ECTP Essen 2011, and the result is….

From May 5th to 7th the European Championship for Thematic Philately was held in Essen, Germany. And as anounced in Newsletter 95 your secretary was one of the participants with his collection "The motorcycle, nostalgia and use".

Wednesday the 4th I started my motorcycle and rode to Essen to hang up my collection. After a prosperous journey I reached the exposition hall short after one o'clock, and reported myself to the organisation. After a while waiting for the man with the key, we went to the frames that had been assigned to me. The 84 pages of my collection were put in the 7 frames and locked in by the key-man. Because everything went very quickly, I had a few hours left to walk around to look at the merchants booths and say hello to some aquaintances. I also took some time to look at the collection of our club member George Bernard (Quand la pétrolette devient Motocyclette).

George Bernard and John Hayward
Motorcycle philatelists George Bernard (left) and John Hayward

The next day also the collection of John Hayward (The Iron Steed) had been hung up, and as far as my knowledge reaches this was the first time that there were 3 motorcycle collections displayed at 1 exhibition. And all three very different. John exposes his collection on double pages (A3 instead of A4) while precisely sustaining the horizontal lay-out of the pages, and George shows a lot of very special material that is produced during the production of stamps, like design drawings, test prints, colour tests etc. In all 3 collections the development and use of the motorcycle is clearly shown.

Part of the collection of John Hayward
Example of a page from the collection of John Hayward

Part of the collection of George Bernard
Example of pages from the collection of George Bernard

Next to motorcycles also some collections of bicycles and cars that are worth looking at have been put in category 5, transport. Thursday and Friday I spent on looking at collections, searching through the merchants' goods and talking to acquaintances and colleague-exhibitors. Especially the last thing is always very instructive. At Friday evening our chairman and his wife joined me. After a nice evening I went to bed a little bit nervously. Saturday is the day of the jury's valuations and conversations. Luckily Hans and Ellen decided to go to a local flea market first, so I had the possibility to digest an eventual disappointing rating on my own. After entering the building I hurried to the frames, and to postpone a possible disappointment I first went to the other motorcycle collections. John Hayward scored high with 86 points. After that the rating of George with 80 points was quite disappointing, which made my fear grow. Coming at my own collection my fear turned into euphoria.... 87 points. And with that the highest rated motorcycle collection.

Nico's collection with 87 points rating
The evidence of Nico's 87 points rating

I had not dared to dream so in my wildest dreams. The last exhibition that I joined was (International) Antwerp where I got 81 points. As the jury rating in Essen was also according to FIP norms, this meant an advance of 6 points. Luckily for me this was not an exhibition under FIP (Federation International de Philatelie) patronage, because this would imply that I had to expose 128 pages on a next international exhibition. An expansion with 40 pages. Certainly no sinecure.

During the conversation with the 3-headed jury it became clear to me that I scored high on each of the 4 individual criteria, 87 out of 100 points in total, but there is possible gain concerning (showing of) philatelic knowledge and the condition and rarity of the exposed pieces. Apart from using expensive pieces this also means that the quality of the exposed pieces gets more weight in the rating at a higher level. The philatelic knowledge must show of from the chosen material and the accompanying texts with specific philatelic information about each piece.

Example of philatelic information
Example of philatelic information

Between hanging up on Wednesday and Saturday I had 2 days time to look at other collections, alternated with visits to merchants to look for supplements to my collection. In other collections I have again seen special things. Exposing bigger pieces on A4 pages can give problems. A solution can be to include an A3 page, or to show the complete collection on A3 pages. On these bigger pages it can be a real puzzle to follow the sequence of the story, the thread running through the whole collection. As anounced above John Hayward tackled this problem very well by his horizontal division of the pages.

Someone who has chosen for a completely different approach is Mark Bottu. His collection on monastic orders is made on A3 pages with shifting center line. When bigger pieces have to be exposed on the left side of the page the center line shifts to the right, and when the bigger pieces are located on the right side the center line shifts to the left. This makes that the running thread can be followed easily, and that bigger pieces are shown in full lustre. Advantage of A3 format is that it leaves more space on a page, due to the 2 eliminated side margins.

Part of the collection of Mark Bottu
Example of a page from the collection of Mark Bottu

An other striking observation, especially in other motorcycle collections, is that my overview of postal stationary (PS) is not yet complete. For information I am dependent on my own PS-pieces, those of fellow-collectors, internet and expositions. Especially regarding advertisement postal stationary, like publicity cards and folding letters and -enveloppes, I have seen quite a lot 'new' pieces. The largest part consists of German advertisement cards and -enveloppes, but also other countries have issued postal stationary with advertisements.

Cards and folding letters:

Folding letter with Wanderer advertisement

French folding letter with advertisement for ao. motorcycles

Italian folding letter with advertisement for motorcycles

Card with advertisment for motorcycles

Further there is an advertisement folding letter of Portugal that I already knew, but which I always thought to be a telegram. On this exhibition several collections contained this 'rare' (read: expensive) PS.

From a discussion with Hans I learned that there is not just a single, but several of these PS-pieces from Portugal. Here an image of these 'rare' pieces, together with an advertisment enveloppe of August Stukenbrok (Germany).

Postal stationary Portugal

Postal stationary Portugal

Advertising-enveloppe August Stukenbrok

Apart from all these large-sized surprises I also found some smaller specialties. During the production of stamps several things can go wrong. This results in engraving and printing errors. Some of these errors have been included as illustration in the exhibition collection, like the examples below.

It appears that Daimler had already solved the problem of starting his vehicle: a handle?

Printing error on German stamp with Daimler

Other, less clear errors can be found on the stamp of France, where the line next to the helicopter is interrupted by a white dot.

Printing error on French stamp with white spot

Or the strip from Australia, where something has been lying on the paper during printing, which has left a non-printed stripe on the stamps.

Mackle strip Australia

Finally I want to show a misperforation from Germany that I have seen several times. Looking at the position of the perforation relative to the image, it is clear that these examples concern 2 different perforation errors.

Perforation errors Germany

When looking at the collections of fellow-collectors I watch for 2 different things: do I see possibilities to present my own collection in a better way, and are there any motorcycle-items that I don't have, or use in another way in my collection.

A visit to the merchants has only 1 aim, to look for supplements to my own collection. Although there were many merchants, I did not find very much. Or it is too expensive. A Portugese PS for 2000 euro goes too far for me. Only when a piece like that makes the difference and brings a gold appreciation within reach I will start to think about it, but for now I just look further.

All together I drove home on Saturday, after taking off my collection, in a very satified mood. A very nice result and advices to improve my collection give enough motivation to go on.

Nico Helling

Impression of the ECTP Essen 2011
Impression of the ECTP 2011 in Essen


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