REPORT OF THE BPP EXPERTISERS’ MEETING IN NUREMBERG ON 17 MAY 2014
President Christian Geigle closed this year’s members’ meeting of the Federation of Philatelic Expertisers e. V. at 6-10 pm, after an almost eight-hour discussion and voting “Marathon” for the approximately ninety members and guests present. Intensive debate resulted in the best possible decisions; unanimity in many areas and then voting by a narrow majority in a few agenda items could never lead to boredom. But in turn:
Four philatelists had applied this year for extraordinary membership as federation expertisers of the BPP. On the day before the expertisers’ meeting, their specialist knowledge was intensively checked by the expertising commissions, reference material was examined for its suitability for expertisation and individual candidates undertook an examination of up to four hours, something that they had perhaps last experienced in this form at school or university. The result can be seen: all four candidates received the unanimous recommendation of their respective expertising commission, and this was also confirmed unanimously by the general assembly.
The guests of honour greeted and praised the services of the expertising candidates. Above all the newly elected President of the BDPh, Uwe Decker, who was particularly impressed by the performance of the new Braunschweig expertiser Dr Wilderbeek, is himself at home in the collecting area of “Old Germany”.
The cooperation between the associations certainly seems to be running smoothly. Harald Rauhut, President of the auctioneers’ federation, praised the “abbreviated route” by which the outstanding issues would be discussed quickly and with cooperation, and solved explicitly. There is nothing that people cannot talk to each other about.
The reports of the Board were shorter than usual this year in view of the extensive agenda. President Geigle was concerned mainly with the technical changes in expertising, which require some cherished practices also to be examined by experts. As he said: “we always need to question ourselves, our working methods, our rules, our cosy “nest” known as “tradition”. Who does not move with the times is left behind by the times. This is – unfortunately – very true in philately. No matter how beautiful or great it once was – we must ask ourselves where the BPP will be in ten or twenty years. If it were up to me: we want still to be No. 1 in 2034. To do this we must be open to new things, new rules, new techniques and also to the needs of our customers.”
The financial position of the BPP is very good according to the report by Gunnar Gruber, Treasurer. The fiscal year 2013 was completed with a small surplus, all the incurred legal fees and court costs arising from trademark protection lawsuits in recent years have now been reimbursed by the other parties. The members then gave this positive report a special round of applause.
The central theme of this year’s expertisers’ meeting of was “Introduction to consultation guidelines”. After almost two years of preparatory work, the Board had prepared a well formulated set of rules, introduced and proven over many years, for new expertisers, or those who wanted to widen their expertising areas, to consult with older, experienced expertisers, and put this to the vote. After detailed discussion and some changes in the wording, the consultation policy was adopted by a large majority. At the core of the new scheme is a provision for new expertisers to receive intensive support, advice and also control during the first three years of their expertising work, through their respective consultation partner. Then after a minimum of three years they can apply for ordinary membership. The BPP hopes for an even lower error rate among young expertisers, and further standardisation of expertising techniques and documentation in the form of attestations and findings.
This was followed by a variety of statutory- and rule changes, which were mostly unanimously endorsed as proposed.
In the afternoon the members finally had to decide on six expertising area extensions that had been requested. The requirements of the expertisation commissions were also clear here, and so for the first time in many years all ten candidates (four new expertisers, six extensions) were unanimously endorsed. “This clearly shows that our multi-level selection and expertisation procedure is a success model”, said Geigle of his members, many of whom work on the expertisation commissions.
The BPP also has a new office. After 26 years, Dr Helmut Oechsner will no longer work as Managing Director of the BPP, so as to devote himself more in future to his extensive areas of expertising. President Geigle thanked Dr Oechsner for his exemplary work, but at the same time stressed that Dr Oechsner will still belong to the Board of Directors of the BPP as Secretary. The famous expertiser of the plebiscite areas, Gunnar Gruber, succeeds as CEO and in future he will run the office from Radolfzell. The handover will take place on 30June; the new contact details will be published in a timely manner.
It came as a relief to most participants when President Geigle announced the last two points on the agenda. The membership fee remains unchanged, and the next expertisers’ meeting takes place on 18 April 2015 at the Arvena Park Hotel in Nuremberg. Within a few minutes the large meeting room emptied, because the BPP evening reception was to begin an hour later, and the “politics” of the Federation were then sidelined. Only the cup final in Berlin was able to attract one or another to the television. It was only well after midnight after a busy day that relaxation was restored in the conference hotel.