Monday, July 30, 2007

Not interested in your money

Martin J. Frankevicz, editor of the Scott catalog specialized in new issues, found an intriguing topic for the first half of his editorial published in August 2007 Scott Stamp Monthly : it exists out there postal administrations that refuses to sell stamps to collectors !

The sentence is unbelievable : stamp, stamp included in a mini-sheet, in a booklet, on a stationery, pin's, magnet's, video games (... not that one... yet ?), etc.

Who is not trying to sell to honest-to-be pigeon collectors ?

Taiwan Post of the Republic of China in 2004 refused to honor orders from foreigners outside the island for the Harry Potter stamps. After some months, they used the service of Canada Posts.

Likewise, this series about singers on Hong Kong stamps in 2005.

And all this, not by honest sentiments, but by fear of judiciary followings : these posts just bought the rights to use these pictures inside the country... (I maliciously concluded that international mail franking with these stamps shouldn't left the country).

I obliged my Frenchfellow readers not to laugh, even less those who reproduct French stamps on their websites : by this text on a La Poste website,

« La Poste doesn't oppose itself to uploading pictures or photographs of its stamps. But each webmaster has to contact himself the authors, engravers and designers, or their inheritance, to obtain the rights of reproduction. »

This answer is the only one I heard people obtain from Phil@poste, whatever the stamps and its date issue. In France, you have to wait 70 years after the designer(s) died to see his art fall in public domain. Troubles for the future ?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Rugby union

Rugby World Cup approaching, some references in French :
* website les Timbrés du rugby catalogs all stamps issued about this topic,
* In April 2007, Atlantica magazine published a special issue, le Rugby par les timbres des origines à nos jours... (the rugby by the stamps from the origines to today...). They illustrated the world history of rugby with stamps. A shorter version of a catalog (with numbers from Yvert et Tellier catalogue) is included. The magazine seems to be available through their website.

Thoughtful blog

Here is Svend's blog : Philately of Today and its counter-part in Danish Filateli i dag.

He presents his collection of 1870-1905 bicolor stamps of Danmark, but his ideas about philately too. How can we attract newcomers ? One of his ideas is to add a page about the personal story in an exposed collection : why did the collector choose this topic ? How did he work ? etc.

I found an interesting site too : Exponet, a virtual philatelic exposition on a Czech website.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Stamped posters in Paris metro (part 2)

Today, two another posters from the Transilien commercials (first part here).

Before that, a better view of the obliteration in the Italian version:

* - *

The imaginary German tourist tells his visit at the house of Van Gogh, in Auvers-sur-Oise (where he went by a Transilien train).

Cancellation with a double-circle date mark and ondulations.

* - *

The young English fellow, Matthew, enjoyed his tour in the Miniature France parc, in Élancourt.

This poster made me see that some of the scene actualy take place in the destinator's home : here the card is hung on the fridge.

The cancellation doesn't give the town of origin, just the département.

Apparently, these posters are glued at stations of lines 2 and 12 around Pigalle. I catched two (English and Japanese) in Saint-Paul on line 1 (but not between Franklin Roosevelt and Concorde on the same line). Little and vertical ones, under glass, are visible in the RER station in Gare du Nord.

The creator of the pictures knows cancellations : outside the one for Versailles in the Japanese version, they are all possible nowadays in France. Nonetheless, for the Japanese one, Yvon Nouazé strikes that the error to use what seems to be the date mark of a franking machine, is partly corrected with the use of ondulations, and not the postal value mark.

About this quest of the stamped posters, I will follow some new paths and hope of new discoveries.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Toolbox : editing images

Since I changed my computer configuration, I needed a simplistic software to treat pictures : select part of them, change size, save more accurately in JPEG without losing quality.

Paint.NET (Wikipédia article) has answered to these needs for two days : the quality of the pictures posted of this blog saw it.

Stamped posters in Paris metro

This morning, I saw the new ad campaign of Île-de-France regional railways network, Transilien. The posters are aimed at foreign tourists who may need its website to go outside Paris by train.

On a table, are exposed postcards and what are rest of a meal taken in a café or a restaurant. The card in the foreground shows a correspondance in foreign language and the correct franking.

The imaginary tourist describes the visit he made to a francilian place, where he could go thank to a Transilien train. On the left, the letter is translated in French, and a message in the two languages explains how to have intels about trains, destinations and timetables.

On the left, the version in Polish about the Forest of Fontainebleau ; in the background and under this text, the Italian version (cathedrale of Évry inaugurated 1995). I saw a British and a German versions too. The franking is correct with a 0,60 € blue Marianne des Français.

* - *

The Japanese version explained what lives the tourist in the Gallerie des Glaces of the Palace of Versailles. The stamp is the violet 0,85 €.

This picture confirms that they are the "Phil@poste" version of the stamps that was given to Transilien.

Only one problem : the cancellations. The tables are quite typic of French cafés and restaurants. How can the writer have them already cancelled under his nose ?

But they are realistic. For those pictured and shown here :
* Italian : classic with ondulations from Évry (by a Mégras machine, Yvon Nouazé thinks),
* Japanese : a rectangle from Versailles CDIS with codes D788 et 780130 (normally used by franking machine, not for cancellation),
* Polish : a coded Neopost : code 16234A (origin unknown at this time believing this inventory : a bright idea of Claude Jamet). Yvon Nouazé describe this obliteration and the machine that did it (translated from his mail) :

" [it] is the mark of a Toshiba TSC1000 machine that does: the segregation of mail by moving apart too thick, too heavy or too large covers ; straighten them upright ; cancel then and sort them by pre-defined destinations. This machine numerize the whole surface to read the adress and determine the nature of the mail : Prioritary letter or not, and in order to cancelled them accordingly. "

I will try to picture more posters this week-end (a new (free) saga).

If you are now in Paris, look for posters in the stations of touristic areas. I took these pictures in Pigalle (both on lines 2 and 12) and Anvers).

Update :
* My thanks to Yvon Nouazé who accepted to take some time to help me precise the descriptions of these three cancellations.

Ill-prepared spam

Last June, I receive an extraordinary offer through a spam : the history and genealogy of my family, well printed, ready to be sent to me while I keep sitting in my sofa ! I smiled at the sensation of facility that this mail convey. I worked so long days at the Departemental Archives of Hérault for a historical research, and then for my mother's genealogy.

But, the postal part of this mail make me laugh out loud.

Combined scan : top is the cover, center the beginning of the letter and bottom the pre-paid cover for my answer.

The letter, dated 13 June 2007, was sent through the Postimpact service of La Poste : it carries identical advertisment mail at lower rates than usual. "TIM" means « traitement industriel sur mesure » : a mail center specialized in those type of sending (it may call itself "spam center").

Generously, the franking for my answer is offered thank to a T cover. In France, a T cover permits you to send an answer to a firm ; this firm will paid only the franking for the covers received back. "Ecopli" is for non-prioritary mail. If you misuse the T cover (too heavy, too late, etc.), it will be resend to you with postage due. This T cover can be used between 5 May 2006 and 5 May 2007...

Letter of the 13 June 2006... answer before 5 May 2007...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

"Cour des comptes" saga returns at 16.20 euros

The "Cour des comptes 1807-2007" French stamp saga continues !

As out-of-joy-to-prove-her-connections-to-the-post-ly announced by the editor-in-chief of l'Écho de la timbrologie, an adhesive version of the stamp will be issued next 30 July 2007. But, as Dominique remarks,with a different perforation than the personalised stamp that began the saga...

Moreover, you have to buy the full sheet of thirty adhesive stamps : 16.20 €.

Since I am coming back from family holidays in a very touristic regions, pictures of pigeons are suddenly appearing in my mind... :)

Return from holidays

I am sorry for the lack of posts : I was on holidays and now, I am adapting myself to my new computer configuration (and I'm desperatedly looking for some picture-modifying software).

The first edit is to add some intels about Vickrey auction.

Have a nice Northern hemisphere summer or a good Southern winter.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Fish cook idea thank to New Caledonian stamps

One of recent New Caledonian Office of Posts and Telecommunications stamp issue catched my interest with its title : "Fish market" while last years series for the submarine fauna was "Aquarium of Nouméa".

A deadly curiosity (i.e. in the eye of a fish) took me : with a Google search in French, I lok for the combinaison "dawa poisson". One of the very first result was a recipe to hot water cooked the fish with coconut... :p I understood better the change of the series' title.

More seriously, I will have to look for why ceased the relations between the Office and the Aquarium of Nouméa, that producted beautiful mini-sheets.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

From Ivory Coast

In February 2007, in a Timbres magazine's article, Michel Melot showed how is nowadays philatelic policies of French-speaking African countries. He underlined the difficulties to do this task : little communications from the postal authoriry, a WNS website dependent of this authority, editors that referenced stamps without value.

Two months later, a reader of the magazine told how she helped the German Michel Catalogue by sending them proofs of the stamps she found on mail from Africa.

While the WNS is updated until 2005 for the Ivory Coast, here is a proof on mail of the existence of a 2006 stamp.

The 100 CFA francs is from a series of four issued in Novembre 2005, about hair braid.

The 250 franc stamp announced the November 2006 China-Africa summit of Beijing. Since some decades the two Chinas (Taiwan and the People's Republic) used cooperation with African countries as a political mean. Taiwan to obtain international support againt its communist counterpart. The PRC to gain a prestigious place among the nations and voices of support in the UNO institutions where one country (even African one) is one voice. For this summit, the PRC received the leaders of Africa.

The large cover was cancelled in Abidjan on April 4th, 2007. She was received by a firm in Paris, quite unharmed (unless on the upper right stamped corner - sigh).

Total stamp value is 1100 CFA francs, equivalent to 1,68 €.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Auctions : French philately weakness ?

In his Summer 2007 editorial, Timbres magazine's chief-redactor Gauthier Toulemonde tells his happiness to discover the British house of auctions Spink. Like many others in rich countries, it took time for philatelic sales as big as art sales.

However, the French philatelic reader does not see bidding auctions in France. Stamp dealers use another type of auctions : la vente sur offres ("Vickrey auction"). The stamp or artefact goes to the collector who sent the better offer, and is sold at the price of the second best bid. These auctions lasts a month, time for the mail to arrive to the dealer. Not quite the thrill of a live auction...

My amateur reading of a British philatelic magazine made me discover a whole world of aggressive stamp dealers and auctionners. In Stamp Magazine, their adverts present the whole range of selling you can use to get rid of your collection at the best price possible.

At the beginning of the magazine, two monthly pages are published on the auction news from around the world. In May, is told the result of the auction of classic Australian multi-awarded collection of Arthur Gray.

A full illustrated article can be wrote around an auction, with a philatelic goal : the diamond pieces of the Gawaine Baillie's collection in April Stamp Magazine for example. He bought pristine, non-cancelled, mutiples, beautiful British classic stamp... Many words that I don't know if I could achieve in my lifetime on one stamp.

In French philatelic world, I am not aware that United States businessman Bill Gross sold his British collection and gave the 9 136 000 USD to association Doctors Without Border. And he keeps his prestigious American collection... Is Z Grill (2 stamps are known of this one) ringing a bell in youy knowledge ?

In France, I don't know a recent vente sur offres that created such an ado in philatelic papers and electronic media.

Is this major place of auctions in Anglo-Saxon philately a sign of healthfullness, better than the health of French philately ? If more-than-rich peoples collect stamps as such a quality and price, does it proove that it exists a whole hidden iceberg of collectors of all ages and social conditions ?

Update 26 July 2007 :
* Dominique on the Blog philatélie found intels about the Vickrey auction (english name of the "vente sur offres") : its history and its theorization. The article is written in French, but the intels found are in English.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Philatelic journey in Barcelona

Last October, I spent my holidays in Barcelona. A beautiful trip : Indian summer, architectures, cool working people, transport efficiency (very far from the Parisian atmosphere...).

The philatelic office is not difficult to find since it is inside the central post office at the Antoni López square. It is at a major southern crossroad :
* passeig de Colom to the west, alongsite the port and going to the statue of Christopher Coloumbus ;
* passeig d'Isabel II coming east from the France railways station ;
* via Laietana going to the north through the old town center ;
* and, lokking south, the enter of La Barceloneta, residential aera and beach of Barcelona.

A flight of stairs conduct to the hall and directly inside the post office. In the hall, on the left, there is a discreet door : the entrance of the philatelic office. On tables, the flyers of the last two year's stamp issue are available.

Be careful, the spanish post (Correos) sells some stamp series as a whole.

Rate for a simple less than 20 grams letter to Europe is 0.58 €, 0.68 € worlwide. Since the interior rate is 0.30 €, you can use two stamps for a Europe letter without losing much money, in order to use all the stamps of a series.

Andorran stamps of the Spanish service are sold too. For French ones, you must ask the philatelic service of La Poste in France.

Have a nice journey in Barcelona.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Illustrated cancellations in British sixties

Today, we will travel to Tanganyika thank to a British little cover (13.5 x 7.9 cm), plus a pictorial cancellation.

This letter is sent by the Royal Over-Seas League that promotes cultural and artistic activities throughout the Commonwealth formed between Great Britain and parts of its colonial empire. The destinator is a lieutenant-colonel in Tanganyika. This protectorate is independent in December 1961, and become the continental part of Tanzania, after the association with Zanzibar.

« B.E. AFRICA » stands for British East Africa, former name until the 1920's of Kenya and Uganda. The German Tanganyika became a mandate under British rule after World War One. To place under this BEA name is right since these three territories used the same stamps with their three names. A postal union lasted this link until 1976.

The stamp is a brown two pence (2d) of the Wilding series, issued at the beginning of Elizabeth II's reign in the fifties. It represents a photograph of the Queen by Dorothy Wilding. Around the head, the illustration is a floral composition using national emblems of the four united kingdoms.

But, what touched my eyes when I was looking at many British covers is the pictorial cancellation promoting a postal product : « BUY STAMPS IN BOOKS » and three booklets' covers with prices on them : 3/- for three shillings, 4/6 for four shillings and six pence, and five shillings. We are before the decimalization : 12 pence made one shilling.

Librairy :
In French, here is a useful book to retrieve basic intels about issuing date of stamps by postal authorities : Jacques Delafosse, Dictionnaire des émissions philatéliques, éd. Timbropresse, 2004, ISBN 2-908101-10-6.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Last flames on French mail ?

Between 1991 and 2005, the number of pictorial cancellations known as "flammes" has been falling in France. A graphic from the president of a local philatelic association prroves the fact in Summer issue of l'Écho de la timbrologie magazine. The cause - speeding the arrival of mail at the sorting center, its cancellation, its sorting - was explained in February 2007 issue of Timbres magazine.

Unless French postal operators decide to sell advertisment space on their cancellation or review this strategy of speed and easy cancellation because it is impersonal (so impersonal that sometime you don't even know where the mail came from), we are looking at the last flammes of France.

One of these last resistant, it encourages the selective sorting of domestic wastes (paper, plastic bottles, etc.). It was marked at Miramas, Bouches-du-Rhône (Southern France) on 13th March 2007.

Believing Mr. Helias' graphic, in 2005, 19 permanent of this sort of pictorial cancellations and 76 temporary ones were in use in France. Comparing in 1991 to, respectively, 397 permanent and 605 temporary.

I hope that this disappearance will be only momentaneous, time for La Poste to find some greed in illustrating cancellations.