IBRA 2009: Five Activity‐Filled Days!

There are many reasons for heading off to Essen to attend the "Philatelic Three‐Pack" of IBRA, NAPOSTA, and the 19th International Stamp Fair, being held from May 6 to May 10, 2009: the largest array of dealers and postal administrations in Germany for over 10 years, a comprehensive palette of services centered around lectures and consultations, 476 exhibits of the highest order, autograph sessions with sports stars and celebrities, and of course, the Showcase of Rarities highlighted by the famous "Bordeaux Letter". And now the organizers can announce an additional gem in this area: the "Eichstätt Letter"!

World‐Class Rarities and the World of Collecting This year marks the 160th anniversary of Bavaria's "One Kreuzer Black". Despite a printing of over 800 000 copies, examples of the 1849 one kreuzer stamp used on cover are far from kiloware – especially when it comes to multiples – the supreme example of which is the legendary "Eichstätt Letter", bearing a block of six of the first German stamp, the largest known quantity on cover. The cancellation consists of two clean strikes of the complete "326 millstone". This cover, which first turned up in 1959, is the property of the Post and Telecommunications Museum Foundation, and is part of the Berlin Museum for Communication's permanent collection. As an exceptional measure, this "Jewel of Bavarian Philately" will be leaving its home at the beginning of May for Essen, where it will enhance IBRA/NAPOSTA's Showcase of Rarities for five days!

In order to reach the "Eichstätt Letter", the "Bordeaux Letter" with its blue and red Mauritius, and the other precious objects in Hall 5, visitors will need to pass through three halls on their way from the main entrance. This was clearly intended by the event's organizers, the German Philatelic Federation (BDPh) and the Billion Exhibition Agency, since extraordinary objects can be found everywhere. Now that the registration process has officially ended, it can be confirmed that the 19th International Stamp Fair in Halls 10 through 12 will be host to over 180 participants. Over 130 dealer firms, 30% of which will be from outside Germany, will be offering their merchandise. In addition to Deutsche Post AG, 53 foreign postal administrations or agencies will also be represented. This includes not only European areas of interest, but also countries not often found in these parts – including Israel and the U.S.A., and also TAAF from Reunion in the Indian Ocean, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Several months after the 240 exhibitors at IBRA, an international competitive exhibition with FEPA sponsorship and FIP accreditation, had been selected, in January of this year, the Philatelic Committee finalized the list of exhibitors for the National Postage Stamp Exhibition, NAPOSTA. In eleven categories, 340 exhibits – as well as literature – will be available for study.

Visitors can also take advantage of the lounges of the large philatelic organizations and the information tables of almost 80 working and study groups. Several times each day, lectures and discussions will be taking place at the Philatelic Round Table, centrally located in Hall 11, the IBRA Hall, and at the Specialized Collectors' Forum in Hall 5. An exclusive IBRA auction, a table tennis demonstration in Hall 9 (Hall of Youth), as well as interviews and autograph sessions with celebrities and sports stars will catch the eye of both young and old. All this, and free admission, too!

Looking over the multitude of attractions, anyone left with the impression that a single day is not enough to see and take advantage of everything should plan a longer stay in Essen. In and around Essen, there are hotels in every price category. Right on the fairgrounds is a meeting point for daily excursions that will take visitors through the city, the Ruhr area and the metropolises of Düsseldorf and Cologne. The social highlight will be the IBRA and NAPOSTA celebration to be held on May 9, also at the Essen fairgrounds.

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