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. So please use the corresponding manual number of the original postmark at Hurt / Ojaste, von Hofmann and Fugalewitsch / Bechstedt if possible.

This invitation for cooperation is explicitly also valid for collector friends who are not (yet) members of the ArGe Baltikum!

We will probably present first results at the general meeting on May 24–26, 2019 in Hennef!

Stamp exhibition "100 years independence of the Baltic States" in Tokyo

ArGe Baltic States members Hirotaka Araki and Yuki Itabashi organized the Baltic States stamp exhibition at the philatelic museum in Meijero, Tokyo on November 2 –4 on the occasion of their 100th anniversary.

A total of 848 sheets were shown in Tokyo = 35 frames equipped on both sides. Hirotaka Ataki alone, along with 6 other exhibits on Estonia, Latvia and Gdansk with a total of 432 sheets, contributed 4 frames of his own on Lithuania with a total of 208 sheets to the exhibition, among them his "The Postal History of Lithuania, Illustrated by Registered Mail 1989-1996", which was awarded gold at the 68th All-Japanese Exhibition in 2018 – the ArGe congratulates him warmly!

Remarkable are the dates of the exhibition in 3 different formats: The day stamp shows with "2.XI.18· 8 -12" the old UPU format, the impression on the cover the modern American format "2018.11.2-4".

The special postmark of the Japanese postal service used – as announced – a motif from the Estonian weaver/smith edition.

With "30. 11. 2" it shows a very special Japanese format: November 2 in the 30th year of the reign of the 125th Tennō (Emperor) Akihito (he will abdicate in favor of a son on April 30, 2019).The date of all official occasions in Japan, both governmental and business, is calculated according to the duration of the reign of the current emperor.

See the announcement of September 25, 2018.

Regular Estonian stamp personalized

At the International Stamp Fair Sindelfingen 2018 the Estonian Post – as in the last years often – presented a personalised self-adhesive stamp, with a nominal value of 1,40 € for a standard letter within Europe.

Nothing unusual so far – but this time new is the fact that the stamp bears the image of a jackal, which can already be seen in the same design (with a slightly different background) on the regular 65 cent issue of 18.10.2018 for an Estonian domestic standard letter!

Whether the whole thing has merely economic reasons (multiple use of the design) or something else is behind it – in any case, it draws attention to the postal use of motifs beyond collecting by catalogue. An interesting idea!

2. ArGe Literature exhibition Sindelfingen 2018

At the 2nd ArGe–Literaturausstellung Sindelfingen 2018 in 1st rank from 25 –27.10.2018 we competed as a working group with national competitors within the Bund Deutscher Philatelisten e.V. with our website and the magazine BALTIKUM.

Among 34 working groups with 87 exhibits, both our website with 80 out of 100 points and our magazine with 83 out of 100 points achieved Large Vermeil.

Only one out of 15 presented websites was rated Gold and only six out of 23 magazines. This puts us in an excellent position as the "youngest" of the participating consortia, and gives us the incentive to become even better.

Gerhard Dreher: Stamp Manual Postal area Oberbefehlshaber Ost

Volume 8 of the series of publications of the Bund Philatelistischer Prüfer e.V., Stempelhandbuch Postgebiet Oberbefehlshaber Ost, is a worthy addition to the seven previous volumes. Author and publisher Gerhard Dreher has created his opus magnum on 312 pages, DIN A4, multicoloured and linen-bound with the stuff of a standard work.

After a short post-historical and historical introduction, the book is divided into a total of nine chapters. In addition to the stamp editions, Chapter 1 includes instructions on the proper use of the manual, valuation guidelines and references. Chapter 2, with 141 pages the most comprehensive section, lists the postmarks from Alt-Auz to Wolmar. Chapter 3, with 71 pages, deals with the censorship stamps of the post offices in the Ob. Ost postal area as well as other censorship and information stamps on postal surveillance.

Chapters 4 to 9 cover the following individual aspects:
- Telegraphic cancellations
- Destinations
- Kowno fortress and garrison post
- Delivery services, in particular Riga City Post and Vilnius Citizen Post
- Railway postmarks
- Types of dispatch and usage.

The book concludes with a highly interesting statistical analysis of the postmark and item material available to the author, which allows both reliable conclusions to be drawn about the frequency of cancellations and mail items as well as their composition by type of dispatch. We can be curious about the supplementary volume announced for 2021!

Where there is light, there is shadow. The author's tendency to speculate, to use flippant language and sometimes imprecise terms is not good for the opus. A final editing by a third party could have remedied this. This applies to individual aspects of structure, layout and standards of scientifically correct citation.

Format A4, 312 pages, numerous colour illustrations, hardcover with thread stitching, published in: Publication series of the Bund Philatelistischer Prüfer e.V., Volume 8, Price: 60 Euro (plus postage). Source: Gerhard Dreher, Ober-Savo-Ring 1, D–21522 Hohnstorf (Elbe), Tel. +49 (0)4139 699544, E-Mail: This e-mail address is protected against spambots! JavaScript must be activated in order to view it.

Stamp Exhibition Baltic States Tokyo 2.–4.11.2018

Our two ArGe members Hirotaka Araki and Yuki Itabashi are organizing a conference from 2 –4 November 2018 in the Philatelic Museum Tokyo a stamp exhibition to mark the 100th anniversary of the independent Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

About 40 frames are planned.

The post office in the Tokyo district of Toshima will use a special postmark with the motif of the Estonian Weaver and Smith issues from 1922/1928.

Tallinn International Philatelic Exhibition 13.–15.07.2018

EstEx 2018, in short, is behind us, a fantastic experience for everyone: visitors, exhibitors and organisers. The latter, the friends of the International Estonian Philatelic Society (IEPS) under its president Peeter Sgirka and his team, deserve great praise for the masterful preparation and implementation! From the first to the last minute, they radiated joy in philately, high expertise and friendly composure to master the organisational imponderables of a philatelic exhibition.

EstEx 2018 was held on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, the issue of the first Estonian stamps and to deepen philatelic contacts around the Baltic Sea. It successfully continued the tradition of Baltica exhibitions known from past decades, now under the patronage of the Federation of European Philatelic Organizations (FEPA).

Within three days, the international jury of nine jurors from eight nations evaluated a total of 131 exhibits in almost 600 frames and eleven different exhibition classes: a gigantic achievement in itself, managed with a light touch under the leadership of its president Jonas Hällström from Sweden.

None of the six members of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Baltikum e.V. from Germany will therefore regret having taken the summer trip to the Baltic States and experiencing ESTEX 2018 as a philatelic highlight. Numerous friendships with Estonian and international collector friends could be refreshed and expert discussions with examiner colleagues from Scandinavia and the Baltic States could be held.

Picture credits: REFS

The following exhibits from members of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Baltikum e.V. were awarded by the jury of EstEx 2018

Class Name Exhibit Awarded
2.1   Traditional Philately Jaan Erik Roots, Norway The first ten years 1918–1928 91 Points, Gold
  Michael Siegumfeldt, Danmark Estonia 1918–1940 85 Points, Large Vermeil
2.2   Postal History Hannes Westendorf, Luxembourg The postal history of Estonia during the Russian period 95 Points, Gold; Grand Prix National EstEx 2018
  Jaan Erik Roots, Norway Estonia 1918 91 Points, Gold; Special price „Material“
  Oliver Hanschmidt, Estonia TPO Cancellations in Estonia 1918–1940 83 Points, Vermeil
  Timo Verho, Finland Post in, to and from Estonia in pre-philatelic times 75 Points, Large Silver
2.7   Modern Philately Kaido Andres, Estonia The Estonian coat of arms edition – 0,15 ruble 86 Points, Large Vermeil
2.11 Literature Martin Bechstedt, Germany The date stamps of independent Estonia since 1991 75 Points, Large Silver

Congratulations to all exhibitors and continued success in expanding their collection!

The attentive reader may have noticed two things: Our Arbeitsgemeinschaft Baltikum e.V. is truly international, six nations are represented in eight exhibits. Germany appears only once, there is still "air to the top".

The next opportunity to do so will be at STOCKHOLMIA 2019 from 29 May to 2 June next year. Book in time. Stockholm is always worth a trip, but cheap only for early bookers.

More detailed information on EstEx 2018 can be found in the net under and on STOCKHOLMIA 2019 under

Martin Bechstedt: The dated postmarks of independent Estonia since 1991

Collecting new Estonian postmarks is easy and actually a pure joy, as there are almost always very clean, legible postmarks, which are available in large numbers. With a little luck and knowledge you can also find rare pieces.

Since 1991 until today four time periods can be distinguished:

1. The initial period with re-used, adapted or reworked Soviet postmarks
2. From about mid-1994 the use of steel stamps of the Reiner company from Germany with the country designation EESTI
3. Following the privatisation of the Estonian Post Office on 1.1.2002, the use of similar steel stamps with the inscription AS EESTI POST and some provisional large-format rubber stamps, the shape of which deviates significantly from the norm
4. Since 2013, as part of the restructuring of the Estonian postal service, post offices have increasingly been relocated to shopping centres and postmarks with the words 'KANDEKESKUS', 'KANDEPUNKT' or 'CENTRUM' have been used, sometimes without any recognisable place names

This manual for the first time attempts to classify the postmarks according to 11 different postmark types and describes them with numerous illustrations. Extensive tables cover known postmarks by code letter since 1.10.1991 until now. A short table at the end of the book helps to identify the postmarks.

Size 20 x 27 cm. 213 pages. Numerous illustrations b/w and color, hardcover with thread stitching, Martin Bechstedt Verlag 2018, Price: 34,50 € plus postage. Source: Martin Bechstedt Verlag, Roggenkamp 80a, D-22941 Bargteheide, E-Mail: This e-mail address is protected against spambots! JavaScript must be activated in order to view it.

General Meeting May 4-6, 2018

The members of the ArGe Baltikum met again this year at the Sportschule Hennef to swap and chat, to the board and editorial meeting, to the general meeting and to entertaining lectures. 14 members from three countries accepted the invitation; unfortunately, several members had to cancel due to illness.

General Meeting

The minutes of the general meeting will be printed for the members in the Baltic States No. 5. An essential formal supplement to the statutes adopted in 2017 is a unanimously adopted rules of procedure for the ArGe Baltikum.


Highly interesting lectures enriched the meeting:

Michael Wieneke reported on airmail in Estonia 1920–1940 and showed his gold awarded exhibition collection.

Ruud van Wijnen initiated the project "Soviet Temple from 1944", which will keep the ArGe busy in the near future.

Thomas Löbbering presented overprints on the topic "OSTLAND – real or fake?"; there is also an article on this topic in the Baltikum Nr. 5 and in the "Philatelie", issue May 2018.

And finally, Martin Bechstedt presented his "Stamp Handbook Estonia", which was created over many years of work and went into print shortly afterwards.

Exhibition successes 2017

In 2017 members of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Baltikum e.V. achieved the following exhibition successes and prizes:

Airmail cover

Correctly franked airmail letter, 10 Marka domestic letter postage + 10 Marka airmail surcharge, 29.7.1926 from Tallinn (Aeronaut airmail counter) to Kuressaare, a top piece of the exhibition

The Rhein-Ruhr-Posta, a national exhibition in rank 3, took place from March 31st – April 2nd 2017 at the Forum Leverkusen (Germany).

Exhibitor Country Exhibit Award
Michael Wieneke Germany Airmail in Estonia 1920–1940 81 Points, Gold

The ESTONA XXV was held in the newly built Eesti Rahva Muuseum (Estonian Folk Museum) in Tartu (Estonia) from July 14 – 16, 2017.

Exhibitor Country Exhibit Award
Romet Kreek Estonia Estonian Stamps Private Perforations 73 Points, Silver
Timo Verho Finland The First Independence of Estonia 1918-1940 81 Points, Vermeil
Oliver Hanschmidt Estonia Travelling Post Office postmarks in Estonia 1919-1944 83 Points, Vermeil
Kaido Andres Estonia Tartu University – Evolution trough the Centuries 86 Points, Groß-Vermeil
Jaan Roots Norway Provisional Cancellations 1918-1920 91 Points, Gold
Airmail cover

Picture postcard and stamp of the Estonia XXV

In 's Hertogenbosch (Netherlands) the Multilaterale Hertogpost 2017 took place from August 25 – 27, 2017.

Exhibitor Country Exhibit Award
Ruud van Wijnen Netherlands Postal History: De Sovjetbezetting van Letland 1940-41 78 Points, Vermeil

At the SAITAMA 2017, Saitama (Japan) a special honor took place on September 2, 2017:

Our member Hirotaka Araki received an All Japan Philatelic Service Award for his decades of exhibiting in the subject area Modern Postal History of Lithuania.

Hirotaka Araki

Hirotaka Araki (2. from left)

The 18th SAIPEX, an exhibition without competition, took place as always in Kawagoe (Japan), 2017 from 22 – 26 September.

Exhibitor Country Exhibit
Hirotaka Araki Japan Definitive Stamps of Re-Independent Lithuania 1994-2006 (3 frames)

During the International Stamp Fair from 26 – 28 October 2017 in Sindelfingen the Rank 3 exhibition MAMA 2017 took place.

Exhibitor Country Exhibit Award
Karl Lukas Germany Stamps issued in the Crown currency from 1992-2005 Vermeil

As part of the Monacophil 2017 the presentation of the Christoph Gärtner Award 2017 took place on 30.11.2017.

The ArGe Baltikum achieved with its magazine "Baltikum" No. 1–3 and its internet presence "" the 5th place (of 35 participating international philatelic associations).

See special report in our web archive.

The Postal Museum Tokyo (Japan) hosted the 5th EUROPEX, an exhibition without competition, from December 9 – 10, 2017

Exhibitor Country Exhibit
Hirotaka Araki Japan Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara who saved over 6000 Jews
(1900-1986, Lithuania Michel 848) (2 frames)
(See also the article in the Baltikum Nr. 5 / 2018)
Exhibition object Chiune Sugihara

Das Exhibition object

 Congratulations to all collector friends on their exhibition successes!

Cooperation of ArGe Baltikum with HBG and ROSSICA

Already in 2017 the ArGe Baltikum started a cooperation with the Dutch Filatelistengroep Het baltische Gebied: the members of both associations will get access to the latest issues of the "Baltikum" or the magazine "HBG". The corresponding access information was sent to all members of the ArGe Baltikum with e-mail addresses via e-mail newsletter.

Since January 2018, there is now also a cooperation with the ROSSICA Society of Russian Philately: the digital editions of the "Baltikum" and the "Rossica" (in English, available from 2016) are mutually made available to members. Here too, members of the ArGe Baltikum receive an access link for downloading via e-mail newsletter. There you can first have a look at the cover pictures or tables of contents and then consider downloading the whole issue (download size between 18 and 72 MB).

The Rossica editions are for the personal use of the ArGe-Baltikum members only; all others must unfortunately purchase them from Rossica itself or become a member there. Maybe this would be one more reason to join the ArGe Baltikum as member?

For further ROSSICA publications please refer to their Bookshop, where many books and also the earlier ROSSICA editions can be purchased.

The ROSSICA Society of Russian Philately is one of the largest philatelic associations in the world with over 1000 members. It deals thematically with Russia, the Soviet Union and its successor states and former republics, including the Baltic countries. May the exchange of literature between our communities inspire philatelic exchange!

C.G. Award 2017

The Arbeitsgemeinschaft Baltikum e.V. achieved an excellent 5th place in the international competition for this year's C.G. Award.

In four categories – Print Media, Digital Media, Youth, Promotion of Young People and Public Relations and Innovative Ideas – our working group scored a total of 83.67 points, leaving the majority of competitors behind.

The 5th award ceremony of the International Sponsorship Award for Philately of the Auction House Christoph Gärtner took place on November 30, 2017 at the Monacophil 2017. The prize money in the amount of 600 € will be donated to the society's treasury.

For details see

German Commissioner for EstEx 2018 in Tallinn

The EstEx 2018 from 13.-15.07.2018 met with great interest in the BDPh area. Numerous interested parties have contacted me; some exhibitors have already handed over their registrations. Today I would like to compile everything "worth knowing" with a first information letter and give an outlook on the further planning. This will then be supplemented by subsequent information letters and the latest status will be passed on.

General and Homepage

EstEx 2018 is an exhibition to which all countries bordering the Baltic Sea are invited. From the BDPh point of view, it is considered to be the number 1 exhibition and is recognised as such for exhibitors. The exhibition will have a total of about 500 frames. The homepage contains important data and information about the exhibition.


Two weeks ago a bulletin was printed, which gives an overview of the exhibition as an excerpt from the contents of the homepage and contains the exhibition conditions. Copies are available at the BDPh office and can be requested there. But it is easier to download them directly here:

Exhibit registration procedure

The closing date for registration with the commissioner stated by the organizer is 01.02.2018. The accepted exhibits will be announced no later than 15.04.2018. The registration form provided can be filled out on the PC and does not require the signature of the exhibitor. I will release the registrations and then hand them over to the organizer together with the enclosed documents.

Commissioner fee

The commissioner fee is 10.00 € per exhibit frame (multi-frame exhibits) or exhibit (1-frame exhibits and literature). This covers the entire handling including on-site support.

Planned procedure, travel dates

From today's point of view it is very likely that the exhibits will be run via the BDPh office in Bonn. So I would fly from Frankfurt to Tallinn on 11.07. and from Tallinn to Frankfurt on 15.07., non-stop with LOT. The hotel already booked in Tallinn is the Radisson Blue Sky.

The transport of the exhibits will have to be predominantly "checked baggage", as LOT does not allow or offer "excess cabin baggage" on the flights in question. Depending on the amount of the transport costs, it will have to be decided whether there will be a cost allocation or not.

If several exhibitors require insurance, we can arrange a collective policy through HWI. This should be agreed upon as soon as possible after announcement of the accepted exhibits.

If someone is already planning a trip to Tallinn, it would be helpful to have the appropriate information. It might be possible that exhibitors or visitors also book "my" LOT flights, so that the logistics are somewhat easier.

If there are special questions or need for further information, please do not hesitate to contact us. Of course I am looking forward to further exhibit registrations.

Thomas Höpfner, Commissioner EstEx 2018, Lindenstraße 29, 85661 Forstinning, Tel. 08121 253880

News from the club

On September 12, 2017, the Siegburg District Court entered the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Baltikum as a registered association (e.V.) in the local register of associations. Thus, the legal merger process of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Estonia e.V. with the Forschungsgemeinschaft Lithuania e.V. and the Forschungsgemeinschaft Lettland im BDPh e.V. is successfully completed.

In order to promote the next generation of philatelists, the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Baltikum e.V. offers pupils, trainees and students up to the age of 25 a free youth membership. It corresponds to the basic membership, i.e. the magazine "Baltikum" is delivered online. Prerequisite is the membership in the Deutsche Philatelistenjugend or in the BDPh. For more details see become a member.

We have significantly expanded the content of our website: Under "Media" and "Catalogues and Literature" you will find recommendations on Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as selected historical maps of the entire Baltic States. Philatelic libraries, postal companies and auction houses that have special offers for the Baltic States have also been included. Please contact the webmaster for additions!

The first questions for our "Questions + Answers" page have arrived. Check back regularly, maybe you will find one or the other answer that is interesting for you or you have a question yourself?

Web of the ArGe: Installation of a question page and a sitemap / search function

Answers page, which you can access from the menu at the top under Collection Area - Questions + Answers.

In addition there is now a sitemap (="overview map") of the web. On the one hand, this is an XML file that makes it easier for search engines to find all the contents of the web, so that you can find them better via the search engines. But perhaps more interesting for you is that the contents of the sitemap are also available as a web page, which gives you a very quick overview of all displayable and downloadable contents of the web presence.

You will find the link to the sitemap at the very bottom, in the area with black background color, next to the imprint and the terms of use. So you can access the sitemap directly from every page via link.

We would be pleased if you give us a feedback (by e-mail), if something like this is useful for you or what we can still improve on the web!

P.S. (Change 26.07.2017:) The search function is now a Google-supported overall search in all web pages and all PDFs provided on this website. The "price" for this – as usual with the Google search engine – is some advertising links at the beginning of the result display. Simply scroll down, then you will find all links to the pages and documents on or in which the entered search terms occur in the ArGe-Web.

P.P.S. Some more statistics: at the moment (04.06.2017) the web consists of 63 pages with about 35,000 lines of HTML code (excluding CSS stylesheets and Javascripts), almost 1,100 image files and 326 (downloadable) PDF files.

General Meeting May 20-21, 2017

The decision of the Higher Regional Court of Celle of 15 January 2017, according to which the merger of registered associations must be accompanied by a notary public at the general meeting and not at the law firm, resulted in the working group signing the merger documents of 31 October 2015 again with the same content at this year's general meeting by a local notary public.

Thanks to the expert preparation and execution, the signing procedure for the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Estonia e.V., the Forschungsgemeinschaft Lithuania e.V. and the election of the new board of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Baltikum e.V. took less than two hours.

Sports School Hennef

The sports school in Hennef

Signing of the merger agreements

Merger meeting 2017 with notary

Merger meeting 2017 ArGe Baltikum

From left to right: Martin Bechstedt (Chairman ForGe Lithuania), Michael Wieneke (Managing Director ArGe Estonia), Lothar Blank (Treasurer ArGe Estonia), Thomas Löbbering (Chairman ArGe Estonia) and notary Dr. Holger Schmidt (Notary Stefan Wegerhoff, Hennef)

Extraordinary general meeting 2017 of the ArGe Estonia

Extraordinary general meeting 2017 of the ArGe Estonia

Extraordinary general meeting 2017 of the  ForGe Lithuania

Extraordinary general meeting 2017 of the ForGe Lithuania

Not in the picture: Our photographer, Thomas Radzuweit

General meeting of the ArGe Baltikum

The newly elected executive board reported on the development of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Baltikum during the past twelve months. Not only were 31 new members gained, but the average age of our members fell from over 70 to under 50 years of age.

All seven BPP association auditors are members of our community (five active and two "retired").

After the legal part of the "extraordinary" general meeting(s) the philatelic as well as cosy part of the meeting followed with over 20 participants, interesting lectures, swapping & chatting as well as the cosy barbecue evening "outboard".

Make a note of the date of the upcoming general meeting at the Sportschule Hennef: 4 –6 May 2018

Some impressions of the day of the general meeting (all pictures: Thomas Radzuweit):

Hannes Westendorf at the lecture

Hannes Westendorf talks about his experiences as exhibitor and juror

Thomas Löbbering reported about the Michel 7U which was privately used by the family of the Bergmann printing house

Thomas Löbbering reports on Estonia's "Gscheidle stamp", Michel No. 7U

Grill evening

Weatherproof outboard on the barbecue evening ...

Online archive complete

Since the beginning of 2015, one aim of the internet presence of the ArGe Baltikum was to make the newsletters of the predecessor communities available to the public as a digital archive.

Cover picture Nr.1/1985

'Eesti Post' No. 1/1985

Cover picture Nr.61/2015

'Eesti Post' No. 61/2015

Cover picture Nr.01/1994

'Lituania' No. 1/1994

Cover picture Nr.43/2015

'Lituania' No. 43/2015

Cover foto Nr.1/1983

'HBG' No. 1/1983

Cover foto Nr.67/2015

'HBG' No. 67/2015

This goal is now – as far as legally possible – achieved: All issues of the 'Eesti Post' (newsletter of the former ArGe Estonia, the 'Lituania' (newsletter of the former ForGe Lithuania) and the 'Het baltische Gebied (HBG)' (newsletter of the Dutch Filatelistengroep of the same name) are now available for download (HBG without the last 3 issues).

Of course you can also download all issues individually. Please go to our media page!

Unfortunately, there are copyright obstacles for the 'Philatelia Baltica' (newsletter of the former ForGe Latvia) to make them available as PDF files. However, issues no. 93 – 137 (last published number) are available in printed form. For more details see here.

New examiner Michael Haslau

The Bund Philatelistischer Prüfer (BPP) has appointed new examiners at its 2017 general meeting. Among them is ArGe member Michael Haslau, who is now also active in the Memel testing area alongside Tobias Huylmans. We congratulate them warmly!

His test areas are: Memelgebiet Mi.-Nr. 1- 237, local edition German Administration for the Memelland 1939 (Mi.-Nr. I-IV) and predecessor Mi.-Nr. V84 II - V115

Tobias Huylmans has expanded his testing areas. In the postal area Ober Ost, the emergency issues Libau, Mi. No. 1 - 6A + B, Ia/b and the issues of the 10th Army's national messenger post, Mi. No. 1 - 3

Thus now already 5 BPP examiners for the collection area Baltic States (4 active, see examiner pages and one no longer active examiner, Wilhelm van Loo for Kurland) are members of the ArGe!

Michael Haslau

Michael Haslau
(Picture: Thomas Radzuweit)

Estonia 2017 in Tartu

Estonia 2017 in Tartu

The International Estonian Philatelic Society (REFS) ESTONIA organises the philatelic exhibition "Estonia 2017" from 14 –16 July 2017 in the recently opened new building of the National Museum in Tartu.

Information on the exhibition is available here in English.

The closing date for registration is 20 May 2017 - the registration form can be found with this link: .

EstEx 2018 in Tallinn

The Estonian International Philatelic Society (REFS) ESTONIA has completed its preparations for the EstEx philatelic exhibition on 14 –16 July 2018 to mark the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Estonia in 2018 and has booked the exhibition venue in Tallinn.

Further information is now available on the website both in Estonian and English.

The bulletin with the exhibition regulations is called up by clicking on the picture.

Honour to whom honour is due – exhibition successes 2015/16

Airplane 'Curtis Jenny' at the World Stamp Show in New York

Airplane "Curtis Jenny" at the World Stamp Show in New York – once not "inverted" (upside down), but in original

The World Stamp Show - New York 2016. The maximum possible. The Non Plus Ultra of the exhibition 2016 attracted 864 exhibitors and 250,000 visitors on 21,000 m² of exhibition space between 28 May and 4 June, including collector friends of our Arbeitsgemeinschaft Baltikum im BDPh e.V. More on this below.

Not forgetting about New York, we want to show non-competitive exhibitions, exhibitions of the 1st to 3rd rank on a national or international level with direct reference to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Here, too, remarkable things have happened, for example in Japan, Estonia and Germany.

First of all I would like to mention our new member Hirotaka Araki from Kawagoe, Japan, certainly known to the Lithuanian collectors among us as an editor (monthly magazine Kawagoe Yushu), author, trainer and exhibitor, who is as persistent as he is knowledgeable:

place land exhibition exhibit award
Taipei Formosa 30. International Asian Exhibition (24.–28.4.2015) The history of registered mail in Lithuania Vermeil
Kawagoe Japan National exhibition without competition Lithuanian stamps with animal species on the WWF Red List
Tokio Japan National competition exhibition on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Baltic States' regained independence – Postal History of the re-established independent Republic of Lithuania 1988–1994
– Postal history of registered mail in Lithuania 1989–1996
– Lithuanian stamps with the angel and Vytautis motif 1990–1993
Kawagoe Japan National exhibition without competition – The definitive stamps of Lithuania 1991–1993 (part 1) (48 sheets)
– The special Christmas postmarks of Lithuania 1994–2015 (32 sheets)
– The postal reuse of first day covers and envelopes with special postmarks in Lithuania (16 sheets)
Special cover for the 17th SAIPEX

Special cover for the 17th SAIPEX

Hirotaka Araki

Exhibitor and exhibition object

Especially for the Estonian collectors among us, the XXIV Estonian Exhibition in Pölva from 8th –10th July 2016 offered an opportunity to face the international competition. The following collector friends did so:

Jaan Roots
exhibitor land exhibit award
Norway Postal censorship in Estonia (5 frames) 93 Points, Gold
Timo Verho Finland Estonian postage stamps (5 frames) n.n. Points
Kaido Andres Estonia reconstruction edition 1941 (2 frames) 84 points

It should also be mentioned that our non-member Taaved Pöld, Estonia, took the cake at the exhibition with 94 points and gold plus honorary prize with his really unique exhibition collection Otepää (Odenpäh) 1941 (6 frames)!

Estonia XXIV (1)

Estonia XXIV (1)

Estonia XXIV (2)

Estonia XXIV (2)

The Stamp Handbook Lithuania by Martin Bechstedt and Vitautas Fugalevičius presented in February by the ArGe Baltikum was submitted by the former Research Association Lithuania as a contribution to the 1st ArGe literature exhibition of the BDPh in Sindelfingen 2016 and received a Vermeil award there.

But now to Big Apple, the World Stamp Exhibition 2016 in New York. Here we would like to take the opportunity to present exceptionally an exhibit of one of our members, which does not deal with the Baltic States. The following collector friends took part in the worldwide competition of philately (in order according to the official list of exhibitors)

sector exhibitor land exhibit award
Postal History 321 Vesma Grinfelds USA Provisional devaluations of Latvia 1919–1921
Aerophilately 426 Yehoshua Eliashiv Israel History of air mail in Latvia 1921–1940
Thematic philately 469 Kaido Andres Estonia The Philatelic Footprint of Dorpat University 1632–2012 84 Points
498 Thomas Radzuweit Germany The Development of the United Nations 85 Points
Single-frame exhibits 593 Vesma Grinfelds USA Latvian stamps with the motif of the rising sun 1919
Literature 125 Hubert Jakobs, Kaido Andres Estonia Catalogue Estonian errors on stamps and plate errors 1991–2014 77 Points

 Congratulations to all collector friends on their exhibition successes!

Logo of the World Stamp Show New York 2016 Logo of the World Stamp Show New York 2016

ArGe Baltikum members in Sindelfingen 2016

Numerous association, board and editorial members of the ArGe Baltikum met for a joint visit to the stamp fair in Sindelfingen from 27 to 30 October 2016. Friends from the Netherlands, Lithuania and of course Germany refreshed old contacts and made new ones. The successful hunt for treasures, the contact with friends and the common association work found themselves to a "round" meeting. The rooms for 2017 are already reserved.

LTR.: Ruud van Wijnen, Vygintas Bubnys, Torsten Berndt, Michael Wieneke, Martin Bechstedt, Karl Lukas, Thomas Löbbering

The photo was taken by our club member Wilhelm van Loo (who is therefore not on the picture).

"Minu mark" of AS Eesti Post in Sindelfingen and Taipei 2016

'Minu mark' of AS Eesti Post in Sindelfingen 'Minu mark' of AS Eesti Post in Teipeh

AS Eesti Post 2016 has issued its own personalized stamp (Estonian "minu mark" = my stamp) for the stamp fairs in Sindelfingen and Taipei. The € 1.40 franking is sufficient for a standard letter to a foreign country in zone 1, e.g. from Estonia to Germany, and the € 1.50 franking to a foreign country in zone II, i.e. from Estonia to China (the fair staff takes the stamps and "throws them in the mailbox in Estonia").

„Air Policing“ and „Persistent Presence“ – protective shield in the Baltic States

Since 2004, i.e. for twelve years, the German Air Force has been involved in protecting the airspace over the Baltic States within the framework of NATO's integrated air defence. This is necessary because Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have armies and navies, but no air force.

For three months at a time, about 150 men and women, soldiers and civilian staff, from over 20 locations in Germany are currently deployed to and from the Ämari airbase in Estonia. "Enhanced Air Policing Baltic States" (VAPB) is what NATO and the Federal Ministry of Defence call this operational obligation. From September to December 2016, the tactical air force squadron 74 (LwG 74) from Neuburg on the Danube will perform this task.

German field post offices are not on site. However, members of the contingents have the opportunity to stamp their private letter post with a decorative postmark before delivering it franked to the civilian post office in the country of deployment. The decorative postmark of the LwG 74 has lost the "S" in "Verstärktes Air Policing Baltikum".

	Decorative Postmark  Tactical Air Force Squadron 74

Decorative Postmark LwG 74

Not only the German Air Force participates, but also units and formations of the German Army and the army base when it comes to the protection of the NATO area. At its autumn meeting in 2014, i.e. two years ago, NATO decided to intensify the exercise activity and rotating presence of units in Poland and the three Baltic states under the heading "Persistent Presence".

German troops are currently deployed in the following locations in the Baltic States:

country Location(s) German place names
Lithuania Panevežys Ponewesch
Latvia Adaži Neuermühlen
Estonia Pärnu and Tapa Pernau and Taps

The same general conditions apply to "Persistent Presence" in postal terms as to "Enhanced Air Policing Baltic States". The participating formations can use the same decorative stamp for their private mail, which is supplemented by the name and coat of arms of the association used. The location of the deployment site in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is roughly indicated by the black cross on a white background, the emblem of the German Armed Forces. There are no German field post offices on site.

	Decorative Postmark Artillery Battalion 295

Decorative Postmark Artillery Battalion 295

	Decorative Postmark Operational area 3

Decorative Postmark Operational area 3

	Decorative Postmark Mountain Troops Battalion

Decorative Postmark Mountain Troops Battalion

The postal items owe their existence to the joint initiative of Bernhard Fels, editor for Lithuania of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Baltikum im BDPh e.V. (Baltic Working Group in the BDPh), and Armin Blase, chairman of the independent Bundeswehr Philately Working Group. The latter can be reached via Armin Blase, Postfach 1116, D-24331 Eckernförde. Further information on the missions can be obtained on the Internet from the relevant Bundeswehr press and information centres.

Wilhelm van Loo: Postal traffic Kurland (Courland) (1944–1945)

What challenge can a collecting area with only five published stamps offer the philatelist? Is there any degree of difficulty that a collector, maybe even an examiner, can face? Such questions testify to an ignorance of the conditions of the field postal service as they actually existed in the Latvian Kurland in the period in question.

For the German Heeresgruppe Nord, later to become Heeresgruppe Kurland, resisted all Soviet attacks in six "Kurland Battles" from October 1944 to March 1945. The surviving documentations of the field post at that time tell of this. Wilhelm van Loo, who has been working on this subject for 40 years, not only describes the military situation at that time, the way the field post offices worked, identifies the troops and units that were actually there at certain times at certain places on land, at sea and in the air, he also takes into account the civilian mail and thus the use of the "Ostland" and "Kurland" stamps with overprint.

For more than 30 years he researched questions about the authenticity of every "Kurland Express Letter" he came across, i.e. the expensive stamp halves, which are in great demand among collectors and dealers alike and were often presented to him for examination. He was able to prove many forgeries, falsifications, especially forgeries of stamps and subsequent devaluations with real postmarks. The identification of addressees and senders, their locations and that of their units enabled Wilhelm van Loo to discover such manipulations. In this book, the seventh volume in the series of publications of the Bund Philatelistischer Prüfer, he not only summarizes his life's work as a specialist examiner of the association. He also opens up all his sources of contemporary and post-historical information and shares his knowledge with the reader.

Thanks to his virtuoso mastery of photographic possibilities, he presents many things enlarged in detail and also brings maps, sketches and statistics to life. Even the connoisseur can expect an abundance of information that is almost overwhelming, but also revises and summarises previous knowledge in a new way. Some previous judgements will have to be revised.

This is probably also true for the fate of individuals, which Wilhelm van Loo presents as an example in a concluding chapter "On Dying in Courland and 'Survival' in Russian Captivity". While the Heeresgruppe Kurland had held out until the unconditional surrender of the German Reich on May 8, 1945, and was even considering plans for its own "Freikorps", on May 10, 1945, some 200,000 Germans and Latvians were taken prisoner of war by the Soviets. Wilhelm van Loo commemorates their fate with touching documents, but also the researchers and examiners of the Kurland Philately, who made philatelic history in their field.

Format 21 x 28 cm, 312 pages, numerous colour illustrations, hardcover with thread-stitching, self-published by the author in 2016, price: 32 Euro (plus 5 Euro domestic postage). Reference: Wilhelm van Loo, Aussemstr. 26, D-52066 Aachen, e-mail: Delivery: Phil*Creativ Verlag, Vogelsrather Weg 27, D-41366 Schwalmtal, Tel. +49 (0)2163 49760, Fax: +49 (0)2163 30003, E-Mail:

Web of ArGe online, Baltikum No. 1/2016 published

Article in the 'Kawagoe Yushu' No. 294-20 of 1.9.2016

On 10 May 2016, the website of the ArGe Baltikum was opened to the public. Webmaster Friedhelm Doell wrote: "It is of course not perfect yet, many topics are still in work (e.g. presentation of some collection areas, literature, travel reports and more). But nevertheless we have decided to release what is already there for everyone - and that is quite a lot!". The travelogues have been added to the web in the meantime.

Comments on this were among others "Wonderful, great news", "Thank you for your work", "Thank you very much! Today I'll see what's up", "Congratulations on the new site!", "My highest respect and congratulations to the author of our website. It has exceeded all my expectations."

Only a few days later, on 15 May, Naltikum No. 1/2016 went to press.

There was also great praise for this: "Perfect in appearance and execution. My congratulations to the editorial team", "The presentation is good" and – in addition to a thematic review – "But I would like to expressly say that I very much admire your commitment and that of your comrades-in-arms over the past 18 and more months and can only view it with the highest respect! That was and is a lot of work – unfortunately, 'one' always has too few comrades-in-arms", "I have now read through this great work and have only to express my astonishment at what you have achieved.

Both publications were received with great approval in the countries from which our members come. Even a Japanese stamp newspaper reported in early September about them, which was reported by our member Hirotaka Araki!

ATTENTION – Fake test marks!

My fellow examiners from Estonia and Norway, Kalev Kokk and Jaan Roots, informed me that their test marks had been counterfeited and were being sold on the Internet on Estonian stamps of the 1919 edition of the Eesti Post.

The fake test marks are significantly larger than the originals. They are affixed to the back of the marks in positions that do not comply with the regulations of the relevant testing organisation.

The illustration shows a selection of fake certification marks on – of course – also fake imprints of the 1919 edition of Eesti Post.

Click image to enlarge

Video interviews on Baltic philately

During the Munich 2016 Stamp Fair, our webmaster Friedhelm Doell interviewed two philatelic experts:

Torsten Berndt is chief editor of the Deutsche Briefnarkenzeitung and the Briefmarkenspiegel. He gave information about stamp collecting today, about organisations and financial values in philately.

Thomas Löbbering is chairman of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Baltikum and informed about the purpose and the activities of the ArGe, possibilities to benefit from it or to contribute to it and how to get in contact with the ArGe.

Picture with the participants of the first general meeting of the ArGe Baltikum in February 2016

First general meeting of the merged ArGe Baltikum

The first general meeting of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Baltikum e.V. after the merger of the former legal entities ArGe Estonia e.V. and ForGe Lithuania e.V. took place on February 13, 2016 in Hennef.

A total of 29 members with personal voting rights, who had come from 5 countries, took part. They unanimously elected Thomas Löbbering as 1st chairman, Michael Wieneke as managing director, secretary and editor, Tobias Huylmans as treasurer and Friedhelm Doell as webmaster. Statutes and rules of procedure of the ArGe were adopted, as well as the contribution rules. The Internet presence with its digital Archive of previous newsletters was presented; expert lectures on Baltic philately and a supporting programme for accompanying persons rounded off the program.

The future general meetings of the ArGe Baltikum will continue to take place in the Landessportschule in Hennef, but no longer on the weekend after carnival, but from 2017 on the weekend before Ascension Day, i.e. 5 weeks after Easter or 2 weeks before Whitsun.

Picture with library and visitor on stairs

ArGe Baltikum starts with new homepage and extensive archives

The Arbeitsgemeinschaft Baltikum e.V. is currently in its start-up phase - due to the merger of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Estonia e.V. with the Forschungsgemeinschaft Lithuania e.V. and personal accession of the former members of the Forschungsgemeinschaft Lettland and the Nederlandse Filatelistengroep 'Het baltische Gebied'. From the very beginning, the website is designed in a responsive design for computers, tablets and smartphones and is equipped with an extensive pool of digitized information of the predecessor societies from the last decades.

The aim of the website is to provide up-to-date information on the entire collection area of the Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

"The method is necessary for the investigation of truth."

(René Descartes)

The web can be fully operated and displayed with desktop computers as well as tablets and smartphones. The display changes automatically with the available pixel width of the respective monitor.

In order to interest new collectors in the Baltic States, the research reports are also made freely available on the Internet on a large scale.

"Whoever wants others to tell him what they know must tell them what he himself knows. The best way to get information is to give information."

(Niccolò Machiavelli)

In order to access the collected results of recent years, no one should first have to visit a philatelic library or contact the ArGe in writing and against reimbursement of printing costs. The newsletters are therefore freely accessible as PDF files - provided they are older than 1.5 years. Only the special publications published as books are only available in printed form for the time being; they are usually also of such a size that book binding is necessary to keep and read them appropriately.