Saturday, June 20, 2009

Stamps of France to be written in Greek!

After the anglophobic parasital comment coming from the neighbour of the videorecorder about the eurocent/centime difference during the financial report, I was surprised the same man did not comment - on another linguistic problem - Françoise Eslinger's speech, Director of Phil@poste, France's great printer of sticky postage paper, on 13 June 2009, during the Congress of the French Philatelic Associations' Federation (FFAP) in Tarbes.

She announced the concrete results of reflections from the states generals, an event that was reminded by very few people now... Forget the November 2008 stamp classification, here is the one of June 2009. The first was too imprecise because it gave too precise definitions. When one of the leaders of French organised Philately concluded...

Now, there are four groups, simple and easy to determine:
#1: stamp announced in the philatelic program, that Eslinger called "stamp of the nation" (where are the "stamp of the State"?),
#2: the definitive stamp,
#3: the "stamp of writing",
#4: the personalised stamp.

Personally, it seemed to me that these categories has been existing since the late 1990s when the third and fourth ones emerged... After all, time was cyclic for the Ancient Greeks.

But, back to my linguistic problem. You have to recognize these four types. So:
#2: may I (re-)introduce you to Marianne?
#3: the adhesive booklets and announcement stamps, more easy to teach to non philatelic buyers at the new Carré d'encre shop in Paris. Yes, why Aimé Césaire or Franz Stock have got right of a "stamp of the Nââââ-tion" is not very glittering.
#4: go to or Dominique's for some tricks.

The problem is for #1 because the targeted collectors, less and less members of the FFAP (watch the moral report), addicted to filling up albums, must be able to recognize them to stop harrassing Eslinger's ears with the too numerous stamps that are issued.

Hence the great solution: a φ.

The golden ratio! Yes, because the "stamps of the [French] nation" are certainly well proportionated. And it is the first letter of the Greek root that gave the word philately. A good finding from the communication office.

A scandal to me: a Greek letter on a stamp of France?

With judicious and pertinent examples given by Eslinger: the royal shadow in the United Kingdom (that is the second medaillion created 1967 by Arnold Machin after the famous stamp to replace the 1965 temporary one by David Gentleman), the silver fern in New Zealand (notice the speaker's ill-preparation. Minus one point, we are during high school exams these days) and the use of a sole typeface in Monaco.

Conclusion for Phil@poste staff: the phi, symbol of the "stamp of the nation".

On commercial ground: with the complete opening of the mail market in France, will it not be better a new zealander or bosnia-herzegowinan solutions ? A nâââââ-tional symbol for the former or the brand of the postal operator for the latter. The postal bird of La Poste should be on every postage marks treated by this operator to make a difference with its competitors.

More profound: does my nation not have enough symbols to illustrate the philatelic program stamps chosen by the political power? If the tricolor flag may disturb a stamp composition, why not a golden medaillion (or silver or black and white) of Marianne in the British fashion?

I will see how the integration of this stupid phi symbol makes me disgust of some new stamps. But it will not lead me to use "stamps of writing" on my mail as long as I find most of them ugly (while imagining the Hard Times Marianne...).

Despite Postcrossing, will the vicious circle of less paper mail touch me? Or will I succomb to the siren song of the postal competitors, efficiency and price versus symbol-national stain?

Look at the video, you will know why the Charter-noddies always speak of ironing in the months to come. More on the French Charter of Philately when the Board of French Philatelic Frogs will want to read it to the people...

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