Friday, June 29, 2007

Scattered islands : Pierre Jullien reports

On his Philatélie au quotidien blog, Pierre Jullien, French journalist from Le Monde and Timbres magazine, told the story of the first day cancellation of the Scattered islands (see precedents episodes on my blog). An illustrated version is printed in Timbres magazine of July-August 2007, page 31.

Like I supposed, the Tromelin covers made a one-day trip by plane (in a Transall) with Philatelic Chief of the TAAF, Jean-Marie Jaguenaud. He cancelled around 2000 covers during four hours. 2500 minisheets of five stamps were sold in Paris and Saint-Denis in Réunion island (headquarters of the TAAF) during the pre-issues in May. 70 000 minisheets were printing and are sold.

My covers don't wear a big commemorative mark, black in Paris and blue in Réunion.

For those of you who are interesting in French TAAF postal marks, Timbres magazine gives page 16 the adress of the TAAF post offices.* After you buy TAAF stamps, prepare your covers and send them to the post agent with your will (FDC are available approximatively one month after stamp's issue, etc.). TAAF postal rates are easily foundable on their website (be careful, like all French overseas postal rates, their are different from Metropitan rates). You can send your questions to the philatelic service of the TAAF : . If you read French : Philatelie des TAAF website may help.

* : I can't copy them all. The base is always the same :
Monsieur le Gérant postal
Name of the place : one of the Scattered islands or one of the TAAF bases
Name of the district

no postcode required

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

French Post thinks it will issue the first lenticular stamp in Europe

Claude Jamet explains the secrets of the lenticular stamp that the French post will issue the next 6 September 2007 for the Rugby World Cup. Tiny lenticules reflect images on a single stamp, varying with the inclination angle. Basically, you watch a short animation.

La Poste says on its Émotion du courrier website that it is the "first European lenticular stamp" (« 1er timbre lenticulaire européen »).

Screen copy on Tuesday, June 26th, 8pm Paris time.

But, with the second 2007 number of La Loupe, the philatelic bulletin of the Post of Switzerland, is included a presentation of the two 27 April 2007 lenticulars stamps for the centenary of the Museum of Communication.

Worse, Netherlands' Post issued two lenticular stamps in February... 2006 ! honoring speed skating olympic champions Yvonne Van Gennip and Ard Schenk.

If the French stamp (cool and adapted for the topic) is a first European something, is it for the number of pictures incorporated ?

Scotch of Britain

Today, an thing absolutely essential to a good, safe, pristine contemporary philatelic collection :


No, I'm sorry, not the whisky. The adhesive tape.

Yes, to pack books we bought on-line at a bookshop, an editor or a postal administration to insure they arrived without torn pages and with plate covers.

Here is the one used by the Royal Mail for my Douglas N. Muir's A Timeless Classic. The evolution of Machin's icon. The collectors of postal marks will be happy to recognize some british ones.

The curator of the British Postal Museum & Archive tells though the genesis of the Machin series the story of the revolution in the philatelic creation, happened in Britain in the sixties. How Postmaster General Tony Benn and artist David Gentleman launched a big transformation with the initial goal of getting rid of the Wilding portrait. Conclusions were Arnold Machin's design for definitives and a new simplier head for commemoratives.

Great book.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Culinary cancellation from Italy

A cover from Italiy with the commemorative cancellation of Castiglioncello, littoral place in Tuscany.

The stamp is one of the two Italian Europa stamps of this year, about scoutism. The nightwatch arounf the campfire was one of the major topic of the Europa series issued by postal administrations members of PostEurop alongside with the walk in forest, Lord Robert Baden-Powell and universal allegories. This illustration, in a commemorative big format, is designed by Riccardo Francaviglia et Margherita Sgarlata.

The 10 June 2007 cancellation advertises the 36th fishing party (Festa del pesce), part of the Big culinary Kermesse of the Livornese coast, one of the provinces of Tuscany.

Notes :
* thanks to Riccardo for his covers (I hope he liked the TGV Est first day cover).
* You can follow the philatelic program of Italy on the Poste Italiane's website : here for 2007.
* For commemorative cancellations, the Italian Collectors Federation helps.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

First big mistake

Sorry for the moments without messages, work before summer (and parties that go with it - not at the workplace of course) explain why I am a little far of philately and my computer (and that not a bad thing sometime).

For example, it gives me time to read mail and to justify my mistakes. Yvon Nouazé alerts me and, with better attention, I told unwisely that the 1896 Oran cancellation was made by a Daguin machin. And it is not. I will rewrite the article until tomorrow sunday, in order to explain common errors on how recognize these cancellations.

Have a good week-end and beginning of Northern Hemisphere temperate summer to you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Machin Quiz

Some philatelic blogs and forums are organizing a quiz about the Machin series. You can send your answers by mail until this week-end. Classic British stamps are to win.

The questions can be copy on the Machin Mania blog.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Reflexions about ourselves

Gauthier Toulemonde's editorial in French Timbres magazine of June 2007, makes Claude Jamet run some reflexions and thoughts about philately and stamp collecting on his site Ma Philatélie. All of this is aimed at us, philatelists and/or collectors : have we to collect new stamps of our country's post, all of them, none, how, why ?

Two articles followed the analysis of Toulemonde "open letter to the [French] President" :
* « Timbres à collectionner ou timbre de collection » (stamps to collect or stamp of collection) is a question about some recent issue of prestige. Are they aimed at stamp collectors, the general public looking for special occasions, or what ?
* « En finir avec une collection systématique » (to end the systematic collection, i.e. collection of all the stamps your post is issuing), Claude Jamet write in order to transform the all-stamp-of-the-year collector into a philatelist, discovering stamp creation or postal history.

I have kept some marking sentences from this reading :
* « La collection systématique mène à tout, à condition d'en sortir. » (systematic collection ends everywhere, if you stop doing it (sorry for the rude translation)).
* Comparing stamps printed by machines and commemorative stamps : « La voiture n'a pas tué les balades du dimanche à vélo dans la campagne. Au contraire, elle les rend encore plus nécessaires. » (cars didn't kill sunday bike trips at the country. In the contrary, cars made them ever more necessary).

Through British Stamp Magazine reader's mail, my looking at the Australian and United States' stamp program, Claude Jamet's questions seem to be interesting farther than the Gallo-French philatelic pond.

Note :
Claude Jamet is a former philatelic journalist who wrote in Timbroscopie, a magazin that united with Le Monde des philatélistes and Timbroloisirs at the beginning of the 2000s to form Timbres magazine.

Third from Scattered islands

Arrived today, third Scattered islands first day cover.
From Juan de Nova island.
Named after Portuguese finder João da Nova.
Same illustrated stamps as Europa cover.
But some missing ink on them.
(lots of covers to be stamped ?)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Machin forever

Dominique on the Blog philatélie found a reference website on the Machin series, for those looking for exhaustivity and lots of advices to collect these stamps :
* Great Britain Machins by the 'Machin Nut', created by Canadian Robin Harris. For those who want to see what they can do with all their Machins easily find over the years, I advice you this page.

I admit my previous findings are more in my character of curious looking and finding by chance.

But, I have problems to find websites about Hong Kong Machins. Could anyone help me, please ?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Timbres magazine's franking machine

Here is the machine stamp I got on a letter from the bookshop of Timbres magazine.

The sticking paper wears a lot of yellow postal birds, logotype of La Poste since 1960.

On the other hand, I know little of the numbers (thanks to Yvon Nouazé for the help) :
* on this adhesive paper, a number (not easy to read) appears on the left bottom and up right explains the type of market passed between the firm and La Poste ;
* in the "perforated" stamp, the code : SE 25355. It is a Satas machine, and this code is a series number.

For the content of the letter (weighting between 500 grams and 1 kilo in priority mail = 3,77 €), I bought some books, cheaper thank to a promotion on prices (see their number of June). The announced books' defaults seems to be just a lack of freshness, certainly too much time passed in boxes. Nothing that makes this books unreadable.

Update of 24th June 2007 :
Thank to a mail from Yvon Nouazé, I update the significances of the codes. He gave me some bibliography in French : Laurent Bonnefoy et Luc Guillard, les Empreintes de machines à affranchir utilisées en France (volume 1, 484 pages) et les Empreintes de machines à affranchir utilisées en France depuis 1999 (volume 2, 284 pages), published by the Union marcophile association. (The marks of franking machine used in France)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Europa stamp in the TAAF

The second of the first day covers from the Scattered islands arrived from Europa during the week. The island's coordinates in the Mozambique Channel are presents like the first from Tromelin.

Little bonus : the illustrated stamp from the gendarme-postal agent for the island, in blue ink. And his quick signature (he must have signed a lot of these : the mail box in May was full at the end of the first afternoon of the three day first day of issue in Paris TAAF offices).

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Prague Castle

Hradčany, Prague Castle is the illustration of the first postage stamps of Czechoslovakia in October 1918, after the independance from the Austria-Hungary at the end of World War One. Thiese stamps were issued in December.

Whereas the graphism is relatively rude because of the lack of time and technical means, the illustration is made by one of the greatest artists of the 20th century Europe, Alfons Mucha, main representant of the Art nouveau. His most known works are his posters.

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

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Update on Machin series ressources

Update about sites, blogs and others ressources on the Machin series that is celebrating its 40 years of service in the United Kingdom since last tuesday :
* Machin Mania blog created last November 2006 ;
* the articles of Adrian's blog (akphilately), including some about Hong Kong Machins ;
* and I buy today two books by Douglas Muir on the Royal Mail website.

Elephants in the Contemporary British Philately

In his letter of July, Guy Thomas, Stamp Magazine's editor, decided to illustrate the articles about George VI reign stamps with a joke : the difference between this reign and the one of her daughter Elizabeth II was that the latter has not put an elephant on stamp yet.

But, Thomas made some research and the United Kingdom issued postal elephants three times in 1983, 2002 and 2006.

Finally, here is his wisdom : in the time of Queen Elizabeth, it may require many dubious reasons to put an elephant on a stamp, while at the time of George VI, the Empire permitted to find rich and various topics of stamp illustrations.

Here is my proposition for a philatelic historical thesis :
The end of colonization as the cause
of philatelic depreciation of the metropole.

Monday, June 11, 2007

French touristic stamps in a school exam

Today is the first day of the baccalauréat in France, the final high school exam. Three years earlier, students take an other (little) exam : the brevet des collèges, in which some stamps were used in 2004.

Scanned brevet subject, reproduced in an Hatier book.
(it is my scan that is in low quality, not the picture quality of this book)

In history-geography, students (around 15 years old) must answer questions write two short texts in history or geography, and civic education. Plus one sheet of exercices to verify they know major historic events and geographic locations.

In June 2004, the school regions of Eastern France chose to illustrate this exercise with stamps from the Portraits de régions : la France à voir, depicting monuments and traditional buildings of France.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

TGV Est, and the winner is...

... certainly La Poste will be the winner of the issue of a national letter rate stamp marking the commercial opening of the new high-speed railway in Eastern France, connected to Luxemburg, Germany and Switzerland railways. By its legend, the stamp focusses on the national company service TGV Est-européen which will be opposed to Deutsche Bahn ICE on the same railway. The 0,54 € gummed stamp is designed by Louis Briat using the pictures gave by the SNCF (nothing amazing from my point of view).

Why am I looking for a winner there ? A money winner.

Claude Jamet seems to have got a rumor about the apparition of this stamp in an adhesive rolls. How would it be issued will have speculative consequences on the French philatelic market... once again this year.

More simply for La Poste. While I was waiting in line at the temporary post office inside the Gare de l'Est, in Paris, I carefully watched what the others were buying. Tourists pasing by to take a train or visiting Paris bought some stamps for the occasion or to make postcards with the special cancellation.

But, more juicy, were French collectors : many bought the stamps by whole sheets of 50 stamps (27 €, equivalent to 36 US dollars). Why ? Private mail certainly and philatelic correspondance surely. If they are real fanatic collectors : to be able to get by mail the more-than twenty special cancellations that are at disposal this week-end (and for one month by requests) in cities that are now stations of this TGV. And if you want to make whole series in order to sell them later, you make more than one...

Will philatelic associations make some profit thank to twenties of souvenirs ? La Poste was not helping them : every buyer was offered a postcard figuring the stamp. So, simple tourist just has to pay 0,54 € to create his personal (and sufficient) souvenir.

My award to the most original souvenir to this man : he sticks the stamp on a A-3 page of paper, with a corner covering his train ticket on the first TGV Est he took this sunday morning. Prudent, he made photocopies of this tickets on A-3 yellow pages, with one stamp on each, first day cancelled... soon on eBay ?

And me ? are you asking. Did I pledge allegiance to 50-stamp sheets godness and first day cancel ? I arrived with the idea of buying ten stamps (four for immediate use for myself and foreign collectors, and six for my future mail). Unluckily for La Poste, a woman took so long to watch at every souvenirs available than I dropped to four stamps. My stamps-for-mail stock has got far beautier stamps than this one.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Santa Bona di Pisa

Here is a commemorative cancellation that an Italian correspondent sent me last May.

The stamp, issued on the 6 October 2006, is about the Italian organization responsible for the protection of natural parks.

The cancellation is illustrated with a picture of Santa Bona, in a pose similar to the one on a painting by Giovanni Lorenzetti. The town of Pisa commemorates the 800 years of her death.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The first first day of the Scattered islands

The first one of the covers I posted last 10 May, came back today from the Scattered islands. A four days trip from Tromelin to Reunion then Paris, certainly a direct come back on a plane with the first covers.

The first day cancellation represents the sea turtle whose photograph was on the mini-sheet. Only problem : although I am confident in the honesty of the TAAF's posts and telecommunications services, nothing proofs that this cover did go to Tromelin.
Surprise : on the bottom left corner, the coordinates of the islands. On the north of La Réunion, East of the Northern Madagascar, in the Indian Ocean.

Ruby anniversary for Machin series

Today, there are forty years that the Machin definitive stamps are in use in the United Kingdom.

The 5th of June 1967, this 4 pence dark-brown was issued alongside a one shilling (1/-) violet and a one shilling and 9 pence (1/9) black and orange (a rare case of bicolor Machin).

Royal Mail has previewed some philatelic products :
* a commemorative mini-sheet with two "first" stamps illustrated by Arnold Machin's portrait and a reproductio of the 4 pence. Plus two Machin of one pound sterling value : the old blue-violet one and the new ruby, colour created by Jeffery Matthews that represents 40 year anniversary in British countries.
* an all sheet of twelve of this minisheets before they are cut. I remind that this is a regular practice of Canada Posts.
* a prestige booklet with 2, 40 and 48 pence Machin stamp, two ruby one, the two commemoratives and the larger version issued when the "Price in proportion" was imposed last year.
* a generic sheet with as stamps the portrait of Arnold Machin se-tenant with labels reproducing the twenty pre-decimal stamps of the series, issued between 1967 and 1969.

Reminder :
* Machin, almost 40 years !, article of this blog published 25 May 2007, with some ideas of collection and reading.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Longest definitive stamps in use

On tuesday 5 June 2007, Royal Mail is going to celebrate with some philatelic issues the 40th years of the Machin definitive series. But, it is not the longest definitive series always in use.

Since Christmas 1871, the post of Norway has always a postal horn in stock, recently became bicolor in the 1990's. One hundred and twenty-five year old last 25th of December.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Humble Guide of the Bristish contemporary collector

While Eric is coming back from an holiday in England, I will try to write down what I have understood of the British philatelic program since I read the monthly Stamp Magazine (february 2007 and counting).

The most simple : commemorative issues usually are sold in six different stamps, sometime with a mini-sheet. In January, the Beatles were the best sellers from London to New Zealand. After that, the rock band was followed by six images taken from space for the anniversary of TV show The Sky at Night, six personalities of the history of British abolition of slavery, and six pictures reminding of usual Channel beach holidays.

Relatively simple (if, of course, you avoid details) : the Machin definitive series. But, some stamps can only be bought inside a Machin booklet... like the "Love" stamp in January 2007.

Finally, the French I am is beaten by Perfidious Albion with the Smilers and the Countries issues.

The first seems to be sequels of a very good and humoristic issue, that was so successful that Royal Mail decided to re-issue it regularly in the form of a 10-stamp sheet se-tenant with thematic labels.

Countries are more historic, but nowadays affected by the Smilers-be-back effect. Between 1958 and 1967, the Wilding design was modified to accept the symbol of one of the British Crown kingdoms, so that the four parts of the United Kingdom, Guernsey, Jersey and Man have got their own stamps, in a way. The three latter received their postal independance in the 1960's and 1970's. The Machin series lived with their Countries couter-part too.

In the recent years, new definitives stamps completed Machin-Countries stamps. They are illustrated by a national symbol (like the English Lion showed on top of this page). The illustrations sometime changed, tariffs are regularly followed by new issues. The stamp above was issued for 2002 Soccer World Cup in South Korea and Japan.

But, like Eric told us in his message, these Countries stamps are squared by mini-sheet with se-tenant labels printed with local landscapes. And since, these Smilers and Countries sheets are a little bit commercials, errors appeared : Dominique reminds of the orthograph problem of the May 2007 England mini-sheet.

Any ressemblance with French philatelic issues, plethoric, ill-advertised or with errors is purely due to chance. With this message, I want to thank the collectors whose blogs and websites help find answers to my questions and find new topics of curiosity.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Introduction to the postal history (of France)

I just receive the Introduction to postal history from 1848 to 1878 (of France, the Ceres on the cover is a hint). The picture shows you an estimate of the number of pages, intels, pictures, references there are in this book. The editor's site gives you an idea of the content more precisely.

Authors are expert Mr. Jean-François Brun and postal historian Mrs. Michèle Chauvet, whose biographicals are shown on the Académie de philatélie's website (click on "Nos membre" - Our members on the right side).

The anglo-saxon tile ", R.D.P." is authorized for those who were invited to sign the
Roll of Distinguished Philatelists, a British philatelic distinction with international importance. It was created in 1921 and the first one to sign it was King George V, founder of the Royal Philatelic Collection, le roi George V.

Expedition was done with a Colissimo emballages sold by La Poste, size L : arrival guaranteed in 48 hours in Metropolitan France and Monaco, weight until 6 kilograms.

This document stick on the parcel has got a cancellation from the Rue du Louvre post office in Paris. Thanl to the numeric code, the expeditor and the destinator can follow the parcel throughout the postal system.