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.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Week #2016.36 on SébPhilatélie

Experts, a lot of books and a tv series... with a look back to the mid-2000s.

Sunday 4 September: Expertise offensive in France, still going.
For almost a year now, associate experts Calves son and Jacquart are continuing expending their presence after they open their expertise certificate index on the web that allow to check a certificate a buyer or an exhibition judge wish to control.

This September, they are now publishing a monthly column in Timbres magazine alerting the public with the fraudulent and false stamps, cancellations or overprints they encountered recently.

November 2015, expert master Jean-François Brun, still active but perhaps not into communication as his two competitors, launched a pedagogic blog with pdf file to explain and teach the collectors on the problem of identifying frauds.

In the last article, he highlighted the lightness of stamp catalogue that have refused to print that a 70 cent Paquebot Pasteur can not exist without overprint (its issue was chaotic because of the 1939 declaration of war), allowing the hopeful doubt of having found a rarity... Then he reminds consumers that a dealer should not expertize the material he knows he is going to sell.

Wednesday 7 September: The 1836 Anglo-French Postal Convention by Geoffrey Lewis.
Having read large part of Australian postal historian Geoffrey Lewis' book, I proposed my literary critic - despite being a moron in the field he studied :)
The book cover (Books on philately. The philatelic bilbiopole).
The first chapter is the most important because he graphically explains what one should look at on a 1830s letter that went through the British-French postal road. Both postal administrations then created a mean to be sure that incoming and outgoing mail were going to be paid whatever the origin and destination in the whole world.

And that's why the other chapters are very interesting, even if quite repetitive. Lewis established them by marcophilic and geographic topics. Yes, he repeats a lot the same principles, but you easily find all the intels you need to decipher the marks on that particular letter you are holding.

To see how Geoffrey Lewis works, a pdf summary of one of his conference is available on the American Philatelic Society's Postal History Symposium website. He participated to the 9th edition at the New York Stampshow last May-June.

The book is published by the Royal Philatelic Society London.

Saturday 10 September: Philatelic t-shirt in The West Wing.
Article available in both French and English.
The philatelic collectibles on the heroin's shoulders (The West Wing, 2005).
And I am still interested in any information on who designed this t-shirt, please.

Sunday 11 September: Belgium in the Biblioteca Sebastiana.
Thank to a gift this week, I present the three Belgian books in my small library: the 50th edition of the Official Catalogue of Belgium (2005), Patrick Maselis' 2005 book on the thirteen trials of creating colonies in the whole world from the Azores Islands, known as the Flemish Islands back in the mid-15th century, until the still Belgian inhabitants of Villaguay, Argentina.
Cover of the Englihs and French edition of Vincent Schouberechts' book (the editor website).
2016 new publication I received is Vincent Schouberechts' The Post Books: 500 Years of history in Europe (Lannoo edition). Through the study of fifty documents, he told the larger public possible how the postal system was established, has grown in Europe from the 16th century until the General Union of Post that make international sending of mail easier.

A common line helps organised the book: the birth and death of the postal monopoly of the Thurn und Taxis family in the Holy Empire. On the side, the author proposes trips to the Antiques, Middle Ages and Space mail. Let's hope it attracts new people towards the study and collections of old documents and postal history.

The most attentive of you will remember the special exhibition proposed by the Club of Monte Carlo at Europhilex London 2015: 20 documents for 20 events that changed the world. The enjoy this book and the pdf of the exhibit still downloadable.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Stamps in 'The West Wing' tv series

Ten years ago last May the final episode of The West Wing was broadcasted in the United States. Created by Aaron Sorkin, it tolds the daily work of a fictionous democrat president. It was a pedagogic work to explain the theory and practice of the federal republic... especially as it was on during the adventurous and teapartyist mandates of George Walker Bush.
The White House Chief of Staff alarmed by her Blackberry at the beginning of 365 Days during the 6th season of The West Wing (2005, screen capture of the French DVD edition).
On the philatelic side, I have already written in March 2007 on the episode Galileo of the second season during which political adviser Josh Lyman discovered the selection process of the U.S. philatelic program, with the inequalities between the 50 states and the territories, like Puerto Rico, in the background.

Yesterday evening my eyes were intrigued by the déjà vu feeling from C.J. Cregg's clothes in the 12th episode of the 6th season, 365 Days ; an episode on the blues of the final presidential year.

Squinting my eyes in the second scene with the character (screen capture), the light went up: a black t-shirt with classical postage stamps of Queen Victoria for sure. Perhaps from Edward VII and George V reigns... Even royal effigy and arms of other European monarchies.

Of course such a detail is difficult to check on Google eleven and a half years afterwards: What forums' archives should be explored? Did a philatelic magazine catch it then? How to find the designer from one single piece of cloth?


This article is available in French on SébPhilatélie.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Week #2016.35 on SébPhilatélie

Monday 29 August: cartophily, philately and genealogy.
French newspaper Le Figaro proposed a reprint of a 1903 article on the novelty in Summer holiday correspondence that pictorial postcards created in the beginning of the 20th century.
Le Tréport, Normandy: the bath (collection Casa-Rodriguez, 2009, creative commons licence; reproduced in, 26 August 2016).
Imagine that only a handful of words was then authorised on the picture side. Instead of an "it was better before" approach, the 1903 journalist appreciated that the holidaymakers could enjoy their summer time instead of writing lengthly letter describing the place and the activities.

I continued with a critic of postcard specialist Serge Zeyons in the September 2016 issue of Timbres magazine. The monthly encountered a printing reform and Zeyons' article suffers of it: the pictures are so tiny. But the text is longer than usual and with a bibliography to extend the topic way further than postcards: life in the farms and country in old time France.

And I wonder: could Timbres create a joint event with a genealogy magazine? The latter and its readers could retrieve the identity of the people on Zeyons' card while the former and its readers could value the card and the stamp... All of them discovering the multiple interest of the postcard collection...

Tuesday 30 August: Saint-Pierre and Miquelon born artist came back for the Summer.
It's a tradition for landscape painter Raphaële Goineau to spend August in her native Saint-Pierre, in the French collectivity in front of Newfoundland, Canada. It's a tradition for the local public television to report of her stay and current activities in Western France and in the archipelago.

Here is the 27 August report on SPM 1ère.
Le Banc bleu, a painting by Raphaële Goineau , stamp issued 2009. A wooden and color touch reminding North American houses (
This year, the journalists reported her new role of artistic consultant for the Saint-Pierre and Miquelon philately since the death of Marc Taraskoff in March 2015. She is seen adapting on her computer a naval drawing by a local artist to adapt it for intaglio printing at Phil@poste Boulazac, the French post printing plant.

Wednesday 31 August: Who said it? or a philatelic parody of the burkini crazyness.
Beware: disrespect towards French Prime Ministers and female body content in the post (since the French males seems obsessed by what women should show on the beach this summer).
The current Marianne of the Youth issued 2013, designed by Olivier Ciappa and David Kawena. Ciappa alleged on the presidential unveiling that she was inspired by Femen activist Inna Shevchenko (first day cancels took place in the city where there was a high school that participated to the Marianne selection).
Who said: "Marianne, she's bare breasted because she feed the people. She doesn't wear a veil because she's free! That's the Republic!" (count: it just enough to be retwitted!)

A: Olivier Ciappa, Republic-inspired, to explain the seem to be bare shoulders and long hair of his design... before the now famous tweet about Inna Shevchenko.

B: Inna Shevchenko herself while demonstrating fully nude in front of the townhall of Nice, to enjoy the stripping on beach policy of security deputy major Christian Estrosi... Just before she was arrested by local policemen because, the conservative being hypocritical, males should only covet female bodies on beaches.

C: Prime Pornograph Dominique de Villepin, then Prime Minister, just before grossly concluding that "France wish to be fucked. It itches in her pelvis". (note: B never happened, C did...).

D: Current Prime Minister and now new Prime Pornograph of the Nation Manuel Valls because his junior collaborators can't read completely and with curiosity the works of Maurice Agulhon, historian of how the Third Republic took root in our nation, and of Pierre Nora, specialist of the Republican symbols and places. University professor Mathilde Larrere tried to educate the "moron" through his own language: tweets.

What about radical imams? Foreign finance of mosque building? Surely more effective yet more dangerous than disturbing mothers with children on beaches or kids not eating pork at school restaurants.

Thursday 1 September: An inspired rentrée at the RPSLondon.
The first trimester of the schoolyear will be well occupied at 41 Devonshire Place, London, between the traditional activities of the Royal Philatelic Society London and the special events the society hosts. The article in French put together news from The London Philatelist dated July-August.

My apologies for the exhibitors and lecturers I won't name. The Weekly is a summary ; they are acknowledged in the French article and will be again in articles commenting their individual event during the season.

On the special event side: the World Cinderella Congress 16-18 September, the same week of Stampex, its dealers and two exhibitions (Cinderella Stamp Club and King George VI Collectors Society) and of the first paper by Keeper Michael Sefi from stamps of Guyana and Barbados in the Royal Philatelic Collection (Thursday 15).

September exhibitions at 41 will continue to show the Francis Kiddle Congress collection and the Cinderellas created by groups of retired and elderly through a partnership between the RPSL and the University of the Third Age (U3A). The Society is looking for a supply of gummed paper and a perforation machine to allow the successful activity to be reproduced outside London.

Thursdays lectures and exhibitis until the beginning of November will present many islands, both actual ones (Barbados, Channel Islands occupied by the German forces, the Victorian fiscal stamps of the West Indies) and philatelic ones (fiscal so, scoutism and scout postal history by Norwegian Hallvard Slettebø).

The two monthly exhibitions will cover other fields: Bahrain postal history in October, classical mail of Great Britain in November.

Those who are curious of new fields and tools for philately will be interested by the two final events of my list. Wednesday 12 October, the Crawford Seminar will educate to "Digital Philately for Beginners". How the computer, its softwares and companions such as the scanner, can enrich the practice, study and collection of stamps and mail (scan, image study), down the stream to how to create an exhibition or spread the knowledge (slideshow, publishing). John Horsey gave a very stricking evidence of that with his monumental study of hundreds of the Queen Victoria 5 pounds (a book, and a RPSL conference October 2015).

Next, Friday 4 November, Chris King, immediate Past President of the RPSL, will give this year Stuart Rossiter Memorial Lecture on "Challenges and Opportunities of Researching Online". In the study case of Napoleonic Danmark, he will show a postal historian can become an actual historian in the social, economic, political subfields.

An approach supported in recent competition with the 2C class of the International Federation of Philately that was recently found in France with Timbres magazine article (May 2015) by Guy Dutau on a 1861 letter from Tahiti to Chile resolved with the technics of genealogy. And how Robert Marion told visitors of his Mauritius postal/social history exhibition the future of the desperatelt ill writer of a letter... That didn't die in Mauritius.

Saturday 3 September: Funny Hong Kong stamps cancelled in Copenhagen.
Bought for fun at the Danish dealer JF-Stamps, last Paris Philex.
The Danish cancel on the Hong Kong stamps (personal collection).
A 6 April 1951 envelope posted by John Manners and Co. Ltd, in Hong Kong and arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark on the 10. But why apply the mark on the stamps while another cover of the same people and almost dates is clearly marked lower.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Week #2016.33 and 34 on SébPhilatélie

A good one and a half week of writing thank to fellow philatelists who seriously participate to forums (you should read forums), and to societies broadcasting their members' reasearch.

Thursday 18 August: Classical postal history of Algeria to 1851.
A very well illustrated and full of postal history and historical knowledge conference at the Collectors Club in New York last June 15th: Kenneth Nilsestuen present the mail (mostly from Europeans) from Algeria starting with a 1603.

The msot ancient European letter from Algiers to Toulon, France dated 1603 (collection Kenneth Nilsestuen, Collectors Club, New York, June 2016).
Look for the engravings and pictures Kenneth Nilsestuen used to put the viewers in Algeria as it was before the French invasion in the 1830s, during which mail increased in number.

Filmed conference available on the Collectors Club website or on Vimeo.

Next part on 15 November with the 1849-1876 period.

Saturday 20 August: Let's Cinderell in London mid-September!
The proclaimed very first World Cinderella Congress will take place in London between Friday 16 and Sunday 18 September, thank to the Cinderella Stamp Club.

From an exhibition at Stamp dealers show at the Business Design Centre, Islington, to lectures, collections and trade tables at the Royal Philatelic Society building, Marylebone, where you could admire the memorabilia of past British Philatelic Congresses donated by the late Francis Kiddle.

Kiddle, a Cinderella specialist, is also remembered through a booklet that reproduced a handful of lectures he gave at Congresses, including three showing how Cinderella collection has become more and more included into philately since the 1980s.

Monday 22 August: Stanley Gibbons' back to philately. Finally!
A summary in French of what the StampBoards participants were commenting since the beginning of the decade: how the Stanley Gibbons company was losing its soul and financial safety.

After creating a mastermind in Jersey, the company bought both competitor specialist stamp dealers and high priced good trades. In a way seeing Spink auction house as its main enemy.

But, the marketplace website strategy was costly, the Jersey heads most interested in profit than products and consumers and the London Stock Exchange players were not amused.

Starting last Spring, the Boards of directors went fast: they let the executive officers refinanced the company while putting forward their new colleague, non executive director/stamp collector Harry Wilson... And as the Gibbons share was down to 7 pence, on 15 July, the Jersey heads were made redundant and Wilson's capacity become executive.

Just in time for the publishing of the August issue of Gibbons Stamp Monthly and its three page interview by the fireplace with Wilson that you can even read for free (Buy our shares, please!)

Capitalism and Game of Thrones...

Tuesday 23 August: Somalia postal service back on track.
Those who follow carefully the evolution of states knew that a Federal Government was established in Somalia in 2012, a first since the country collapsed into civil war and war tribe control with a hint of islamism since 1991.

A government whose power was first limited to the control of Mogadishu airport, before a 2013 international operation put a limit to the nuisance of the islamist militias (still there however). Somalia Post was resurrected late 2013 but was not very operative...
Three of the letters prepared and reveived by Indian blogger Jinesh Joseph, forwarded by David Langan to Mugadishu GPO on 10 August 2016 and received around ten days later in Bangalore, India (collection Jinesh Joseph,, with his permission).
... Until two collectors shut the news on their blogs and StampBoards. David Langan, a world postcard collectors, visited the Somalian capital early August and visited the Great Post Office there. Surprised but pleased with the interest, the officials there gave him a tour and accepted the mail he's got for himself and Jinesh Joseph, a world countries collector.

For now, Somalia Post is renovating and opening post offices throughout the country, even in separatist Somaliland it seems. Thank to an agreement with Emirates Post, it receives mail from overseas but delivers it only at the counter... Put your correspondent's phone number along the address.

What the hope? Next January 2017, Somalia Post wish to propose a postbox service for people to collect their mail, and that they can send mail abroad like our two bloggers.

Friday 26 August: An American trilogy (1): cultural diversity.
Even if I know that diversity in the United States society is not without difficulties, I wrote that article to confront the current French problems with diversity to the philatelic happenings in the US and Canada.

The French problems: fighting jihadism and islamism by banning (over)dressed women from the beaches and non pork eating kids from school restaurants doesn't feel very effective to me, even if I am no intelligence agent, nor lawyer.

On the North America side: USPS regularly issued religious holidays stamps for all religions present in the society. A stamp for the end of Ramadan in France... Do you actually want more kilometers of ill-argumented comments on social networks and under newspapers web articles!

Last February, Canada Post reminded all the memory of the only Black soldiers in the Canadian Great War history. Their role was limited to cut wood in the French Jura mountains and suffered the very cold weather there, almost no of them face combat.
Yes, if you search French newspaper websites of 2013, you'll find racist comments on the playing boy in the corner... (personal collection).
Black people on a French stamp can be done, only among the famous trilogy Governor Éboué, writers and politicians Senghor and Césaire. But only on confidential commemorative please, the last time a kid looks not European enough on the current definitive Marianne of the Youth... Hateful comments by readers.

Hopefully, the French post tries to show the diversity of the French population: last June, at the end of the schoolyear was issued a stamp for the 150 years of the Ligue de l'enseignement, an association that promoted all kind of activitives for the teachings of children. La Poste hired caricaturist Plantu (founder of Cartooning for peace) that explicit described the girl on the stamp in the September issue of Timbres magazine.

A shame this stamp was not issued in front of the news camera in a primary school by the Minister of Education on next Thursday, the first day of school in France.

Saturday 27 August: An American trilogy (2): hyperactiv philatelic research.
"Roads not taken" could summarize my impression after many years of watching French organised philately from afar and discovering British and US ones closer through the Royal Philatelic Society London's activities and library.

This opinion strenghtens with the 27-28 October Grand Opening of the American Philatelic Society library in a former match factory in Bellefonte, in the middle of Pennsylvania.

The American Philatelic Reasearch Library has now the space it needed for many years to come, to host members and researchers, lend books on site and by post. In Paris, there is a philatelic library on top of the postal museum... Not sure the same standard.

The speaker of the opening will be David Beech, retired Curator of the Philatelic Collections of the British Library... Sure, there are philatelic books and periodicals at the France National Library, even some digitised... But no specialist portal about them. Better used the British managed Crawford Library project for that purpose.

As I say in French: You may fish something philatelic on the BNF's Gallica website. Fishing's good to contemplate open air nature without being annoyed by fishes.

"Roads not taken": I would say that the French philatelist unconsciously chose local associations over specialised associations and project societies (RPSL, Collectors Clubs, etc.), opposed to what some decided in the UK and the US.

On The Stamp Collecting Forum whose recent threads inspired this American Trilogy, when one asked for advices on how to begin an exhibition, steps, stationery materials, etc. The answer wasn't advices, it was a link to the American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors!!!

I fear to discover one day the answers I'd get on a French forum or at an association sunday meeting in France.

Sunday 28 August: An American Trilogy (3): My name's Tomato.
I became aware of the existence of Tomato on Wednesday 10 August. It was standing there in my peripherical vision, on the side wall of the last automated gas station in center Montpellier, France.
Tomato (licence creative commons nc-by-sa 3.0 fr).
Add Tomato locker as one of your address and the next time you order from web hypermarket Amazon, you can retrieve your packet here and not at home.

Amazon is continuing to propose new ways of distributing products: street lockers, drones one day?

But if you listen carefully to people's testimony, like on The Stamp Collecting Forum, you will discover that the new actors of the packet indutry do still need the historic operator.

In a little city and its surrounding rural areas, a forumer discovered that since April the local USPS postmen drive with their vehicles packed by Amazon. Every day, including closed Sunday, a private delivery company unload Amazon arriving boxes and envelopes at the distribution office.

To the rural areas, guess the most common deliveries? Animal food and babies diapers. From the new hip bookshop to your local supermarket, that's Amazon thanked to the USPS daily presence everywhere in the country, especially areas where the income is lower.

Another forumer confirmed with UPS, a private express company. You are not at home, they have to keep the package and come back, lose money. Nowadays either you pay for them to keep it or you won't and they put it in the local postal system with USPS ; and you receive it with one more day of waiting.

Finally, readers from the United States who are Amazon clients too, if you want to financially aid the American Philatelic Society, the American Philatelic Research Library or any other philatelic associations that is a charity under the US fiscal law, go suscribe to Amazon Smile and 0.5% of your purchase will be given back to your chosen charity.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Classical Greece and Antarctica, sidekicks of French philately

During the first 2016 semester, two French keen philatelists proposed conferences at the Collectors Club, the 120 year ols society of New York.

On Wednesday 2 March, Serge Kahn spoke of explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot's first expeditions to the Antarctica at the very beginning of the 20th century. A conference massively illustrated with historic documents, but also mail posted all along the trips at ports of call in the Atlantic, at the countries' post office but British and French abroad offices too.

So a conference that can be of interest for collectors of Spain and Latin America. A question reminded that Britain has centralised archives of Captain Scott's expeditions in Cambridge, that organised philatelic exhibition.

Two weeks later, on Wednesday 16 March, Louis Fanchini made an impressive history and study of the Large Hermes Head stamps, the first of the Kingdom of Greece in October 1861. The French heritage is quite visible and understandable: the Greek order was engraved by the French Désiré-Albert Barre, son of France's first stamp engraver Jacques-Jean Barre, and printed in Paris at first.

It's noteworthy that Fanchini helped make the Wikipedian articles on this series in French and in English as complete as possible for a popular approach.

Both eminent philatelists (both long time elected members of the Académie, Kahn a polar philately judge and stamp show organiser) showed two popular sidekicks of the French philatelists: polar philately and foreign first stamps created in France).

The power point presentations can be read and video accessed from the Conferences page of the Collectors Club's website. Videos can also be found on the Vimeo's Club page: Kahn's here, Fanchini's there.

Note on Friday 26 August 2016:
Those who can access French monthly magazine Timbres can read in the September issue the final and tragic step of Charcot's life and boat by Gauthier Toulemonde, along a presentation and an interview of Serge Kahn.

Friday, August 19, 2016

A trimester commenting Paris-Philex show on SébPhilatélie

Updated Friday 26 August 2016.

Since late May it took place, I wrote and published articles on the collections exhibited at Paris-Philex stamp show, organised as the 2016 French Championship. Here are a short list of topics of these articles in French.

Wednesday 25 May: I'm wrong...
For once, almost without irony... almost, I wondered why philatelic magazines and websites spoke a lot about famous people of the organised philately, scandal of sold out special stamp issues to be speculated now, but not much (never?) about the competition that was the origin of organising the event.
One of the 2016 French national championship's diagonal going to the invasive sponsor and its many special costly issues. Notice the lights on the very high ceiling, please (licence Creative Commons nc-by-sa 3.0 fr).
It seems sadly Paris-Philex follows this trend. So, with my lack of knowledge, modesty of understanding philatelic competition, I tried to comment some collections while still wondering why there aren't much commentary about this sport: how many points? To which categories? Why did the judges underrated this part? etc.

Sunday 12 June: Exhibiting seems so easy.
At first sight, some large gold and gold medal collections are so easy to find during the first walk around the frames. In this first article:
- beautifully presented and smartly written collection on perforated Empire stamps on outgoing mail by Brigitte Abensur;
- the modern philately approach on A3 paper sheet by Marc Gérault who introduced the Marianne by Gandon with vertical pairs out of advertisement booklets;
- or you can force the boundaries of the frame like Laurent Bonnefoy. With a study on a high value definitive stamps of France you may thing it would be sufficient to impress the jury. Non, he found the wrap of a precious parcel between a French bank and the Finnish Revenue in 1907...
A full frame piece of cloth (collection Laurent Bonnefoy) . Underneath another postage for an heavy parcel.
A bad point though: with all the money the French post took out of pigeon pockets, why are the collections not as perfectly illuminated as the traders' booths ?!!

Tuesday 14 June: The award of the best dealer goes to...
Why not awarding traders at a stamp show? Best welcoming and patience (while I really need better knowledge when facing price tags...) AND do not write his prices on the items :)
JF-Stamps of Odense, Denmark (website).

Friday 17 June: looking for exoticism
Let's find new things to impress myself among all these collections.

Four collections about Spain, especially Spanish civil war, from invited Spanish collectors to Juan-José Ara Somohano from Béziers and his two collections, one of whose participated to the Cinderella guest category... In front of it, a philatelic judge was puzzled enough to admit Cinderella study and postal history share a lot in common, just like Cinderella specialist, the late Francis Kiddle advocate these past decades in the United Kingdom.
An example of mixt Daguin in 1934, a good summary of the use of these machines in Chile in my humble opinion (collection Jean-Michel Garaud).
You speak Spanish but Spain's too close? OK, Jean-Michel Garaud proposed Daguin cancellations in Chile.

You long for exoticism but don't want to go as far from the fridge and the television... No problem, instead of local marcophily to the French traditional end date of 1876, Jean-Claude Ferret went down to today's Nemours and La Poste's anonymous cancellation: no more place of cancel, not even a postcode, but a code that's officially a professional secret...

Thursday 23 June: exoticism outside the stamp show
Often stamp show organisers propose tour for non philatelic spouses forced to follow their philatelist. I take advantage being in Paris to discover the Museum at the Porte Dorée, twenty or so minutes by tramway from Paris-Philex.
The façade of the Palace of the Porte Dorée by Alfred Janniot - 1929-1931 - gloryfying the exploitation of the peoples colonised by France, under the principles "free" and "in peace" deeply engraved around the central allegory (picture under licence Creative Commons cc by-nc-nd 3.0 fr - note Janniot died in 1969).
Built as a permanent monument and museum to the glory of the French colonial empire in the thirties, it now hosts a Museum on Immigration in France... What a change! Begun under President Chirac, the project was so debateful on the right side of French politics that President Sarkozy "forgot" to inaugurate it.

A philatelist, a postcard collector or a fiscal one can really enjoy such a museum and the temporary exhibition on borders proposed at the time: horrible commercial postcards showing French and German policemen posing for the photograph expelling Roms at the border, fiscal stamps on visa card of anonymous or famous refugees (Ruldolf Nureyev).

Even an artwork by Cameroonian Barthélémy Toguo reminding that there actual human being behind papers and stamps.

Saturday 9 July: Everything's collectable
What did I hear about the new competitive classes in talks between serious philatelists at traders booths! And all this for one collectable of one open class collection: the mushrooms by Philippe Nadeau. Judge by yourself:
Ah ! Mould on bread... Who never as a child didn't try this small experiment in a plastic box? Collection awarded a large silver (collection Philippe Nadeau, Paris-Philex, mai 2016).
You also got poo from an elephant (along a thick hair and detached piece of skin - no animal was harmed during the creation of this exhibit) by Danielle Jonquet.

But if you carefully read the key of the elements, you discovered there was a serious competitive aspect presented with the element.

For people who are less odorous and more auditive, I can propose Charles de Gaulle's 18 June 1940 broadcast on vinyl disc by Yves Lehmann, a large look-heavy metal plaque in olympic collection of Daniel Hermann, or simply a anti-British propaganda postcard from Nazi Germany in the collection of Gérard Calvi.

Thursday 14 July: Is philately the history of colonisation and globalisation?
With aerophilatelic collections you can wonder a lot.

On how the European powers conquer Africa and then paved their way inside the continent, competing between each, René Maréchal studied the Imperial Airways routes to South Africa and was confronted by Daniel Blanquerin and Air Afrique routes to Madagascar, both starting in 1925 until the end of the 1930s.
What can be appreciated in a competitive exhibition is the variety of introductive pages and overall presentations (René Maréchal on the left and M. Blanquerin right).
The scramble for Africa and Asia created a global space for communication, with mail and telegrams going up and down between the metropole and its colonies. But collectors can discover unusual directions, like Christian Abravanel and its civilian mail from and to Palestine between 1938 and 1945. The most surprising in my eye was a July 1940 envelope from a bank in Jerusalem under British mandate to the Bank of Indochine in Hanoi under French control.

Sometimes these surprising directions are forced by nature. In a classic "maritime cancels on Semeuse", Alexis Cottineau proposed a stamped letter cancel in 1912 by the French Administrator in Kerguelen, the subantarctic archipelago, forwarded by a Norwegian private boat to British South Africa.

Finally, even if these empires and global economy were under European control, we can encounter the wish of the local populations to become independent.

In Égon Habé's collection of "EA" (État algérien / Algerian State) overprints, he showed as an introduction the reactions by French extremist civilians who overprinted "Algérie française" (French Algeria) Marianne de Decaris stamps at a time they fear the government in Paris may open dialogue with the independence movements.

These empires created to bring "civilisation" and "progress" to non European peoples failed then when the indigenous elites asked politely to be treated as free and equal as their colonisers.

To end these tour in the time of empires and globalisation, an encouraging cover who travelled between Rhodes to Tehran in May 1933 between two Jewish men, present in René Maréchal's other collection, Airmail of the Egean Sea in the 1930s. A Jewish Rhodian living under Italian control to a teacher of Alliance Israélite Universelle in Iran, a French educative association who opened schools internationally. It reminds us Jewish (uncomfortably) are a recognised minority in Iran still today, and that airmail companies from three powers carried this letter to destination: Italian to Athens, British to Baghdad via Cairo and Gaza, German to Tehran.

Sunday 14 August: A history of the consequences of war too.
Both World Wars inspired the exhibitors too, especially their philatelic and postal consequences when the fights ended.

In the one-frame class, André Milone circumvented the first four days of the West German currency reform in the French Occupation Zone (Saarland not included, the French franc was in use there, the French governments wishing to annex the industrious region). The Deutsche Mark was established on Sunday 20 June 1948. On Monday morning, new stamps were issued in the regions under French administration.
A 24 June 1948 letter: too late to use these "old pfennig" stamps, hence the postal clerk putting two new stamps (collection Alain Milone, Paris-Philex 2016).
The senders in Bade, Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinat had the possibility to use their remaining Reichsmark stamps for three days at 10% of their face value - the converting rate between RM and DM. Milone's frame chronologically ended with Thursday 24th mail with RM stamps refused as postage, having been demonetised the previous night.

A very colourful collection was Patrice Trzeciak's with covers from West Indies colonies trying to cross the Atlantic Ocean during the Second World War. The study was organised along the routes progressively established as new countries declared war in Europe.

Some collections were about World War One and of interest, especially if confronted with the temporary Borders exhibition at the Porte Dorée Museum. Jean-Luc Flaccus highlighted the city posts in Poland, when some municipalities tried to maintain postal communication while Germany, Austria and Russia were fighting over who got the bigger Empire (perhaps a connection with the size of hands?).

In the fiscal field, Edmond Andrau explained how the parcel paperwork and handstamps became French in a hurry starting December 1918 when the motherland took back Alsace-Lorraine from Germany.

On a side note, I wonder if collectors could improve their collections by adding their bibliography and use sourced maps with key when necessary. Like a student currently working at the National Postal Museum, Washington: "Cite your sources!" like an academic knows how too: it will really help curious readers, fellow researchers and... judges.

Wednesday 17 August: Am I after a stamp show result, a public relation one or is it a question of memory?
Even if there will probably be another article, I try to evaluate Paris-Philex 2016 stamp show. Claude Désarmémien, President of the French Philatelic Associations Federation, is pleased in his editorial of the Summer issue of the FFAP monthly, even if organising a 4 day show in the capital city of the major actors of French organised philately shouldn't have been so difficult.

My main problems were the lack of communication, not the general public at large. Newspaper ads are expensive and the media attention to stamp collecting quite light (the last scandal around a 140-character full of shit or hot air from a politician or a TV-reality star could wipe out any public attention).

I'm wondering why there was only one blog followed almost "live" the stamp show, the professional one of journalist Pierre Jullien on the celebrities and new stamp issues side mainly. Désarménien proposed a picture report some days after the show in the federal website... Report now lost somewhere with no easy to find-it-back link. Not even in a photo galleries section. :(

Almost nothing on the competition and the collections... But one remark on a public usenet forum about Laurent Bonnefoy's frame size entire.

I am not blaming the French philatelists: New York Stamp Show, way bigger in scale, get the same treatment. An Australian example. Shiny rare stamps, meeting friends important to the hobby...

Am I wrong to get interested in the competition backstage? To ask "What's an exhibition?"

But I'm hopeful after my July visit to the Royal Philatelic Society in London: until next 31 October and in conjunction with the First World's Cinderella Congress 16-18 September, the RPSL museum team proposed the late Francis Kiddle collection of British Congress ephemera and his philatelic medals.

Wednesday 24 August: The program booklet.
Let's not forget the most essentieal companion to a stamp show reporter: the program booklet to help find back names of collectors, essential data and memories of how the leaders of organised philately tried to explain how beautiful the show will be while it was organised in the fear of full cancellation.

Thanks to 2016 Paris-Philex booklet editor in chief Martine Divay.

Summary of any other Paris-Philex articles on SébPhilatélie will be published in this article. A note in the timely week summary will inform you.