- 2007
Stampa 2007 report
by Heinz-Jürgen Kumpf

It is already a tradition by now that several FAI members from the continent come to visit the biggest annual event of Irish philately: STAMPA in Dublin. This year, it took place from 12th to 14th October 2007, once again in the premises of the Royal Dublin Society (RDS).

With the support of Robert Dombrowski, I represented our society at the booth of the international societies on Irish philately (FAI, EPA, etc.) where we both busily collected member fee payments and sold special literature of the FAI book series. Several other FAI members from Germany and some neighbouring countries were also present. They had come to look for new covers, to talk shop with colleagues, or to just enjoy the high-quality exhibition with international participation.

Many stamp dealers were present and beside them, An Post also had a booth where collectors could purchase the recent releases. The special postmarks of An Post for this occasion were well-designed, with the illustration not being glutted. Apart from the postmark, there were no other special commemorative issues from An Post this time.

This however did not reduce collectors’ enthusiasm for the exhibition, and not only An Post’s booth but also those of the stamp dealers and auctioneers were really crowded at times. One important factor for visitors coming in large numbers certainly was the Irish coin exhibition which took place in the same premises simultaneously. Numis-letters are an important bridge between numismatics and philately, and they are very popular among collectors in Ireland.

But back to STAMPA: The long queue of about 50 people, impatiently waiting for the opening of the event, was an impressive proof of the widespread enthusiasm among collectors. They did not want to miss the opportunity for an early good bargain. As always, the philatelic material on offer was rather mixed. In some cases, it was possible to purchase desired philatelic material for even less than one Euro – one only had to invest some patience and time. It was also interesting to watch many stamp-only collectors who rummaged through the stockbooks of dealers in search of particular stamps.

On Saturday, Robert Dombrowski and I were able to visit STAMPA Dinner only very late – an important qualifiying game between Ireland and Germany for the European Football Championship took place at Croke Park in Dublin. The possibility to watch the match came rather unexpected since an unnamed Irish sponsor provided two tickets for the second row.

The atmosphere during the game was very good, and both teams showed their skills. However, there were, unfortunately, no goals scored which meant that the match ended in a draw: 0:0.

It was very reassuring to notice that before, during and after the game there was always a calm and peaceful atmosphere: nobody kicked up a row, and no German or Irish hooligans whatsoever! Correspondingly, Garda was present rather inconspicuously and only in small numbers.

After STAMPA Dinner we went to a traditional Irish pub in Templebar to end the day with a pint of Guinness (or some more).

On the following Monday, I had the opportunity to meet the director of An Post who is responsible for the philatelic department (among other things). On this occasion I got to know that An Post actually had thought about their exaggerated policy of new issues during the last few years, and that An Post is willing to orientate according to the average European level of new releases in the future. Moreover, other considerations about positive changes with respect to philately are currently taking place…

Summing up, I have to remark that being present at STAMPA is indeed absolutely necessary for the FAI, as has our former President Otto Jung already observed in the past. The point is not to remind our Irish members of their membership fee payments – they usually come voluntarily – but to show our flags and be visible for the wider Irish philatelic public. It is remarkable how many Irish admire the FAI for their efficiency, particularly with regard to the commitment involved in issuing the quarterly magazine DIE HARFE and the FAI book series. The constant growth in Irish members is proof for this. This year, at least two new Irish members have joined the FAI.

My appeal to visit STAMPA is of course particularly addressed to all “continental” FAI members. Prices in Ireland (and Dublin in particular) are not as low as they used to be some years ago. Taken one pint of Guinness as price indicator, one has to spent four to 4.50 Euro in a Dublin pub. Nevertheless, there are still affordable overnight accomodations and restaurants available for the smaller budget.

In case of a sufficient number of FAI members interested in travelling to next year’s STAMPA, we might well think about organizing a journey together. In this sense: Don’t miss out STAMPA 2008!
(English translation by Clemens Jesenitschnig)

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