MARE BALTICUM 2005 - Mariehamn, ÅLAND

The Mare Balticum exhibition was organized for the second time in Mariehamn, Åland Islands, from 26 to 28 August, 2005 in Baltichallen. The previous one organized by Åland had been held in 1995, being the second Mare Balticum exhibition.

President of Finland Mrs. Tarja Halonen
Swedish tennis legend Björn Borg

Mare Balticum 2005 was visited by the President of Finland, Mrs. Tarja Halonen, the first Finnish president to attend in a philatelic exhibition after Urho Kekkonen’s visit to Motiva 1976. Another star of the exhibition was the Swedish tennis legend Björn Borg, who signed covers franked with Mitt Åland stamps depicting Borg’s view of Åland Islands.

On the opening day, Friday, August 26, Åland Post issued three new stamps. Stamps from Vårdö and Geta appeared in the Åland Landscapes stamp series. In addition, a summer stamp was issued, depicting a sailing ship Linden from Åland.

Mare Balticum 2005 was organised by the local stamp club Ålands frimärkssamlarförening, sponsored by the Åland Post. The frames were assembled and disassembled by a dozen of volunteers from the mainland, chiefly from Turku and Hämeenlinna.

A little confusion was caused by the exhibition catalogue and the order of the exhibits. You could find everything you needed in the catalogue, but in the frames the exhibits unfortunately didn’t fully correspond to the order of the catalogue.

A jumble of languages, as well as a varied presentation of the exhibits, caused some challenge, too. Western judges for sure had challenges when judging exhibits in Russian or in other national languages. In international exhibitions, the four official FIP languages are English, French, German and Spanish.

Mare Balticum 2005 logo on Bulletin
A pin of Mare Balticum 2005
Exhibition catalogue

Admission to the exhibition was free. The number of visitors was estimated at 4.000 guests. There were visitors from many countries: Russians, Baltics, Germans and other Central Europeans, quite a lot of Swedes and Danes as well as a group trip of English visitors.

The exhibitors came from Finland including Åland Isles, from the Baltic States, Russia, Poland, Germany, Denmark, United Kingdom, Sweden and Norway. There were also post offices present from all the Nordic countries, the Baltic countries, Germany and Monaco.

The exhibition classes included Court of Honour, Championship class, Traditional philately, Postal history, Postal stationery, Aerophilately, Thematic philately, Revenues, Open philately, Maximaphily, One-Frame exhibits, Youth philately and Philatelic literature.

Special cancellations of Mare Balticum 2005
A special cancellation on cover from Germany for Mare Balticum 2005

The three-day exhibition was of a very high standard. Out of the 156 exhibits evaluated, one third reached Gold or Large vermeil. A traditional exhibit treating early Afghanistan, by German renowned exhibitor Rolf-Dieter Jaretzky, received the highest score with 97 points. Johan Snellman, Finland, won the Grand Prix prize of the Championship class, with an exhibit presenting Finnish maritime mail.

The best in the Aerophilately class was an exhibit of Anthony Sheehan, UK, dealing with the 1930 Baltic flight of the airship Zeppelin, Vermeil 78 p.

The highest score in the Thematic philately class, Gold with 90 points, was scored by Jonas Hällström, Sweden, with his exhibit on Square-rigged sailing vessels.

Finn Heikki Salokannel won the Open philately class, Large vermeil 83 p., with his tool themed exhibit. Lennart Ivarsson’s gold-winning book Brevportot i Sverige 1831-1855 (Letter rates in Sweden 1831-1855) was considered the best exhibit in the class of Philatelic Literature.

The Jury of Mare Balticum 2005 consisted of nine judges, four of them from Finland, and chaired by Jussi Tuori. The other jurors came from Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Russia and Poland.

By Lauri Poropudas