Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Have French rugbymen to be superstitious ?

Is the French rugby team superstitious or not? I hope not since a supporting stamp will be issued on April 16th, five months before the World Cup in Autumn 2007.

Éric Fayolle's stamp. This illustrator is specialised in sport topics, designed in a dynamic fashion (from La Poste website).

I fear for their future results because of the recent politic of supporting French team on French stamps. First, July 1998, La Poste waited the national soccer team victory to issue its second round stamp. However, 2005, the first printed stamps had to be destroyed when London - and not Paris - won the 2012 Olympic Games.

Worse, 5 July 2006, La Poste thanked the Soccer team after it qualified to the World Cup final... to be lost againt Italy on the 9th.

I thank the postman who cut this pretty pair.

That's why the « Allez les petits ! » stamp is worrying me : issued 5 months before the event ! But, all this may be just superstition from myself : the stamp honors the quotation's author too. Claude Jamet remembers that journalist Roger Couderc (1918-1984) said that call during the matchs he commented. It may be a good omen after all.

To go further :
1_ The comparison between « Paris 2012 » et « Merci les Bleus ! » stamps by Dominique.
2_ A philatelic site all about rugby : Les timbrés du rugby.

Monday, March 26, 2007

European Union on Spanish stamp

Heartbreak for Correos, the Spanish postal administration, for its stamps about the 50th anniversary of the treaty of Rome in 1957.0,58 € issued the 23th March 2007 (2007 issues on the Correos' website).

The map is maybe school-like with the list of dates to learn, but all the slow and progressive unification of the Union is visible (more than allegoric little star-characters). Though, the designer has some troubles with the respect of geography : Eastern France is difformus like Cyprus. Concerning the outermost regions (oversea territories of France, Portugal and Spain that are member of the EU), only Canarias are represented, excluding Portuguese Azores and Madeira, and French Guadeloupe, Guyana, Martinique and Réunion.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

What use for a 4,54 euro stamp in Monaco ?

The 16th of March, the Office des émissions de timbres-poste of Monaco (OETP) issued two stamps figuring Italian personalities : famous Giuseppe Garibaldi who fought for the Italian unification, and comedy author Carlo Goldoni.

The 1,40 € value for Garibaldi is uncommon, but can be found easily: priority letter from 50 to 100 grammes to a European Union country. However, 4,54 € for Goldoni should ask one more condition.

The Carlo Goldoni stamp with some of th author's characters (OETP website).

4,54 € is the franking of a recorded delivery letter less than 20 grammes inside France and its postal administrations (Monaco, Andorre, and French overseas), with an insurance R3 (you can be repaid in case of lost for a 153 to 458 € value of content). With a little more cents, you can send a heavier letter with a lower insurance.

How happy the collector who will possess such a letter and with enough intels about the expeditor to be sure the letter will not be for philatelic purpose. A bank or insurance agency sending a check to a client ? Attorney or notary office sending an important contract ?

Outside curious postal tarriffs, these two stamps have something in common: their author Irio Ottavio Fantini (with engraving of Pierre Albuisson for Garibaldi). This Italian illustrator of movie posters has been working for more than 30 years for Vatican Radio, Television and Post. Since 1999, he's been designing stamps for Monaco, first with christian topics, then with portraits of historic personalities.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

"Star Wars" on stamp in the United States

After Royal Mail's the Beatles stamps sold throughout the world including the New Zealand Post's website or La Poste française's Harry Potter (don't forget), the USPS will issue a stamp May 25th for the 30th anniversary of Star Wars. It has replaced 400 of its 280 000 mail boxes for boxes customized to ressemble Star Wars' character R2-D2.

On his blog, Don Schilling has beeen following in the press this marketing coup, and it attires fans.

USPS hopes that these boxes won't be stolen. Personaly, I hope that this operation helps Star Wars fans to send mail, and that all this won't be limited to a new massively lucrative sell of stamps.

Concerning the French Fête du timbre on the Harry Potter topic, you can discover the conclusions on Claude Jamet's site when he will have compiled answers from those who participated at this Fête.

27 May 2007 : I correct the date of issue (May and not March) of the 15 stamp sheet, 41 cents each, new interior tariff since the 14 May increase.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

One half-cent on a Semeuse in France

Today, here is a Semeuse camée definitive stamp received as a fidelity gift from Timbres magazine. This brown stamp has a value of one centime overprint with a new denomination of 1/2 centime. The design of Oscar Roty is engraved by Eugène Mouchon ; their name appear on the top teeth of this ill-centered stamp.

The one centime knew two colors issued August 1933 and July 1936 (image above). It completed taxes, and alone would be enough for some papers or elector's card.

The half-centime Semeuse was issued in December 1933. Reading the Dallay stamp catalog and a webpage of the Royal Philatelic Society London, it completed or sufficed for « journaux routés et hors-sacs dans un rayon limitrophe » (locally sending an isolated paper).

This value of a half-centime is not so quite suprising. Before the overprint of a Blanc series stamp, a cancellation mark was used to cancelled the stamp and adding one half-centime to his value (see the marcophile site of Guy Maggay)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Philately in "The West Wing"

Stamps and philately can be actors in fictions. One year ago, Dominique on the Blog philatélie showed that fact with the French film Promotion canapé. Yesterday evening, I rediscovered an appearance of philately in the ninth episode of season 2 of The West Wing starring Martin Sheen as the fictional President Bartlet. In this episode broadcasted in Novembre 2000, the choice of a stamp's subject is one of the secundary intrigue.

In « Galileo » Josh, deputy chief of staff, must help the Postmaster General : can a Puerto Rican politician be put on a stamp ? The fictional politician, named Marcos Aquino, served during the Korean War, then made a political carreer as Resident Commissioner. But, in the show, the problem is that Aquino was strongly in favor of the Puerto Rico Statehood, while the island is under a Commonwealth that deprives the inhabitants of some political rights (you can read the text by William A. Navas, Jr. over the problems of the self-determination of Puerto Rico).

Philately appeared with Josh's assistant who prepares files on how a stamp's subject is chosen. The role of the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee : since 1957, this committee inside the USPS sort out the thousands of propositions sent by the public.

In their usual antinomics plays, Donna the assistant defends the citizen's choice to participate in the philatelic program and to honor a military man and elected representant, without it means the government supports his political ideas on the future of Puerto Rico. Josh is suprised that citizens may propose ideas and says that the CSAC is a « dork squad »... while calming down after hearing her arguments.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

You write, I answer

For the issue of Harry Potter's French stamps, I have enough stamps to send to 16 of you a Harry Potter or Hermione or Ron (chance will say) cover.

Send me a cover from outside France and its départements d'outre-mer, I reply to the 15 first letter arrived in my mail box with a cover : the 3 stamps of the series for the first ; one stamp and Marianne definitives if necessary for the others. The last set of 3 stamps for the most intriguing/pleasing cover I received before the 21st of April.

Don't worry, I got enough French stamps to answer to others.

Harry Potter on stamps of France

Last week-end, the French post issued a stamp figuring the famous wizzard Harry Potter. The stamp appears on an illustrated mini-sheet and in a 10-stamp booklet alongside two others representing Hermione and Ron.

The booklet and its covert (La Poste's stamp shop).

This issue is linked to the Fête du timbre (known as Journée du timbre - Day of the stamp before) created in 1938. La Poste participed with a stamp since 1944, using postal topics (history, stamps, jobs) until 1999. From 1999, the youth is the main target in order to attract them to stamps collection. Characters known of the children are heroes of the stamps : from Belgian and French comics (1999-2006) and youth novel (2007). Before, the collectors were the main audience because of the stamps' topics and because the First Day of issue is organized throughout the country by local philatelic associations.

With time, products increased in numbers : lonely stamp from 1948 to 1985 ; then stamp and a booklet since 1985 ; mini-sheet between 1999 and 2003, that reappeared with Harry Potter ; three different denominated stamps since 2004... and that is for the products you can buy for the facial value of the stamps. In 2007, to be complete, you must add three mini-sheets of five stamps at 6,50 € each (from 2,25 € to 4,05 € above the facials), but you'll have pictures of the Harry Potter universe se-tenant (about the products and the role of the philatelic associations, you can read a Claude Jamet's article, in French).

Personnaly, I know the Journée du timbre since the mid-1980 and two things have let me souvenirs. First one in 1991, on the enveloppe drew on the stamp about postal sorting, is written the town where I live for 17 years : 34970 LATTES. Then, 1999-2003 mini-sheets were very thoughtful : the subject of the stamp was put into a mini-scene that remembers you the all atmosphere of the comics series. The major one, for me, is the Boule et Bill mini-sheet : you sense all the heroes' family love and strengh in this ball game. Titeuf cleaning his nose with a finger was a good one too.

But, isn't there a risk to loose philately into a costly gadget shop between forgotten postal historic topics, numbers of products and feelings- or humour-empty pictures directly given by movie studios (like Mickey Mouse and Harry Potter issues) ?

To go further:
Claude Jamet published this 1st of April a check up of the 2007 Fête du timbre thank to participants' mail.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Inverted pictorial cancellation

Found in August 2004 on my sister's mail, this cancellation with an inverted picture.
The stamp itself was issued 6 May 2004 for the 1250 years of saint Boniface. He is considered the patron saint of Germany. That explain the combination of the christian cross and the colors of the German flag.

The inverted panda is, when the head's up, is the WWF's logotype, the non-governmental organisation defending the nature.

In case of quick intels about German stamps issued since 2000, see the Briefmarken-Archiv (in German). The philatélic site of the Deutsche Post has got more informations about the stamp and its illustration, but you can only find the stamps always sold.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Stamped advert for Norway

The use of postage stamps and markings continue in advertisment. I found one on the DivX society in February, and today, Norway in Paris edition of free paper Metro.

One of three pictures (visitnorway.com, in Metro, Paris edition, 14 March 2007).

Each ad is composed of one big picture of natural monumental landscape (fjords and cliffs) and a little picture included in imitated perforations. I chose to show you « Savoureuse Norvège » about salmon.

The imitated stamp and illustrated cancellation (visitnorway.com, in Metro, 14 March 2007).
The two other ads presents a couple of tourists and a village.

What a beautiful stamp to promote salmon, with a little pink steack of one ! More appetizing than the fish on the Norway Europa stamp of 2005. Bon appétit.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

ATM stamps of France : blue... very pale.

I have already spoken of ATM stamps with an exemple found in Brussels. I said that it was surprising for a French to see machine stamps like that : colorfoul, illustrated and different depending on the town and time of year. But, I know it is the case in a lot of countries like you can see on the Gulfmann ATM Collection blog written by a Taiwanese collector. ATM, in English for automated teller machines.

But, in France, at the post office's desk or at the machine, here are the possible results :

Birds and sun obtained at a post office's desk : sort of precancelled stamp.
But the background can be obtained at an ATM machine.

This background : (very) pale blue with (less very) pale yellow paper plane.

These two stamp designs are boring to me : they have been in use for so long... And when you compare them with designs from Hong Kong, Israel, Macau (a beauty), and the best: Spain where designs are illustrated and changed like the usual stamp program.

I admit you can buy illustrated ATM stamps in France : let's see them... if you have the time or the social network to be present at all the philatelic exhibitions they are issued for a short time. And please be patient while waiting in the long line.

My advice for foreign visitors of France, if you go to a post office, precise that you want postage stamps for your mail. Or there may be a pale French machine stamp on it...

Update, 15 March 2007 : a summary of the history of French machine stamps (called there LISA) on the Blog philatélie (in French).

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Missent to Philippines

After EFOs found by chance, today original covers that post administrations create without being asked. And always : it's when you don't look for that you find.

End of June 2006, I read an article by French Polynesia philatelist Christian Beslu about missent letters, published in Timbres magazine #70 (the link directs you to the on-line articles in French, including this one). These covers journeyed through surprising places outside the regular path, and received a mark at the office to explain the delay : « MISSENT TO » and the name of the country.

During a journey with his sino-vietnamese parents, a French friend sent me one letter from Macau, one from Hong Kong and a third from the People's Republic of China. Before leaving, when I brief him on philatelic matter, I showed him the article. He makes fun by saying that one of the three could have the mark. With my luck, no chance !

Late August, after a small number of days of postal travel, arrived the letter of Macau, then of China... but nothing from Hong Kong, who letter has got a 2002 definitve stamp of 3 dollars bearing a security perforation on the right and left side (the one on the left is visible on the scan above). And all his friends received quickly their HK letters. Doubt entered my mind...

Conclusion : early September, I had got a missend letter to Philippines while moving from Hong Kong to Paris. « CMEC » stands for « Central Mail Exchange Center », in Pasay City (Manilla).

Why Philippines... I haven't find yet.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Errors, freaks, and oddities on definitive stamps

While Eric is talking about factual errors on his blog (orthograph, mistakes like Christopher Colombus watching Indies through a not-so-soon-created spy-glass), it gives me the idea to write something about errors, freaks and oddities (EFO ; in French : les variétés). Something that happens accidentely during the printing process : red instead of blue, the disparition of a colour because of missing ink, no perforation or not the perforation normally used, etc.

Large subject when you read this discussion between French collectors in december 2006 : how did these EFOs manage to get out ? Tired controllers ? Fraud since their value can be important on the market ? Some are falsifications, using professional chimic means and restoration techniques. And of course, those who are blamed in the end : the stamp dealers and the experts who signed the EFOs when a costlier certificate may be better on the long-term to proof the EFOs is genuine.

Back to pleasure since we are philatelists for that : what can you do ?

First idea : examine those presented in magazines and by dealers, then you study how they could have appeared. Excellent training to learn the postage stamp printing process.

Alternative (quite hazardous) : go without thinking to the post office and buy for your mail some definitive stamps of low values. On the left, what I found like this next year : five 10 eurocents Marianne des Français with a little too much ink. It's very clear on top of the title's letters and on the money denomination.

Morale :
Look for them when you need to learn.
Forget them and you'll find.

Friday, March 09, 2007

From Women to Flowers, definitive series in Germany

Since January 2005, Deutsche Post sell only one definitive stamp series : the Flowers series. The close-up of the flower itself on white paper are designed by Stefan Klein and Olaf Neumann. For example, this 90 eurocents narcissus, issued January 2005 :

The close-ups pleases the eye. Here is a self-adhesive stamp with an imitated stamp separation. You can say it is a self-adhesive stamp because the separation is a straight line while perforated one presents some paper fibers after the separation of two stamps.

But this series makes me regret of the two former series : Women in German history (1986-2003).

1 mark figuring actress Therese Giehse, issued in1988.

Bicolored, the stamps are engraved by Gerd Aretz, a Wuppertal university teacher. 56 stamps were issued followaing the postal tarriffs' evolutions and the German and European geopolitic ones : 17 stamps for West-Berlin, 26 mentionning « Deutsche Bundespost » (18 for FRG and 8 after the Reunification), 13 with the brand « Deutschland », included 4 with a pfenning/euro denomination and 4 with euro alone.

With the International Women's Day yesterday, plus the engraving versus simple photo on white, and a personal intererst in the history of these women and the politic events these stamps wear on themselves, I prefer the Women in German history series... Flowers will wait less than two weeks for the first day of Spring.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Philatelic WebTV in France

Since the end of last February, the French philatelic Timbres Magazine plays a WebTV : TV Timbres (timbre means stamp in French). Now it's only some interviews, but I think it is a good idea to broadcast the philatelic hobby to a larger public.

The double-DVD Des courriers très spéciaux (from Timbres Magazine's site)

The genesis of TV Timbres began in 2005 when Timbres Magazine's redactor-in-chief Gauthier Toulemonde decided to go post himself letters from foreign countries (letters bought by readers) during aventurous journeys and to keep a movie from it. In 2005 Mr. Toulemonde went to Clipperton Island where French adventurer Jean-Louis Étienne was studying the local ecosystem. The DVD shown above presents a trip to Russian polar station of Barneo and the difficult and usual postal round in canoe upon the Maroni River in French Guyana.

The films are amateurish, but for a first step, the idea is here and I like it very much. Plus some bonus clips : a little philatelic lesson about tropical stamps by Michel Melot (accessible on TV Timbres), a day with engravor Pierre Albuisson.

Since I didn't know the former French show Télé-Philatélie of Jacqueline Caurat et Jacques Mancier, TV Timbres is the very first philatelic show I discover and I have always dreamt to watch a Daguin machine functioning.

TV Timbres' clips are viewable on Timbres Magazine's website.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Verigar : the first stamp of Slovenia

In Slovenia, the first stamp issued specially for this former yougoslavian country is the Verigar issue, representing a slave cutting his chains (they are told in veriga in slovenian).

The blue-green 15 heller.

Even before the end of World War One, the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed at the automn 1918. Many independantist parties took power and the independance of their dreamed countries. South Slavic parties began with the State of the Slovenes, Croats and Serbs (« Država SHS » on the stamp, the same in cyrillic at its top). The 1st December 1918, the State became a Kingdom under the reign of Peter, king of Serbia. Finally, in 1929, it changed name for Yugoslavia that it bears until the independences' wars at the beginning of the 1990's.

The Verigar issue is created loccaly in Ljubljana, main Slovenian town, at the end of 1918. The painter Ivan Vavpotič (1877-1943) drew it and two kinds are printed : small and vertical long. But, when issue came early 1919, the stamp had got an error since the country was no more the one printed on it.

Complementary link :
* un scan libre de droit du 15 heller.

Reminder :
About another first stamp of a country born at the end of the Great War, read article "The Prague Castle".

Monday, March 05, 2007

Philatelic stop in Brussels

If you go to Brussels, don't forget to visit the philatelic shop. It is at the far end of the post office opened at the intersection of De Brouchère place and Anspach boulevard. It's right in the middle of the town, in front of the Centre Monnaie where it stayed some years ago. In May 2005, I bought and used this machine stamp :

After I chose quietly some stamps of the philatelic program for my mail, I stopped at the stamp machine at the entrance. I knew that I would get one new stamp thank to the magazine of the Belgian Post's philatelic service. On the stamp are a green halo and red outside, with on the right hand, Saint Michel killing the demon, the town's coat of arms.

This stamp pleases me because, for a French eye, it wears so many colors for a machine stamp, and furthermore can be differently illustrated from town to town... One of the next time, I will explain this French astonishment.

Article modified on 14 March 2009 thank to a Belgian reader who described me the arms of Bruxelles.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Round stamp from Morocco

Today, a round stamp from Morocco that I found in a box full of stamps on fragments at a stamp dealer in the Passage des Panoramas, in Paris.
The WNS site (index of the UPU and the WADP, completed by the postal administrations themselves) gives us the issue date of 31st of October 2003 for the "Solidarity Week". Its search engine shows us that this is a yearly series of round stamp and of photographs depicting king Mohammed VI acting with solidarity. Finally, the Morocco Post's website in French explains that the Mohammed V Foundation for the solidarity works to help poor people in the country.

The round form and the perforations (4 holes on the right and left of the holes of the stamp itself) remains me of somethin French collectors know very well : this round stamp was printed by the ITVF (French public postage stamps and fiduciary values printer). ITVF initials appears on the stamp (nowadays look for his new name since 2006 : Phil@poste). In 1998, ITVF created systems of perforation to make stamp round. The first one was issued in France for the Soccer World Cup. It has quickly proposed it to his usual post client and visibly Morocco Post adopts it well.

In France, after this success (48 millions of '98 round stamps sold) and certainly to make profit of the new machines, ITVF has regularly been asking by La Poste to print yearly heart stamps for Valentine's Day since 1999, and oval ones for Rugby World Cup. French territories' post did the same.

So remember to look at the printer's name (if visible), it helps sometimes to understand how postal administrations prepared their stamps.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Martin Mörck, mastering the art of offset-intaglio

The 7th of June 2006, Post Danmark issueed what I value as one of the most beautiful series I have seen, whereas the car race theme let me indifferent. It showed pictures of a ancient car race in Copenhagen, with four stamps.

Technically speaking, I am marked bu the perfect union of the photograph printed in offset and the engraving. The latter gives the aspect of the ancient engravings that we can find in papers published in the19th and 20th centuries, especially for the 4,75 kroner. The two printing techniques are not there only to supply the other's defects ; they are litteraly married.

The artist responsible of this success is Martin Mörck from Norway, who is celebrating in 2007 the 30 years of his first issued stamp : a "tawny owl" (Strix aluco) for Sweden. You can regularly see his talent on new stamps from Denmark, Faroe Islands, Monaco and Sweden.
Complementary links :
* to Martin Mörck's site ;
* to Post Danmark's shop tested with success by Eric.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Stamp and paper mail forgotten ?

I received recently an advert mail about the realease of a new version of the DivX software. Not very philatelic, but on the upper banner, it showed this image :

A cancelled stamp with (as we say in France) a advert "flamme" on the corner of a brown cover. The imitated stamp respects the conventions : place for value, name of country and a legend on the bottom. If e-mail and SMS win the market of communications between people, it seems that good old paper mail always marks the imaginery.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Hommage to Kennedy

Since I haven't got a strong will to a thematic collection, other than a "I like-I don't like-Have I the room for it ?" policy, I usually take little time in front of stamp sellers' stands during philatelic exhibitions... with some exception such as this enveloppe :

During the 2004 Salon du timbre in Paris, I looked at a business specialized in covers. Stamp collectors asked for a topic or a country, and hop, from the wall full of boxes, appeared quickly an amount of covers waiting to be studied and sold.

At this time, I was looking for a first day cover of the first hommage to Kennedy US stamp, so I asked for covers about the assassinated president and finished to find this cover and its stamps and cancellations.

This commemorative enveloppe for the anniversary of JFK's death is ornated with two cancellations illustrated by the eternal flame that is burning at his tomb, as on the US stamp that quoted a sentence of his inaugural speech :
The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it--and the glow from that fire can truly light the world... and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.
The German stamp on the right is from West-Berlin, issued by the Deutsche Bundespost from the design of the Western German ones. But he is cancelled in Wiesbaden, Land of Hesse, in Western Germany. The american cancellation is a military one, from the Army and Air Force Postal Service and wear the code number APO 633. After a quick Google search, it corresponds at this time to a base in Wiesbaden.

A French collector is selling a similar cover on ebay (his announce), but you can see the careful placing of the stamps is not the same. Furthermore, the German stamp is clearly a Western one on this cover, not a Berliner one. These differences means many questions and I think I alone am far from the answer, but I don't regret this acquisition.