Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008... ...2009

After December 2006, I was thinking a lot about how philatelic services manage the last week's issues of the current year.

Remember, on 1st December 2006, the Monaco Postage Stamp Issue Office (OETP) issued more than half og its 2007 philatelic program. The next year, two 2008 issued appeared in October and December 2007. This year again, two main issues on Arctic explorations and one stamp were issued before their printing date of 2009.

On the French side, generally, it is quiet, almost August-quiet after the Autumn Stampshow in Paris. The French issuer is full of money when its Monegasc neighbout is still hungry?


In December 2006, Monaco had two causes: an international exhibit and, certainly, been taken by surprise by La Poste's changes of rates on last 1st October. Remember the French post is the postal operator in Monaco, even if the country is philatellicly independent. The OETP do not issue small value stamp, but it has almost one per rate (example). We can imagine the annoyance for clients to have a systematic travel to the post counter to obtain small cent machine stamps.

In December 2007 and 2008, the January events can be an excuse : the yearly circus festival and, this year, the Prince Albert II going to Antarctica. But, don't these can be foresee? Even with the delays imposed by the printer, Phil@poste Boulazac, can not OETP issue these stamps in a year printed on the stamp?


My paranoiac mind wondered and wondered. It can not have confidence into philatelic services. One hypothesis emerged: the catalogue value.


Among the many habits circulating between collectors, collection exhibitors and their juries, there is the one of the stamp used during its period of sale. A mode institutionalised in France with the Dallay catalogue that values the stamps cancelled used for a precise rate and during the period of sale.

But, not everybody have his Dallay(-Maury cuckoo) with him to verify dates of sales and value. Certainly, some buyers confront with large scales the stamp printed year with the month and year of cancellation.

In this game, stamps issued late in the year are losing against the others: less chances to be used during the year of issuance and more chances to be believed used outside the dates of sale. And, by inconscious consequences, less bought by collectors and correspondents?


Here is my hypothesis for the French philatelic quiet starting mid-November and ending as soon as the first Janury week-end, and of the Monaco rish to issue its next year stamps.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

France 2008...

Little game to end the year: what remains of the philatelic program of France, in the end, outside the check list published each month in the French magazines?


Definitive stamp specialists were enjoyed in their research on philatelic printing in France at the beginning of the 21st century: with the last of the Marianne des Français series and the new Marianne of Nicolas, they have lots of new material to understand better how Phil@poste Boulazac, La Poste's printing plant, works.

The Megaloceros stamp, in the Nature series, was to be remarked: the only non-definitive stamp to bear a 0.65 euro denomination for a simple letter to the European Union. The 0.55 euro value climbed on the first march of the podium, a march as high as a skyscraper compared to the few 0.85 euro issued thank to joint issues.

The unprogrammed stamp for the States-Generals of the Mediterranean, wished by our Sovereign in July 2008, permitted to a investigative blogger to let know how Phil@poste created stamps, published in Timbres magazine and Blog philatélie. I thank though La Poste to inform the Gard inhabitants of the danger of the submersion of coastal regions by the seas in a speculative future.


If I add the closed world of Philatelists (the ones with a big P), I told of the ingratitude of the Grand Award of the Philatelic Art (whose composition I have not discovered yet...) againt the recorded libraries for blind people, created by Valérie Besser, yet a important social topic. Personally, I would have give this :( to the 50 years of the 195 Constitution stamp, not counting lots of agencies' pictures put on soulless stamps (except the Summer Hollidays booklet)...

But, for another history of France stamp, inspiration was with the designer to recall the Great War. Thanks to Patrice Serres.

Let's talk artists. French collectors discoveres foreign talented artists with the joint issues: Francis Back engraved by Jorge Peral for the Foundation of Quebec and the landscapes by Mrs. Vu Kim Lien for Viet Nam. Despite not being a fan, the Best Wishes booklet let fourteen artists-students be known on Phil@poste's now-prefered philatelic product to the general public.

More positive for the philatelist world, the militantism of Raphaël Livnat gave birth to the aeropostal join issue with Israel.


To end 2008 (for now), as a gift in its big questionning-election of stamp award , Phil@poste estimated the value of 2008 stamp collection at one hundred and fifty euros.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Fina centenary in Uzbekistan

I often wonder if some stamps really circulate in the country whose name they bear. An answer from Central Asia.

A sport centenary: of the International Swimming Natation. I imagine that this synchronised swimming figure was done by the Uzbek team, before been photographed and afterwards put on a 450 sum stamp (0.23 euro).

Nothing more on this issue: the national post's catalogue is two and a half year out of the road, and the declaration of 2008 issues at the WADP Numbering System is to be done.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Quick! Let's stamp champions

With the 2000s, the sport champions of the year knew their quick stamping by their countries' post offices. Without upgrading to the Australian and the Chinese People's Republic sprints for their gold medal last Summer, the British media wondered recently if Royal Mail will stamp Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 Formula 1 world champion.

The topic is not frivolous, you see, even in a country where the Royal Family members are the sole living people on postage stamps. First, because some consider - foolish conception - that this F1 activity is a sport. Then, because the idea did not come from philatelists, but from the general media. Finally, with the movie posters and the James Bond and Harry Potter novels, Royal Mail may have...

But what to answer on BBC Radio Wales about this hypothesis of a non-programmed stamp for 2009 when you are Stamp Magazine's editor-in-chief? Guy Thomas explained it in the January 2009 issue: first of all, take profit of these three minutes to talk philately to a great number of Welsh people.

As today, Royal Mail had not answer the question.

The post of Finland was less scrupulous with the previous champion, Kimi Räikkönnen.


A minisheet with two first class stamps (0.80 euro each): the victorious pilot and his car.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Transparency in Finland

Here is the last sensation from the Finland post, sold at the single letter rate (0.80 euro, and not more than 3 euros like the lenticulars of France, Austria, and other stamps with heat-activated ink, but I am drivelling).

A Winter transparent stamp. Before, the lenticular stamps picturing ski champions were quite thin.

On this mail received thank to Postcrossing, I can order the postcard to the editor by writing down the barcode. More seriously, the most astucious and artistic-gifted can play with the envelope paper and their pencils to personalise this season's stamp at no cost.

A little worry, from a recent reflexion read on a English-speaking philatelic forum: are not the few plastic stamps issued forbid the recycling of the envelopes on which they are stuck? But it is a very little worry: Who would throw out an envelope without keeping the stamp to himself or for a collector?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Direct from the printer

New mail bid order until 30 January 2009 at Boule, the 91st sale. New catalogue sent by the printer plant: the Imprimerie graphique de l'Ouest, located in Le Poiré-sur-Vie, in Vendée.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

New Year stationery from Hong Kong

During the last 2008 Autumn Stampshow in Paris, the new stamp sale company, Théodore Champion S.A., offered this to its clients:
a postal stationery of Hong Kong, transformed into a speciman. Red color, little format, I would say it is an envelope to send wishes, even gift in form of banknotes during the Chinese New Year festivities.

By the Hongkong Post website, three dollars frank a letter from 50 to 100 grams inside the region, under 50 grams to mainland China and Macau, under 20 grams to the furthest parts of the world. That would make many banknotes in the first two cases. But, as I can't find intels on registered mail...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Negus brothers

Nine months after James, in February 2008, Stamp Magazine, in its January 2009 issue, announced the disappearance of his brother Ron last November.

James Negus was a specialist of philatelic edition and bibliographic research, and of the souvenirs published at British philatelic exhibitions.

Ron organised the Royal Philatelic Society London archives and became then its "honorary archivist". He collected Poland.

Both were prolific authors for the philatelic press, generalist and specialised alike.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

France: directed opinions?

The 2008 stamp election was recently launched by Phil@poste, proud of this year's website replacing paper ballots. Before, this award was called "Ceres of the philatelie" and not "the stamp of the year"... maybe the first title required too much of philatelic culture... But this website is a good way to predict the way the French philatelic pond is flowing in this States-General era, thank to a compulsory survey.

I got the idea to print these screenshots when I was imposed a second reading and filing. The first time, I refused to answer some questions, because no answer was what I am philatelicly thinking or living.

If you are a collector, you must chose who you are:
* a subscriber (to new stamps directly to Phil@poste),
* a réservataire (to new stamps at your local post office),
* a catalog's client (you order what you want in Phil@poste paper catalogue),
* or a client of the Stamp Shop (you order what you want at Phil@poste website).

I am not in any of those cases... There is a French traditional place that is missing in this question, where you can find philatelicly qualified postmen to interact.

The philatelic counters (point philatélie) are not there.

There opening hours were heavily restricted in Spring 2008. Now, I think collectors should check their philatelic clerck's age: if he is approaching retirement... shut down of the counter will arrive very soon.

Oh! Don't worry. If he is young or the counter closed, you will find every thing at the post office near door: employees not used to philately and our stamped folks, long waiting, etc whereas we are certainly very lucrative client of La Poste, in the general public case. Buying stamps, not using them.

In any case, you can order by mail or internet. No human relations required. Just a full confidence in unknown people: reading correctly the order, cutting correctly the stamps, manipulating the cardboard enveloppe with some dignity during the travel to your always-too-tiny mailbox.

Questions after States-Generals. You can see you have to answer, you can not withdraw a question. Personally, I do not care about the four 2008 innovations on stamps of France. Worse: I thought the fourth one (originally cutting around the minisheet) was a 2003 innovation on the Gardens of France minisheets. Pleased on 14 stamps a booklet last November? Don't care. I care: do they please me for my collection or my mail?

After the disappearance of pictorial cancellations and of the datestamps, we are to bury the philatelic counters under tons of numerous, innovating, ordered new stamps of France.

Too cold here. Let's go to Kenya!

Very wetty cold in Montpellier today. Icely and snowy elsewhere in France. Let's go to Kenya!

Lake Naivasha, in Kenya, is the topic of stamps in British colonies of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika since 1935, during the reign of George V. On 11 April 1938, the same landscape is reused in the new definitive series figuring King George VI. The Lake appeared on the 10 pence, 1 shilling and 2 shilling stamps.

If I possess this 1 shilling stamp, it must be very common and worth little pennies. Certainly less than the 30 pence the 2008 Stanley Gibbons Commonwealth Catalogue gave it cancelled (#145 ; 23 pounds sterling unused... but had this kind of stamps ever put teeth in Africa?). But, I should retrieve it in my archives to be sure it is not one of the undertypes that appeared during the printing history by De La Rue:
* -a: black and brown of 1942 instead of black and yellowish brown: 30 pence too;
* -ab: quite visible variety of the broken mountain (August 1948-June 1949): 450 pounds;
* -ac: linked to the previous, the retouched mountain after June 1949: 275 pounds, one thousand if unused;
* -aw: more discreet, the inversed watermark at 2750 pounds cancelled;
* -b: perforated 13x12.5 in October 1949 instead 13x11.75 = 60 pence;
* -ba: the deep black and brown printing of 14 June 1950: 2.25 pounds, twenty-five unused.

In comparaison, the George V version in black and green had only one variation of perforation in 1936. A lucrative one unused: 1300 pounds.

Final episode of the Lake Naivasha stamp, it is reissued on 1st February 1952 with the mention "ROYAL VISIT / 1952" to commemorate the visit of Princess Elisabeth and her husband, on their way to the British Dominions in Oceania. On the 6, King George VI died and the couple went back to London.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Charity stamp in Bahrain

The postcard was posted on 3 July 2006 in Bahrain, while the Soccer World Cup was played in Germany (topic of the right-hand stamp).

The two side stamps picturing King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah franked the postal card rate to Europe: 150 fils, still applying in December 2008, when you read this page of the Ministry of Transportation website. For your knowledge: one dinar is a thousand fils, and 150 fils are around 0.30 euro today.

The middle one is particular: a 10 fils charity stamp (less than 2 eurocents). Compulsory believing this blog, but for which good action? Still a philatelico-financial mystery.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Scene of Daily Philately

Montpellier, a tobacco-press store in the town center. Late this morning.

After ordering her nicotine drug aromatised with tobacco, a young woman wants ten stamps.

The dealer asks if a twelve stamp booklet can do, but finds a ten stamp one. These are stamps, just decorated with jokes.


Embarrassed answer: I want normal ones. It's to put them on job demand mail.


Illustrations from La Poste's stamp store.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Stanley Gibbons: Massive Discounts!

The British dealer Stanley Gibbons always has some discounts under its arm. But, since November, it is a discount festival, with some arguments...

10% off the retail price on a major part of the stock: philatelic books, albums, and some United Kingdom and Commonwealth postage stamps. Non valid on the package and postage though.

End of a catalogue edition, with the new edition in printing = good times to buy if you are not a fanatic of your stamp's precise day-base value.

And, I think, you should not be with the current variations of prices and currencies. For example, the Scott catalogues saw many up variations of stamps values, some times more because of the dollar decadence these past years than because of the philatelic market. At Gibbons', it is the recent fall of the Sterling pound (less than its usual value of 1.50 euro) that motivates the seller. In a 20 November 2008 mail:


37 % down on retail prices for Japanese clients! 28% for Yankees! 16% for Europeans. Massive! But, no need to change the price stickers. These numbers are, on 20 November, the loss of value of the Sterling pound.

Finally, the British government cut the Value Added Tax (VAT) to help consumption during the Christmas season and this period of economic auto-persuasive crisis. Gibbons recalled it to its domestic market, but with a warning: in January 2009, Stanley Gibbons prices will follow the inflation rate...

Polite and courteous yes, but still merchants.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Philatelic legends of La Réunion deconstructed

The October 2008 article was a teaser for a new book published by Jean-François Brun et Benoît Chandanson, philatelists, authors and dealers.

Les Deux Premiers Timbres-poste de l'île de la Réunion [The First Two Postage Stamps of the island of La Réunion] announces the authors' mind in its subtitle : Legends and reality. One legend was beginning to be deconstructed in Chandanson's article in Col.Fra: how many of these stamps were really printed?


Certainly a good moment of reading.

Monday, December 01, 2008

High value stamps, new eldorado?

In November, I bought Atout timbres (a monthly philatelic magazine, edited by Yvert and Gervais, 1.90 euro) to see how it has evolved. Even if I will not be a regular reader, the paper has a two strong points: the news pages and the main article (here, about the Sabine series).

A mini-debate is launched in the mail page: a reader regrets the impossibility to frank packets with postage stamps in France since 2005, because La Poste encouraged its Colissimo system: either stationery packets, or adhesive postal papers with bar codes. Answer of the redaction: if the high value stamps are then rarer on mail, they will be more attractive to collectors (I imagine: catalogue prices, resale prices, postal studies more difficult -> more awardable, etc.).

So be it.

I am beginning the high value quest. During the Autum Stampshow in Paris early November, I let my adress to the Boule mail auction house in order to receive their United Kingdom and British Empire October 2008 catalogue.

Plastified envelope resisting to postmen and their machines. The little rectangle on the left says: "Dated mail / Thank to La Poste / Prioritary", meaning I paid the prioritary rate, please transport it prioritarily. It worked: posted on 25, arrived on 26.

With a handstamp cancel, please. You can find it, even in La Poste's modern mail center in Northern Île-de-France, near Paris.

(my apologies for the quality of the scan, I was distracted and in a hurry)

The franking uses the old stock of modern stamps. The one that now old collectors and dealers regret to buy in the good old days, when they believe prices would go through the roof while optimist annual catalogues were published.

The denominations are in new francs (used between 1960 and 2001 on stamps).

3 x 4 francs Wasquehal stamp of 1991
+ 2.30 francs Appel à la résistance - 18 juin 1940 of 1990
= 14,30 francs

1 euro = 6.55957 francs

2.18... euros = 14.30 francs, exactly what is needed to send prioritarily this 100-250 gram catalogue in Metropolitan France.


What will be the future value of this high value franked mail?

Financially, buyers will argue that:
* stamps are too old compared to their date of use, even if they are still valid ;
* the stamps lived a difficult travel. The more automic the mail sorting is, more numerous the gummed stamp teeth are damaged ;
* it is a philatelic mail: who else than us would use such old stamps, when a meter machine can do it faster.

Intellectually, this mail recalls:
* the problem of the postage stamp stocks hold by the philatelic professionals ;
* confronted to other enveloppes, it helped study the evolution of how mail is franked and sorted in the contemporary French postal system.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Philatelic winter

It is cold. In France at least. Ideal weather for this stamp of Switzerland issued just before Spring though, on 4 March 2008.

Surrounded by a rain of stamped flakes, the character is Lars, the little polar bear, created by Hans de Beer, a Nederlandese writer. Lars has knew success in German speaking countries. He was the star of a television animated series and, two times, of a movie.

The philatelic use of characters from the children's literature is regular when comic art was accepted by adults, certainly best underscored by the Post of Belgium since 1979. In France, postal service director Françoise Eslinger estimated that this choice for the France's stamp day issue was too high a price in rights to pay to attract the same adult philatelic public. She is not wrong and asked to the French Philatelic Associations Federation (FFAP) to choose a new topic for the 2010 Stamp Day. But the same fact did not bother her for the Smilers booklet issued in September for a handful of years now.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Flying upside down

Amusing and discreet, the postal bird, emblem of the French post since the 1960s, is flying upside down on this datestamp marked on the back of a reexpedited letter arrived at my new adress.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Where are the Frogs going?

Today, not enough time and energy (thank to illness), to translate the full article I posted in French there, but a summary on what's hot in the France's philatelic pond.


Once upon a time, in a pond, the Frog Post and its philafrog service were accused by the stamped Frogs to produce too many postage stamps and, recently, higher than the face value philafrog products. The croaks of the frogs finished to be heard by the King-Elect of the Frogs. In his wisdom, and because it pleased the Frog Post too, he ordered the organisation of the Croaks-General of the Stamp-frogging.

But, one year after the King's generous croak, the website of the Croaks-General is frozen because, said the officials frogs, they have too much work to do and the results are coming too slowly.

To reassure their obliged Frogs, the Frog Post, the Stamped Frog Federation and the Stamp Changers' Guild printed a proclamation with the first result of the Croaks-General : let's there be stamps above other stamps. Let's them be teethfull, wet-sticky and chosen by the Stamped King of all Frogs (or one of his Froglings if unavailable). The stamps below would be sticky-sticky, sold to unstamped Frogs and ugly.

One month later, inspired by this holy stamped Genesis, the Officier of the Stamp Changers' Guild announced humbly, in Frogstamp Magazine, his idea to revolved the stamped problems: beautiful stamps will be written first in the Book of Frogged Stamps, the ugly others will be written far inside the Book, so that devout Frogs won't be tempted to be interested into them. There were not too many, there were just confusion between good and bad stamps.

And, thank to all this wisdom, all Frogs lived well for a very long time.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Deutsche Post attracts young people to postal relations

The Deutsche Post is trying to attract young clients, the ones massively used to e-mails and sms than to written letters.

This advertissment was published in the teenager weekly Bravo on 19 November 2008, saved from a German friend's bin. It promotes the letternet.de website.

The picture teases the young reader to one of the three activities you find on the website: a quiz about the social person you are.

More pertinent because it ends in sending franked mail, and sold stamps, the second activity is to become part of a pen pal community (this part is in English too).


The last part is the commercial trap: the "sms stamp". You send a sms or a call to a Deutsche Post service than send back a Handyporto, a code to write down on your letter. Put the letter in a mailbox. Done.

Very modern. I want to know if the Deutsche Post adds something on these letters.

Very expensive too. Cost of the sms/call plus 85 eurocents for a postcard and 95 cents for a letter sent inside Germany. Usual postal rates with postage stamps or by walking inside a post office: 45 and 55... Modern is beautiful :)


More about :
* 16 décembre 2008 : on the Blog philatélie, read a general presentation and an example of mail.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A database at La Poste's Museum

A big step for French philatelists this past week: La Poste's Museum opened a database. You can access sources and objects from the collections.

The classical collectors will be happy: pictures of many stamps, blocs and sheets, galvanos, etc. until objects from the mailmen and postal clercks' daily work.

I wait with impatience the numerisation of the postal archives.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Republic photocopied in color

After Olivier and Dominique, my two cents about the Visages de la Cinquième République booklet, issued by the French post during the last Autum Stampshow, in Paris. The main technical particularity is the printing of these definitive designs in heliogravure, instead of the historical intaglio.

On the "I like / I dislike" level, I am closer to the second point of view: I had the impression to watch excellent photocopies in color of artwork. They are very faithful, but they lack some... recess? Yes, I am a victim of intaglio addiction ;)

Here is what the Marianne des Français became, on a first day of general use (posted on Saturday 8, first day of philatelic issue, but after the week-end's last passage of the postman ; note that the Paris Europe mail center is the one responsible for area where the Stampshow was). To print it in gravure, why not go for a full red, instead keeping the engraved background?

A red that is different from the original stamp. Matter of printing method or ink levels to harmonize the whole booklet?

For the Marianne of Nicolas, four months after its issue, what a shame for those happy that the chosen artist was the designer and engraver. No need of an engraver in heliogravure. A little devil is whistling in my left ear that this gravure booklet is a test before replacing intaglio by heliogravure for all definitive stamps.

The same day of mail, I received a charity commercial for a non governmental organization. The mail contained a pre-adressed stationery for the answer. Specifically a"postreponse" with the Nicolas design as stamp. I found it more pleasant for the eye - an eye I confess as a non artistic one.

However, the deconstruction of the booklet helped rediscover the evolutions of postage stamp printing in France since the late 1950s, like Olivier did on his News de phospho: dimensions of the definitive changed, sorting mail by phosphor bars were slowly modified too, etc. Even the 12-stamp format is recent (2007) and helped Phil@poste to issue an exhaustive booklet on the topic.

Second compliment (there will be ice this week-end): this bokklet is more satisfactory than the commemorative stamp for the fifty years of the 1958 Constitution, issued just before. The style is the one generally used for institutions and important moments of the French Republic, ever since I am a collector (1988)... this unsatisfactory style because perhaps no one believe in our Republic anymore? But I am off philatelic ground here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Princess Alice, chancellor

Princess Alice, countess of Athlone, was the daughter of Queen Victoria's younger son. She was honored by one of the stamps issued by Trinidad and Tobago this 3 October 2008 for the sixtieth anniversary of the University of the West Indies, whose one part was settled in this country. She was its first chancellor. But, it was not the first stamp of her long life (1883-1981).


In 1951, the States participating to the creation of the University of the West Indies launched a omnibus two-stamp issue: the arms of the university on the first, the new chancellor on the second. Certainly, the English-speaking Caribbean post offices may have issue stamps in her honor since the fifties (but I lack catalogs).

For this series, the Stanley Gibbons do not give the artist's name. It was apparently an engraver employed by the British printer Waterlow that worked on the two designs. The royal effigy of George VI was replaced by his cypher.

During a Google search, I found two text cancellations of Jamaica around 1955 (1 et 2), visibly a call to donate to a charity leaded by Princess Alice because the first years of the university were financially difficult.


This article is a upgraded version of the 4 October 2008 post.

Monday, November 17, 2008

On horseback

After a five stamp series for the coronation issued on 25 May 1953 (one week before the ceremony in London) and two stamps for the royal visit on December 1953, the New Zealand Post Office began the issue of the three-design definitive series figuring Queen Elizabeth II, between December 1953 and the first months of 1954.

The young queen was on a horseback on the high value stamps. Here, the one that cost the less in the Stanley Gibbons catalogue, the three shillings (3/-) issued on 1 March 1953 with a five and a ten shiling stamps. A two shillings six pence stamp (2/6) joined them in July 1957.

And, by this stamp I bought because of my QE2 on engraved stamp mania, the list of researchs to do got one meter longer:
* why the stamp issue of July 1957? What rate change or consumer behavior happened?
* Stanley Gibbons credits "J. Berry" as artist but not engraver, certainly James Berry, specialised in stamps and coins. One more rich biography to reconstruct. Hopefully, this one is remembered by one of his employers: he designed the New Zealand coin of the 1967 decimalisation (£ -> $).
* was the uniform dress one of a New Zealand army corp?
* did Berry work from a picture, with the model? A model put on top a quiet horse or on a pommel horse? If the horse was a live one, can his/her pedigree be retrieved?

My Winter sounds a busy one :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New ads from La Poste

La Poste began a new ad campaign in French magazines, with its slogan "La confiance donne de l'avance" (confidence gives advance/lead/ahead-of-others-ness). Be ahead, remember that in a few years, you will choose the postal operator you want for the less-than-50-gram mail. Quickly said, be with us.

Here is one of the ads, the one that talk the much to the daily client/user. The one who waits his intimate letters, bills and spamming mail, and who got this right under the universal postal service. Here, Lucie was waiting impatiently on this 10 October, for news from his boyfriend or holiday heartbreak, gone or gone back to Paris.

It is easy to reconstruct the scenario because everything is on the cover that the young woman is holding. A cover that was origamied into the postal bird, La Poste's emblem.

She received the letter on 10 October, because, she is three times lucky. She is the beneficial of a efficient postal serice: I translate "95 millions items are delivered every 24 hours" and the datestamp indicates a 7pm 9 October cancellation of the Paris-Bienvenüe post office (certainly, the one opened in La Poste's headquarters). 95 x 10^6 on how many? until which weight? even parcels?

She can read a readable cancellation: she knows her boyfriend is in Paris. With the new coded cancellations, she could have imagine things and be frightened: is he really in Paris? What is he doing in this département? Because, the innocent girl, perhaps not a philatelist, could not have knew that the new codes are not postal ones.

Moreover, her friend recreate the Rowland Hill's legend: even before she opens the cover, will she know who send her news (like the big pink enveloppe with a large red adress won't suffice, and I don't want to smell the paper). He invested in a sheet of Montimbramoi personalised in his effigy. But can lucie say if this young man is not using the same strategem to each of his conquest throughout the country? And, if his money pocket is sufficiently profound, could he have bought different sheets for each princess...?

Will she have to wander on eBay and StampWants to verify that doubt when the philatelist father or little brother of her rivals will sell this philatelic proofs of love in auctions?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Maritime worlds apart

Let's dream a little bit thank to the stamps found at the Autumn Show, while this season, cool but wet, seems to take a long rest on Languedoc.

The Marion Dufresne will sail soon to the French Southern islands. On board, scientists and the cargo necessary to live six months more there, and one cover I sent to myself.

About the orange being deported to the left, it seems that the first print may be affected: watch the stamp shown by Pierre Jullien.

When the Marion Dufresne left the Réunion island, the climate would certainly accomodate my skin and tan. But, these United States' coast should certainly let that sensation lives longer than in the Austral Ocean.

Because of the worldwide rate, the USPS can remind the United States citizens of the postal unity, even if this unity is not political, between the mainland and Caraib and Pacific islands. In 2007, it was Guam ; this year, there are the Virgin Islands and their white sand beaches, turquoise waters and luxurious forests.

Soon, I will turn my mind to our settlements in the Pacific, when snowflakes threaten.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Armistice of 1918

Tomorrow, Wednesday 12 November 2008, a commemorative stamp of France will be issued for the 90th anniversairy of the 11 November 1918 armistice, that ended the fights of the Great War.

(Phil@poste's Actu timbrée website)

This stamp uses symbols clearly comprehensible by the general public, after years to try new treatments that puzzled or angered some: from design by a press caricaturist to contemporary stylish poster, or the reminder of others belligerants' suffering).

Scenes of fight and return mixed into the tricolore flag of France, designed by Patrice Serres, an artist who comes from the comic art.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What are visitors doing at the Paris Autumn Stampshow?

...

Yeah, okay... The question is not well put: to be deposed of large sums of money and be given paper in stamps and covers in exchange, but in a rather smaller amount of space.

No, I was thinking about to the awards that artists received during the Autumn Stampshow. Now, the visitors are invited to see how the philatelic profession awards artists.

The Grand Awards of the French Philatelic Art, of the Overseas Art and of the invited country (Israel in 2008) are chosen among the stamps issued during the previous twelve months, during a vote late October and by an unknown meeting of people, all connected to the stamp dealers association. An alternative was found when Phil@poste instituted the Ceres of the Philately: the French post clients are asked to vote.

On the contrary, visitors of the Autumn Show were the awarders during an artistic exhibition. Stamp designers of France were invited to provide paintings following a compulsory subject. It was the Creaphil Award. Hélas! Something is roten in the State of French philately. One of the 2007 Show sompetitors received a multitude of votes by the same person. The treachery was exposed on this dubious democratic system and its ungarded urn.

The 2008 solution: the René Cottet Award, from the name of a French engraver, with a safe return to oligarchic vote without the intervention of paying collectors.

It is so cheaper and more pratical than the other solution: to put the urn on the Stamp Dealers Association's counter next to the exhibit. A counter where there is always one person to sell you a 2 euro poster or a 5 euros label of the Stampshow.

...

But, hey! What are still doing here? Don't you have stamps to buy instead of looking at these paintings? There are not for sale, you know. And we have professionnal to estimate their beauty.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Back from Champerret

The round trip was short, but I came back with happiness to Paris and its so special atmosphere for thirty-six hours. Three of them were for philately, at the Autum Show of the French Philatelic Dealers and Experts Union (CNEP).

I arrived early enough, with good legs and clear mind. It helped me save some minutes from La Poste's counter which queuing system was changed into five small lines to avoid a very very long line that certainly discouraged some buyers at the last Stamp Show in June. Some people were not happy of it (their right-hand line going more fast...). In charge of the postal zone quietness and to indicate that there were one line selling the two booklets issued that Saturday, the security agent spoke of "today's tickets", either showing his philatelic inculture, or a bright clear-voyance about the visitor's maniacal behabior :)

The Champerret Hall, Paris 17th, was strangely arranged this year: the French Metropolitan, Over-Seas and Israel postal counters were put in a separated triangle of space. Israel because of a joint issue with France obtained by philatelist Raphaël Livnat, thanked by the Israeli Ambassy in France. Were they inspired, the firms that chose one of the remaining counters in that triangle? Among them was Timbropresse, publisher of Timbres magazine, surely the sole book seller on the show (not county stamp catalogue).

This Saturday, it was not evident. The alleys of the usual square of counters were quiet filled with collectors compared to those of the last June Stamp Show on a tuesday. Outside Polynesian stamps on stamps, I succeeded to balance my this year limited budget (I will write one day of British books bought some days before) with some British Empire stamps. I avoided to buy the new Maury catalogue of France (a.k.a. Dallay married to Cérès with Armand Rousso as minister), a very encyclopedic catalogue. My Dallay complete five book catalogue will suffice my need while I have all eyes on British philately.

The different dealers presented their numerous Vickrey auctions, like international Feldman and Spink house advertised their own auctions. Concerning the latter, I feel sadness to see beautiful coutner, pretty printed catalogues, polite employees, but not many visitors. The French philatelist want visibly to see right now, to buy now or to make an offer after examination.

Like always, some collections were exhibited on the edges. Like always, I can't get the idea to watch them while I always run to read a philatelic article in a review. I am certainly wrong. How to get new collectors when the main goal is to sell them stamps, not tease them to know stamps, When even collectors and philatelists coming willingly don't look at exhibited collections?

Last surprise: the joined space for stamp artists' dedicaces and the Art of Engraved stamp association was very spacious extending to the white outer walls. The French philately, including dealers, continue to appreciate the artists that nourish them, materially, cashly and spiritually.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Autumn Stampshow comes back

I will be there tomorrow Saturday 8 November 2008 ; some bloggers inaugurated it and wrote their impressions on some "events" created by Phil@poste and Maury, Rousso & Co. to maximalize profits during this pilgrimage to the Espace Champerret exhibit center, Paris 17th Arrondissement until Sunday.

The stamp booklet celebrating old France's definitive figures from 1958 to Nicolas' Marianne in heliogravure printing (instead of typography and intaglio), read the Blog philatélie and the News de Phospho.

About new catalogue of France, the mega-combo ultra hit Maury featuring former Dallay and Ceres catalogues and guest starring Armand Rousso, a catalogue... even a book of real quality: read Ma Philatélie by Vervelle, the Blog philatélie and the News du Phospho.

On the first results of the meeting-eating... sorry, the States-General of the Philately, results already announced before the meeting by the Omni-President: read the News de Phospho and read again Nicolas on the Blog.

In their texts, I got confirmations on my need to arrive early to rush to the post office for my to-be-used-on -mail new stamps (yes, when the Montpellier philatelic counter closes at 1pm...). And a surprise to me on what would do Aude Ben-Moha if her editor-printer listened to her more.[1] I hope I will see. For the moment, it is my subscription to L'Écho de la timbrologie that was cut from my budget, Misters Yvert and Gervais.[2]


Notes :
1 : read the last lines after the pictures at the restaurant.
2 : and thank you if you could, in your next mail try to subscribe me again, to offer philatelic and pertinent gift. A can of delicatessen...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Reading commercials

Commercials and advertisments are invading and sometimes lying, but they might be a very few times artistic performances or useful documents to potential clients.

Example when I read again before archiving the September 2008 issue of Timbres magazine, page 18, I discover a Spink auction house ad to find new salers. They reproduced a letter dated April 1840 "To All Postmasters" of Scotland presenting them the new means of postage, to be introduced on 6 May 1840.

The text described these new means like this: "stamped Covers and Envelopes" and "adhesive Labels", that is the stationery illustrated by William Mulready and the two first postage stamps figuring Queen Victoria (1 penny and 2 pence).

The cancelling stamp was recalled: the red cross must be struck on Britannia for the stationery and on each postage stamps on a letter, plus the datestamp still to be used. You can see almost all the meanings of the word "stamp", as noun or verb, in this letter.

Why only postmasters of Scotland? A Google search, as holefull as it can be, led to the possible identity of Secretary Edward S. Lees in the transcription of a witnesses list invited to speak about the postal reform proposed by Rowland Hill and in this National Library of Australia's summary of a postal annual directory and calendar of 1841-1842. Lees was the Secretary to Post-Office of Scotland. Nothing surprising, administratively speaking: England and Wales are often considered very united, while Scotland and Ireland though united kingdoms, had a specific treatment.


A transcription of this document is available on Wikisource. Don't forget to say your sources and references.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Bilingual cancellation in Tunisia

Posted on 27 July 1961, this letter was sent by a insurance company in Tunisia to another in France. It was cancelled at the Thameur post office, in Tunis, certainly located on Habib Thameur Avenue, by the name of the independantist man.

The 30 milims (1.000 milims = 1 dinar) stamp pictured President Bourguiba, inspired by the official photograph in ceremony costum. This way of clothing and the engraving of the stamp remind a lot of French styles ; the 1960 stamp may be issued of an order to the French post and telecommunication cooperative bureau, the BEPTOM. It was engraved by French artist Jules Piel (Timbres-poste de Tunisie website).

The cancellation is bilingual, alternatively in latin alphabet and in arabic alphabet. What the Tunisian post is still doing.


4 November 2008 update:
To marcophils (specialists of postal marks) looking for study and investigative subjects, Yvon Nouazé wrote me that the machine that printed this continuous cancel (circa six centimeters period) is to be identify, and that it was used in Lebanon, Morroco and Guadeloupe too.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Efficient history lesson

1981 : the territorial evolution of Canada, from the British colonial province to the Confederation in 1949.

Obviously, one more map would be needed today to show Nunavut, the last territory created to give more autonomy to Great North native communities.

Simple, scholar yes. But sometimes, it is all we need.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The one who looked for finds

There are yet errors to correct in the general philatelic books. Introductions of catalogues about French oversea possession of La Réunion will have to be amended because of what Benoît Chandanson found in the Departmental Archives of the island.

Dealer and author specialised in La Réunion, Chandanson just published a letter that would permit [conditional: let's critics study the new document and thesis] to precise the numbers of the first Reunion stamps that were issued for local purposes in 1852 and served until 1860. On 16 February 1852, the local director of the posts write to his colleague Director of the Interior about the incoming order of the new stamps. While catalogues Yvert and Dallay (2006-2007, page 293) has been giving a 7500 stamp printing, Chandanson's estimate by this letter is lesser and better sourced.

The document reference: 6P123, Archives départementales de La Réunion. The 6P indicates the topical ordering of the archives, here the pre-1946 départementalisation documents about "Finances. Cadastre. Posts. Credit companies."

The article: Benoît Chandanson, "Réunion 1 et 2: chiffres de tirage(s)?", ColFra #394, October 2008. ColFra is a French association specialised on all philatelic, postal, marcophil, etc. topics in the former French colonial empire.


Two ideas:
* go search the nearest local archives and see what could be about posts in there. In France, departmental archives kept the prefect's archives and some of the cities' archives (example of subjects you may find in those documents). Your local archives may have such documents as debates and petition about the building or establishment of a new post office, etc. ;
* even if some do not find them pretty, even a little bit invasive, to multiply intra reference notes let the reader know how important affirmations were assumed and which one are lacking strong proofs.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Autumn's here

Ironic smiles

Too much news today, my mind cannot hold, but, philatelicly maniac, it ways everything into postal and stamp ideas. All this while the Omni-President speeches, at Rethel, "a program, very classical and predictable, of public spendings to resolve the crisis". Unless UMP[1] Deputy Mariton was speaking in Le Figaro of "a hyper keynesian Obama". The fourth and last ironic smile on my face today.


The first happened while listening a report on France Info that gave me back hope in the professional soccer. On the last matches, Mrs. Sabine Bonnin was the first woman to be the referee of a second league match in France, because the titulary referee was injured during the play.

And Mrs. Bonnin is an employee of La Poste. Hurray! Right when her firm is sponsoring soccer referees that won us a round stamp. But...

... the journalist concluded with malice: the postwoman had to take a unpayed day to prepare herself for the match. Doh!


The second one, here came France's musketeers: the Members of Parliament saved...

... the world economy?

Don't be so enthusiastic, please.

... orphans and widows?

We are speaking of politic people.

... a kitty on a tree?

After a months long lobbying against the European-inspired lifetime car plate number, they obtained that the number of French départements had to be kept.[2] What a success! French citizens, sleep well! France is saved! La Marseillaise won't be whistle again! The Omni-President could be credible against those men.

And there, postal history returned: why can not Members of Parliament lobby La Poste and force its directors to print again the département number on French cancellations? What the hell, what not the name of the département too?

Those with good memory recalled that, amongst cutting remarks against collectors' rage against too numerous stamps issued, Françoise Eslinger promised that she will speak about the département number problem with her colleagues. May she succeed while not being a MP?


The third ended in a critic to all actors of the French philately. The smile began with a post on the Blog philatélie about the return of La Poste's Museum free stationery. FREE! But, only for visitors of a special exhibition at the museum. The museum wanted to take advantage of next 7-10 November 2008 Paris stamp show...

The problem is: collectors cannot get this commemorative stamped stationery but by visiting Paris. The smile became large smile when I read the official blog of the exhibition: they are taunting collectors LOL, like Eslinger last June.[3]


My day's conclusion I wrote on Les News du Phospho whose author was surprised by how same-intel-alike were La Poste's news philatelic magazine and the news section of French philatelic magazines. It may be time that collectors and philatelists associations and philatelic press get their goals away from those of La Poste. The operator has its own, that I don't always like, but that only refuse to buy and lobbyng[4] could influence.

Let's see the British example where associations/circles/societies are studying whatever and however they want (and not necessarilly like the Royal Mail wants to sell them). And each philatelic magazines get a man who is following new issues, printings, unannounced news by the Royal Mail channels and other channels. Philatelic and postal history written every month without reciting official memos.

But, I am in France. I imagine we have to wait for a solution from our neo-keynesian omni-presidential Master of the European Council.


1 : the UMP is the omni-president's political party, theorically highly liberal in economy and highlier conservative about social behavior.
2 : imiting by the way their glorious predecessors of the IIIrd Republic who have forced the post office, for pedagogic need, to add the name of the département on datestamps. The number alone was estimated insufficient. Times changed...
3 : translation of the second part of the exhibition blog: "Whereas the previous stationery was printed in 15000 items, this one was only in 7000... [...] Stay THE big question amongst philatelists: official stationery or fake stationery?"
4 : lobbying from the collectors to their MPs of course.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Antarctica dollar

Curiosity killed the cat. Me, it cost me eleven euros.

Yesterday, at the Montpellier collectors show, I went through a banknote dealer when I stopped on notes in Antarctica dollars... weird. Pictures showed penguin, but sovereignty signs and map of revendications by some States (like Norway as I saw on one of the notes). There, big doubts: these revendications are officially frozen and the concerning countries often avoid to expose them on stamps and notes because their neighbours would complaint.

On the notes, the search can begin with a text:


"Return this document by mail to Antarctica Overseas Exchange Office Ltd, P.O. Box 61, Custer WA USA 98240 for a refund of one United States dollar, anytime up to midnight December 31st, 2012.

... and this is sold amongt banknotes officially issued all over the world.


I bought two notes in the most little face value... that said the most little sale values. Here you have pictures of the One Dollar with penguins, Soutern Cross and what may be a reminder of the Flag of Argentina.

Back to home, "Google is your friend".

It's quick: a official site and an article on the Wikipedia in English. The private firm has been issuing one dollar to one hundred dollar notes, sold and refund at the face value (you can order a 20 dollar specimen for 10 actual dollars). A promise is made to use 80% of the proceeds to help scientific research in Antarctica. Proofs are to be found, but if Polar collectors followed these notes, proceeds may help scientists.

A critical article was published late 2001-early 2002 on a Australian paper money website (clic on "Articles", then search for "Antarctica"). These notes were considered an "private issue" by the author. Only, He hoped then that the "bank" may have published the use of the proceeds by the publication of the article...

Now I have got curiosity souvenirs in my papers. You, at least, can forge your own opinion will you face these notes in the future.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Collectors' Show in Montpellier

This Sunday (very sunny indeed here) 26 October 2008, the Philatelic Numismatic Cartophile Circle of Montpellier (CPNCM) organised a show in the Montpellier Townhall Meeting Room.

The way was well marked from the commercial centers of the Polygone and the Triangle, but perhaps the first sign a little bit out of the eyes of people walking through a Sunday closed area. Collectors and curious already informed by local press and Toussaint Coppolani's newsletter will already where to look. The competition was perhaps harder on young people and their parents: a manga week-end was organized in near-by Grabels.

Inside, the mini-cafeteria was easily reachable and far more honest than others Parisian show rendez-vous. The number of dealers was more limited, but around fifteen yet. The mix of collections made me look, discover and even buy interesting non-philatelic things related to philately. After research and investigation, you will read soon about them.

Concerning the said Philatelic Numismatic Cartophile Circle of Montpellier, for you who will live in Southern France, it organised regular and by collection meetings at the municipal maison pour tous Marcel Pagnol, on Lavérune Road. The link to Mister Coppolani's newsletter gave a contact to this association.

A very nice sunny morning indeed.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

John Hobson Nicholson, a Manx Worthy

Last 1st of August, 2008, the Isle of Man Post Office issued ten 31 and 50 pence stamps to honor ten Manx people. The island, possession of the British monarch, recognized their merits described on the upper line of each stamp: mother of Manx music, last native people to speak Manx, etc.


The one that interest me today is the fifth of the first row: John Hobson Nicholson (1911-1988), an self-taught Manx artist who succeeded to be known in Great Britain. After 1958, he designed the Manx signs of autonomy: banknotes, coins and postage stamps.

In 1958, like the other countries of the United Kingdom and of the royal property (understand the four rugby/soccer countries and the Channel Islands), the Isle of Man obtained from the Post Office a stamp issue valid everywhere, but bearing the triskelion. The ornament around Dorothy Wilding's photograph of the Queen was designed by Nicholson.

(idem)

Concerning banknotes, a 2008 previous issue may show three, sufficiently recent, to be of Nicholson's art, believing the Presentation Pack. In 1961, he began the work on banknotes after a law reestablished the monopoly of issuing notes to the governement of Man on

Biography of the artist on the Manx National Heritage website.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hermes, son of Ceres

Prepared by Désiré-Albert Barre, the first postage stamp issue of Greece share a graphic genealogy with the first of France, dranw and engraved by his father, Jacques-Jean Barre.

Thank to a well-narrated study, Louis Fanchini completed the genealogy with essays made in the late 1850s. Fanchini, a classical Greek philatelist, wrote starting with Désiré-Albert Barre's ("Barre fils" as often written in France) works for the Commission of money. His article is published in the last issue of Documents philatéliques, the Académie de philatélie's review, dated 4th trimester 2008.

Anatole Hulot, then director of the postage stamp fabrication, was judged too expensive by the French postal administration. Either to create competition, or to made him cut down his prices, the commission of money ordered Barre fils typographical plates with the Ceres design with the help of a new method that can compete with Hulot's galvanoplasty. The "frappe directe au balancier monétaire", used for coinage. The director finally accepted to cut down his printing prices, but Barre's method was ready.

In the beginning of the 1860s, while Hulot and Barre fils had not already been the best friends in the world, Hulot was late to deliver the new Greek stamp plate (a little bit caused by the engraver... guess who?). And Barre fils won the market to produce the plates and the first printing of the Hermes stamps.

I barely summarized this sixteen page study, far more extended than the Hulot-Barre fils rivalry: my discovery of the "balancier monétaire" (a reedition may include an illustration of this apparat), role of printer Ernest Meyer, invention by Barre fils of the value printed on the back of the stamp, etc.

Good reading (in French) and thank to the author.


Reference : Louis Fanchini, « Les essais "Cérès 1858". Pourquoi font-ils partie intégrante de la philatélie grecque ? » [The "Ceres 1858" essays. Why are they entirely part of the Greek philately?], Documents philatéliques #198, Académie de philatélie, 4th trimester 2008, pages 3 to 18.
Regularly quoted in this study, a ressource directly available on the web: the Large Head Hermes stamp specialised site by Louis Basel (in English).

Monday, October 20, 2008

Commercial consideration before Remembrance Day

On the 6 November 2008, Royal Mail will issue the third of the minisheet commemorating the events of World War One, ninety years ago. Each sheet comprised four definitive stamps representing the four Countries of the United Kingdom and one square stamp mixing pictures of soldiers and the poppy, the Commonwealth equivalent of the French bleuet.

The poppy, as a symbol of remembrance and solidarity with the ancient combattants, appeared with the poem of a Canadian military doctor. At the birth of the bleuet of France, there are two nurses who decided to occupy the heavy-wounded recovering soldiers. They were directed to manufacture blue flowers with tissues and to sold them to the public.

This year, beside the minisheet, and outside the philatelic subscription, the three Poppy stamps will be reissued in form of a triptyque. To help collectors to order whatever block they would want, Royal Mail sent them a letter with the full triptyque sheet model.

With a extraordinary consideration, I said.

Friday, October 17, 2008

South of France stamped

Read in the free newspaper MontpellierPlus this 17 October 2008, page 7, the Région Languedoc-Roussillon distributed last tuesday sheet of personalized stamps during the Montpellier Fair.

The stamps reproduced the commercial for the label "South of France". Alexandra Rosenfeld, born in Béziers and awarded Miss France and Europa 2006, plays a little red riding hood adept of Asian fighting sport; she can obviously defend her regional agricultural and traditional food products against a poor wolf of Gévaudan (watch the commercial clip).

The Blog philatélie whose author specialized in following the French personalized stamp service, Montimbramoi, helps retrieve the sheet format that the model is holding in her hands. Remark that the big board beside her depicts the personalisation only, not the postal mentions. These mentions could help precise some details of the Région's order.

I do not translate the article, but be sure that the little philatelic knowledge the author had, was all used in a sexist way. Madam, welcome in South of France :(

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's everywhere!

The eternal effigy of the British monarchy under the reign of Elizabeth II is everywhere.

Sold in its original plaster form, I should have had more than fifteen thousands pounds sterling to buy it.

For a more mass-consumption (and to help close faster more post offices), the machine version with value indicator printed on demand walked its first steps this week. A member of the Virtual Stamp Club braved technical and fellow collectors hazards, including devilous postal clercks to obtain the new stamps at the Ludgate Circus post office. In the financial district of the City, in the heart of London, this office is surprisingly one of those the Royal Mail is wanting to close in the United Kingdom.


Finally, even Google used the legendary effigy to commemorate the visit of its British offices by the Queen and her husband.

Long is the wait
Until I travel again
To the head of the Britain

Monday, October 13, 2008

Reexpedition sticker

Since I moved, the Parisian post office reexpedite my mail to my new adress. Only one postcard required to use the official reexpedition enveloppe presented here by Dominique on the Blog philatélie.

Almost all covers were revamped by a plastified red stickers, easy to take off, and a sticking paper with the new adress on the back.

Sent by the philatelic service of the Royal Mail, this cover helps to understand why postal employees used the red sticker: to hide the pink barcodes and the old adress. Here, the French bottom barcodes and the adress are to separated, hence the need of two stickers.

The british barcode is printed below the adress. On a smaller cover, it will be printed under the stamps.

The French post's reexpedition service, available for six or twelve months, is not free, but has been very efficient until now.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Scannalach!

Distributed in September, this flyer from the Royal Mail seemed to have passed like a letter at the post office, without any Irish commenting.

On the back, it announced for 29 September 2008 the stamp issue for the fifty years of Regional Postage Stamps in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

It bears a reproduction of an old map of the British Islands (thank you, public domain)... a time when Ireland was govern under the British rule. No more the case in 195 when Ulster issued these local definitive stamps, designed after the Wilding series.

And that fact comprised every insitutional bias British people invented (or how to lose an Empire without losing your face): independence accepted in 1922, change of the United Kingdom's name in 1927, the Republic of Ireland out of the Commonwealth in 1949,...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Martti Ahtisaari and philately

Former president of the Republic of Finland, awarded Nobel Prize of Peace this week, Martti Ahtisaari has been working for the development of Southern continents' countries and Peace for all his adult life, at the United Nations before his presidency, and after. Though, some are very critical for his actions in Kosovo, because it leaded to the independence of this region, and potentially created a precedent for all ethnical population feeling menaced inside their country.

The honor of a postage stamp by his own country already happened in 1997, for his 60th birthday. The Finnish post seems to have this custom to stamp the president around the middle of his term, like Tarja Halonen in 2003.

He revealed a child past of stamp collector in a speech while receiving the chief of government of Andorra, Marc Forné, in November 1999. The text is written in a political neutral language, but he linked the two countries thank to philately, despite their bright new relationships:

"My generation learned about your country at an early age, when stamp collecting was one of our main hobbies. I still remember how exciting it was to obtain Andorra's splendid stamps for our modest collections. They were the pride of our collection. Thanks to our hobby we also learned exactly where to place Andorra on the European map."


Update, 30 October 2008 :
Stampnews.com, specialised in new issue announcements, reports the arrival on 10 December 2008 of Finland's second stamps picturing the former president and now Nobel Price of Peace.