18 April 2014

Missing phosphor bands should be sparse these days

A French webmaster, specialist of phosphor bands on French stamps, get the lucky right to visit Phil@poste Boulazac. He discovered at the French philatelic service's printing plant, near Périgueux in Dordogne, why there have been less and less stamps with missing phosphor bands these past months.

His written summary on Les News du Phospho was posted on his blog Wednesday 9th and the commented pictures of the TD6 press yesterday Thursday April 17th. An ultra violet lamp has been added at the end of the printing press to check if the one or two bars on each side of the stamp illustration are still printed (ink in the tank) and on the right places (not 0 or 3 bars on the same priority stamp).

He noted that this new tool is part of an improvement in order to get a stronger ISO standard of quality for the plant. Important indeed because if Phil@poste Boulazac has a monopoly in France, it is in competition everywhere else. The retirement of the faulty TD215 press helped a lot too.

It stopped what was an old joke among phosphor band collectors: complete sheets of stamps missing or with ill centered bands reaching post offices and ordering clients, or even rejected sheets that illegally succeeded to exit the security plant and being sold on the French philatelic market.

In addition to his regularly updated blog, you can check this French specialist's website over here, with a side in English. Note that phosphor bands can be found on Marianne definitive stamps, but also on self adhesive illustrated or gummed commemorative stamps of France.

17 April 2014

Aplogies and coming backs: Hitler on cups and stock photography in philately

Because workaholism can be a strong disease and philately not the sole purpose of my leisure times, my philatelic blogs are slow for sometimes now, and the translation into English of the articles in French stopped three and a half years ago.

Let's get back on tracks.

- - - -

All new issued stamp collectors know, with more or less pleasure, that stock photography has become the main sources of illustration for philatelic services and newspapers alike all around the world. In France, even some engraved stamps are inspired by stock pictures...

There are sometimes accidents or adaptations with reality: Dominique Stéphan in 2008 discovered, with publication in Timbres magazine, that the Paris Summit for the Mediterranean stamp put the sea very near an olive tree standing near the Pont du Gard.

[Political digression: the Summit was a wish of President tSarkozy to create an European Union/Mediterranean countries Union that is now a ghost secretary sitting in Barcelona, at the Royal Palace of Pedralbes (enjoy the gardens and museums there). And one of the worst 14 of July France has known: dictators enjoying our National Celebrations...]

It's by a more than a thousand floral cups made in the People's Republic of China that a house decorating shop in Bielefeld, Germany, gained free publicity on April 10th, 2014.

In the background of the flowers, light aged envelopes are evoking old memories... of Third Reich Führer stamps and svastika cancellations... The lot is no more on sale of course.

In official philately like in in-house decoration, we ought to come back to Made by an artist and forget the easy way of cut/paste and cut/engrave stock finds. Stock photography is a good tool, but to start an intellectual research, not the end of it.

For a recent example of a good picture creating a striking set of stamp and labels, see Gibraltar Post's hommage to a former governor.

11 December 2010

Plastic bag to protect overweighted magazine

Stamp Magazine, whose is now part of another compagny, was overloaded for the January 2011 issue: the magazine of course, a promotional paper, Stanley Gibbons seasonal bag of promotions, another one from another stamp dealer...

... and the plastic bag exploded during the trip.

Here is the yellow bag inside which the magazine and accessories were put by the French post operator.

No datestamp was marked... the magazine was not belated. No reinscribing of the address as it can be read on the initial bag.

On this topic of British magazine sending, I note that, for 2 issues, Gibbons Stamp Monthly arrived one to two later than before... Quelle honte!

17 June 2010

Currency exchange in Londonian Monaco

To see, at London 2010, I bought the ASCAT stamp issued by the Monaco Postage Stamp Issues Office.

About the topic of this stamp: William H. Gross, businessman, collector in its own pasttime and generous philanthrop. As soon as he achived a fantasy of having a complete collection, he sold it in the benefit of humanitarian organisations. Last year, the association of philatelic publishing houses, he was honored by their award.

About my curiosity: at the OETP stand, the 1.35 euro stamp was sold 1.35 pound sterling. At an exchange rate of 1 pound for 1.13 to 1.30 euro, a small benefit either for the cost of being at the fair or to avoid huger postage cost to their clients.

The stand was located in a square room that completed the great hall and the catwalks. You could find the second café,
the Post Office counter, Stamp & Coin Mart, Monaco and Australia, and some non European dealers.

15 June 2010

Philatelic magazines at stamp shows

In Paris, a new "Stamps Planet" show is currently happening without - again - a stand for Timbres magazine. Some years ago, the redaction told the cost of the stand and moved stock was not worth the number of daily visitors during the whole week. Yet there are always present at the Paris Autumn Stamp Show.

Competitors L'Écho, whose website is always in labor, is certainly looking for new subscribers on a more commercial then philatelic stand... or being rattached to Yvert's, its owner.

The Fed Fse Assoc Philat (they signed La Poste's Charter, good call...) missed some letters in its name, but surely distribute its Philatélie française to youngersters and newbies. They will be automaticly subscribers when they participated to an Assoc Philats.

Over the Channel, at the Festival of Stamps 2010, from 8 to 15 May, the three main magazines were present, even on a little corner.

The most simple: Gibbons Stamp Monthly sold inside the Stanley Gibbons stand. Hugh Jefferies, editor- and salesman-in-chief was quite approachable every day all around the show.

Stamp & Coin Mart, Collectors Club of Great Britain's philatelic and numismatic publication, was well represented by a very polite and charming women (not in the Monaco fashion). She was not forcing the subscription, but proposed as a test the last three issues with a discount: 1 pound sterling the issue instead of 3.10.

A draw was proposed too. To win: a day at Bletchey Park, a spy place of World War Two in conjonction with the Britain Alone stamp issue.

A draw again with Stamp Magazine for an unused collection of George V stamps.

Certainly, as Timbres magazine, this company finds the financial cost important, but they were there! Not even a stand, but two lively-and-cheerfully-managed square meters with two chairs, a coffee table, some anniversary issues to be sold, an urn. Little yes, but right at the sole exit :)

I love the British commercial sense.

29 May 2010

Eurovision topical collection expanding

Tonight, in Norway, the final of the 55th Eurovision Song Contest will take place.

After Finland and its 2007 victory, not very appreciated by French television animators, Norway issued this 18 May a four stamp series about its winners,including the last one: Alexander Rybak.

Eurovision 2009 - Norvège winner (Norway) - Alexander Rybak
envoyé par haribo1912. - Clip, interview et concert.

What is the more laughable in the winner song video is the final comment by French presenter: "he may perhaps finish ahead of Patricia Kass" (the French singering proposed a requiem last year...).

24 May 2010

Results of the 2010 London Philatelic Games

I am back from a London week end and a profesional run away to Southern Italy.

Quickly after the doors closed, Saturday 15 May 2010, the palmares of the competitive exhibition of 2010 London stamp show were published. The Grand Prix was incarnated by a reproduction of Arnold Machin's depiction of the Queen's head, offered by the
Royal Philatelic Society London.

This Grand Prix was won by a British indigeneous with a study of the first line engraved stamps. More original would have been the choice of 19th century Korea or San Francisco as a postal hub in the same period.

French speaking philatelists would be please to know that Miss Livie-Laure Tillard (expert's daughter) won the youth prize with her presentation of the Marianne du Bicentenaire overprinted for use in Saint Pierre et Miquelon.

Soon: tales of a stay in London, a little line of the Italian one and too much more on the little stories of the always surprising φrench φlatelic pond (that can not be let alone for a dozen days...).

2 May 2010

Marziano, French dealer and librarian

Pascal Marziano is a French collector, expert, hunter, and consequently, dealer of modern stamps and oddities. He just opens his commercial website.

What could I find while I am not very interested in recent definitive freaks and three-zero philatelic orders?

A bookshop... where the note for each sold book will be kept online to help specialists and curious people know what are the tools of their passion.

A thank to one expert of France's new generation.

1 April 2010


Norvic Philatelics finally got a better depiction of the King George V Accession stamp to be issued just before the London Festival of Stamps' exhibition, from 8 to 15 May 2010.

Royal Mail via Norvic Philatelics.

4 March 2010

A touch of Braille

It is not because Gibbons Stamp Monthly's editor in chief did not appreciated the boisterous euro coin sale near his stand at MonacoPhil that he kept long grief against Monaco Stamp Issuing Office (OETP).


As soon as the March issue, here is a 2009 stamp of Monaco on the cover to announce Peter Jenning's topical article on the philatelic 200th anniversary of Louis Braille.

The OETP even bought a page of advertisment to announce his stand number at the Festival of Stamps, the international exhibition of London, from 8 to 16 May. And a good page: #6, after the content and before the news section.

And here you can see how the OETP Director changed: no more denuding muse to tease lascive mal...



My apologies: now the lady is almost completely undressed. But the goal is obviously artistic: it is on a stamp reproducing one of the great Monte-Carlo posters.

On the ad, that stamp is surrounded by eleven fake red British phone boxe stamps.

Everything put inside a square.

One message: number of the stamp, no name of the exhibition, and the OETP name and e-mail contacts.

The last campaign from the previous director or an attenuated version of the campaign by his successor?

23 February 2010

Contemporary art and best wishes

Frankly, who can think one's receiving best wishes with that stamp on the cover?

I know that I have a profound ununderstanding of contemporary,
but frankly...

Here, yes it is childish, very traditional,
but the message stamp clearly announces the message.