30 September 2022 was the deadline for entries of competitive exhibits that philatelists from all over the world would like to show at next year’s International Stamp Exhibition in Essen from 25-28 May 2023. Already a few days later it was foreseeable that the previously considered maximum number of 2,800 frames for stamp exhibits would be significantly oversubscribed. Commissioner General Walter Bernatek commented on the current state of affairs on 5 October: “The figure of 2,800 had been a dream figure that was in the air. In the meantime, due to the crises in the world, we had even lowered our expectations and only expected maybe 2,200 frame bookings. Now we are completely shocked that 773 philatelists from all over the world have already submitted bookings for 3,800 frames via the 72 country commissioners. But that’s not the end of the line, because new applications are constantly coming in, so we have to calculate with more than 4,000 frames.”
IBRA Team President Alfred Schmidt also announced, however, that the first thing to do now is to check the registrations, and that further new registrations should not be accepted. In view of the significant overbooking, it is also to be expected that not all registrations will be accepted. Another problem is not only the number of frames needed, but also the time for the later necessary set-up, because unfortunately the time frame cannot be extended by one or two days.
Conclusion: These are not easy questions that the IBRA organisational team now has to solve. Overall, however, the result is more than pleasing, almost sensational, and a confirmation for the organiser, the Bund Deutscher Philatelisten, that this IBRA also enjoys high international reputation.