Saturday, October 03, 2009

October in France: Hell! Three more months!

Sorry for the rudeness, but it is what I thought when I began to prepare this article about France's issue in October 2009... the first time since last January when I decided to follow a whole year.

I flush at once the dolls on 19 October. Advantage: some of the minoritary first day of sales outside Paris. The topic is of no interest to my personal self. It merits a little note though: thank to the people in charge that make engraver Elsa Catelin perform intaglio printing on offset picturing. The result is far from Martin Mörck's sport cars for Danmark, but Phil@poste is trying something...

I go past Hansi's artwork, pseudonym of Jean-Jacques Walz, an Alsatian illustrator known for his pro-French positions at a time when Alsace was a German Empire territory between 1870 and 1918. It will surely please Alsatians, especially with the chosen traditional costume topic. Perhaps something more "Résistant" would have better put its artwork in context, but I will not here replace art politic history specialists.

Resistant during the 1870 War (in preparation of the one hundred and thiry years anniversary of that war and its Third Republican consequences?), Juliette Dodu.

A master subject to attract collector's money: a French resistant to a German invasion, a heroin of the Posts and Telegraphs administration - PTT nostalgia... when a French newsweekly is putting a mediatic final to a popular referendum against the privatisation of La Poste.

Pierre Jullien already wrote what he is thinking of this stamp and I largely second his motion: why the Irish colour in the background? And you really need a pre-mobile phone historic culture to understand that Juliette spied on German telegraphic messages.

Plus an historiographic problem (even if the French Wikipedia's references came from a television-linked author: for Guy Breton, the decorated resistant might not have resist at all. He said it doesn't exist archives of our verdict to the death penalty, nor of the Prussian hereditary Prince, later Emperor Friedrich III's grace.

All this (design and historic): the fault of the designer Claude Perchat and the engraver Marie-Noëlle Goffin? Of Phil@poste pleased to have an easy subject to sell to old collectors? Of the Minister in charge of the philatelic program and of the polician from La Réunion or the Loiret who lobbied for the stamp?

Let be the 12 October stamp for the centenary of the monument put in front the Universal Postal Union's headquarters in Bern. A France-Switzerland joint issue honoring its sculptor: René de Saint-Marceaux (1845-1915).

There, my opinion diverged greatly from Pierre Jullien's point of view.

A topic that goes outside the habits despite the UPU for all season topical diarrhea. That may be because of the Swiss touch (thanks to Silvia Brüllhardt): the artwork and the artist are both represented on the stamp, very rare on French stamps.

Secondly, with September stamp about Eugène Vaillé - an important unknown person before the efficient noisy lobby done by La Poste's Museum Friends Society, philatelists have finally "their stamps", about their passion. Even if the Vaillé stamp design is closer to the desperating classicism of a Juliette Dodu.

Finally, it is not because nineteenth century "official" artists were quickly forgotten by the masses that they are to be forgotten for all. Personally, I would like that some contemporary artists avoid posterity.

Enfin, ce n'est pas parce que les artistes « officiels » sont vite oubliés par la masse qu'il faut les oublier complètement. Personnellement, je souhaiterais bien que certains artistes contemporains évitent la postérité. Outre-noir...

And for that stamp, Phil@poste goes with the violins again to be sure the collectors came to buy: one intaglio printed portrait one! There are not resting, Boulazac's in house engravers.

Yet, on this joint issue, it is the Swiss Post that is considering its collector's money:

Screen capture of the news page in French, Swiss Post's website (initial address, 2 October 2009).

The Swiss gemini will a service stamp, only usable on mail posted at the Uuniversal Postal Union headquarters...

So, only one stamp is of my interest and will relay the Avignon one on my cards to Switzerland and European Union postcrossers.

Already, on a commercial page for the Paris Autumn Stampshow, a catastroph is announced for November: an infamous two stamp minisheet with two different rates, with the vice to choose an expensive and less common one...

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