Monday, May 08, 2017

Weeks #2017.17-18 on SébPhilatélie

Tuesday 25 April: A philatelist in Hôtel Matignon.
The Hôtel Matignon is the official residence of the French Prime Minister since it was confiscated and then bought to Austria after the First World War. A place in Paris that the Austrian Empire received from the Duchess of Galliera to serve as its embassy in the French capitale.

What is the connection to philately?

Ferrari on a 1968 stamp issued by  Liechtenstein (
She was the mother of Philipp von Ferrary, the famous and excentric rare stamp collector who refused to inherit the title and wealth of his father.

His life and how his family perceived it (not good) is the object of an article by Jeremy Havardi, published in the May issue of Stamp Magazine.

Concerning the name of the first Prime Minister of 39 year old President Emmanuel Macron... Who knows? The answer will be given next Sunday after the presidential investiture.

Sunday 30 April: The little miseries of the British completist collectors.
The life of a British collector who wish to own a most complete collection of new issue from Royal Mail is already expensive. Lastly it's becoming quite awful.

The Guernsey philatelic service has begun to overprint its Post & Go stamps every time a cruise ship enters St. Peter's Port... but accepted with difficulties subscription to these series.

In Stamp Magazine dated May 2017 Richard West complained he received his 50 pounds worth mini-sheet of the last Her Majesty Accession Machin stamp... with two margins removed so that it could fit the Royal Mail order service's protection and envelope.

Finally, the two main blogs to be informed live on new British issues are dubitative in front of the next Mills issue next June. The stamps are focusing on England... South East England... very near London... As a caricature of the conservative don't-care of the country map. Whereas one stamp could have being a hit with Tolkien's fanatics.

English-able readers are invited to read Norvic Philatelics and The Commonwealth Stamp Opinion blogs for more details (precise links in the article in French).

Tuesday 2 May: Quick reading of the French National Exhibition palmares.
During the bank holiday week-end for Labor Day (1 May in France), the French Federation of Philatelic Associations gathered in Cholet, West of France, for Phila-France 2017 and his annual congress.

The palmares of the national exhibition is online over here.

The article in French is full of my curiosity in front of titles and topics in the list, unable I was to attend the show.

But the Grand Prix was awarded Olivier Gervais' collection on Luminescence on French definitive stamps (1959-2009), a major advancement for this speciality. Mr. Gervais is the author of an impressive website and updated blog on the topic. Now he exhibited , may his website be recognised by organised philatelic organisations...

On another philatelic specialist, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon expert Jean-Jacques Tillard got another gold medal... He is on a good way to the 200th gold with the Group series of the French territory near the Canadian coast. Note that Saint-Pierre will host a new international exhibition early June 2017.

Thursday 4 May: May the Stamp be with you.
On the Day of the Force and of Prince Philip's future retirement announcement - and anniversary week of the Penny Black issue in 1840, the Royal Philatelic Society London, the Philatelic Traders Society and many dealers, agencies, collectors join their forces for the first National Stamp Day Celebration of the United Kingdom.
The logo of the movement launched by the PTS and the RPSL (PTS website).
The monthly Stamp & Coin Mart proposed ideas to stamp collectors to get involve in this promoting effort of the hobby.

You can check two hastag words on Twitter to follow happenings and consequences: #stickastamp (thanks to Buckingham Covers' stickers) et #celebratestamps17.

Monday 8 May: French speaking Africa, a philatelic Bermuda Triangle?
On one Saturday, May 6th, three occasions show studying and collecting French speaking African recent stamps and postal history need patience and research.
This stamp of Niger is quoted 125 USD by Scott catalogue who doesn't know it uncancelled... Check low valued auctions for unused ones and your envelope shoebox... Who knows? (unused stamp via Hipstamp).
English speaking readers are invited to check the's threads if they have information on the mysterious Tunisian Klussendorf-type ATM stamp (1999-2000) and Niger's Abdou Moumouni Dioffo stamp (1997) whose catalogue listings are non existent for the former, or seems to imply the greatest of scarcity unused, even rarity cancelled.

Why Ivory Coast issued a minisheet in 2001 for a Universal Postal Union Congress that never took place in Abidjan and two others in August 2015, four months after a UPU meeting in Geneva with an illustration of the post office in Grand Bassam, are the object of an article by Marc Parren in the May 2017 issue of The London Philatelist.

With historic and philatelic research, the author proposed to discover the recent political crisis in Ivory Coast, the military mail sent during the French and United Nations missions (the latter still continuing), and how the country succeeded to get the right to host the 2020 UPU Congress.

A French blog, La Poste aux armées, on military mail helps to complete Mr. Parren's paper: recently, the French field postal service was privatised into the "Service postal international pour la Défense" (SPID, Postal International Service for the Defense) and since 2012 served by a joint operation by the French post and Sodexo, a food services and facilities management company.

La Poste and Sodexo's contract with the Ministry of Defense was extended for 4 years (announced last February).

Monday, April 24, 2017

Week #2017.16 on SébPhilatélie

Monday 17 April: How to promote stamps and coins from overseas territories.
New Caledonia and Bermuda are on the media road to promote their stamps and coins.

Matrixes of the 100 Pacific Franc coins: Marianne common face (here without the engraved year) and the New Caledonian and the French Polynesian faces. Wallis-et-Futuna using both (photograph by Alain Jeannin, La 1ère, March 2017).
For the French very autonomous collectivity the Director of Calédoscope, the philatelic agency, answered questions for monthly Atout timbres. The minting of Franc Pacifique coins was reported by public local channels France 3 and La 1ère late March.

In Bermuda the Director of the philatelic bureau Stanley Taylor participated in a promotion video ordered to BermudaMedia. It was published early this April on youTube. Mr Taylor is known to Gibbons Stamp Monthly's readers: Basil Herwald reported his meeting with him in the July 2015 issue.

Tuesday 18 April: music cinderella for Arthur Russell.
Thank to French public and eclectic music radio FIP (no, not the Fédération internationale de philatélie) - a sort of almost no talk BBC 6 Music - I encounter this stamped album cover.
Arthur's Landing album cover inspired by a certain philatelic era (Band Camp website of the label Strut).
Being a moron concerning music styles, listening to FIP while streetwalking helps me forget the traffic jam noises and to discover new things. The smartphone ear allows to see the album cover on the sleepmode screen.

That's how I disover this cinderella style cover: Arthur's Landing is an hommage album by friends of New York artist Arthur Russell (1951-1992), issued 2010-2011.

Philatelist of the Interwar Period would like the design ; those into aerophilately the motto in Latin.

Thursday 20 April: Proportional cancellations for proportional rates?
For 16 months now, the French post has been carrying pricing in proportion rates: 1 stamp for the 1st weightband, 2 for the second, etc.
Corner of a large envelope 250-500 grams, hence the four adhesive stamp block from an illustrated booklet, partially cancelled 31 January 2017.
But the machine cancellation in sorting office didn't change : a line for upper stuck stamps...

Saturday 22 April: Let's vote! And stamp.
After a far too long presidential campaign - primaries... - French citizens are enjoying an almost political free week-end: the law forbid candidates, parties, television and radio channels to express political messages.
A porte-timbre cinderella booklet for the 2012 presidential election createed and sold by, the website of the Éditions philatéliques européennes.
The most philatelist will try to create a presidential collection: see this interesting website Les Présidents de la République par les timbres or try every electoral April issue of French philatelic magazines since the first universal suffrage presidential election in 1969.

Sunday 23 April: newsbits in Paris and London.
In Paris, Mr Macr... Sorry, too strong is the force of media hypnosis.
The FFAP's Twitter page on Sunday 24 April 2017.
In the Parisian headquarters of the French Philatelic Associations Federation, someone rediscovered the insitution's got a Twitter account that was restarted March 22nd after three years of silence.
George James, Spink's philatelic specialist presents a collection for sale, on 18 April on youTube.
Let's enjoy this moment, a philatelic collection sale by London auction house Spink was the subject of a presentation video this past week: Arthur Gray's predecimal elizabethan Australia collection, with sketches, essays, stamps, varieties,...

A nice catalogue.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Week #2017.15 on SébPhilatélie

Quite a week for non philatelic items viewed by a philatelist maniac.

Monday 10 April: "Fedex quests" in video game.
Players of aventure-action and open world video games have developed their own slang along the episodes of different series of such games, from The Elder Scrolls to the current Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, including the part-parodicly American, part-seriously criminal Grand Theft Autos.
Auto-parody of such quests in the last Zelda: this character accepts to buy you specific mushrooms by packs of 55... (Nintendo, via
One of those expressions is a reproach: while some missions are compulsory to conclude the main story, the open world permits a lot of exploration and meetings of characters asking the player for help to carry a letter or find some goods.

In practice these secondary missions call for a lot or return trips, hence the expression "Fedex quest" appeared it seems in the 1990s when the develivery company was a star in America: you move everywhere on the map to carry, bring, etc. like a Fedex truck driver.

Wednesday 12 April: Challenging yet pleasant conferences at the RPSL.
A summary of two recent filmed conferences at the Royal Philatelic Society London, whose display summaries are available for all the Society's website.

Their topic and very specialist approch would have me run away as quick as possible a few years ago, but the volunteering philatelists and postal historians were so enthusiast and good story-tellers that anyone curious could entertain discovering the postal stationery of the Orange Free State, a Boer republic of the late 19th century, by Mike Smith (23 February), and the first decades of the psotal history of South Australia by Pat Grimwood-Taylor (6 April).

To watch: an Orange stamped card used in short-lived Republic of Stellaland, a card signed by Tolkien's father - yes, the Tolkien born in Bloemfontein and major creator of languages and fantasy universe. On the other side of the Indian Ocean, many destinations from South Australia were presented, plus a letter from a small oulet in the Northern Territory to Winbledon, England and its "Too Late" mark... that led to weeks of travelling the wilds within and the ocean without the Austral continent.

Friday 14 April: boomerang effects in the Netherlands and for the Maldives.
The force of philatelists were shown to two organisations these recent times.

First when PostNL decided, starting January 1st, to call back all datestamps from postal counters in private shops, meaning that stamps on all parcels and registered letters would be pen cancelled (standard letters continuing to be machine cancelled in sorting plants). The post company will resume cancellations at postal counters next June with bright new datestamps. A story to discover and follow on StampBoards forum.

WOPA, the Gibraltar-organised website to gather official philatelic bureaus to sell their stamp at face values to international clients, interrupted the page of the Maldives after only a full day, when the Commonwealth Stamp Opinion blog's webmaster and readers wrote down their doubts that the Maldives postal operator was the seller. They believe the agency providing the very numerous stamps and minisheets in the name of Bangladesh was behind. One of WOPA officers intervenes to assure he will check again.

After all, the other postal operators who are issuing too much stamps, have the openess to sell them themselves on WOPA.

Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 April: Open class chocolate between Chester and Grenada.
Theses Easter articles were transled on SebPhilately's.

Note: no, this blogger did not receive any free chocolate from Rococo, but is eager to get back to their Chester or London stores... Is thinking of ordering 2 kilograms of choco soon...

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Open class chocolate: full sail from Grenada to Chester

Non-religious Easter and personal interests: let's eat fair and sustainable chocolate Britishly and Commonwealthly! With philatelic nibs here and there: open class.

Jute and cotton bag with the colors and engravings of Rococo Chocolates, sold since early 2017 (photograph taken at home, my apologies for the designer).
If chocolate has been of course a good part of comfort eating in my youth, it was surely more for the sugar in it until I looked for taste two decades ago.

This search finds an interesting and unexpected turn four years ago, April 2013, during the first of my yearly trip to Chester, north-west of England. I was early for a meeting under the Victoria clock on Eastgate when I noticed the modest but joyfully pastel display of a Rococo Chocolates shop... far more modest than the exaggerated and nauseating - and I love chocolate... - fountains of liquid chocolate by their luxuous competitor down the street.
The Eastgate in Chester historic center and the 1897-1899 clock. The Rococo store is - for a few weeks now - on the left after the fortification (photograph under licence: Creative Commons by-nc-nd 4.0).
The shop employees were very courteous, not invading in their advices, but open to conversation on a the work of chocolate. I discover back home that it was opened in 2012 in this provincial timbered house town by a London-based chocolate-maker Chantal Coady, at work since 1983.

The shop under East Gate (photographie sous licence Creative Commons by-nc-nd 4.0).
Now how will I go back to philately? The bags.

From the plastic ones four years ago (and banned for obvious sustainaible reasons by the European Union members) to the cardboard ones nowadays (next picture), Rococo promotes itself with reproduction of chocolate moulds, in their engraving forms.
The current cardboard bag at Rococo Chocolates. Engravings and chocolate... Let's pray I haven't brought ideas in the mind of Royal Mail and La Poste salesmen: the philatelic program reissued in chocolate form for Christmas.
Easter eggs, birds and fishes, and a cut pod full of cocoa beans. Hmmm.

New issues discovered during my last visit, January 2017, were the sale of a new jute/juto bag - the first picture of this article - and the Chester shop going to move in May to Northgate Street, on the other side of Chester Cathedral. The current store location was chosen by the initial links between Coady's company and the real estate group Grosvenor in London, but put between a restaurant and the hall of Grosvenor Hotel.

The new one, between a small post office and a cheese shop, will have more space that will enable tea house activities and chocolate making and tasting sessions in the basement. "Made in Chester". Can I wait until my 2018 pilgrimage to the Roman city.

For now, let's stick with my 2017 purchase.
The front of a Grenada Chocolate Company packaging, distributed by Rococo Chocolates.
Compared to the four previous visit to Rococo Chester, this year I got more freedom concerning luggage size imposed by low cost airline companies. After a hanful of floral decorated and tasting Bee Bars, I accepted the manager's proposal for Artisan Bars ; for philatelic purposes: if the former are like single definitive postage stamp, the latter are booklets of stamps :)

I even listened - and was successfully sold - the history of The Grenada Chocolate Company, whose drawn landscape packaging make its bars illustrated stamp booklet.
The full packaging... No, sorry, no picture of actual chocolate: how could I and my colleagues during a Friday noon lunch have succeeded to save a bit of chocolate for illustration. But what a tasteful memory...
Tree-to-bar chocolate the motto claims. The company, founded 1999 by three gentlemen, is a cocoa farmers' and chocolate makers' cooperative in Hermitage, Saint Patrick ParishGrenada, the former British colonies in the Windwards Islands.

20 hectares of cocoa trees are exploited in a organic - or the trees - and fair - to the farmers - way ; the chocolate factory tries to be as sustainable and self-sufficient as possible, with sun panels and batteries for example. Rococo's website told how this organisation helps the cooperative survived Ivan and Emily consecutive hurricanes in 2003.
Cocoa pods on tree, stamp of 1966 (via
Organic agriculture, fair trade with farmers and distribuotrs, sustainable energy production... But what of transportation to the continents of consumption?

Hence the out-of-design back and white sticker on the wrapper - an overprint?-, that provides a good story for chocolate shopkeepers: "A Class - Fair Transport".
The Tres Hombres in 2013 : 32 meters, 35 tons of cargo (including Grenada chocolate bars), 5 profesional sailors, room for 10 trainees - meaning you (
Fairtransport is a Dutch company created by three men in 2007. They have been renovating old sailing ships to put them back on the seas for a carbon free transportation of goods. Another way of thinking before reading Seija-Riitta Laakso's thesis on the sail against steam speed competition in the 19th century.
Map of the current Fairtransport routes accross the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. But forget containers, loading's the old way. But has every order to be done in a haste? (
The company has a project for a modern sailing ship and formed an alliance with two other sailing shipping companies. The sticking label guarantees 90% of transportation are carbon-free: 10% being the usual first/last kilometer problem.

Let's conclude on Grenada before the offensive on the family's Easter lamb and chocolate dessert: a very pronounced tasting chocolate, less sweet, whose raw material farmers are respected, whose industrial added value is spent in the country of origin's economy, and whose transoceanic transportation isn't polluting.

That justifies the prices at Rococo Chocolates and an Easter time thought: Do we have to stuff ourselves with food to be happy?

This article is inspired by two articles published Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 April 2017 on SébPhilatélie, my blog in French.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Week #2017.14 on SébPhilatélie

Tuesday 4 April: non philatelic important economic reading before voting.
I'm fed up with the on going French presidential campaign... Let's read comics!
Cover of the 2nd edition in French of Economix, published 2014 (
Its original version was published in 2013 in the United States. Economix is a comic book in which Michael Goodwin tries to explain the history of economics, illustrated by Dan Burr.

A fine exercice of thinking and understanding our world and how politicians can disrupt as much as help make things better.

Goodwin's and Burr's task continues on thank to the current leadership of the Republican Party in the U.S. When could we hope to read a British Brexit version or a French Napoleonian Right Wing one, please?

Wednesday 5 April: all the mail received from Citizens of the World.
This past week, the French public radio show La Fabrique de l'histoire (The Workshop of History) on France Culture proposed four installments on aspects of globalisation, understood in all its dimensions: economic, trades, but also cultural.
Garry Davis dictating the content of a letter he received in Paris, January 1949 (Actualités cinématographiques, 20 January 1949, via the 'Institut national de l'audiovisuel).
On Wednesday, two researchers explained how the World Federalist Movement got momentum by disrupting a session of the United Nations General Assembly in Paris in November 1948. And how much mail its spokeperson, Garry Davis, from people who wished to become "Citizens of the World", meaning wishing the establishment of an actual World State to avoid the conflicts nation-states created in the past decades.

One of the documents played is from a January 1949 newsreel for the movie theaters. In the Paris hotel where his offices were, Garry Davis is seen among the stamped envelopes of supporters for his World Citizenship idea. Stamps and envelopes everywhere, even on a panel to list the different countries of origin.

Friday 7 April: War weapons, a growing stamp topic?
When news are too strong for the philatelist to put them aside... An article on stamps and postal history on militarised chemical agents.
Iran issued a shocking stamp to mark the 10 years of effectivity of the Chemical Weapons Convention  (via a trade website in the United States).

Only states who were victims or whose allies were affected by the use of these horrible weapons had issued stamps to warn their people and the world: the Kingdom of Yemen (North) during the civil war when allegedly Egypt - allied to the republicans - used gas against Yemeni civilians, Iran in support of the Iraqi Kurds after Saddam Hussein's forces gas bombed the village of Halabja.

Even if the United Nations Postal Administration issued six stamps (two per office) in 1991 when the convention was signed, banning and ordering the destruction of these weapons, what postal administration will issue a stamp for the chemical victims of the complex Syrian civil war?

Through the excellent website by a late collector of Australia, Maurice Mishkel, postal history items exist as proof that all countries and powers are concerned since World War One. When a "Chemical Warfare School" publicly received mail in 1946...

Saturday 8 April: Machins will rule the world forever!
Thank to Ian and John Billings of Norvic Philatelics (blogsite and shop), my article tries to summarize how many new Machin stamps were and are to be issued in the first semester of 2017.
The first minisheet marking the 50 years of the Machin stamps, to be issued in June. The different picture recalls the steps of Arnold Machin's artistic thinking (Royal Mail Philatelic Bulletin via Norvic Philatelics).
Good luck for your wallet, Machin lovers.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Week #2017.13 on SébPhilatélie

Tuesday 28 March: the many forms of decimalisation in the Commonwealth.
From the creation of the Australian dollar philatelically commemorated last year to a three-time reissued Cayman Islands definitive series in 1969 described by Moel Cavenhill in the February issue of Gibbons Stamp Monthly, many former British colonies kept the ternary monetary system until the sixties and seventies.
The "C-Day" second version of Cayman Islands decimalisation series: 8th September 1969 was the day the Jamaican dollar replaced the Jamaican pound/shilling/pence (via
A change that didn't go smoothly if one looks "outside the scope of the catalogue" for 1961 Pakistan with the numerous local oveprints presented by Mike J. Roberts at the Royal Philatelic Society London earlier in March.

Thursday 30 March: postal dragon in a French comics.
How to remind the e-generation that postal service still exist and are useful: show them in what they read.
Excerpt of the first and second page of  L'Année du dragon, last tome in the Mélusine series (Dupuis Editions).
On 29 March, weekly French and Belgian comics magazine Spirou is pre-publishing by episode the 35th tome of Mélusine, the stories of a young apprentice witch ; on general sale on 5 May.

In L'Année du dragon (The Year of the Dragon), all the dragons disappeared and the magical world is put to an economic stop: no more transportation of mail and packages for a start.

Saturday 1 April: Liberty, Equality, Salmonity.
Not good times for pranks after many politicians' acts in 2016-2017, so let's eat the fishes instead.
A postal sushi postal of the Raw Fish Republic (Florent Chavouet's blog).
From 2010 to 2012 a French illustrator created almost 200 play on words and puzzle based on sushis.

Sunday 2 April: Iain Stevenson RIP.
Sad news: one month ago, edition specialist and philatelist Iain Stevenson died in England. A former professional editor who became university teacher in 1999, he was a specialist of telegraph stamps, postal stationery, North Borneo and Canada.

Stevenson has a connection with Montpellier, France where I live. He studied geography there in the 1970s, wrote on the Scots College (Collège des Écossais) established by Patrick Geddes in the 1920s, and exhibited his collection of Montpellier postmarks at the French Académie de philatélie's event at the Royal Philatelic Society London last November.

The article in French gives many links to retrieve parts of his publications and exhibits. An eulogy was published by the University College London, followed by tributes from his colleagues, students and readers.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Week #2017.12 on SébPhilatélie

Friday 24 March: Election of the best musical stamp of 2016.
The International Philatelic Music Study Group, based in Germany, organised every year an election, opened to every one, of the best musical stamp of the previous year.
From ancient instruments in Peru...
The stamps in competition can be watched there and the participation file is over here. Advantages of the membership are explained on this page.
... to the public enjoying festivals on print-on-demand stamps of Faroe Islands.
Sunday 26 March: Philatelic exhibition at the Algerian Cultural Center in Paris.
The French and the Algerian governments seem to wish celebrating quietly, each on its side, the 55th anniversary of the 19 March 1962 ceasefire - or "victory day" for the soon to be independent Algeria.
The French commemorative stamp of March 2017: the monument displaying victims of the Algerian Civil War, Quai Branly, Paris (via
France issued a discreet stamp... so discreet no politicians catched it during a hated and unpredictable presidential campaign. That is surprising because the date to mark the end of the Algerian Independence War is refused by French rapatriates and surviving harkis (the Algerian soldiers of the French army): killings still happened between the many sides of this civil war until the next November.
The 8th anniversary of the beginning of the "Algerian Revolution" - or for the French the "Bloody All Saint's Day" (Memory and History, a final secondary school exam subject in France), is at the beginning of the exhibition proposed by the Algerian Cultural Center in Paris.
On the Algerian philatelic side, apart from stamps on battles against the French colonisation since 1830, Sihem Lakhdari, Director of the postage stamp and philately of Algérie Posteintroduced by a conference at the Algerian Cultural Center, Paris, an exhibition on the philately of Algeria since 1962.

Her speech detailed the history of the first independently created stamp of the Algerian postal administration, nicknamed "1+9" because of his important donation to a benevolent cause. Issued on the 1st of November 1962, it commemorated the first general attacks against French people and interests in Algeria.

And replaced the French metropolitan stamps overprinted "E.A." for "État algérien" (Algerian State) hastily created the previous July for the declaration of independence. You can discover their story in an article by Raoul Michau and Michel Soulie, dowloadable in the special issue of the journal of the Montpellier Philatelic Association, published May 2015.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Week #2017.11 on SébPhilatélie

Tuesday 14 March: vaudeville at the French Stamp Festival.
I had a little bit of theatrical fun with the French organised philately this week: the Federation of Associations and the Dealers Union accidentally (?) put events in competition the same week-end on the 11 and 12 March...

Wednesday 15 March: the works of The London Philatelist editors in chief.
Next July the journal of the Royal Philatelic Society London will have a new editor: Finnish lady Seija-Riitta Laakso will succeed Steve Jarvis.

The latter is a specialist of Jamaica who launched with Derek Sutcliffe in the 1990s an Encyclopedia of Jamaican Philately. Four volumes have been published, a website gathers documents and articles.

A research book by Laakso was published by the University of Helsinki in 2006: Across the Oceans. Development of Overseas Business Information Transmission 1815-1875, available in English àon the website of the University. More than 300 pages putting postal history into context.

Saturday 18 March: end-of-catalogues at the Stamp Festival exhibition in Montpellier.
At the first Stamp Festival back in late Winter, the Philatelic Association of Montpellier proposed a level-1 competitive exhibition and fourteen free collections.

I presented a few items that intrigued me along my way through the frames, mostly from stamps and usage found at the end of the French catalogues: fiscally used, service label, French occupation of Germany 1918-1919.
Classical view of Montpellier town center: place of the Comédie 1891, overprinted 1902 (Michel Rettgen collection, Fête du timbre, Montpellier, 11-12 March 2017).
And one commercial postcard of 1890s Montpellier's central place: The Comédie, overprinted a dozen years after to mark a baloon flight in the region.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Week #2017.08 to .11 on SébPhilatélie

My apologies after a little - still on - overwhelmed job period doubled with the discovery of Nintendo's new title The Legend of Zelda: Breath of Wild.
The best French stamp ever!!!... Let's quiet down a bit (via
Saturday 25 February: a French-British-Australian salad.
Since 2009 the Greek letter phi has been forced as the official symbol on French program stamps.
Truncated poster of Jean-Luc Mélenchon's campaign, entitled Disobedient/Rebellious Franceffiche. In stickers and posters it can be found on many urban public and private furnitures (campaign material website).
Since Autumn it's the symbol of the far right politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the current presidential election in France...

On the other of the world multimillionaire CEO of the Australia Post decided to leave its office... after years of philatelic and unions outrage concerning his salaries, months of failed Senate inquiries and weeks of suddenly great media attention.

Presented on Norvic Philatelics blog the new postal rates of Royal Mail seem to indicate the operator is following the Brexit tempo: moderate penny increase for interior mail, huge for international... Mail to Europe being the most punished: +10 pennies!

Sunday 26 February: promotion of philately at the Etihad Museum, Dubai.
The first temporary exhibition in the newly opened Etihad Museum of the United Arab Emirates history, in Dubai, is still interesting journalist.

On the 22 February The National presented the activity proposed to visiting children in order for them to discover postal service and stamp creation.

Monday 27 February: Royal Mail asks internauts their wish for the 2019 program.
The British operator is proposing a survey to the public to get opinions for the 2019 stamp program.
Introduction and first questio of the survey (Royal Mail website).
The ideas are proposed into three domains ; the visitor can tick three boxes per domain. A fourth part allows to add other proposals.

Concerning philatelic philately the 150th anniversary of the Royal Philatelic Society London is among the historic commemorations.

Tuesday 28 February: Continental exhibition in Saint-Pierre and Miquelon next June.
From Thursday the first to Sunday fourth of June 2017, the French overseas collectivity of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon will host a continental interamerican exhibition after the successful 2014 edition.
Logotype of SPM Expo 2017 (official website).
The website permits to read the list of the jury and watch the trophies offered by the insitutions and national federations.

Thursday 2 March: alternate history philately on the BBC.
Imagined in the 1940s, SS-GB, the alternate history serial of the BBC, shows many envelopes during the policeman hero's investigations in a Britain occupied by the nazi forces... if they had successfully landed in 1940.
An occupation stamp, very badly perforated, stuck on an envelope during the first episode (BBC One, Sunday 19 February 2017).
Adapted from the spy novel by Len Deighton, published in 1978: Douglas Archer, one of the best inspectors of Scotland Yard, is forced to make his service works, hoping for a better future, while under the scrutiny of the SS ; the dreadful organisation having begun the census of jews.
The cover of the novel already used alternate philately to strike the potential reader (
An investigation into a murder by gun shot imposes Archer to work for a German military intelligence officer, sent in urgency by Berlin... Who was the victim? What is he so important? At the same time, London is preparing to host a visit of Soviet dignitaries: what will become of Operation Barbarossa in this timeline?

Sunday 5 March: museums and their mail: the Merseyside Maritime Museum, Liverpool.
Many museums exhibit postal history items because they fit the topic of the place. For exemple, this 1941 postcard in the Battle of the Atlantic Gallery in the Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool, England.
The reproduced two sides of a Christmas card sent by a prisoner of war to Liverpool in December 1941.
The illustration gave the place of origin: Stalag X-B near Bremen, north west Germany. The article of the Wikipedia in English helped discover this prison camp: Marlag und Milag Nord.

Marlag stands for Marinelager, a camp for all kind of seamen, both Royal Navy captured and merchant marine civilians, hold because they could help the war effort by manning ships sailing to North America to get supplies.

But the civilians got their own camp, Milag for Marineinterniertenlager, after members of the United States and Switzerland's Red Cross Committees visited Marlag.

Tuesday 7 March: Netherlands philately summarised on one postcard.
Thank to philatelist Postcrosser, I received a card franked with three kinds of stamps that NL Post is proposing these past years.
Thank you Shelly!
On the left side, make-up stamps in the design approach the Netherlands are famous for now. In the center the lower stamp of a 2006 illustrated minisheet on Schoonhoven, a historic center of silver craftmanship.
An inspired card printed by editor Greetz, the same as the personalised stamp on the other side of the card. Liverpool and Beatles lover will notice...
Finally, on the right side, a personalised stamp promoting stamp collecting, mimicking the unused war moral poster of Britain: Keep calm and collect stamps.

Saturday 11 March: French colonies' challenges to postal historians.
Two British publications proposed ideas that could motivate collectors to search the French colonies again. First, in the January issue of Gibbons Stamp Monthly, Michael Round ended his stamp studies of the French Territory of the Afars and Issas (1967-1977) with the goal to find cancelled items from all five post offices of the country to become independent Djibouti, including illustrated "flammes" of Djibouti.

Five in a desertic rocky region: too easy?
HMS Vanadis by Jacob Hägg, around 1900s (via Commons by Wikimedia).
In the February issue of The London Philatelist, Staffan Ferdén studied three covers to a Swedish naval officer cancelled in Stockholm and who found him in Tahiti, in the Society Islands, during the 1883-1885 world tour of the HMS Vanadis.

The author is known for his classic Swedish maritime mail collection and studies (to became a book in 2019 - a summary of a recent presentation is available on the Stockholmia 2019 exhibition website: click "Read more" on the 17 December 2016 article).

Why those Tahiti cover among all mail received and sent by the crew, including Prince Oscar Bernadotte? Because Papeete was, with Egyptian Port Said at the entrance of the Suez canal, the only places where there was no Swedish consulate to take care of the mail.

The article is dense, but succeeds to give information on the cruise, the geopolitial situation of this part of Polynesia under French rule since 1880 (after a protectorate period), and all the maritime routes that existed in the 1880s in order to guess which ones the three letters had taken to find Lieutenant Fredrik Peyron.

Still looking for a challenge?

Let's try genealogy: Peyron as in Loïck Peyron, the French sailing champion? Is there a cousin connection is one could climb their respective trees up until the first French Bernadotte King of Sweden?

Conclusion for the week end.
The author of a Sower specialised blog proposed yesterday something surprising and a personal rendition of what may have happened to a countess living in Lorraine when she sent a registered postcard to a friend in Edinburgh, Scotland. Étiquette.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A stamp for Montpellier's own Frédéric Bazille

This article summarises in part articles of SébPhilatélie in French: the maximum cards preparation, comments on the wonderful organisation, and a sort of illustrated conclusion.

Yesterday, Monday 20 February, the French post issued an artistic stamp in honor of impressionist painter Frédéric Bazille, born 1841 in Montpellier. The chosen artwork is View of village of 1868.
The stamp on a maximum card I made at the first day sale in Montpellier, Friday 17 February (postcard edited by the Fabre Museum, Montpellier municipal museum).
Bazille was a talented painter, born in a rich trade family of Montpellier, in Southern France - a family we met already on this blog thank to Kenneth Nilsestuen with a letter between a wine trader in French conquered Algeria and the Bazille-Castelnau branch of Frédéric's family.

The family owned a domain on the outskirts of 19th century Montpellier : the domaine of Méric, where the garden overviews the small Lez river and the nearby village of Castelnau-le-Lez. On Vue de village, Bazille depicted the daughter of a domain's worker with the village in the background.

A high definition picture of the painting and school activities to discover it are available on the Réseau Canopé website, the French public education information service.

The sad part of the story is that Frédéric Bazille, while volunteering the army, died during the 1870 war between France and Prussia, only aged 28.
A part-walk part-tramway route from the place of the first day sale to the Domaine of Méric, passing in front the Fabre Museum, in Montpellier (Google Maps modified with free software Paint.NET).
The first day of sale was proposed in Montpellier, in an uncommon place for the city and its federated philatelic club. The Association philatélique de Montpellier generally organised such event in a municipal hall ; the Fabre Museum was thought too late.
The merry postal team of the Préfecture post office, the President of the Montpellier Philatelic Association (in blue) and one of the deputy mayor (Midi libre, Montpellier local edition, 18 February 2017).
The sale ended in the historic main post office of the town center, near the Préfecture, the official residence of the French State administrator. I thought the place too tiny and crowded at peak let-me-get-my-registered-or-parcel hours...

... But the post office team was efficient and happy to oblige in such short notice. The postal clark specialised in philatelic matters was there with stamps and the first day datestamp ; his boss all smile with the offered coffee machine and cookies. The Association got space enough to propose René Maréchal's collection of impressionist paintings through stamps and pictorial cancellations.

Let me say that, for the past decade, despite the French post's delusional try to profitability of the philatelic sales, the Montpellier Préfecture post office has kept the status of an actual philatelic post office whereas the philatelic subscription were centralised on order by Phil@poste and that post offices were forced to time the seconds spent by each employee with clients... Letting some post offices with the idea that philatelic consumers were a waste of time!

Montpellier Préfecture never surrendered and is proven right: for the past year and a half, Phil@poste and the Post Office Direction are reintroducing philatelic counters in chosen post offices!!!

This improvised first day of sale is a wonderful gift for a wonderful philatelic friendly team.
For amateurs of how baby are mad... stamps are printed: the right part half sheet of the Bazille stamp, with all colour verification dots and the marginal identifications.
A question remained: why a stamp for Bazille now?
The Rose Dress, 1864, shows a cousin watching the same village accross the small river (postcard edited by the Musée d'Orsay, Paris).
Because Frédéric Bazille has got an international exhibition on the run: Frédéric Bazille and the Birth of of impressionism was inaugurated in the Fabre Museum during the Summer 2016, is currently finishing in Musée d'Orsay, Paris, before cruising to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. from April 9th to July 9th.