- 2004
Pictures see below

Report Stampa 2004
by Otto Jung

STAMPA 2004 was again held in the RDS (Royal Dublin Society) building in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, from Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd of October. This colossal edifice consists of many halls, and some of them were used for STAMPA in the last years. This year the STAMPA exhibition had no access from the front at Merrion Road but from Anglesea Road at River Dodder. One should know that generally different exhibitions / fairs are held in the RDS premises at the same time.

The STAMPA rooms have varied and were to be found in different halls nearly every year. This time there was a combination of three events, a coin fair, a department of paintings and our STAMPA, the stamp exhibition and fair. The large hall enabled all three exhibitions to extend over enough room and to present their material to those who attended the event.

When looking at the Dublin town map you see the district „Ballsbridge“ situated in the south far away from the city centre, and you are concerned how to reach the town centre. But there is no danger of wasting time: numerous bus lines guarantee to go there. But attention: you should have the exact fare, no change is returned. Those who arrive by plane in Dublin’s very north find quick transportation to the RDS. The simplest and cheap connection on this long distance is to go by „Aircoach“, a line run by the main hotels with buses in short intervals and many stops. That means there are sufficient fine lodgings available especially near the RDS, although they are expensive. Cheaper but not really cheap is bed & breakfast in numerous private houses. In the evening the STAMPA visitor need in no way go to the town centre to have a good dinner: in “Ballsbridge” and “Donnybrook”, the district nearby, you find enough restaurants of a medium and high level. In general, all prices of accommodation and food are considerably above those in Germany. The price level has, generally spoken, terrifically risen in the last years.

When you pay a visit to the GPO you see a modern piece of art, called “The Spire”, a 120 meter high steel needle with a diameter of 3 meters at its basis. The monument has a plain effect, but, in my eyes, it is tremendously impressive. That is the reason why I took a photo for our readers of Die HARFE.

STAMPA 2004 was again, as for some years, organized by a team with Kevin Drury as Chairman, Patrick J. Gilmore as Vice Chairman and Michael Kelly as Secretary, supported by the STAMPA Council of five members. John Lennon (Ireland), Dr. Finbar O’Mahony (Ireland) und Charles Verge (Canada) were appointed STAMPA judges.
There were 12 exhibits as competitive entries, 4 more were invited displays. The exhibits stretched over 5 different classes. They did not only deal with material of Irish interest but showed collections of St. Helena, Great Britain, Canada, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia and South West Africa. Kevin Drury displayed forgeries of the world. Otto Jung had brought to STAMPA his Ireland exhibit for the European Community in Luxembourg.

The very special STAMPA lure was mainly the great number of well-renowned stamps dealers. Also this year you really found the most extensive offer of Irish postal material in all the world. Most dealers had their booths in the STAMPA hall, other dealers had their own ways to present their material. Most attractive as in all years before was the large shop of AN POST, and many specialities were to be found at their table. Among them were, in the hall as well as in the GPO, paintings and designs of previous and most recent stamp issues. The offer by AN POST was extensive on the one hand side, but, regrettably, I could not buy a piece of postal stationery. The offer of items out of the birds’ series was impressive. I realized this when completing my booklets list. Understandably, AN POST tried to launch the new flowers’ definitive series. Unlike the last year, when there was no way to get items postmarked the general circular postmark and all STAMPA postmarks were available, a very satisfying attitude for many collectors, who wanted to have stamps cancelled at the AN POST shop in the STAMPA hall.

Just at the hall’s entry, opposite the official booth of the STAMPA - organisation, there was the table of the philatelic societies and associations. So I had a fine overall view to all who entered the exhibition hall. The table had enough room to display nearly all FAI books which have been published in our 22 years of existence. I felt it encouraging to which extent a look was taken to the books of our literature series, and very often they were the reason for intensive talks on the subject they dealt with and on the society which had published the books. Many who I discussed with proved already to be FAI members who had also come to pay their annual membership fees. Other collectors were not (yet) members but found our offers attractive and ordered some books. Seven of them were convinced by our membership conditions to fill in an application form. In this way I have won about 70 new members at STAMPA in the last six years.

It was very pleasant to welcome so many FAI members at my table. Some, of which I especially name Peter Meinhardt and Henry Kuipers, held company with me during all three STAMPA days for many hours, what I gratefully remember. Many more collectors again and again came round to the table for a chat. If you are integrated in STAMPA as I have been for some years you have become familiar with the course of STAMPA events. You know most of the active Irish philatelists and have found many good friends what is really not difficult in Ireland as we all know. I was glad again to meet “good old friends” from many countries, from Great Britain, the USA and the Nether-lands, from Switzerland, Denmark and Finland. Where can you see them if you do not meet them in Dublin at STAMPA!

As every year, the first morning (on Friday) was dedicated to the young collectors. Kevin Drury distributed to the children the awards which they had won with their exhibits. They all were greatly exited, and the applause for the winners was to be heard over the hall. A lady teacher and her class proudly presented themselves together with Kevin Drury to be photographed by me. It is to be acknowledged that STAMPA has always strongly promoted young collectors. But there remain questions: why did practically only classes of girls participate in this competition? And why are, in spite of this fact, found so few female collectors? This is a genuine question for me and not a rhetorical one because as a former teacher I tried for some decades to promote the idea of collecting among my students, without success in the end.

Each banquet has its highlight - it is the “Dinner” at STAMPA just as FAI has its “Festabend”. After Dinners in the Ely House and the Lansdowne Hotel in the last years this time the very modern “Mespil Hotel” had been chosen as a venue for this occasion. After enjoying the meal, the Barbershop Choir, acknowledged and loved for many years, applied to our mental and intellectual nature with old Irish songs. Long and intensive applause proved the quality of its program. Then we witnessed a very special honour: David MacDonnell was the man to sign the “Roll of Distinguished Philatelists”. The eulogy was proof enough that a candidate worthy of this honour had been chosen. Full of emotion and humour as we know him David said his thanks to the council. In the end, the awards were given for the exhibits and, as usual for many years, the well-known trophies were handed over to the winners of several sections.

What can be said as a summary of STAMPA, especially of STAMPA 2004? As STAMPA is the only major event of the Irish philately we should be glad that STAMPA exists und should offer all our support to ensure its existence and make it flourish. The way how STAMPA is organized with its competitive and invited entries, with the dealers’ booths, the participation of AN POST, the societies’ table, the support for young collectors, the STAMPA Dinner and the souvenirs pleases me.

As FAI President I express my thanks to the Chairman Kevin Drury and his team: they do a great job!