the Astrophilatelic Activities in Germany 2013
the public and social activities
500 visitors were attracted by the Joint German-Russian Exhibition on space
philately on 13 and 14 April 2013 in the German capital of Berlin. But not only
in terms of quantity, also in terms of quality the event hosted by the Russian
House of Science and Culture surpassed expectations. Thanks to the presence of
high-ranking astrophilatelists from ten European countries, the exhibition also
became a European Summit of space cover collectors. Highly awarded exhibits
with dozens of space flown covers from space stations Salyut 6, 7, MIR and the
ISS or envelopes carried to the Moon by Apollo 11, 13, 14 and 15 were shown
alongside the first attempt to exhibiting by a 11 year old girl from
presence of two real-life cosmonauts was obviously a main attraction for the
crowds. The first German in space, Sigmund Jähn, now 75 years old, presented an
overview about his historic spaceflight to space station Salyut 6 in 1978. His
station commander at the time was Vladimir Kovalyonok, Both the 50th Anniversary of the first woman
in space, Valentina Tereshkova, and the 35th anniversary of the first German in
space were the anniversaries celebrated with the event.
standard stamp exhibitions encounter empty corridors between the rows of frames
showing the collections, AstroPhil 2013 was altogether different. At all times,
two, three or four collectors were assembling in front of a particularly
interesting exhibit, to discuss the covers shown, to listen to explanations of
the exhibitors or to ask for tips. Even while the exhibition had officially
ended and the strong men from the Association of Russia/UdSSR Stamp Collectors
Berlin were removing the frames, collectors were still gathering in front of
the few remaining collections. The average age of the visitors was also
considerably lower than the age bracket usually observed on stamp exhibitions.
"Astrophilately is a young hobby”, Weltraum Philatelie President Florian
the know were, however, not surprised by the keen interest in the exhibits
shown. The President of a space stamp society from Western Europe confessed he
was impressed by the large scope of the collections shown. It reached from Open
Class through thematic exhibits up to collections in the documentary Astro class,
he noted. Both from scale as from scope, this was the largest space stamp
exhibition of all times, a club president from another European Union country
concluded. Thus, an exhibit just awarded the "best exhibit in its class”
at the Milano 2013 exhibition subsequently travelled to Berlin, including its
author, Alec Bartos from Romania. Many of the German exhibits had been shown
for the first time, or after a long period of inactivity.
enthusiasm calls for an encore: Participants at the informal meeting of the FIP
Section on Astrophilately suggested a similar exhibition should take place
every five years, at a different place and in a different country each time. It
also should not only be a promotional exhibition like AstroPhil 2013, but a
competitive one, judged by both national as international jurors. To see such a
transnational exhibition recognized for future FIP Exhibitions, diplomatic
talks with the appropriate European body FEPA were still required, some
widely criticized the difficult career path to become a juror on the
international level. One delegate reported he had been a national juror for
Astro since 1998, but was still waiting for his promotion to FIP level. Another
delegate recalled that when at his association they once discussed who should
aim at becoming a juror on the international level, he had been warned that he
was probably already too old for the challenge: at "already” 40 years of
age, he might never reach the aim during his lifetime. "Let’s meet at the
crematorium then”, one delegate quipped wryly.
Working Group on Space Philately (Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft „Weltraum
Philatelie" e. V.) in the Federation of German Philatelists (BDPh) hosted
the exhibition jointly with the President of the FIP Section on Astrophilately,
Igor Rodin from Moscow. The Federation of Berlin Stamp Clubs (Verband Berliner
Philatelisten-Vereine), the Association of Russia/UdSSR Stamp Collectors Berlin
(Verein der Briefmarkenfreunde Rußland/UdSSR Berlin) and the Russian House of
Science and Culture were also partners of the ambitious endeavor taking place
on the „Day of Cosmonautics", the annual celebration of the first manned
space flight in history in 1961.
the annual assembly of Weltraum Philatelie took place at Garching near München,
during the Garching Space Days, commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the
German Spacelab D-2 mission in 1993. The local organizers had set up a
promotional space stamp and cover exhibition; one of the astronauts of STS-55,
German payload specialist Ulrich Walter, was been invited for a presentation.
media: new website fully operational
To ensure a
more structured information on astrophilately, the Board released its fully
operational revamped website of Weltraum Philatelie. It can be viewed at this
URL: http://www.weltraumphilatelie.de. Vice President Hans Dittscheid had
shouldered this major effort.
effort: catalogue of space stamps in Africa will complete series
2013 saw the
publication of a 2nd volume on space stamps from Europe, and of a supplement
updating the volume on Asia. A tireless effort by author Dieter Steinbrecher
over many years is giving birth to a collecting tool that will serve
astrophilatelists in many years to come.
the number of catalogues edited and published by Dieter Steinbrecher to a total
of seven. The series of catalogues will be culminating with three volumes of
space stamps in Africa. Approximately 12.000 different stamps, souvenir sheets
and sheetlets need to be described and illustrated. Publication of volume
Africa 1 is planned for spring 2014.
strong for over 30 years: newsletter
more than 100 members continue to receive a newsletter called
"Eil-Informationsdienst” with up to date information on current missions,
cover opportunities, special postmarkers, astronaut address information and
upcoming events. To cater for the needs of both the older as the younger
generation, the newsletter is distributed both electronically as on paper. The
computer literates received 25 electronic newsletters in 2013. Seven issues of
the paper-based version were mailed to collectors in 2012.
membership magazine for Germany, Switzerland, Austria: Astrophilatelists split
of the magazines of three German speaking astrophilatelic organizations in
Germany, Switzerland and Austria since 2009 has ended in 2013 and early 2014.
In spring 2013, the Swiss association told Weltraum Philatelie they wish to
continue on their own. In early 2014, Weltraum Philatelie ended the
co-operation with the Austrian association, over conflicts on payment issues.
Four annual issues had being published, usually more than 100 pages thick,
providing members with solid background information on space flight and
Philatelie e. V.
delegate to the FIP Commission on Astrophilately