Sunday, September 30, 2007

Machin jewelry

In issue 172 of Royal Mail catalog Preview, are proposed objects of collection for fans of the Machin series :
* pin badge in silver reproducing the First class stamp (22,95 pounds sterling, circa 33 € or 46 USD) ;
* commemorative medal in silver, diameter 6 cm (£89,95) ;
* a document containing folders about Arnold Machin's arts and about the palette of the stamp series, plus a Machin stamp in silver (£48) ;
* and a medal first day cover of the Arnold Machin stamp. The medal's faces represent the famous effigy and a sculpted portrait of Arnold by his deceased son Francis (£14,50).

Fortunate amateur will be happy. I think it's more elegant than the Marianne des Français mug La Poste proposed in January 2005.

Promoting the philatelic program of France

For many years, Phil@poste (formerly the National Service for Postal Stamps) has been distributing semestrial flyers to announce next issues and their first day sellings.

The front page is the reproduction of one of the stamp to come.

Clients of Phil@poste received them regularly. The others can find them at the philatelic post offices (one per département) or during first day happenings.

This one is the 2007 second semester flyer illustrated by the next stamp about the space exploration. The first day will happen this 4 October, 50 years after Spoutnik 1 reached Earth orbit.

Postage stamp as an object of propaganda : 0,85 € on a light letter (0-20 gramms) can show the world the engines of the European Space Agency.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Looney Tunes

Since I was imitating Tweety Bird's catch-phrase last day, here are two stamps of the USPS series about the Looney Tunes characters, anthropomorphic animals created by the Warner Bros. during the 1930's and the 1940's.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


A little free speech text today :

The 2008 edition of the first tome (stamps of France) of the Yvert et Tellier catalogue is published this autumn ! And, when you read September issue of L'Écho de la timbrologie magazine, you know it ! Its new cover designed by French artist Marc Taraskoff is the event of the season ! Aude Ben-Moha writes it : this limited edition cover marks the "revival" of the French philately. Plus, she reminds you : buy this limited cover catalogue and you win this painting on a free minisheet ! Yeah !

The illustrator, Marc Taraskoff, is summoned for a commercial two-page interview about this cover, even if he admits that "I am neither a philatelist, nor a collector". But he can judge the content of Y&T catalogue : "it's quite not a harmless book. It's a reference, a true bible."

Conclusion : the content is precious to all collectors. So, let's go to page 86 and read this catalogue critic. The cover, the promotion of an annex mini-book about engraving and recess-printing written by Mrs. Ben-Moha, and which countries are in the others tomes published this month are all the topic of this critic. Nothing about the content and its evolution. :))

I forget the ultimate detail, in the eye of the new French philatelic collector, the one who collects catalogue covers and minisheets reproducing catalogue covers : "The latter [tome 1bis and following] keep their old red cover."

If you want to know some tiny bits of serious informations (yes, as commercial as the above), go read page 15 of Timbres magazine and the answers of the main manager of Y&T, Benoît Gervais, about his catalogue, his covers and his firm. About the tome 1 content, he thinks it became a "semi-specialized" catalogue that give the readers what they have been asking : "more photographs, more iconographic research [? from the redactor of this post], more informations".

Personally, I will wait November and the Autumn Show in Paris to give an eye to this catalogue : will he finally give as much - even more - datas about the stamps' story and career than Dallay.

For the stamps from un-French-related countries, and even if these books were not often in my hands, I suggest you compare Y&T content with Michel, Scott and Stanley Gibbons catalogues. The financial and linguistic effort can be very producive.

4 october 2007 :
If you want to see the content of the Dallay catalogues (France and French philatelic "countries"), you can watch on TV timbres the interview of their authors, Luc Dartois et Jean-Bernard Pillet, by Timbres magazine's journalist Michel Melot.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I taut I tou a putty head in Fiji

One of Parisian weekly stamp market, Carré Marigny, near the Champs-Élysées, is selling modern registered letters from British colonies. They were sent to postal boxes and banks in the Channel Islands.

One of those confort myself in my Machin mania :

Sent at Lautoka, a town in Fiji islands, in 1979, it bears three stamps. On them, the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II... that looks like the Machin stamp series of the United Kingdom. Unless I'm beginning to see this head every where ?

Independent since 1970, Fiji had been a monarchy under the queen of England rule until 1987. This year, two military coups d'État were organized against the alleged power of Indian-Fijians versus the Melaniasian-Fijians.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Chalon head, Elizabeth age

The Chalon head are series of British colonial stamps during the 19th century. The name came from the painter whose portrait of Queen Victoria was re-interpreted into stamps : Alfred Edward Chalon.

New Zealand was among these colonies. Its 1855 Chalon heads were the very first stamps of this country. And that's what this 1955 stamp commémorated :

Same crown made under George IV's reign (and visible on the Penny Black and the Machin series), same youth, but different queen : Elizabeth II replaced her ancestor.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

British first class is not Europe first class

I presented what Royal Mail put on unsufficient franked postcard. But, what can it do when the card is not illustrated ?

The éditions Verdier is a French publisher. Inside their books, the reader find a card with a quizz : who are you ? what did you buy ? where ? etc.

The problem of postage due is indicated by a big cancellation beginning with the word "DELAYED" : certainly a message explaining why Royal Mail did not hurry to treat this card for three days.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Accident on a pictorial cancellation in Lattes

Back to pictorial cancellations of Lattes, in Southern France, and this day in November 1999, when a letter has got a little accident when it passed through the mechanical chicane.

Note : we all have witnessed the permanent lack of time of our contemporary fellows (me included). I have watched their ignorance about postal tarriffs too. The first with the latter is a good price for the postal administration in France : the wrong idea is that two permanent red stamps are suffisant for a big letter, too heavy for a lone 20-gram red stamp.

In 1999, the red permanent stamp costs 3 francs, against 4,50 francs for a 20 to 50 gram letter. The consumer who posted the letter above lost 1,50 francs.

Since the 1st October 2006, the lost has been lighter : 0,86 - 2 x 0,54 = 0,22 € (soit 1,44 franc).

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Senegal stamp againt Apartheid

It suffered inside a dealer's box full of stamps of the world, but it recalls that postage stamps are political messenger of a country.

The international communauty's arm stops the Apartheid to continue the oppression against black peoples in South Africa (the blood on the right). And Nelson Mandela in the fighting leadership figure while he had been imprisoned for 24 years when this stamp was issued.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Intrusive bar-code

To send a postcard and imagine the destinator profit a beutiful view of your journey, is some time more a matter of faith than simple confidence in the postal service. I wrote about the Royal Mail's radical picturesque sticker to make you understand your sender was cheap on rates.

The automatization of mail sorting brings me another example, on a card from the United States, thank to a Postcrossing exchange.

Prudent and respectuous of its buyers and the U.S. Postal Service, the publisher Penrod/Hiawatha of Michigan let a blank space at the bottom right. There, the room is large enough for any Postnet bar-code the USPS want to print. But, here, as you can see, it has remained blank.

Blank because, the USPS maculated the view of Mackinac Bridge with a sticker for its Postnet bar-code... The bridge connects the two peninsulas forming the State of Michigan.

I ask : can not anyone invent a machine whose postal users are intelligent enough to cancel and print bar-code on the same side ?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mail from Cherbourg naval base

For my collection, I have the luck that my sister has been in love with a military man. I kept the covers in this relation, from the bases he worked at, first in the French navy, then in the Army.

He spent his instruction at the navy base in Cherbourg - Querqueville, where the post office has got a pictorial cancellation. The thickness of the stamp impeached the complete mark of a marine anchor, symbol of the French navy mail.

The next week (philately was not the cause... more telephone cost), a simple hand-date stamp was enough to cancel this Summer holiday stamp issued the 5 June 2000. Here, the postal code and the anchor are fully visible.

I possess a very little number of these covers, but I appreciate them because, like Dominique wrote, they are genuine.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


How do you collect bills in euro currency without being ruined by money hoarding?

The website EuroBillTracker may help: you can follow the bills you had in your hands. You register the denomination and the two codes on the bill, and wait if another person will have the bill too. You help to make statistics about the movement of bills depending of the printer.

Such a site exists since 1998 for the United States dollar bill : Where's George?

Algerian post encouraging the use of postal code in 1990

Encouraging to use postal code is now a new label on this blog.

This encouragement is the message of this Algerian post's pictorial cancellation of 1990 : "Postal code : five digits / to sort quickly your mail". The stamp depicts automobile repair jobs.

I imagine that green and red signs of the air mail enveloppe replaced avantageously the usual blue and red, too close to the French flag.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Illustrated mystery in Sweden, co-starring Martin Mörck

Today, a mysterious pictorial cancellation on a cover from Sweden, sent at a barely visible date to a French publisher.

The stamp was issued in 1997 and was part of a three-stamp series about marine. This 18th century Compass rose was engraved by Martin Mörck.

I thank in advance the one of you, readers, who will help me discover the significance of the pictorial cancellation. I see a stylised reindeer, or two human beings congratulating one another.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Lattes' pictorial cancellations

Second episode of the Lattes topical collection, French commune in Hérault, between Montpellier and Palavas-les-Flots.

In France, until the beginning of the 1990's, a certain number of schools asked to parents to frank some enveloppes for the mail of a school year. But, thank to the reactions of some parents, it was remembered to schools the principle of the free education.

But the situation ante help the young student I was to have pictorial cancellations from my hometown :

To my knowings, the Lattes-Centre post office (Lattes-Centre is the main town of Lattes ; the Maurin area has got its own office with a hand-datestamp "GA" for "Guichet annexe") used two different pictorial cancellations.

From the 1980's to the beginning of the 1990's, the lower one is a summarizing landscape : Saint-Laurent church built during the 12th century, an amphora, memory of the antic port of Lattara rediscovered and explored by a teacher Henri Prades, and the head of a bull. The latter is for the little number of courses camarguaises organized in Lattes : some young men - the razeteurs - try to take off a little object on the bull's head ; the bull is not often very cooperative. The background is the view of Méjean pond, separing Lattes from the littoral coast.

At the beginning of the 1990's (here, the cover's date is 14 June 1993), the picture was changed and the new commune's logotype is used. But, the cancellation is more an advertisment than the first touristical one, because "Port Ariane" is at the time a project of new neighbourhood around a little marina. It was built and was a success (more because Montpellier population exploded than for the boat parking).

Since when the first was in use : no idea, I will look for.

Until when the second was used : I can't tell because my high school years were a philatelic pause. It had negative points : I missed some pretty stamps. And positive : as a low-money university student when I came back to stamps, I have been having a critic eye on new French stamps. I have some documents that will show (in another article) thant the picture is postally alive under another form.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

First lenticular stamp of France

Here it is : French Post is issuing its first lenticular stamp for the Rugby World Cup that begins at the end of this week, and all the advertisement industry adopts this sport to sell financials, cheese, beef steacks, metro tickets and stamps of 3 € value (normal letter : 0,54 €).

Look for heavy letters from France (exchange of books and reports between science places) or registered letters.

Auto-adhesive, this stamp has two thickness because the animated illustration is constructed with plastic. The right part is platified : be careful with your fingerprints and other little dusts. How this stamp will survive automatic mail sorting, is another story.

Compared to precedent communications documents, the usual signature of the artist Éric Fayolle and of the stamp agency Phil@poste are printed.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Golden Flower in Switzerland

Thank to a Postcrossing, this definitive Swiss stamp arrived at home : its denomination indicates it is valid for a postcard sent to an European country.

A tour inside the Swiss Post website helps to retrieve lots of intels :
* the blue stamp is in the list of valid stamps inside the pdf file "Ordinary stamps 1977+". It was issued in 2002 with another red one, that is valid for a worldwide card. The same year, you can look for one already-seen-on-this-blog insect.
* Europe, Swiss postal rate-ly speaking (.pdf) goes to Russia, Turkey and Greenland.
* The prioritary letter less than 20 grams to Europe needs a 1,30 Swiss franc stampage (around 0,79 € or 1,08 USD). Economic rate is not interesting in this case : 1,20 CHF (0,73 € or 0,99 USD).

A more profound research finds the initial presentation of this stamp : "Special stamps for card sent abroad". These bleu and red stamps are sold in booklet of six, with a discount (0,60 CHF for a six-blue-stamp booklet, 0,80 CHF for the red version). The discount is made possible because these two stamps can only be used for postcards, not letters (read the message inside a booklet).

The illustration is the emblem of the Tourist office of Swiss.

These stamps help greatly the foreign tourists in Swiss, with a discount. We all are not patient or interested enough to take time and discover the philatelic state of a post office during our holidays.

An award for the quality and content of the Swiss Post website.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Post offices and zip codes of the United States

A discovery thank to Don Schilling, this website is trying to compile all United States post office that existed or are still existing. Since the site is partly commercial : you can watch covers on sale cancelled in a particular office.

I found Beverly Hills, California post office, whose zip code became known worldwide with the TV series Beverly Hills, 90210.

The Wikipedia in English can help to discover the secrets behind US zip codes.