See on amazon.fr website : next 21st of June will be published the three new updated catalogues from French editor Dallay. Their authors, Luc Dartois and Jean-Bernard Pillet are interviewed in the May 2007 issue of Timbres magazine (page 15).
Here is a stamp catalogue for those - like me - who have not a passionnate love for value, and are curious of all intels linked to the stamps' life : their authors, printing methods, dates of issue and retreat, number of stamps printed or sold. These informations are the first step on the road to others informations : why this artist ? Why this illustration ? etc.
Lucky we are that Dallay exists since 2001 to help find these first little pieces of informations. Because, as a philatelist in my twenties, I think that philately as a discipline is amnesic : who is this engraver, dead for centuries enough to be forgotten in nowaday's magazine ? Why this stamps is more valuable than an other ? The postal tarriffs history may help find an answer, but, for French tarriffs before Dallay, finding postal tarriffs were difficult or expensive (but, in this case, Mr. Brun's work is invaluable).
What was the BEPTOM (apart an African stamp seller, whose stamps never have put a teeth on this continent) ? For a French collector reading philatelic magazine, this question seems genuine and easy since almost all biographies of glorious French stamp designers and engravers speak of their career at the Bureau d'études des postes et télécommunications d'outre-mer (Office for the postal and telecommunication studies for the Overseas). I was surprise that Le Monde des philatélistes and Timbroscopie magazines wrote only short notifications when the BEPTOM disappeared in December 1994. Only, the collectors were notified where they would have to buy the stamps after that. Nothing about memory, the history of this institution that formed many of the French engravers between the 1950's and the 1980's, its actions in African countries. All seems to be focused on the needs of the collector-buyer-valuer.
Thank to Dartois and Pillet to have begun a laborious task with the redaction of a real catalogue that is an encylopedic-dictionary of France and French Overseas philately.
Note: on the same topic of big excellent books. This one explains how cancellation machine works. It is called l'Oblitération mécanique en France (Cancellations by machines in France) par Yvon Nouazé (already used by Dominique and awarded by the Académie de philatélie) has astouned me. In my young career of philatelist, it's one of those rarest times in which an author wrote about one thing, and came back on how philatelists have studied it. Finally, philately studied itself ! This happens in a chapter about the Daguin machine, for which you can find lots of books and articles on the cancellation and values, but before this book, I have much trouble to find how the machine actually works. Thanks, Mr. Nouazé, for your researchs.