Thursday, December 31, 2015

One billion of the first U.S. semi-postal stamps sold!

First published on SébPhilatélie in French, Wednesday December 30th 2015.

The first United States stamp sold with a fundraising added value reached one billion item sold since its first issue on July 29th 1998 (that 10 power 9 for the British among of you), reported on Christmas Day the Sacramento Bee quoting local doctor Ernie Bodai at the initiative of the semi-postal stamp.

Second joy: the Congress voted to extend the sale for four more years, till December 2019, a bill signed by President Obama this December. The research against breast cancer will continue to be helped through this mean.
The first autoadhesive version of the Breast Cancer stamp  (National Postal Museum).
In 1998, it was the very first time the legislative power authorised a semi-postal stamp issued by the United States Postal Service. Ethel Kessler designed mottos on a mythologic illustration by Whitney Sherman: "Fund the fight. Find a cure."

The definitive philatelist will sure be pleased to continue study this annual stamp.

Since 1998, three other causes have got their semipostal help, with a "+" sign to indicate their role, summarizes the National Postal Museum page:
Heroes in 2001, issued June 7th 2002, to help the policemen, firemen, medical teams and their families, victims during their service on September 11th 2001 in and around the World Trade Center, New York.
Stop Family Violence, issued October 11th 2003, supported the Health Department to fight domestic violence in families.
- Finally, and the only of the three still on sale, issued September 20th 201, Save Vanishing Species for the protection of the wildlife endangered species.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

When St. Pierre and Miquelon postmaster get nostalgic... very nostalgic

Second episode in translating in English articles on how French overseas collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon is a postal and philatelic place to know. From SébPhilatélie Sunday July 26th 2015.

From 1997 till Summer 2015 a maritime, historic and legacy operation took place in the port of Rochefort, Charente-Maritime on the Atlantic Ocean. The Hermione, the frigate of Liberty wanted to recreate the ship and the journey of La Fayette to the fields of the American Revolution against the United Kingdom in the late 18th century.

Built between 1997 and 2014, the ship replica crossed 2015 the ocean from Rochefort to the United States, from Yorktown, Virginia to Castine, Maine with stops at Washington, Philadelphia and New York.

On the return trip, the ship stopped over Saint Pierre in the French archipelago, on Thursday July 23rd 2015, three months after his departure.

Summer issue of the light monthly Atout timbres went through the preparation of this stop with Jean Ketterlin, director of the local post office. A two stamp minisheet by Joël Lemaine was issued by the overseas collectivity. Then, the legacy association, SPM philatelic club and French metropolitan Philapostel organised a commemorative mail transport by L'Hermione from Saint Pierre to Rochefort.
Jean Ketterlin dressed as postmaster, July 23rd 2015 (screen capture from SPM 1ère news).
And here came back the postmaster who made sure the mail was taken care by L'Hermione's captain in a historic reconstitution, dressed as a 18th century postmaster.

The scene was presented in the news broadcast of local public channel SPM 1ère, after the arrival of the frigate in the morning mist. It can still be watched on DailyMotion where the channel saves its archives.

The next day, Friday 24th, the news broadcast explained the departure of the ship and its scientific project to study the ocean waters.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Deliver parcels while no mailboxes in Saint Pierre and Miquelon

On the French side of SébPhilatélie, I succeed to write regularly on Saint Pierre and Miquelon's philatelic and postal life. For some articles here, I will bring you some articles in English on this French oversea collectivity (France with some freedom because it's so tiny and always "if the weather allows").

Yesterday, Monday December 28th 2051, French local public channel La 1ère reports on how the post office in Saint Pierre managed one and a half ton of parcels that arrived on the archipelago the previous week, in time for Christmas.

Dans les coulisses de La Poste de Saint-Pierre... par spm1ere
Customs agents calculate taxes on seventy per cent of the imported packets, postmen write down the receipts that will be placed in the community mailboxes...

Community mailboxes... Like in Canada? Poor people...

Yes, they have to walk to the post offices in Saint Pierre or in Miquelon. No because the mailboxes are located inside the heated post offices.

Like the local post website explains, there are no home delivery. Residents must get a numbered mailbox and be sure correspondents use it on the incoming mail.
Jean Ketterlin, postmaster of the archipelago, one of the philatelic important people of the islands, sitting in front of the yearly poster of the stamp issues to come (La 1ère, December 28th 2015).
The director of the oversea post, Jean Ketterlin, reminds people to be sure the complete address and all the customs papers are with the parcels, to be sure to get them quickly and easily.

But, the brother-report of the same day, recalls some electronic toys are going for a postal ride back to Canada or Metropolitan France.

To know about France Overseas today:
The French group La Poste is the universal service operator in Metropolitan France, Corsica, the five overseas départements and three of the overseas collectivities - here listed in the order of rising autonomy, even if none is independent. In the overseas areas La Poste has a special office, La Poste Outre-Mer, to adapt the postal service depending on the autonomy (SPM issues stamps and has own local rate) and natural specificities (boat delivery in SPM and Guyana's forest, importance of bank activities, specific airmail rates to other French territory).

The last overseas territory (French Southern and Antarctic Land or TAAF), the two other collectivies (Wallis and Futuna, French Polynesia) and New Caledonia (known as itself) issue their own stamps and managed their own postal companies (or administrations for the TAAF).

Don't hesitate to read the Wikipedia in English article on Overseas France.

Concerning Saint Pierre and Miquelon stamps, the philatelic office was closed in Spring 2015. The Territorial Council and the local post continue to promote the stamp program of course, but, for now, collectors must order from La Poste shop website.

Beware La Poste is known to sell only overseas stamps printed in its printer plant, Phil@poste Boulazac (hence the little "Phil@poste" at the bottom of French stamps). Scandals happened when technological stamps from New Caledonia (golden foiled, hologram, lenticular) didn't find their way to the collectors who ordered only by the French post's website

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Week #2015.52 on SébPhilatélie and elsewhere on the French philatelic blogosphere

This week on the French writing side of the blog was inspired by using Google News.

Monday December 21st: French public television looks into packet delivery by Groupe La Poste.
France 2's quarter century old news report broadcast, Envoyé spécial, investigated, Thursday 17th, how packets were delivered daily by La Poste, its subcontractors and its subsidiary's subcontractors.

Low qualified employees drive from 5am to 8pm rented trucks throughout the Parisian Region, always in a hurry because their boss will get two euros something per packet if the packet is delivered before a timeline... or he'll get fined the same amount!

Even if the report can be criticized because the journalists didn't nose about the competitors of the French State-owned postal operators, it gave a sad insigh on how the ultraliberalism trend is destroying the social contract.

Tuesday December 22nd: the French banks and the "postage stamp theorem" by RTL.
Let's continue to criticize the current evolution of capitalism: little by little, and more starting January 1st, 2016, almost all French bank network will make all clients pay for the management of their account, even if there is no problem...

A journalist on French radio RTL commented last Tuesday that it's the "postage stamp theorem": if clients don't earn you enough money, rise the fee!

The hidden idea to him is to segregate clients: the students and the poor towards their free fee internet affiliate to save agency and advice cost ; rich ones will continue to pay premium to manage their accountssssss... and the rest will have to pay monthly now.

I wonder if the high rises of the French postal rates is currently helping the switch to La Poste's web services...

Wednesday December 23rd: French post looking for pied piper, specialised in rats and philatelists please.
Strange news in Nanterre, Paris suburbs: postmen and women used their urgency right to stop working after a semester working with rats and one getting ill some days after a pest controller worked on site.

Located too near to the Seine River, the sorting warehouse has been used since last Summer when the timetables were changed, and space required to prepare the tours.

Of course commentators on the web suggested the use of cats... but a London incident reminds that, in our terror age of highest security, the use of staff that could not provide an identity card could be perillous for the service.

Thursday December 24th: joint article on false stamp booklets seized by the French Customs.

Saturday December 26th: joint article on Deutsche Post's personalised stamp problem with Dalai Lama's supporters.

Elsewhere on French philatelic blogs:
Les News du Phospho blog celebrated 10 years on teaching philatelists about phosphorescence printing on modern stamps of France and other contemporary intelligence on nowadays French Philately. It backs a personal website on the phosphorescence topic.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Tibetan supporters bump into Deutsche Post

Last Wednesday December 4th 2015, Sonja Gillert told in Die Welt how personalised stamp orders by German association International Campaign for Tibet have been poisoning Deutsche Post DHL since last Srping.
One of the personalised stamp ordered to Deutsche Post (International Campaign for Tibet, reproduced by Die Welt)
After Austria Post had to cancel a philatelic program issue in 2005 - some printing essays ended on the market - we thought that postal operators of countries that want to have very peaceful and profitable trade relations with the People's Republic of China would be careful. All the more when the operator is, since 2001, the heart of a transnational group of transportation and logistic,  DHL.

The article summarized the chronicle of an order for personalised stamp to mark the 80th birthday of Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama and nowadays moral and spiritual leader of the exiled Tibetans since communist China occupied Tibet.

6'400 were ordered, printed and delivered last Spring to the German section of the United States organisation Then, it was a rush to stick one on a letter to the Chinese ambassador in Berlin, surely happy if he has friends collectors of stamps.
Why do I smell smoke? (International Campaign for Tibet, reproduced in Rainbow Stamp Club blog, July 4th 2015).
Was it the mediatisation of their mail to the Amabassador? Or a brutal telephone relation between said amabassador and the federal ministry for Foerign Affaits? Or DHL director in China that alerted his parent company that the dragon was breathing into his lungs, organs already darkened by the dense pollution in Beijing?

Anyway, now the association knows a lot of problem to get a second order of the stamp in November... because Deutsche Post's PostIndividuell service changed in-between. And that motivated a new article by the Berlin newspaper.

Nowadays in Germany you can order Star Wars personalised stamps - Oïe! Royal Mail and La Poste are not the only one to issue such stamps?!! - but not stamps figuring politicians from foreign countries.

The journalist explained that the president of the Free State of Bavaria could received such stamps for his birthday, but no one will honor a visit of the President of the United States of American such a way...

While the pro-Tibetan association is trying to break in the new rules, its leaders are watching the next personalised stamp orders accepted by Deutsche Post to try to catch the company offguard.

Chance of the news, early December, a Flemish independist party is furious of bpost, the Belgian operator. Whereas the party had ordered personalised stamps the last ten years, this year's picture (between independentist coat of arms and Catalonian flags) or the logotype and motto of the parti seem to hurt the new rules on neutrality of personalised stamps.

Surely the federal deputies of the party will get answers from bpost during the next session.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

French customs seized false booklets of French Mariannes

Tuesday, December 22nd 2015, the French customs mediatised they seized a parcel of fraudulent booklets of Marianne de la jeunesse first class stamps at Lyon Saint-Exupéry Airport, as local edition of 20 Minutes revealed.

Screen capture of the video broadcast by the French Customs on youTube.
A sad affair for false stamp collectors and speculators... They have to literally stick to banana stickers to make fun of the French postal system and continue to speculate with the stamps cut out from the sold out Liberation minisheet issued at the November 2015 Autumn Stamp Show.

The express parcel was detected in the People's Republic of China before being sent from Hong Kong. It contained four welding machines full of one hundred booklet batches of counterfeited stamps, the usual form of production in France of these booklets.
The rise of the priority first class mail in France since 1971 (idé for Boursorama).
This efficient action takes place in a context of consecutive heavy rises of the postal rates... that surely have inspired some mischievous entrepreneurs. Customs estimated the value of the seize at 62'000 euros, but don't explain if there are the values of the genuine stamps, the turnover or profit hoped by the perpretrators.

Let's hope a judge will authorize that one booklet be kept at La Poste's Museum in the goal of knowledge and expertise, while the rest finish a holy and joyful fire!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

La Roche-sur-Yon, one of the few préfectures without a stamp

Adapted from a March 3rd 2014 article of SébPhilatélie.

Saturday March 1st, 2014, regional newspaper Ouest-France informed readers of the 69th philatelic congress of the Center-West region of French Philatelic Associations' Federation, in La Roche-sur-Yon.

They interviewed Michel Audureau, vice-president of the Amicale philatélique yonnaise, host of the congress. He found an interesting piece of knowledge to attract readers and visitors: the association issued a personalised stamp collector on the host city, while La Roche-sur-Yon never was depicted on a French stamp.

One of the few préfectures of France in that case. A préfecture being the town where you can find the prefect, representent of the State in the département.

A nice competition for a philatelic magazine: find these unstamped préfectures. On March 2014 I found Mende and Aurillac in the south side of the Massif Central, not densely inhabited. On the western side of the same mountain range, the three of Limousin got their stamps.

Why have La Roche-sur-Yon never got his stamp?

Mr. Audureau thought that the city lacks help from important politicians when the association sent the idea to La Poste... A good lobbying begins with powerful help. It's like a lottery: La Roche stamp missed the bicentenary of the préfecture status where Luçon, same département of Vendée, got one for its cathedral... because of the end of the restauration of irs arrow... Furthermore, the government was then on the left aisle like La Roche's mayor, but not Luçon's.

But, as Mr. Audureau weighted, the role of Napoléon Bonaparte on the founding of the city would be a very good sale argument. Yes, La Poste know that: bicentenary of legislative creation, Napoleonic wars toy soldiers... But never the autocratic power of a unlimited war leader until an Emperor sacrificed his own second main city and that the European powers found a kingdom very far away in the South Atlantic Ocean. Only if another country asks us like the Czech Republic.

Finally, to put Vendée on stamps of France... is to wake the memoirs of the Vendée Wars, during the French Revolution. In 2013 the conquest of Auvergne and Languedoc by the Kings of France were stamped (through a holy crusade concerning Languedoc...). Not sure many Vendéeans are ready to accept to see celebrated a period that remind them the French revolutionary actions were inforced by force in their area, including the power imposing a new préfecture to be sure of the loyalty of its inhabitants.

To compensate, La Roche-sur-Yon collectors can still turn to the minisheet honiring illustraror Benjamin Rabier, born 1864 in La Roche-sur-Yon, issued June 14th 2014 thank to the Amicale philatélique yonnaise.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Weeks #2015.50 and #51 on SébPhilatélie

Two weeks for one!

Tuesday December 8th: does Gibbons magazine want to promote intaglio printing?
In the December issue of Gibbons Stamp Monthly, Glenn Morgan started a series of article about intaglio printing with a biography of banknote - and now the Long May She Reign stamps - engraver Chris Matthews.

Will this series of article get momentum and start a British Art of engraved stamp like in France in the 2000s when Timbres Magazine promoted intaglio printing with the support of the artists until the French philatelic service promised a minimum of intaglio printing in the program.

Sunday December 13th: joint article on Don Rosa's year of mail art.
Read the article in English there, and the first Don Rosa open class episode over here.

Friday December 18th: About Huguenot folding letters found in a chest in The Hague, Netherlands.
Last November, an international university team publicized the start of a long work on some 2'600 letters of a chest, an item of the Museum of Communications in The Hague.

The famous chest and its letters (© Signed, Sealed & Undelivered Team, 2015. Courtesy Museum voor Communicatie, The Hague, Netherlands).
A radio broadcast on France Culture (French cultural public channel) Friday 18th presented the whole story by Dutch historian David Van der Linden who seems to be an eventual postal history collector from the content of the letter to how they were folded!

Saturday December 19th: joint article on a West African joint issue.
Read the article in English there.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Joint issue to mark 40th anniversary of West African Community

On Thursday December 17th 2015, the presidents of the Economic Community of the West African States (ECOWAS or CÉDÉAO in French) debated on new decisions to increase their common relations during a summit in Abuja, Nigeria's capital city.
Two West African leaders presenting the common illustration of the 40 year stamps (, 18 December 2015).
Some communautary projects reach physical realisations and thus were presented to the presidents: the common biometric passport, with the ECOWAS name on cover like the European Union passports, and identity card.

In the context of the anniversary, they were satisfied of the best economic growth compared to other African communities thank to the new Common Exterior Tarriffs and the democratic elections of the past year (yes, some critics would have been welcomed). One talk reached the French media: they wondered a ban on some conceiling veil in the context of djihadist terrorism south of the Sahara.

So it was normal to issue an anniversary stamp with the celebration logotype in which the zero is the emblem of ECOWAS. A joint issue that reminds that an actual philately and a daily postal history exist in every country, perhaps not the daily right on the clock service one can know in Europe or North America.

Yes, it is difficult to follow what's happening in these countries on the postal service side, but some philatelists managed to inform fellow collectors thank to such publications like Gibbons Stamp Monthly whose last article on the contemporary cancels of Benin is dated this very month.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Don Rosa's year of mail art

Last week, I translated a May 2014 open class article I wrote on the blog in French about Don Rosa. This Unites States cartoonist and story teller that succeeded to write in the Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck universe from 1987 to 2005.

Don Rosa has an addictive style, that fans are missing new stories so much editors are issuing complete commented editions since the begining of the decade. But, as a long-time amateur cartoonist, these editions present autobiographical texts on Don Rosa's life before he became a Disney star thank to Danish press company Egmont.

In the third tome of the North American version by Fantagraphic Books, published last June - already present in the Nordic editions since 2011, Don Rosa told of his 1970-1971 year studying ingeneering in Kentucky through mail art.
Président Eisenhower teaching postage stamp class to six little Jeffersons (Don Rosa, courtesy of his official Facebook page's webmaster).
In I Like Ike!, Don Rosa explained how he kept in touch with his best friend while studying far from home. He sent one letter a week and illustrated the cover, around forty in total.

At first, a simple caricature of his friend of small size, but quickly the whole cover was covered in black ink... and even the stamp participated to the show.

With the kind authorization of Don Rosa's representent in Europe, I reproduce here three covers that will talk to philatelists. Like this class where six 1968 one cent Jefferson are taught by a senior 1970 six cent Eisenhower... cut from a booklet cover.

Western comedy around this "Eisenhower, U.S.A.", a stamp wanted "cancelled or alive" :)  (Don Rosa, courtesy of his official Facebook page's webmaster).
The six plus cut-out stamps are proof the artist respected the postal rules and was surprised that all letters arrived to the addressee. Even when the address was part of the design: a wanted poster to find a mysterious Ulysses Sydney Anderson Eisenhower. Don Rosa succeeded to include the stamp in a cereal box, a novel cover or a first page of the Reader's Disgust (sic).

The second to last letter: the postman was warned (Don Rosa, courtesy of his official Facebook page's webmaster).
Humour culminated with a warning to the postman of an exam at the end of the university year: because he was taught to read the same address all year long, he could remember it for the next and final week.


And no... The final one addressed to "same place as usual" was returned to the university dorm and from there redirected to Don Rosa's family address. No, postmen had not been attentive enough.

The text written by Rosa in 2011 reminds younger generation of a time when the postal system could work without at-sign.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Anatidae finnophily while listening to music from a kantele

Translation of a SébPhilatélie article, published May 22nd, 2014.

After numerous exchanges by Postcrossing and many surprises at every stamp issue, I love Finland almost as Britishness, and that until I associate this country with my other feathered and web-footed passion with metal music in the background.

[At time of the original writing] The 2014 Europa stamp competition is under way with the national musical instruments topic.
Issued May 5th, the Europa stamp of Finland with a kantele. Its twin represent a sort of accordion. (Posti in Finnish and in English).
A topic I am passionated with... until I watch some graphic pearls: the French harp (shame there is this Greek letter...), San Marino reflected on a trumpet... and this Finnish kantele player...

And here, the "Proust's madeleine" effect happened...


Donald Duck!!!

[readers' reaction: yeah, what's hapenning with him again?!]

Here I must tell my first meeting with this instrument, in a magical and mystical context.
After a short complete collection of new issues of French stamps (Summer 1988-1992), reading became fully my main passion: from reading stamps on collected envelopes, classical novels and science-fiction ones, and diving like Scrooge McDuck in the French Disney comic books of a friend who had kept them all.

Little by little, a handful of stories looked and felt different: the memory kept more easily their main intrigue and the secondary incidents lived by Donald, his uncle Scrooge and their nephews. Reareading them was not boring or repetitive: the numerous details of the drawing let many things to discover ; this style very far from the almost "clear line" of the other Disney artists.

The attraction to that United States cartoonist and storyteller Don Rosa had begun without knowing his name yet. His identity is revealed in 1994 with the publication in Picsou Magazine of the first episode of the The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck. Don Rosa created a complete biography of the richest duck in the world from all the little hints Carl Barks, Uncle Scrooge's creator, put in his stories.
Two of the five stamp minisheet the Finnish Post issued in 20001 for the fifty anniversary of Aku Ankka, the Donald Duck universe national magazine (

The two stamps abobe reproduced excerpts from a story by Don Rosa, in which he sent his hearoes to Finland. Why?

Disney cartoonist are in fact freelance hired by youth press editors who bought the print rights to the big Californian company. These artists are paid only once per page, whatever the number of reprints and whoever reprints them... That's why their name were rarely known to readers.

At the time, Don Rosa, an engeneer who inherited the family's company in Kentucky, succeeded to go from a Carl Barks fan to a reknown storyteller for the Danish media group Egmont, Disney's comics retailers for the whole of Northern Europe.

And the Finnish readers were to receptive to Rosa's stories that they get a story miwing their country, their culture and the Duck universe: The Quest for Kalevala. Scrooge McDuck faced the mythology of the Kalevala to get hold of the sampo, a machine that can create gold from nothing!!!

But his thirst of gold waked the two greatest enemies of the Finnish tradition: the witch Louhi and the Hero Väinämöinen (on the left hand stamp), a confrontation that only the latter's kantele can solve... An instrument that can shut up even avarice, but lost during the last fight. The right hand stamp reveals who found it back... but why is he in the streets of Helsinki... That's another story into the story.

From the stories by Don Rosa, Tuomas Holopainen created and performed a music album to listen while reading The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck (Nuclear Blast label).
Unfortunately, between 2002 and 2006, Don Rosa understood the injustice of the Disney's comic book system when he discovered his name was used to promote magazines and books without asking him... A grave problem of health concerning his eye-sight make him announce retirement.

Imagine my surprise, late April, when my eyes ,wandering in the FNAC music section, found a long cd cover with a very known duck on it and with as many details that Don Rosa can put on a page... Not very common in the metal area.

Finnish metal musician Tuomas Holopainen of the group Nightwish concluded a personal project, surely inspired by the soft music of Väinämöinen's kantele: create a soundtrack to Don Rosa's biography of Scrooge McDuck, from the beginning in nineteenth century Glasgow to the Australian Outback, from making fortune in Klondike to the secluded miserly solitary in his manor... until that Christmas 1947 when...

- - - -

All this from one topical stamp I should never have seen and a chance encounter in a music store. My own open philately class, even if I doubt it would please a philatelic jury :)

To discover Carl Barks' and Don Rosa's stories, complete collection tomes are regularly reprinted in many languages from English to central and northern European ones. For Rosa, prefer the one with the author's commentaries like the current Don Rosa Library by Fantagraphic Books and play with him to find his dedication to Barks and Mickey Mouse's head hidden in the drawings.

Now you can reread this article or The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck while listening to Holopainen's music:

A Lifetime of Adventure, whose first scene is the opening of the famous treasure chest.

Last Sled to Dawson and Scrooge's main dilemna of his life after he found the Golden Goose nugget in Klondike. In some stories, Don Rosa eventually get to the heart of the richest duck in the world.

Update: the second episode of my Don Rosa open collection is out in December 2015!

Friday, December 04, 2015

The Postcrossing stamp catalogue

Updated 14 July 2020 with the stamp of Brasil.

Since a post on May 17th, 2014, I have updated a personal stamp catalogue celebrating Postcrossing, a website to send and receive postcards among members either by chance through the site, or voluntarily through the forum if you want to exchange mail with specific countries or on specialised topics.

Don't hesitate to participate, even with a few cards per months: it's the way to ensure there will be a conteporary stamp and postal history in the decades to come. In ten years, celebrated on last July 14th, more than thirty one millions cards were sent.

The main source is the website's blog and, from there, the website of the postal operators who issued the stamps. As you are going to see hereunder, many post offices understood the interest to issue such stamps: encouraging correspondance, national and foreign philatelic orders, free publicity.

Shamefully, the French philatelic service, Phil@poste, did not... yet? Even a strict dictatorship encouraged its citizens to write and receive mail!

Since 2011 till today, twelve stamps were issued for this website by the will and lobbying of its members. What voluntary website can say that too?

Guernsey sympathetic stamp of 2014 (

1. and 2.: 14 October 2011, by Post NL, Netherlands, 2 values (first class to Europe, first class to the World) issued on a minisheet of five of each (10 stamps).

3. to 6.: 9 September 2013, by Itella Posti, Finland, 4 designs at the same first class value (up to 50 grams nationwide, 20 grams to Europe and the World) printed on a minisheet.

7.: 2 January 2014, by Belpochta, Belarus, value "N" (surface postcard) in sheets of 12.

8.: 29 May 2014, Guernsey Post, one of the Channel Island and Crown Dependencies, value "Int Letter 20g" (first class to Europe and the World) : map-character of Guernsey wishing the reader a "Happy Postcrossing".

The Russian stamp, 2015.
9.: 27 January 2015, by Pochta Rosii, Russia, 23 roubles. Designed by O. Shushlebina, an envelope on globe decorated with all major European historic monuments and the Taj Mahal. Printing: 397 000.
Members from Russia constitutes the second group by country on Postcrossing with 3.5 millions postcards sent, after members from Germany.

10.: 29 May 2015, by Pošta Slovenije, Slovenia, 60 eurocents. A tourist jumping on a blond sand beach. "Summer is coming".
The Czech stamp, 2015.
11.: 2 September 2015, Česká pošta, Czech Republic, Value "E" (up to 50 grams to Europe ; "A" is nationwide, "Z" worldwide). The Postcrossing circle of correpondence designed by Portuguese artist  Maria Nogueira.
Let's remind the website was created by Paulo Magalhães, another Portuguese citizen.
The Ukrainian stamp, 2015.
12.: 9 October 2015, by Ukrposhta, Ukraine, value "E" (I'm not fluent enough in Ukrainian to find the rate...) in sheet of 16 autoadhesive stamps. Girl dressed traditionally sending her greeting from Ukraine to the world.
The stamp was issued on World Post Day, an initiative by the Universal Postal Union.

The Austrian Postcrossing stamp... A wall of bricks? (Österreichische Post via the Postcrossing blog).
13. (AUT #1): 21 March 2016 by Österreichische Post, Austria, value 80 eurocents. Designed by Robert Sabolovic (postcards and name of website in the color of the Austrian flag). Printed in offset by Joh. Enschedé Stamps B.V., 250,000 printed.

The second stamp of Russia (

14. (RUS #2): 25 March 2016, by Pochta Rossii, Russia, value 31 rubles, sheet of 9 autoadhesive stamps by I. Sidenko. Envelope "I love Postcrossing" over landscape of different houses, with airplane and cruise ship. Print: 414 000.

Second issue for the Netherlands, 2016.

15.-24. (NLD #2): 29 March 2016, by PostNL, Netherlands, value "1 International". Sheet of ten different stamps designed by Reinier Hamel, Sin agency. Different landscape, monuments, activities and artwork of the Netherlands.
Second Guernsey issue, 2016 (
25.-26. (GGY #2-3): 14 July 2016, by Guernsey Post, value Europe (EUR) and Rest of the world (ROW). Illustration by Sue Harmon, printed in sheets of 10 and in offset by Lowe-Martin. Depiction of the Bailliwick's islands (green), their fauna and flora, the sea waves and the sun.
Le timbre de cinq  nouveaux złotys (site de Poczta Polska).
27. (POL #1): 14 July 2016, by Poczta Polska (Poland), value 5 new złotys (PLN), printed by PWPW in minisheet of 6 with illustrated margins. Design by A. Tobolczyk: a red suitcase with touristic stickers, is in fact a mailbox to send postcards.
The second Belarus adhesive stamp issued January 2017, with no fake perforation (Postcrossing blog and Belpochta).
28. (BLR #2): 3 January 2017, by Belpochta (Belarus). Adhesive stamp value M (international airmail postcard), printed in offset in 9 stamp minisheet. Illustration by Marina Vitkovskaya.
The stamp from Romania issued February 2017 (Postcrossing blog and Romfilatelia).
29. (ROM #1): 24 February 2017, by Poșta Română (Romania). Stamp value 4 lei, printed in offset in sheets of 32 (18'000 sheets) and minisheet of 8 (1'000 sheetes). Illustration by Razvan Popescu.
The three Indonesian stamps issued July 2017 (Postcrossing blog).
30.-32. (IDN #1-3): 14 July 2017, by Pos Indonesia. Three stamps, value 3,000 rupees, illustrating travels through correspondence.
The three stamps of Switzerland Postcrossing blog, 28 July 2017).
33.-35. (CHE #1-3): 7 September 2017, by Swiss Post. Three stamps, values 1 franc (national rate), 1,50 franc (European rate) and 2 francs (worldwide). Designs by Max Spring illustrating Swiss people receiving a postcard and people of the continent and the world receiving traditions of Switzerland on postcards.
The Irish stamp (via the Postcrossing blog, 4 October 2017).
36. (IRL #1): 5 October 2017, by An Post. One stamp valued 1.35 euro (international rate) figuring five young peoples and other people's arms sending and receiving many postcards ; a design by Cathy Dineen.
Note: Irish postcrossers appeared in a documentary on the General Post Office in Dublin, broadcast by RTÉ in March 2016.
The stamp from Hungary (Magyar Posta website).
37. (HUN #1): 2 February 2018, by Magyar Posta. One stamp valued 120 forints (2 domestic rates: non-priority postcard or standard letter under 30 grams) figuring a postman on bicycle happily delivering postcards. With landmarks of Budapest in the background: the Danube river, the Liberty Bridge and Liberty Statue. Design by Zsolt Vidàk and printed in offsetin 60,000 minisheets of four stamps.
The stamp from Moldova (Postcrossing blog and the Moldovan Post's philatelic website).
38. (MDA #1): 23 June 2018, by Poșta Moldovei. One stamp valued 11 lei (international prioritary postcard to Europe ; almost worldwide non prioritary rate - 11,50 L) figuring a person travelling upon the globe on paths made of circulating postcards and letters. Design by Lilian Iatsko and printed in 120,000 in sheets of ten.
The stamp of land (Postrossing blog and Åland Post's philatelic website).
39. (ALA #1) : 7 June 2019, by Åland Post. One stamp valued "Världen" (worldwide postage ; 1.80 euro then). And indeed, a red world map, centered on the Atlantic Ocean, is included inside a heart-shaped stamp of light violet color. The Postcrossing name is written accross like by hand. The heart is included a perforated square, 3.8 cm of side. Design by Cecilia Mattsson, and printed in offset by Cartor Securiry Printing, in sheets of 28 stamps, in four columns of 14 separeted by 7 decorated labels on the correspondence topic.
The Brasilian stamp (Postcrossing blog).

40. (BRA #1) : 14 July 2020, by Correios (Brasil)). One stamp valued 2.45 reais. Illustration by Daniel Lourenço of São Paulo: two young people, living in different places as noted by monuments in corners, reading the postcards they exchange. This stamp is issued at time for the 15th birthday of Postcrossing.

To be continued of course (and completed when I find the pictures missing).

Happy Postcrossing to you too!

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Francophonies in December 2015 British philatelic press

Some very specialisaties from the French speaking world are available in this month British philatelic monthly magazines. Let's explore.

In The London Philatelist, James R. Taylor studies the diagonal overprint "ST - PIERRE  M - on" printed on the French colonies general issue in 1891. In Saint Pierre and Miquelon two series were overprinted: the then current Commerce by Alphée Dubois and the leftover stocks of imperforated Peace and Commerce series by Jules Auguste Sage.

This action was initiated in the whole of the French colonial empire to fight monetary speculation between colonies. Taylor went from how catalogues have reflected them to false overprints and varieties.

Change of scenery to contemporary countries not visited by the French philatelic press, but that Gibbons Stamp Monthly's authors visit regularly: the Western African countries and their really issued stamps, the overprints and, this December 2015, the cancellations they receive.

Nicholas Pertwee describes and lists the single circle postmarks used this two and half decades in Benin. That should convince some philatelists there are things to find in these countries collectors neglect, either because of their excessive issues by private philatelic agencies, or because of their modest stamp policy, too discreet to be caught by Western radars.

The article ends a first part in November about double circle cancels from 1970s to the late 1990s.

Finally, still in  Gibbons, David Horry is beginning a new monthly column of humoristic diversion of real stamps. After King George VI (never) unissued stamps parodies (full book sold at Murray Payne, the KG6 specialist), he is struggling with the secret archives of the Political Warfare Executive.

This section of the British Foreign Office was created August 1941 to create propaganda operations to discourage the populations and forces of the enemies.

The first of Horry's creation is a French protectorate Morocco stamp overprinted "Deutsche Reichspost in Marokko" which, the legendary tale told, was created by the PWE in May 1942, sneaked out by the United States Embassy in France and presented to French collaboration minister Pierre Laval to make him believe the German Reich was going to take over Morocco.. in the hope it would sever both countries' relations.

David Horry having a large sense of humour, he warns you of the false PWE falsification created to steal the good money of collectors by showing another stamp of Morocco overprinted by a modern printer :)

Monday, November 30, 2015

Very first mail from the Falklands

Last Thursday, November 26th, at the 5pm event at the Royal Philatelic Society London, Michael Roberts presented his collection and a conference on the postal history of the Falkland Islands from the origins to 1945.
The surprise du chef during the conference : the most ancient known letter from the Falklands (image from the Grosvenor sale catalogue, now in Michael Roberts' collection).
After a general presentation of the geography and European colonisation history of the archipelago and before discovering the first known mail, postal marks and maritime roads, Michael Roberts surprised the attendance with his lastest acquisition.

Where the pdf file (publicly available) announced a content from 1827 to 1945, the conference broadcasted to members on youTube and the exhibition showed a letter written February 15th 1800 from the Falklands, sent by a son to his father in the United States. It took eleven months on a British boat that went first to Cape Town before sailing to Portsmouth. There the letter was sent to New York.

Roberts bought it during a very recent auction by Grosvenor, lot 5001 of sale 103 on Wednesday, November 11th. Very just in time.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Slow news week #2015.48 on SébPhilatélie

A slow news (and low free time) week for SébPhilatélie.

Monday, November 23rd: eradicate copper-platted coins again an again.
John Oliver of  channel HBO's Last Week Tonight promoted the end of the expensive pennies... echoing many other news report in the United States and even the European Union with the euro cents. Translated here during the week.

Tuesday, November 24th: public postal services facing high level of criticism when trying to act toward profitability.
A French association of consumers and a British liberal weekly magazine bashed the postal service, respectively of France and the United States. While trying to find ideas to become profitable, both companies are under critics.

La Poste because its rates get higher and higher while UFC - Que choisir association finds the services rendered are not as good as expected: mail delivery D+2 encouraged instead of D+1, a mess to understand the parcel rates,...

The Economist reminded the traps the USPS is caught in because it depends completely on the United States (Republican) Congress to be allowed to do new things... or to be forced to some accounting rules, far more heavy than the private sector.

Wednesday, November 25th: more utopian banknotes on Amazon TV.
Last week, Amazon, the website that sells anything, issued the final episodes of the first season of its pay-per-view series, The Man in the High Castle, inspired after Philip K. Dick's novel. The plot is scary: what if the Axis won World War Two... and very scary when you begin to wonder if the fiction is not the mirror of our own history.

Many press and amateur articles can be found on the merits and flaws of the series: success to create a story as complex to understand as the novel, a non logical heroin among a very unresisting Resistance, the mystery on how the uchronic films appeared, or the problem of Amazon Studio to manage the correct translation of Japenese and German languages, etc.

For the sake of my blogs, a Nazi America one dollar bill was filmed during one of the episodes, but no stamps or mail.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Avoid a slow news day with a copper-plated penny

Translation of a SébPhilatélie article published on Monday November 23rd, 2015.

In French journalist slang, a marronnier is a topic of little importance that can be done and redone as necessary or on a seasonal rythm: How to bake a turkey late November in the United States for example, or final very late presents shopping on Christmas Eve.

In the United States, the elimination of the most little coin in the country comes back regularly in the news and, on Sunday November 22nd evening, in the HBO's satirical-brainstorming show Last Week Tonight hosted by John Oliver.

The show publishes the week's topical monologue on its youTube channel (HBO is a pay television).
As the power hammer endlessly strikes until the print is definitively marked, one more show explained again to the public why the U.S. Mint should stop minting the one cent coin figuring President Abraham Lincoln.

The profitable argument is the coin cost more to be minted than its face value and, socially, because too many people hoard them, lose them (in-between the cushions of the sofa), use them in their [censored: watch the video] or are imprudent enough that their children or dogs eat them...

On the social side again, citizens even refuse to use them! Oliver introduced two slow news day report from two different local channels: reporters threw pennies on the street and no-bo-dy took them, even when directly offered to do so... In a 2002 Gallup survey, it was concluded that two per cent of the people throw them in the trash can.

The only thing saving the cent from a Congress vote of anihilation is the lobbying by a zinc disc manufacturer: the zinc disc being copper-plated in order to lower the production cost at maximum. Oliver precised that this firm is part of a zinc conglomerate that makes a lot more money with other things done with that metal. But a penny's a penny.

Concerning the fear of having Abraham Lincoln forgotten, Oliver has a five hundred more valued treasure to remember him: the five dollar bill!

This debate interests Europe too since the introduction of the euro coins and banknotes in 2002, with the same basic arguments: production cost, people finding them a nuisance.

But for collectors, Finland has never issued them, the Netherlands soon thereafter, and these past two years Belgium and Ireland. In these countries, when paid in cash, the amount can be rounded to nearer multiple of five.

After the recent Irish announcement, as always, the buzz have started again in French medias without any concrete meaning: Fortuneo precises that Parliament is not seized of the matter... and many republished articles about your cents are a gold mine in your pocket. It is known that Monaco coin speculators, capable to create a numismatic stampede in the quiet chic Principality, let you freely get some cents from there without any wear traces in your change.

Why is the subject a tabou in France? The fear of inflation after many still believe the euro introduction the cause of it in the 2000s... In a remembrance article about the disappearance of the half-penny coin in Britain, the BBC published a graphic that shows the one point rise of the inflation rate in 1985 lasted one year. Surely other economic logic may be of more impact than a 5 eurocent round up.

I found no article wishing the death of the current British one and two penny coins, but for a very useful service graciously proposed by the Metro Bank: after putting your bag of coins into the Magic Money Machine and accept to listen about their paid services, you depart with lighter banknotes.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

This week #2015.47 on SébPhilatélie

Slow week on both blogs due to working schedule and the heavy news context since Friday 13th from Paris to Brussels, and from Syria and Iraq to Mali and Nigeria.

Monday November 16th: Around the Commonwealth in 80 days.
If I wrote here an article on the Rhodesias step of the trip by Stamp Magazine and The London Philatelist, I added two more from December 2015 Stamp Magazine in the French article: Jeff Dugdale's research on diversity on the stamps of Britain and John Winchester's philatelic study of Queen Salote of Tonga, including the very first autoadhesive stamps in 1963.
Reproduced on an anniversary British stamp to the National Portait Gallery, the portrait by Challen of Mary Seacole, prooves that diversity in the British society is not just a communautarism fashion of our time: the Jamaican born-Scottish descent lady, after her candidature was rejected by the War Office, travelled from Jamaica to London and then Crimea to open an hospital near the battlefields of the Crimean War, 1850s... (picture on

Saturday November 21st: A pretty cinderella packet for an order to Yvert et Tellier.
Nice packet after an efficient forty-eight hour delivery of an Yvert et Tellier packet. The French editor and stamp dealer send my purchase of the two reference books issued in 2000 in a packet decorated with red cinderella stamps: sort of portraits, Antic landscapes, sea painting and the Eiffel Tower.

To read again: George slaying the Demon.
As news from Belgium are worrisome this past week and this morning declaration of high caution in Brussels Region, let's remind the arms of the municipality is Saint George slaying the Demon as depicted on a machine stamp I discovered in 2005.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Rhodesias month in British periodicals

Partial translation of a SébPhilately article in French from yesterday.

By chance both Rhodesias are present in November 2015 London Philatelist and December Stamp Magazine, partly due the fiftieth anniversary of the South Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence on November 11th, 1965

Britain vs. a rebel republic (again!?)
In Stamp Magazine Alaistair Gunn provides a very complete and catching philatelic and postal history article about the fourteen year of rebellious independence of the White Southern Rhodesian government from 1965 to 1979.
A personal item of the independence stamp issued one month after, printed by Mardon in Salisbury. Gunn warns that it was forget quite a lot for such a low value stamp. Don't know if mine is true.
The story of this South African colony is dramatic: following the model of Apartheid South Africa, the White in power in South Rhodesia refused to establish a democracy that would have let the political power to the Black majority of the population after independence. This solution permitted the independence and renaming of Zambia and Malawi in 1963.

On November 11th, 1965, the White governement declared the independence of Rhodesia, shortly before proclaming a republic... Then, after a civil war, it accepted to retrieve colonial statute for three months in 1979, the time to conclude an agreement that created Zimbabwe.

This political variations can be followed on covers franked with colonial stamps of South Rhodesia still valid and the ones of Rhodesia-Just-Rhodesia. But, for mails sent to the United Kingdom, the Post Office was uncompromising toward the rebellious country:
- if Dorothy Wilding's royal effigy and currency in local pound/schilling/penny = ok ;
- but any mention of independence, lack of royal effigy or the new dollar/cent decimal currency = stamps refused = tax to be paid by recipient.

This let to a collection of covers and cancelled stamps in unusual situations: postage due while officially issued stamps affixed, stamps bearing two currencies in 1967-1968, and, when the conclusion approached next to May 31st 1979, postmen removed the name of the country from the exterior crown of cancellation stamp.

From the Rhodesian/British postal war to catalogues of postal wars
This article echoed with Jan Heijs, author with Burhop of a Catalogue of postal war 1870-2008, who wrote a follow-up to two previous article on postal wars, published in November 2015 issue of The London Philatelist.

Postal wars happened when a post of a country refused to carry mail or accept the stamps value from a foreign country, because of the topic of the said stamps. French stamps honoring soldiers in operation during the Independence Wars in North Africa or the anniversary of diplomatic relations with Israel had forced the French post to received back mail from some countries, repack them in a service cover and resend them again.

Heijs recalls the sensitivity of the British Post Office in front of some Rhodesian stamps, and illustrated Communist Poland problem with West German stamps on former German places, in Poland after 1945, and of memory of the arrival of East Prussian Germans at the end of World War Two.

He proposed some bibliographical references with his own catalogue, especially Elsner Wolfgang's The 'Classical' Postal Wars - before 1848 written in English and German.

Aerophilately around the Rhodesias
In the same issue, Neil Donen and Keith Harrop submit readers with a police investigation through airmail archives: how many covers flew on the inaugural flight between London and Lusaka, North Rhodesia, in 1935? And how many could have ended on the market? How many official mail stuck in the public archives?

The crime scene are auction sales and specialised catalogues who promised: only fifteen exist! Rare = expensive = good resale value! [noise of casino's machines]

But an airmail expert wrote an estimate of ten to twenty available to the market in two letters separated by threee decades...

After eight pages of investigation and historic methodology, the authors conclude on an estimate while flying all around the neighbouring colonies and giving a lecture to buyers: know well the domain of the thing you buy, to be sure of the rarity and pricing.