Monday, October 24, 2016

New modern design Cagou for New Caledonia

Last Bastille Day, Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes newspaper presented the new definitive stamp of New Caledonia, the most autonomous French oversea territory, and its author Sébastien Werling.
The new design (Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes).
With one running line, the illustrator from Strasbourg recreated the cagou, New Caledonia's symbolic endemic bird, to participate in the public competition of last Spring.

His approach is both contemporary and untraditional, and symbolic: are there the letters C and a in the wing? A welcoming open hand on its crest?

The stamps will be issued on Thursday 3 November In New Caledonia and at the Paris Autumn Stamp Show.
The 2013 stamp to mark the opening of Caledoscope, the philatelic street shop in Nouméa.
The printed article of the Nouvelles Calédoniennes is reproduced on the website of the local philatelic club Le Cagou. You can order them soon on Caledoscope, the philatelic service of New Caledonia's Office of Posts and Telecommunications.

Week #2016.42 on SébPhilatélie

A week of pause and, well, unphilatelic leisures. Consequently only 3 posts and article this past week.

Monday 17 October: Collectors Club reminds me there is that book in my library.
A recent conference at the Collectors Club of New York, October 5th, reminded me that Gary W. Granzow's book on security printing through the Perkins-Bacon example, is still to be read, years after its purchase.
Granzow's book, published by the Royal Philatelic Society London.
The company was founded by U.S. inventor Jacob Perkins (1766-1849), who emigrated to England in 1819, and his then associate, British engraver Charles Heath (1785-1848). The latter was very interested in the security engraving machines imagined by the former to created unfalsified banknotes. Joshua Butters Bacon, Perkins' son-in-law, bought Health's shares in 1829.

The conference is didactic and illustrated with the designs from Perkins' patents and for a good reason... During the Q&A, Granzow explained that only Perkins and his closest partners were capable of conceiving, building and maintining the engraving and printing machines!

Perkins-Bacon went bankrupt in 1935 hit by competititve new technics and ill-management. The Royal Philatelic Society London acquired its archives (search the catalogue), that helped the writing of Granzow's Line Engraved Security Printing published 2012.

The 5 October conference can be read on pdf and watch on Vimeo.

Thursday 20 October: A workplace crisis at La Poste? Or in Welfare-State Europe?
The text is my personal insight on the accumulated little incidents at the French public postal operator and to autoemployed parcel delivery workforce in France (some paid - and fined - by La Poste's private subisidiaries). A workforce rebelling in Britain with the support - shocking - of the current conservative government!

My final question is: Can't we find a way to keep the welfare state and not depreciate the economic, social and environmental value of the mail and parcel delivery sector? Or are we, Europeans, doomed to "thatcherize" our whole societies for the sole benefits of the 1% and their minions?

To readers from the United States: yes, I'm French, two steps from marxism :)

Sunday 23 October: Indian Summers and the apex of a crumbling empire.
On Arte, French and German viewers discovered British Channel 4 TV series Indian Summers during the month of October. Two seasons were produced and broadcasted in 2015 and 2016 in Britain.
British DVD edition of the first season  (
Set in the summer capital Simla in 1932 for the first one and 1935 for the second, the series follows a large group representing all kind of situations and behiavors in the British Raj, from the young promising colonial Administrator to the representative of the Dalit who tried to get rights for this cast while pursuing the wish for India's independence.

Amateurs of sopa operas will get their lots of private secrets behind the historical context, all masterminded by the owner of the British club.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Week #2016.41 on SebPhilately

This week, I began a series of article on what philatelically and numismatically happened during my Welsh, London and Paris holidays late July-early August 2016.

Monday 10 October: coinage as jewels in Cardiff.
On the first day of my Welsh trip late July I discover the Norwegien Church of Cardiff and its craftsmanship sale some Sundays.
A 1939 silverplated farthing mounted as a necklace, a Coinwear creation I bought late July.
My find was Coinwear, a duo who recycled old coins into earrings and necklaces. You can choose among many gold or silver plated British, U.S., Australian, etc. coins. Either plain like my George VI 1939 farthing necklace or ciselled to highlight the illustration: bords, allegories, kangaroos, and so on.

Tuesday 11 October: stamped mail in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
I was suprised twice in the first half of the new Tim Burton's movie inspired by the first novel by Ransom Riggs in his 2011 ongoing series.

Not only were the covers important in the intrigues: how has Miss Peregrine been communicating with the rest of the world? But three characters manipulated the covers enough to be studied by the philatelist.

The first one carries a dark blue Machin from the Royal Mail, cancelled with a round datestamp (where is the dirty unreadable inkjet cancel?). The other was supposedly mailed from the United States, franed with two stamps - one of which I am sure depicted a bird.

Wednesday 12 October: Artist Freddy Ryman celebrated in Gibraltar.
Two articles in The Gibraltar Chronicle on a stamp exhibition, yeepee! To read them: 7th October and 11th.
The first stamp designed by Freddy Ryman, the first of  Gibraltar on a local event (Gibraltar Chronicle).
The stamps presented are all by Freddy Ryman, who worked on many Gibraltar issues since the 1966 European Sea Angling Championships, the first stamp on a local event in the British territory on the doorstep of Spain.

Philatelists Richard Garcia and Stephen Viñales spoke at the inauguration on Monday 10. The event was prepared with the Department of Education so that students will discover part of their philatelic history.

Thursday 13 October: Between postal and fiscal in the British West Indies.
On Thursday, the 5pm conference at the Royal Philatelic Society London introduced the fiscal stamps of the British colonies of the Caribbean, including British Guyana.
Michael Medlicott illustrated the fiscal use of stamps. For example this 1873 gun licence established in Guyana  (Michael Medlicott collection, RPSL conférence, 13 October 2016).
At the head of a massive collection, Michael Medlicott explained, colony by colony, the creation and printing of stamps for fiscal use... while explaining that many of them were first issued for postal reason, or sometimes greatly collected because they had postal validity while collectors would never see them on any mail.

The conference (pdf on the RPSL website, video if you ask their secretary politely) is then a must-see to complete your knwoledge of the British West Indies stamps.

And, by some documents, some anecdotes and Mr Medlicott's conclusion, another hint to think of stamp collecting not just as a quoted valued accumulation, but as the work of historians: these fiscal issues reflect the evolution of the colonial economy after the abolition of slavery.

Friday 14 October: From the life of Phloi to the one of King Bhumibol.
On Thurday, King Bhumibol of Thailand passed way after 70 years of reign. A reign marked by a great number of political-military difficulties for his country, but also by the success of Thailand in the current Globalisation of the economy.
Cover of the English edition, 1998 (Silkworm Books via
A 1953 novel I bought in Bangkok in 2009 and that I began to read this Summer, is of interest to understand Thailand, the people's passion for their King and the monarchy. Four Reigns by actor and writer Kukrit Pramoj (with a very short political career in the mid-1970s).

He told the life of Phloi, who was placed at a young age in the service of King Chulalongkorn's Queen when her mother left her father, being only his minor wife. Years after years, Phloi became a young woman facing the dilemnia of love or arranged marriage, then the different moments of motherhood, while the country under the successive Kings opened itself to the Western culture and new practises. The novel ends the same day King Ananda Mahidol, Bhumidol's brother, was unexplainly killed.

Sure, literarians and historians must have compared how Pramoj's telling warned young King Rama IX of the dangers of forgetting the past too quickly in a fast changing world.

Sunday 16 October: The tourist office of Cardiff and its own stamp.
Second episode of the Sébastien-in-Wales series: do you know that the Cardiff tourist information office at the Wales Millenium Centre sell its own Universal Mail UK stamp but not the complete booklet?
Fifth at the bootom of  UK0055 booklet issued August 2013, this stamp appears third in UK0021.
Universal Mail is a private postal operator who sells its stamps in tourist areas and museums. The service is valid only for international postcard, but one can mail them into any Royal Mail pillar boxes. After sorting, Universal Mail forward them the most profitable way possible (seldom the most speedy one though, would they my mother seeing me back before receiving the card).

What happened to the other four stamps of the UK055 booklets? A complex but efficient cutting and distributing all over tourist facilities all over Wales?

To occupy your week-end, you can discover the Millenium Center and its surroundings - eventually the whole of Cardiff - by watching the tv series Doctor Who (from 2005) and sequel Torchwood, all filmed and produced at the BBC Wales studio nearby.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Open class fun at the Stamp Festival in Montpellier

This article adapted two articles published on the blog in French: the 8th and the 9th October 2016.

This past week end was Stamp Festival in France, with a two item issue on dance: charleston  on 0.70 € stamp and The Swan Lake on a 1.40 € minisheet. In Montpellier, the local federated association organised a free rule exhibition ; a quiet activity compared to the national competition it will host in 2019.
A small municipal exhibit room but interestingly filled (picture under a Creative Commons licence by-nc-sa 3.0 fr).
I got to read again some collections from previous events or from now known collectors. Jacques Rue shared his Type Blanc in traditional philately while Serge Magallon proposed another trip to Ethiopia, this time from the Italian military post during the Second Italian-Abyssinian War (1935-1937) after mail and pictures from missionaries or Ethiopia's first stamps in previous times. For marcophily and regional the president Michel Soulie proposed Montpellier postal history.
A diamond mark from the machine gun company of the Francoist Valvanera Army during the Spanish Civil War (Juan Ara Somahano's collection, Journée du timbre, October 2016).
What was the major piece of the exhibit in my eye? The machine gun on a military mail from a Francoist company, presented by Juan Ara Somohano, that was in competition at Paris-Philex in May. It goes along the RPG thematic I cynically began with the help of French politician Henri Guaino last July.

Consequently, my second reading at Mr Ara Somohano's collection was by the political symbols stamped or cinderellaed on covers.
How to spice up a topical collection? Find the unimaginable stamp that nobody would be looking at (Czech post via tehe World Association for the Development of Philately's Numbering System).
In the other collections, let's congratulate J. Consejo for the post it that directed visitors to three unmissable documents in his bullfighting collection. First how err-horn-eous was the 1995 stamp on the Camargue region. Then the most hidden stamp of the topic: a Czech stamp issued September 2007 to mark the opening of the first permanent movie theater in Prague by Viktor Ponpero. Watch the screen.

The free style permitted by the non competitive nature of this exhibition was highlighted by two open class collections, way outside the Philatelic International Federation's regulations, but quite inspiring for the inventive multicollectors.

With The Civic Life, Michel Rettgen linked many collectibles papers with the aspects of daily life regulated by State and public collectivities: punched weekly tramway ticket from far ago, Mother's Day special national lottery entry, bags for doggy poop...


No! Come back: they are crispy unused. They hadn't been cancelled by the user :p

Another member proposed an unlisted one frame of an older collection. The philatelic core is the United States fancy cancels from the 1927-1934 period when stamps on registered letters should not be cancelled with the datestamp. To cancel the stamps, the local postmasters were creative: stars, bugs, music instruments, etc.

How to exhibit such covers, that the collector described me as "very common"?

On top of each sheet, he wrote a sentence of a complex funny "Three Mexicans story" while putting collectibles from the topic of the sentence and the fancy cancel: military badge, dead insects, oblong Chinese coin, and...

... a brothel token when the three heroes decided to cheat on their wives. What collection can be used to illustrate rolling pins? :)
The Charleston stamp by Nancy Peña, engraved by Claude Jumelet (Phil@poste via Phil-Ouest).
Really because I like my non-French readership: here is one of the two Festival stamp. I preferred to look and find some less than 10 euro covers in the boxes of two Montpellier dealers present.

Normmaly I should write you to wait until next October for a new Festival exhibition summary. But, after a revolutionary Autumn transfer, the date of the 2017 Stamp Festival is going back to late Winter, started the next 11 and 12 March.

Already, the number of participating associations was slowly decreasing: 118 in 2012 (the first Festival in Autumn) to 87 this year.

Was the change of date ill-chosen? It would be good to know what French Philatelic Service Françoise Eslinger's arguments were in 2010 when she imposed the change, and what are the current Director and the Federation President argument to change back.

Anyway, can associations manage one public event more in the Spring 2017 competitive calendar?

So: next summary in six months.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Week #2016.40 on SébPhilatélie

A light week again on the blog in French, but for a nice reading on Chinese culture and the exhibition at the Stamp Festival in my city.

Monday 3 October: Stanley Gibbons' problems numbered in low pounds.
A summary from a Guardian article of that same day. The situation is bad and my thoughts are with the employees of the catalogues and Gibbons Stamp Monthly whose excellent work is threatened by the stupid cupidity of golden boys.

Wednesday 5 October: Cultural exchange with China.
In the October issue of The London Philatelist, Huadong Zhang proposes a two-part article on the word "stamp" in English and in Chinese languages. Very interesting and that may inspired some review of your Chinese countries and territories collection to check the ideograms for the words "you piao" in Mandarin and "shidan" in Cantonese.

With the issue the list of the Royal Philatelic Society London reminds that both Republics of China and the Special Region of Hong Kong formed a combined group of sixty members, more than many European countries. The issue proposes a summary of the latest Chinese RPSL meeting in Xinjiang, including the local publication of a postal history.

Friday 7 October: Gibbons Stamp Monthly sent through Deutsche Post?
In the gloomy context described above, I was not surprised to see a Deutsche Post label over the plastic bag of the October issue of Gibbons Stamp Monthly, received late September.

Was the German way chosen by Gibbons to save money? Or is it a practice of the Royal Mail to save cost - since the 1st class indicia printed is still in its name? Who may know?

Saturday 8 October: Quiet Stamp Festival in Montpellier, or not if you look closely to open class.
This week-end, the French organised philately (nicknamed φl@télie on my blogs) is celebrating the Fête du timbre - the Stamp Festival.
The Guillaume de Nogaret municipal room, one of the traditional exhibit halls of the Association philatélique montpelliéraine (picture under Creative Commons licence by-nc-sa 3.0 fr).
Soon the article in French will be adapted in English because I met an interesting fellow collector who presented me yesterday how open class inspired many of them, despite the opinion of "serious" others.

For those who can not wait and have faith in Google Translate, the paper confronts the non competitive exhibition with the current evolutions of the closest faubourgs of Montpellier city center I walked past going to the event.

A reminder: Montpellier will host the French philatelic championship and federal congress in May-June 2019.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Week #2016.39 on SébPhilatélie and on the web

Monday 26 September 2016: Oh les timbres ! blog's back.
After a long pause, the French well-written topical blog Oh les timbres ! is back with daily articles inspired by the (numerous) new issues of the French Post and the news - even sad ones as the first article is about Nice after the terrorist attack on Bastille Day.

Monday again: new banknote, new generation in Britain.
Since Tuesday 13 September, the Bank of England is introducing banknotes in polymer: stronger, waterproof, cleaner because washable.
Can you spot the publicly known security features on the Winston Churchill 5 pounds note? (Flikr account of the Bank of England).
Be careful though, the Daily Mail journalist (?) James Smith lost 10 pounds: one fiver melted into the microwave, the other into the water tubes from a washmachine. Never play with money.

Friday 30 September: Remembrance of the Channel Island occupation by the Germans.
On Thursday 29, the Royal Philatelic Society London hosted a conference by Ron Brown on "The German Occupation of the Channel Islands 1940-1945". The first half was a traditional philatelic history on how the local authorities of Guernsey and Jersey managed the needs for stamps, with some liberty from the occupying forces.

On the other half, the paper became tragic with the stories of the arrest, captivity in French occupied prisons and even deportation to Nazi Germany camps of some Islanders for crimes of food stealing, listening to the BBC or for only being Jew. These lifes were recalled by Mr Brown with letters and cards sent to or by them.

The paper is available for all on the RPSL website (pdf file). Members (directly) and non-members (write the RPSL secretary) can access the video on youTube.

Sunday 2 October: British Museum's collection of Middle East postcards.
Last Monday 26, Maev Kennedy for The Guardian met St John Simpson, archeologist and British Museum curator for the Middle East collections, to be presented with the collections of postcards and thoughts on the future of this particular mean of communication.

Simpson has been putting some postcards into the exhibits to add views of the daily life of the countries involved, correspondence of European travellers. A new way to study history for today's historians, hence the 5000 card boxes the Museum is keeping.

But, the digital age is hard for postcard collectors and researchers: Tehran youth who doesn't know where the post office is, Bahrain shops not stocking postcards, a new generation of academians who never wrote and sent one...

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Witcher games make Polish Post proud

Translation from the article in French published on SébPhilatélie last Saturday 24 September 2016.

Since Friday 16 September 2016, millions of non philatelist teenagers and adulescents are reminded by their main video game news website that postage stamps still exist.
Geralt of Rivia on his own minisheet stamp (Poczta Polska).
The Post of Poland is proposing videogamers and stamp collectors 180 thousands single stamp minisheet, at the rate of six złoty. The Witcher series and its hero Geralt of Rivia reached their third episode in May 2015 on Windows computer and current generation consoles.

The games took inspiration from short stories and novels by fantasy writer Andrzej Sapkowski. In an universe miwing European Middle Age and magic, the hero fights monsters and braves dangers in an open world the player can fully explore.

A commercial issue?

Not necessarily: only one small rate Polish stamp honoring a Polish writer, whose works is known abroard, and using pictures of their franchised video games createed by Polish studio CD Projekt RED.

Where did I put the video game minisheet a friend brought back from Japan?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Week #2016.38 on SébPhilatélie and at Timbres Magazine moving headquarters

Tuesday 20 September: Corners and nooks in British philatelic monthlies.
Summer 2016 made no exception to the taste of exploring as many places and times through the reading of British monthly magazines.

Don't miss: Daniel Scheepers' article on the South African 'War Effort' issues and its bantams (Stamp Magazine dated August) ; Alaistair Gunn's one on Australian 'Living Together' social series of the 1990s (Stamp October).

More classical yet very didactic on historical and financial values of the Secession period letters: John L. Kimbrough (Gibbons Stamp Monthly September) explained the difference between the seceeding states' decision to secede the Union, the establishment or their joining to the new Confederation, and finally the split of the postal services. One day more or less on a letter from one of the considered states and...

Thursday 22 September: Jacques Renollaud, French-British Isles postal relations specialist passed away.
Article translated in English here.

Friday 23 September: Even Centrafrican corner studied in Gibbons Stamp Monthly.
Just the day after Tuesday's article, a new unexpected corner of the world appeared in the October issue of Gibbons Stamp Monthly: the Centrafrican Republic by Michael Round, rarely (never?) seen in French philatelic press.

A summary from colonial age to the last times of civil peace, with almost only cancelled stamps after independence! A tour de force considering the country was a furnisher of cancel-to-order stamps for stamp dealers' packets for beginners.

Saturday 24 September: an article soon to be translate here.
Video gamers and collectors of Poland must wait until tomorrow, please.

[The next Monday: Thank you for your patience: over here, please.]

Saturday 24 September in newsstands: Timbres Magazine going full French reverse...
The French monthly has gone an identity crisis for the last year: the September 2015 "new formula" looked mostly like its former self despite editor in chief Gauthier Toulemonde's promise to follow the wishes of the majority who answered the latest magazine survey.

I was happy: the three last issues of the 2015-2016 season were in my humble opinion the best read with articles on many parts of the philatelic topics, places and times, some writers adding bibliography and context to their exhibited collections encouraging further research and readings.

But, surprisingly, Toulemonde announced in his July-August editor's note that a complete revolution was underway for the September issue, without precising what neither why.

However the September and October issues showed that Timbropresse team put their leader in a straitjacket, booked him for a long stay in the desert of Oman for the Autumn if he refused to apply the previously mentioned survey (or has he eventually volunteered that desert experiment?).

For the revolutionary part yet: the magazine moved from Paris city center to a Paris outside doorstep office building in Pantin (larger cheaper offices), between August and October - forcing the part media, part commemorative cover operation to Oman be delayed.

For the conservative revolutionary part: the new Timbres is "more current" as said on the cover... Understand in the current French political mood: for French (and France lovers) only. Only short articles on France and its colonies, with an accent on immediately useful to French collectors (short columns on current prices vs catalogue quotes, recent frauds presented to two experts, redefinitions of popular collections such as plating and phosphorescence errors).

My personal opinion: very deep sigh... as I am not very interested into all-French collecting. Some articles keep some interest but mostly thank to the sharpen writing style of their authors. Un-French topics can be found in Toulemonde's special issues and in small corners, especially if boobs are shown. Sigh...

Hopefully, English speaking readers who can read French or professionally use Google Translate, now President-Philatelist Nicolas Sarkozy's Gallic France's now got a full philatelic magazine for you. Yeah!

The French version of this "more current formula" in thoughtful preparation (mostly waiting the next Sarkozy's stupid quote on history).

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Obituary: Jacques Renollaud, a postal historian between France and the British Isles

By a sad mail,the president of the Club philatélique franco-britannique, Robert Marion, announced that one of French philatelic elders Jacques Renollaud passed away, Saturday 17 September, aged 90.

Former officer of the Club and of the Irish Philatelic Circlethe European Academician was known for the study of the French-British postal relations until 1855 and of the Irish-British ones until the 1920s. In Britannica, the periodical of the Club, he helped members follow the news of the Machin stamp saga.

He was still present at Europhilex 2015 in London and at the World Stamp Show in New York last Spring with his catalogue of the Mail of French Prisoners-of-War in England 1744-1815 (available through the Club). You can read, on the Club philatélique brainois website, Mr Renollaud's summary on his collection proposed in an European Academy of Philately's exhibition during Braphil'15, marking the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Week #2016.37 on SébPhilatélie

British magazines and a good news for the philatelist of Southern France!

Tuesday 13 September: What stamp is the first of Gibraltar?
A read back into the game proposed by Richard Garcia in Gibbons Stamp Monthly August 2016 issue: among four competitors, which one is the first stamp of Gibraltar?

Not an easy question between the first stamps sold and postally used from Gibraltar to Spain, the British ones finally used there on international mail, fiscal ones in local Spanish currency, and finally the first catalogued ones (British Victorian overprinted).

And I wonder why not add the first ones that didn't look like a British stamps: the pictorial issue of 1930? And why does Yvert et Tellier continue to think the first stamp of France is the number 3 in its catalogue???

Wednesday 14 September: a scandalous issue for Stamp Magazine.
The October 2016 issue of British Stamp Magazine (published mid-September) turns around the topic of scandals... voluntarily or not.

This cover will get a lot of reader's comments I bet (Stamp Magazine website).
In the newspages old scandalous "uncrowned king" Edward VIII get his commemorative issue in form of a Postal Museum overprinted Post & Go printed on demand stamps. New scandal when John Crace imagined, with a lot of acid and caustic soda, the Royal Mail issuess after the Brexit referendum... with a certain 350 million pound bus on stamp premium...

It's very rare that politic news end into a general philatelic magazines. Generally, when a blogger is too close to the red line, readers doesn't appreciate.

Possible unvoluntary scandal: a Third Reich stamp on cover to announce John Winchester's article on the centenary of tanks??? In the article, and in a position of combat, the Canadian engraved 1942 stamp or the British Day D 1994 one would have avoided some comments I'm sure.

Next episode: November to January Reader's Letters in the same publication.

Sunday 18 September: Montpellier to host France's national exhibition in June 2019!
Earlier this week the Association philatélique de Montpellier announced that the Federation of French Philatelic Associations accepted its candidature to host the national exhibition, championship and federal congress in June 2019.
The picture shown with the good news picturing the support of the Métropole of Montpellier and the public company managing the venue, Montpellier Events (Association philatélique montpelliéraine).
The venue will be Montpellier Exhibition Park, in nearby Pérols. A place more and more connected to the city center and incoming ways: line 3 of tramway (the beaches are nearby), airport is in the neighbour, the A9 highway and the speedways for the ones who wish to check the nearby wineyards (including the new Protected Designation of Origin - AOC - of Pic Saint-Loup north of Montpellier).

The Saturday 8 to Monday 10 (Pentecôte Bank Holiday in France) event will take place just after Stockholmia, the celebration of the 150 years of the Royal Philatelic Society London.