News from Ulm


Dealers' goods

The second stamp fair held in Ulm did not bring much new for the masses – in Hall 1 dealers and postal societies were ready and waiting, in Hall 2 the MAMA exhibition, associations and working groups, in the foyer a similarly sad canteen meal as last year and in the separate rooms some philatelic events of individual clubs and associations.

Remarkable innovations for the reporter were a larger stand of the Philatelic Youth with several events for children, a bagpipe player and some changes at the stand of the ArGe Baltikum.


Mare Balticum 2024 in Tartu / Estonia

Advertisements for Tartu 2024

The exhibition will be held at the Eesti Rahva Museum (Estonian National Museum). 500 frames are planned and the rules can be found on the website Exhibit labels can be in English or German.

Tartu will be the European Capital of Culture in 2024, with an abundance of events. That alone is worth the trip!

For philatelists, there is another special reason to visit Tartu: the International Stamp Exhibition MARE BALTICUM 2024.

Our member Olaf Hoffmann designed the logo and 3 different daily postmarks for the three exhibition days.

Guest at Schöneberg City Hall

Quiet atmosphere, lively visitors, cheerful mood – you could experience all this at the Berlin-Schöneberg Town Hall at the end of June, beginning of July. The exhibition focused on three themes at once::

75 Years of Currency Reform, 75 Years of the Airlift and 75 Years of Stamp Land Berlin.

The organisers, the Forschungsgemeinschaft Berlin, the International Aero Philatelic Club "Otto Lilienthal", the Berliner Ganzsachen-Sammler-Verein von 1901 and the Philatelic Association Northeast can look back on the three-day event with pride. The exhibits were just as convincing all round as the lectures.

The Baltic Working Group and the Israel Interest Group were guests in Berlin. Both showed with their information stands that the future lies in the cooperation of different associations. On their own, it would have been difficult to staff the stand continuously. A total of three active members from both associations – the treasurers Michael Haslau and Christoph Wendland as well as the author – managed the marathon together. We had stimulating conversations with visitors, representatives of the organising associations and, last but not least, with each other.

We look back with satisfaction on three successful days and can only recommend to everyone to take advantage of a similar opportunity to present their own work.

Christoph Wendland and Michael Haslau at the information stand

Christoph Wendland and Michael Haslau at the information stand in the hall dedicated to John F. Kennedy at Schöneberg Town Hall
(Photo: Torsten Berndt)

Baltic Philately successful at IBRA 2023

The International Stamp Exhibition 2023 (IBRA 2023) was a philatelic world exhibition under the patronage of the Fédération Internationale de Philatélie (FIP), organised by a team of the Bund Deutscher Philatelisten (BDPh). In addition to a large trade fair with over a hundred dealers and postal societies, various special shows and lectures, it was also a worldwide philatelic competition.

Hall 7 with the competition frames

View of Hall 7 of Messe Essen with the competition frames

17 of a total of 809 exhibits revolved around the philately of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, i.e. about 2 % of all exhibits. The evaluation level was high, with a total of 64 times (8 %) Large–Gold and 196 times (24 %) Gold being awarded. The Baltic exhibits were honoured with 2 x Gold, 9 x Large–Vermeil, 4 x Vermeil and 2 x Large–Silver.

"But in Baltic philately", says Vesma Grinfelds (USA), "you have to say that Large-Vermeil actually means Gold for us, because we always get so few points for it thanks to the insignificance of the collecting area as seen worldwide!"

Class Description No. Name Country ArGe member Exhibit Points Award
3B Postal History: Europe 3B.19 Hannes Westendorf Luxembourg Postal History of Estonia during the Russian Period 93 Gold, Special Prize
    3B.20 Ants Linnard Estonia   Postage payment instruments as a reflection of Estonia's development in 1918–1940 75 Large–Silver
    3B.21 Jaan–Erik Roots Norway Estonia 1918 88 Large–Vermeil
    3B.22 Vygintas Bubnys Lithuania Lithuanian Post Office Network Development, 1918–1920 88 Large–Vermeil
    3B.23 Vesma Grinfelds USA Cancellations of the Provisional Era in Latvia: 1919–1921 86 Large–Vermeil
    3B.24 Oliver Hanschmidt Estonia Traveling Post Office cancels in Estonia 1918–1944 87 Large–Vermeil
7B Thematic Philately: Culture 7B.1 Kaido Andres Estonia   400 years of the University of Tartu (people and circumstances) 83 Vermeil
12 Picture Postcards 12.11 Indrek Ilomets Estonia   Academic fraternal organisations of University of Tartu on postcards until 1940 90 Gold
13A One Frame Exhibit: Traditional 13A.2 Audrius Brazdeikis Lithuania   The First Color Stamp of Lithuania - Raseiniai District Local Issue of 1919 85 Large–Vermeil
    13A.6 Villu Roosa Estonia   The Flower Design Issue 77 Large–Silber
15A Philatelic Literature (Monografs, Special Catalogs, Studies, published since 2018) 15A.18 Michael Bockisch Germany   Handbook and catalogue: The Pictorial Postcards of Eastern Europe 2018 88 Large–Vermeil
    15A.62 Antanas Jankauskas Lithuania   Falsifikatai Lietuvos Filatelijoje / Forgeries in Lithuanian Philately 88 Large–Vermeil
    15A.73 Aivar Kuuskvere Estonia   Eesti Postmargid ja Tervikasjad Kataloog 2021 (Stamp and Stationery Catalogue Estonia 2021) 80 Vermeil
15C General Catalogues (published since 2020) 15V.18 Martin Bechstedt & Bernhard 'Tony' Fels Germany The Daily Postmarks of the Independent Republic of Lithuania since 1990 – Handbook and Companion to the Internet Database (= Lithuania–Handbook of Philately and Postal History Part 5) 81 Vermeil
15D Periodicals (2 complete volumes, published since 2020) 15D.2 Arbeitsgemeinschaft Baltikum Germany BALTIKUM 78 Large–Silber
15F Digital Literature, websites and software as experimental class 15F.2 Arbeitsgemeinschaft Baltikum Germany 85 Large–Vermeil
    15F.28 Bernhard 'Tony' Fels Germany Digital database of Lithuania and daily postmarks from 1994 – a forward-looking project 81 Vermeil

The ArGe Baltikum itself received certificates and medals for its community productions – like all participants:

Certificate for the Baltikum

Large–Silver was awarded to our magazine Baltikum...


A unified medal for all judged exhibits

All other evaluations and information about the IBRA 2023 competition can be found in the organiser's Palmares brochure, which you can download here .

Urkunde für das ArGe-Web

... and Large–Vermeil for this web.

In total, at least 15 ArGe members from 6 countries came to Essen. The webmaster met, among others, ArGe members and country commissioners Vesma Grinfelds and Oliver Hanschmidt (who also participated in Essen as an international juror for the rehearsal).

But how easily philately can connect people was also demonstrated by the meeting with a fellow finalist for the 2023 Francis Kiddle Medal for the most innovative website, Webmaster Marco Occhipinti of the Website ("postal letters") (whom he only knew from a picture on the internet and recognised by chance in Essen), and FEPA Vice-President Giancarlo Morolli, chairman of the jury for the Francis Kiddle Medal.

Friedhelm Doell with Vesma Grinfelds (USA)

Friedhelm Doell with Vesma Grinfelds (USA) ...

Friedhelm Doell with Giancarlo Morolli and Marco Occhipinti (Italy)

... Giancarlo Morolli and Marco Occhipinti (Italien) ...

Friedhelm Doell with Oliver Hanschmidt (Estonia)

... as well as with Oliver Hanschmidt (Estonia).

Vesma Grinfelds summed it up: "It's a small world for philatelists!"

Web of the ArGe finalist for the Francis Kiddle Medal

The ArGe Baltikum website is one of the 5 finalists for the "Francis Kiddle Medal for the most innovative website 2023" of the FEPA (Federation of European Philatelic Associations, the umbrella organisation of the European national philatelic associations),

This award is presented to an individual or partnership that has successfully promoted philatelic activities through the development of a website, channel, blog, application or other digital communication tool. The award is given in memory of Francis Kiddle, a very fine and dedicated philatelist who worked hard to develop and improve philatelic literature in all its facets, including digital.

Visitors to the FEPA website suggested nominations for the medal, which were then submitted to a group of advisors who assisted the board in drawing up a shortlist of candidates for the medal. The 2023 medal will go to DASV, the Deutscher Altbriefsammler-Verein, and the four runners-up, including ArGe Baltikum, will receive a certificate.

Therefore, this web belongs to the five most innovative philatelic webs in Europe – so it is worth to be looked at and browsed! (It always was, but by now, this is official ...)

Honouring Bernhard 'Tony' Fels & Martin Bechstedt

Two great Lithuanian philatelists from our working group were honoured by the Bund Deutscher Philatelisten (BDPh) for "services to research and literature" at the 2023 general meeting in Hennef, represented by ArGe chairman Torsten Berndt.

"While at the Olympic Games you can win a gold medal for the first time, for BDPh honours you have to work your way up from bronze to silver to vermeil," Torsten Berndt explained to the audience. "As 'Tony' Fels has already been awarded twice for his achievements, he now received the vermeil pin of honour – Martin Bechstedt, on the other hand, who is being honoured for the first time, will receive the bronze pin of honour."

Certificate for Bernhard Fels

Vermeil Certificate of Honour
for Bernhard 'Tony' Fels

Bernhard 'Tony' Fels was for many years managing director of the Lithuanian Research Association, editor of 'Lituania' and is co-author of the book and internet application "Daily Stamps of the Independent Republic of Lithuania since 1990".

The honourees

The honourees

Urkunde für Martin Bechstedt

Bronze Certificate of Honour
for Martin Bechstedt

Martin Bechstedt has already (co-) authored several catalogues on Lithuania philately, as well as the Estonia Postmark Handbook and in 2022 the book and internet application "Daily Postmarks of the Independent Republic of Lithuania since 1990".

The board and members of the ArGe are pleased that their many years of personal commitment to the philately of the Baltic States has been appreciated and recognised by the supra-regional philatelic association BDPh.

General Assembly 2023 in Hennef

This year's general meeting of the ArGe Baltikum took place in a quiet atmosphere – with intensive philatelic discussions, the buying and selling of some valuables, exciting lectures and personal encounters with like-minded people and friends.

Stimmung am Freitag abend

The mood in the conference room on Friday evening – relaxed, animated, focused

The statutory Annual General Meeting was held on Saturday May 13 and the results will be communicated to all ArGe members by publication in BALTIKUM 15.

Congratulations to Martin Bechstedt ...

Congratulations from the Chairman to Martin Bechstedt ...

At the General Assembly, Chairman Torsten Berndt honoured two deserving members of the philatelic community on behalf of the Federation of German Philatelists (BDPh): Bernhard 'Tony' Feld and Martin Bechstedt (see separate article).

The fact that our member Tobias Huylmans (part of the founding board of the ArGe Baltikum) was awarded the Köhler Medal for internationally deserving philatelists by the Bund Philatelistischer Prüfer (BPP) a few days ago, at the age of not even 40 (probably an age record for a long time), was also not left unmentioned.

Exciting presentations enriched the Saturday afternoon and evening.

... and Bernhard Fels

... and Bernhard 'Tony' Fels

Olaf Hoffmann, whose ancestors came from Estonia and Latvia, told of his Baltic past using stamps, postcards and letter documents.

Martin Bechstedt introduced us to the amazing and short-lived existence of Estonian vending machine stamps (production from September to December 2020, dismantling of the machines in May 2021).

Thomas Löbbering informed us in two lectures (on stamps and covers) about the peculiarities of overprints, net overprints and underprints of the stamp issue Estonia Mi Nos. 87 to 89, the postage stamps Mi Nos. 54 and 56 with repeated overprint of a coloured net print as well as the new value in kroner currency.

Barbecue in the evening

The Saturday evening meal was traditionally a barbecue.

Philatelia Munich

Baltic States ArGe stand

It was only so empty in the Philatelia aisles when it was being set up – on Saturday, there was only a dense crowd in the corridors.

After a break of two years due to the pandemic, the stamp fair "Philatelia" took place again in Munich on March 4 and 5, 2023, at the same time as the Numismata in the MOC, but free of charge. On Saturday morning, the fair was crowded and offered a number of special features and innovations. It was organised by the dealer association APHV under the project management of the Munich dealer Wolfgang Lang.

1 The fair with more than 50 dealers was held to promote philately, i.e. the dealers wanted the visitors to get a taste for real stamps and covers again after the Corona break. The "big money" as in Essen and Ulm was not the order of the day here.

2 That is why traders and working groups were not strictly separated (as at the stamp fair in Ulm), but rather mixed. Lang: "The dealers need the working groups and the working groups need the dealers at this fair. We have to understand that. One group alone would not attract thousands of visitors!"

3 The stands were free of charge for the working groups. The project manager also explained this as follows: "The real costs for renting a stand and setting up and dismantling are around 350 euros per working group. No society could or would pay that anyway. If we ask for 50 euros from each working group as a contribution to costs, VAT and the costs of invoicing and accounting etc. will be deducted from this. Then we might as well not charge at all."

special fair postmark

A special fair postmark
(by the way, it was designed by our member Olaf Hoffmann!)

It is to be hoped that the event management will also remember the concept of cross-fertilisation between traders and working groups in future when planning hall occupancy!