MARE BALTICUM 1995 - Mariehamn, ÅLAND

The second Mare Balticum was organized on 15-17 September, 1995, in Mariehamn, Åland Islands.
In 1991, the local stamp club Ålands frimärkssamlarförening had arranged a national exhibition, the first one of its kind held in Åland. Together with Åland Post, they were now ready to carry a still bigger responsibility to host a multinational Mare Balticum in 1995.
By organizing Mare Balticum 1995, Ålands frimärkssamlarförening celebrated its 50th anniversary. Another motive was to respond to the wish of the Estonian Philatelic Federation for the continuation of the tradition of Mare Balticum exhibitions to be held every other year. Åland had got its own, independent Postal Administration a couple of years ago – a fact which brought an extra nuance for celebration.

Mare Balticum 1995 logo on Bulletin II
Mariehamn exhibition medals
Mare Balticum 2003 cancellation
Exhibition catalogue

Mare Balticum 1995 gathered a lot of participants from all over the Baltic Sea area. Eight out of the nine Baltic Sea countries participated and nominated a National commissioner: Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Russia.

The exhibition was considered to be of a relatively high standard. In total, 130 exhibits were listed in the exhibition catalogue, eight of them participating in the non-competitive class of invited exhibits – among them exhibits by renowned philatelists such as Rolf Gummesson, George B. Lindberg and Björn-Eric Saarinen.
In the competitive classes, 122 exhibits were listed to various classes as follows: Traditional philately (26 exhibits), Postal history (30), Postal stationery (2), Thematic philately (15), Youth philately (26) and Philatelic literature (23). In total, about 500 frames of philately were on show.
However, only 111 exhibits were evaluated, as three Russian exhibits were stuck at customs in Moscow, and some literature exhibits didn’t arrive. Seven Gold medals were awarded, which was a high number at that time. On the other hand, the Jury had to give out 16 Bronze medals, one Diploma and five Certificates of participation. Most of the Certificates went to Swedish one-frame Youth class exhibits: They were not evaluated, as according to the Regulations, the minimum number of frames in Youth class was two frames.

The exhibits broadly presented the Åland Islands, the Baltic Sea and its coastal states, but also more distant countries, and postal history exhibits treating a single geographical locality, region or district made an appearance.
Since the Jury didn’t use any point evaluation system, any of the seven Gold medal exhibits cannot be ranked better than the other ones basing on points reached. However, Estonian Vambola Hurt received the Åland Trophy beside a Gold, an indication that his Traditional exhibit Estland (Estonia) was considered the winner of the exhibition. The runner-up, Skapelse av Slesviks folkomröstning (Plebiscite Schleswig Creation), by Danish Johan Sörensen received a Special prize.

The other Gold medalists were Olavi Koponen (Finland 1856) and Erkki Toivakka (Åländsk post; Mail of Åland) from Finland, Folke Löfström (Ålands posthistoria under 300 år; Postal History of the Aland Islands since 300 years) and Gunnar Dahlvig (Sverige under Vasaätten; Sweden during the Vasa Family) from Sweden, and Per Friis Mortensen (Slovenia 1919–21) from Denmark.

Mare Balticum 1995 was judged by a Jury of eight persons, four of them representing the host country Finland. The other jurors came from Sweden, Denmark, Estonia and Germany. The Jury was chaired by Finn Juhani Pietilä.
A small problem in the exhibition was a bit confusing layout of the frames: while on one side of the frame row everything was in order, on the other side the exhibits continued in the wrong direction. Some creativity was required from the viewer to find the continuation of exhibits in the right places.
The exhibition was visited by about 1500 guests, practically from all the Baltic Sea countries. During the exhibition days, they were entertained with live music.

Åland Post issued two new stamps at the exhibition, depicting Pyhä Olavi (Saint Olav) and Geta Church, the first one as a joint publication with the Faroe Islands. Designers of the stamps, Pirkko Vahtero and Martin Mörck, signed first day covers at the exhibition site.
One special feature was the numerous trips to the surroundings, such as to Geta Church, the huge Post and Customs House of Eckerö and the Maritime Museum of Mariehamn, as well as sailing trips with Albanus ship. The Palmares ceremony was arranged in the Maritime Museum, too.
In 1995, it was already announced that the next Mare Balticum in 1997 will be held in Kalmar, Sweden.

By Lauri Poropudas