Thursday, December 29, 2016

French geopolitician Jean-Christophe Victor passed away

Yesterday, Wednesday 28 DecemberJean-Christophe Victor died at too young an age for a knowledge passer with his geopolitical television show Le Dessous des cartes (Underneath the cards/maps).
A planisphere with a political message to analyze, what other picture? (Libray and Archives Canada).
On the French-German channel Arte, every Saturday, he described and explained what is at stake in our world through maps of all scales for a quarter century. In parallel, he created with Virginie Raisson a private laboratory to teach and work on these problems with firms and public powers.

His biography reminds his actions and experience in Afghanistan late 1970s and during the 1980s, a diplomat as a cultural attaché and a humanitarian as a cofounder of Action Against Hunger.

These two aspects of his life can be linked to his parents: polar explorer Paul-Émile Victor and television journalist Éliane Victor.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Week #2016.50 on SébPhilatélie

Wednesday 21 December: The Post Office Without in South Georgia.
In the two last issues of Gibbons Stamp Monthly (dated November and December), Hugh Osborne told the postal history of the British subantarctic territory of South Georgia through the many lacks the post office of Grytviken suffered along the decades from 1904 (without a post office!) until 1932 (and the incredible "32" missing because there are only 31 days a month after all!!).

Thursday 22 December: Current fiscal stamps in Cameroun.
In November Camerunese medias were chatting over all the rises and newly taxes the government was preparing for 2017 to finance all the country needs to be competitive in the context of a new free trade agreement with the European Union.
The current communal and bilingual 200 CFA franc stamp (via Cameroon-Info.net).
Among the solutions an increase of the fiscal stamp needed for a A4 size document from 200 francs CFA to 600 francs, and larger sizes from 400 to 1000.

The most affected by this decision would be high school and university students who need it to fill the exam forms, and after that the public service competitive exam... in which a birth certificate has to be added with one more communal stamp...

Let's hope that foreign businessmen and tourists will give enough taxes per hotel nights.

Friday 23 December: Tea to perfume mint infusion and Gibraltar stamps to spice Moroccan postal history.
How the British entrepreneurship affected Morocco is the object of geographer Christian Grataloup in French bimestrial Carto magazine: how did it come that Moroccan began to drink mint tea in the 1850s while they had been drinking mint infusion.

Where did that tea came from?

Yes, the English are at fault again: how to get rid of the mass of tea leaves that could not be sold to the Russians anymore? A side effect of the Crimean War. Thank God for the conquest and keeping of the Rock of Gibraltar!
Veüe du d'Estroit de Gibraltar, et des Environs, avec les tranchées du Siège mis en 1704 (Bibliothèque nationale de France, availbale and zoom-in-able on Gallica).
In parallel Richard Garcia continued his articles on Gibraltar classical philately in November Gibbons Stamp Monthly with how postmistress Margaret Creswell and her successors managed the British post agencies in Morocco from the tiny colony.

Saturday 24 December: Postal Lego.
Florence Fraboulet, Director of the French Association for the Development of Philately (ADPhile), explained her actions towards children and schools with a strong sentence: "Make stamp alive in a world that doesn't see it anymore".
The first Lego post office in 1982 (Model 6362 instructions via Brickipedia).
Can the evolution of some major toy brands show and correct this trend? Are Lego fan kids, for example, still educated in postal services today?

With the help of the Brickipedia in English and Wiki Lego in French, my Christmas article show that the golden age of postal services in Lego City was the 1980s, with two little postal vehicle updates in 1998 and 2008.

But, express parcel services (planes, trucks, trains, container ships) were already winning in 2008. Sould we be hopeful for 2018???
A postman among the ninjas (minifigure from Model 70751 via Wiki Lego).

Perhaps, look at the Ninjago brand: fantasy ninja sets of Lego, completed on TV by an animated series. One of the second role is a mailman.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Week #2016.50 on SébPhilatélie

Monday 12 December: demonetisation and new notes in high inflation Venezuela.
In his Sunday 11th show, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the demonetisation of the 100 bolivar notes by the next Thursday. In the current inflation inhabitants need "bricks" of these notes to buy the low number of things available, mostly imported.


The 100 bolivar note picturing Simon Bolivar in its 2007 version when three zeroes were cut off (Bank Note Museum).
Maduro and his predecessor Chavez are well known for creating shows... This rushed demonetisation is one of them: while he accused foreign mafias in Colombia to possess lots of these notes, the Central Bank of Venezuela had already announced early this month the printing of new notes from 500 to 20'000 bolivars. Two new coins to be introduced for the former note values.

But, on Thursday the people discovered the new notes weren't there... After two days of demonstrations, looting and illegal border crossing to Colombia to buy goods and food, Maduro reported the demonetisation until January 2nd, blaiming the sabotage of the operation by foreign powers.

If you still believe him, 80% of all 100 bolivar notes have been retrieved by banks... If the new notes aren't there, how is the Venezuelian daily economy working today?

Tuesday 13 December: Demonetisation in India: as many printed as police seized?
Believing The Times of India police and fiscal departments are catching a lot of dishonest people who can't prove how they earned kilograms of precious metal, lakhs and crores of olf and new notes.

And here is the problem for the Supreme Court of India and some politicians: how can thiefs get as many brand new banknotes while the Reserve Bank's printers can't allow one billion common people get their hands on them???

Not a problem for the current government that believed in digitisation of payments from now on.

Saturday 17 December: Can Mayotte become a French département?
A documentary broadcast Sunday 11 on France Ô asked the question: can Mayotte, the little Comorian archipelago who wished to continue to be French, manage to apply all French laws like any other département?
Kalathoumi Bacar, a postwoman, has driven the roads of Chiconi and delivering mail for the past 35 years despite uncertain identities of the destinees and no street names (Zed Production for France Ô).
As an introduction to civil registry and cadastre problems, Séline Soula and Romain Fleury for Zed Production followed Kalathoumi Bacar, a postwomen with 35 year of service. A La Poste's yellow veil under her quad helmet, she drives and walks all king of roads and streets in Chiconi.

Every day she tries to find to whom deliver mail when people have two identities, a traditional built name and a French built administrative one since 2000-2010. No speaking about the slow movement of creating streets names and enforcing their use on mail.

Sunday 18 December: three philatelic reports on Saint-Pierre and Miquelon tv and radio this Autumn.
The local public station Saint-Pierre et Miquelon 1ère continued to follow every step of the philatelic activities in the French overseas collectivity.

This finishing Autumn: the SPM stamps at Paris stamp show early November, philatelist Jean-Jacques Tillard back from Taipei with a new Large Gold medal with a new collection, and a seasonal report at the Saint-Pierre post office where Christmas parcels are back in tons.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Week #2016.49 on SébPhilatélie

As Sébastien is quite hibernating because he cannot be outside in the Mediterranean sunshine during the working days, he's sleepy, playing video games, reading fantasy and sci-fi comics, when he should be writing on the blog.
German personalised minisheet of Super Mario Christmas stamps (PlayNation.de).
Hopefully Deutsche Post succeeded to catch his attention yesterday evening.

Monday 5 December: 5th Indian demonetisation follow up article.
Started on Monday and to be closed tonight an article on the fifth week after the Indian Prime Minister abruptly demonetised the two bigger banknotes of the country.

As a summary: it looks now like a race between the patience of Indians to get enough notes for their daily expenses and the Reserve Bank of India's printing plants and the Government's initiatives to encourage one billion consumers used digital means of payment.

A new test is currently on with a three day week end: no bank counters opened from last Friday evening until next Tuesday morning because of a muslim festival. Let's check the mood in the lines waiting in front of banks and ATMs in two days.

Friday 9 December: An introduction on the 1920 Allegory issue of Czechoslovakia.
During a 5pm conference on Thurday 8 at the Royal Philatelic Society London, Yvonne Wheatley presented a study of the four design Allegory series of Czechoslovakia, the second in this country's history after the declaration of independence in October 1918.
Cover of the souvenir-booklet, available as a pdf file at the RPSL website.
She explained how difficult was the initial choice: two competitions were necessary. The first provided designs that could not be stamp downsized... The second awarded Brunner's Chain Breaker dismissed for too much modernity...

Finally necessity prevailed and early 1920 the minister of Post looked back on Brunner's project and ordered two others to Benda (The Dove) and Obrovský (Agriculture and Science). Alfons Mucha's Hussite Priest was added to complete the set.

The rest of the conference is a traditional philatelic study, quite interesting for amateurs of types, oddities and varieties as the printer was a private one, absolutely not specialised in stamps at first, and of some use on covers.

Saturday 10 December: Super Mario on personalised print it yourself German minisheet.
For Christmas 2016 the German postal operator and the Japanese video game company Nintendo joined force to catch the general public and children's attention.
Click, slide, create your own minisheet (Post Individuell, Deutsche Post).
Post Individuell, Deutsche Post's personalised stamp service, is proposing for a month a personalised stamps picturing the four heroes of the Super Mario franchise video games. You can modify everything: the postage rate need (from nationwide postcard to international 1 Kg non standard letter, the background color of the sheet (red, green), the four stamp background (red, green, white) and which character you wish on every stamp.

Service is quite expensive for postcard and standard letter rates: 3.49 euro the personalisation to add to the chosen rates.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Week #2016.48 on SébPhilatélie and elsewhere

Monday 28 November: 4th week after the surprised demonetisation in India.
Slowly (surely too slowly for the city workers and employees, and the farmers), things are advancing in India concerning the deliveries of new 500 rupee notes and the use of dematerialised means of payment.

While the leaders of the opposition are trying to fight back, Prime Minister Modi's government aligns the army's, police's and revenue administration's successes against terrorist groups, criminals and frauders who failed to get rid of their old banknotes.

Wednesday 30 November: from scoutism to the Atlantic Ocean scattered islands.
An article to summarise what I get from two Thursday exhibitions at the Royal Philatelic Society London headquarters.

On 27 October Hallvard Slettebø proposed the history and events of the first fifty years of scoutism, from the Mafeking Siege to 1957 Jamboree, including some tragic events during which the scouts played an important postal role.

On 10 November members of the West Africa Study Circle proposed a philatelic and postal history tour of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan Da Cunha, the British Southern Atlantic scattered islands.

Saturday 3 December: The French Academy of Philately in London.
Last Thursday exhibition at the RPSL, on 24 November, the members of the Académie de philatélie proposed many speciality of the French, Maritime and Colonies philately and postal history, with some adventures into other French speaking countries. Greece would seem odd but the engraver of the stamps, the first printer and the philatelist involved are all French (a Collectors Club video to remind the English listening readers).

My native town of Montpellier made an appearance thank to Scottish university professor Iain Stevenson whose links to the city may be connected to a study on the Collège des Écossais, a students' house built on the northern hills (now quite urbanised) by Patrick Geddes in 1924.

Sunday 4 December: too cold to think, let's hibernate.
An article which some newsbits of the week: old pictures of the French stamp printing plant in 1913 on a Sower specialised blog ; letters to Santa in Noumea, New Caledonia ; maybe the end of a piracy affair near Montpellier: the merchant ship Jeanne-Elisabeth trapped under a sand banks with a mass o silver coin for the Kingdom of France just before the Seven Year's War.

A note on how the beautiful Mauritius Post Office printing plate and Bombay cover auctions did: millions, but not as many as hoped... But in France the saga of the special sustainable paper of the 200 years of the Caisse des Dépôts (a French institution who managed some of the State's funding, including loans to build social housing) continued. It seems some merchants are re-inflating a speculative bubble with the variation of phosphorescence between the April first day 3000 minisheets and the November general issued ones...

Finally among the many interesting StampBoards threads opened, answered, continued every day, one reminds that some Arabic wallpapers of the 1960s-1970s can be interesting when used on mail. Especially those Cinderella stamps of insurecting Dhofar that rebelled against the oppressive Sultan of Oman between 1965 and 1975, in the context of the Cold War. The example presented on StampBoards is sent to a stamp dealer in London ; the labels are used alone, but for a standalone Syrian datestamp... one of the regional ally of the rebellion against a government supported by other Arabic countries and the British.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Week #2016.47 on SébPhilatélie and other blogs

Monday 21 November: 3rd week of demonetisation in India.
I have continued to follow the implementation and consequences of the demonetisation of 500 and 1000 rupee banknotes in India, announced Tuesday 8 November by Prime Minister Modi.

The main conclusions I end up by reading The Times of India are that daily waged workers in cities and farmers in rural areas continue to struggle because of the lack of liquidity, in the former's bosses' pockets or because their savings-at-home notes are now worthless.

Improvising a lot, Mr Modi's Government seems to play by the ear: encouraging the dematerialisation of monetary payments, enjoying retailers' initiative to dispense new notes from their credit card terminals in their shops, and promising now to put as much notes as possible in the country. Last move was to stop exchanging old 1000 rupee notes over bank counter, to encourage the use of bank accounts and credit cards.

On the winning side police and army confirmed that criminal and paramilitary groups are strangely quiet since November 8th... Too occupied to smuggle their old notes stock to bank counters discreetly... Not enough it seems. The Indian revenue services seems busy checking people and firms putting too much money on their bank account.
Comparison between a normal version (upper one) and the erroneous one (bottom) (Times Now).
On the collectors' side, a second lawful type for the new 2000 note was acknowledged by the Reserve Bank of India: the rush at all printing plants crreated this error that may trouble citizens in the future.

Wednesday 23 November: French philatelic service hired communication agency.
French communication news website CB News announced Insign, "alternative communication solutions agency", just gets two new clients: a chesse protected indication and the French philatelic service, Phil@poste.

The former wishes to be known and have new way of communicating and selling in France and worldwide. Check your magazines and stamp exhibitions next year for the results.

Friday 25 November: Millions to be exchanged next week at David Feldman Autumn Sales.
Philatelic auction house David Feldman will propose a full week of sales starting Monday 28.
The printing plate of the 1847 Post Office of Mauritius (David Feldman).
The gems of the week will be proposed on Thursday 1 December 6pm: the printing plate of Mauritius "Post Office" 1847 stamps and the "Bombay cover" of 1850. Both estimated millions of euros.

The plate was considered lost for three quarter century, hidden in French philatelist and politician Maurice Burrus' estate owned by his niece. Rediscover by her heirs, David Feldman organised a world stampshow tour to present it in London, Singapore and Monaco in 2015, and New York last May.
Blue Mauritius (amazon.co.uk).
Both items are the objects of two brochures written by experts of the Mauritius Post Office, available in pdf format (the plate, the cover). Among the author, Helen Morgan who wrote a book on these stamps.

Saturday 26 November: find Summer again by any means necessary.
After one week of British-Mediterrean weather (always rainy/too hot temperature), the return of sunshine on Saturday made me find many signs that Summer is coming back... Don't believe George R.R. Martin.

Among the signs the colors of the December issue of Timbres Magazine and of its third special geopolitic issue on borders, in newsstand December 13th.

Sunday 27 November at Timbres au type Semeuse: the French stamp printing plant in 1913.
The writer of this French Sower stamp blog found higher quality pictures of a known newspaper report of 1913 in the French National Library website. The journalist visited the French postal printing plant in Paris.

Complement on Monday 14 August 2017: In the Summer issue of Timbres Magazine Gérard Gomez told the story of printing stamps in 1913 from the pictures held by the French National Library.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Already a second type for the new 2000 rupee note in India

Since Tuesday 8 November 8pm the people of India has been trying to work, consume and simply live with a lack of high value notes after Prime Minister Modi demonetised the 500 and 1000 rupee notes by surprise.
The new 500 rupee note (Reserve Bank of India via the Wikipedia in English).
On Thursday 10 two new banknotes (500 and 2000 rupees) were issued at crownded bank counters... A very theorical issue for the 500 rupees. Testimonies in the Indian media seems to imply the new higher note can be found, but that two and a half week later (today) the 500 rupees are in short number.
Comparison between a normal version (upper one) and the erroneous one (bottom) (Times Now).
Worse 24/7 new TV channel Times Now announced today that an erroneous printing version of this long awaited 500 ruppe note is circulating. The default is a shift to the left of part of the design and to the right of a visual security feature.

The Reserve Bank of India acknowledged the problem and explained it was caused by the rush to print enough notes in such short notice. It assured people that both version are legitimate as long as all security features can be found on the notes...

... But should people be confident in the notes? Would the first fraudulent designs be accepted because consumers would not be able to be sure if it could be the legal erroneous one? Or would people refuse all 2000 notes altogether to avoid such deception?

Sadly this problem is only a small one compared to the daily struggle of the daily paid workers (whose employers haven't enough cash to pay them daily) and of the farmers (whose savings for seeds and crop insurance are worthless and their banks cashless).

And it has only been eighteen days...

Daily summaries of the demonetisation consequences on the blog in French: 1, 2, 3,...

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Londonian society looking for new iconic doorstep

Two weeks ago the council of the Royal Philatelic Society London voted on an important decision concerning its headquarters at 41 Devonshire Place, in the British capital.
Andrew Martin arriving at a certain doorstep to present the king and philatelist George V in  the recent philatelic Timeshift documentary (BBC Four, first broadcast Monday 14 November 2016).
President Frank Walton's message recalled the two decade long debate - speed up by the necessity these past six years - on how to fund the standards upgrading of the building open to members and visitors all year long: from all level accessibility to respect of the Heritage Listed obligation in the Marylebone area, including the modernisation of all networks (from the web to electricity).

A task that would have moved out everything for fifteen months. And in the end would have let the Society still with the problems of space for the library and the museum, and welcoming researchers and public.
One of the announcing poster for Stockholmia 2019, the 150 anniversary exhibition of the RPSL, with the famous door redesigned by Maria Gadh (exhibition website).
In the end the commercial value of the building is equal to the estimated cost of renovating it completely... The council decided to sell 41 Devonshire Place and find a new renovated and more spacious nest for all visitors, conferences, books, periodicals, archives, museum artefacts, personnel of the Society... if possible at the public transport crossroad in London.

41 Devonshire Place has been the Royal Philatelic Society London since 1925.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Kalevala fun with suricates by Joan Fontcuberta

Back to my Ducks and Kalevala open class collection with a postcard found at the souvenir shop in the modern art Centre Pompidou, in Paris last summer.

Edited and sold by VP - Pourvoyeur d'images, it reproduces a picture from the Miracles and Co by catalan photographer Joan Fontcuberta. He imagined the acts and daily life of a bogus orthodox monastic community in Karelia that organised course on performing miracles.
« Munkki Juhani fait lire un chapitre du Kalevala à des suricates lapones », Miracles et Cie, 2002 (éditions VP - Pourvoyeur d'images).
Monk Juhani helds a Kalevala, Finland's national saga established by Elias Lönnrot in the 19th century, for a "lapone suricate" to read it with the greatest of interest.
In dark yellow the habitat of suricates (or meerkats): Namib, Kalahari, Southern Africa (map by David1010 under licence Creative Commons by-sa 3.0).
Lapone?

When anthropomorphism of the standing suricate joins the absurdity of the artist or faith... depending of the point of view of the spectator.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Week #2016.46 on SébPhilatélie

Monday 14 November: 1960-1980 Finland summarised with 4 stamps.
A gift of a Finnish Postcrosser: 4 stamps that show the traditions, economy and international life of Finland between 1960 and 1980.

Tuesday 15 November: Indian banknotes demonetisation aftershocks.
A new page to lighten the first article on the sudden demonetisation of the 500 and 1000 rupee notes in India. From the political fights to the long waiting lines, forgetting the effects to farmers, but not to smugglers of false money from neighbouring countries.
Th 5000 rupee note of Pakistan (via Daily Pakistan).

During the week even the Pakistanese minister of finance had to insist he was not preparing to remove the 5000 rupee note by surprise.

Today some quietness (but in the rural regions) because bank branches were opened only for usual operations and the banknote exchange of their elder clients.

Wednesday 16 November: an introduction to British stamps and philately on BBC Four.
On Monday night BBC Four broadcasted a Timeshift documentary on How Britain Get Stuk on Stamps (available for a month for UK residents).
The presentation of the documentary on the BBC Four website.
A very nice show if you believe the British philatelists' comments on the Stamp Boards forum.

Thursday 17 November: A video game stamp from Lithuania... Heraldic sorry.
On another Postcrossing card, I almost misundersood a stamp:
Thanks to Igor via Postcrossing.
A videogamer would say it's Link on Epona. In fact it's one of the 2016 definitive stamps of Lithuania on ancient depiction of the Vitys, the country's coat of arms.

Saturday 18 November: Netherlands stamps of 2016.
After a jury elected a Grand Prix of Philatelic Art for the Netherlands - guest of the Paris Autumn Stampshow earlier this month, I get into the PostNL philatelic shop of PostNL to give my own awards (and do some comment on how PostNL issued so many stamps... minisheets).
Personal award NL2016: Dutch literature (Collect Club, PostNL).
As the jury liked the photographic lesson on how to picture everchanging blue circles, I like this lesson on how to photograph books from many directions.
Touristic award (among so many issues, including the flurorescent eye-killing ones): fishing villages (CollectClub, PostNL).

Fun award for the Children Stamps illustrated the characters by Fiep Westendorp (CollectClub, PostNL).
Sunday 20 Novembre: Fun with the Kalevala with modern artist.
An article linked to my Don Rosa-Kalevala open class collection, soon to be translated on this blog in English.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Week #2016.45 on SébPhilatélie

Monday 7 November: How much the French philatelic program?
It depends on the definition of "postage stamp of France" you choose in the Charter of Philately, signed by La Poste and the organised philatelic organisations in 2009.

Funnily I add up the November issues face values in actual euro if you wish to buy all stamps, and then lower it in "Charter euro currency" if you accept to limit yourself to the stamps aimed at collectors (value indicated in euro, gummed, perforated, with a phi - the Greek letter - on them).

The French program is quite cheap after all. So: buy it all and just tell the Charter value to your spouse, your friends you want to convert to stamp collecting and, of course, your banker.

English speaking collectors would be interested to know that the French philatelic service will publish its 2016 stamp yearbook in English, with all the phi-stamp around ninety euros. Know that you won't get the postal indicator adhesive booklets and many special minisheets issued for stamp shows.

Wednesday 9 November: Harsh demonetisation of banknotes in India.
Since Tuesday 8pm local time, the population of India is on panic mode after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced all a sudden that 500 and 1000 ruppee banknote would null and void by midnight, that banks would close on Wednesday and start exchanging old notes with the new 500 and 2000 ones on Thursday and be opened all week-end.
How to get rid of it if you collected them too muc in the eye of the Indian revenue administration? Specimen of the 1000 rupee note issued 2000, valueless now (Reserve Bank of India via the Wikipedia in English).
The official goals are to fight counterfeiting and revenues from illegal activities. The fiscal administration will inquire people if they brought high amount of old notes at the bank counters and launch investigations at jewellery and hawala stores in 25 cities, including ones that were trading in these notes after their demise and to check if their gold stocks were lawful.
The new 2000 rupee note, launched on Thursday 10 (Reserve Bank of India).
By following the live coverage of The Times of India of Delhi, the situation has been a mess these past four days in a country whose notes constitues 90% of all payments. Many administrations, energy companies and public transport firms were authorised to accept the demonetised notes for a few days to avoid angering the crowds and to decrease the pressure on bank and postal counters.

Of course politicians comment and showbusiness as usual to criticise the Prime Minister's move and the difficulties he created in the life of the common people. Rumours of the PM's friends warned before began to spread.

Better than the live coverage of the United States presidential election? Not sure.

Friday 11 November 2016: centenary of the Veterant Office and first year after...
This year France commemorates the centenary of the Office for veterans and victims of war, born to fund the help to mutilated soldiers of the Great War. One way was to sell to the public the Bleuets, small blue flowers that were at first in 1916 manufactured by the injured soldiers to help them forget their daily suffering and fright of their return to civil life.
The stamp created by Nicolas Vial, issued Thursday 10 November 2016 (phil-ouest.com, a well-built and serachable database on French stamps).
Artist Nicolas Vial proposed a nightly blue and blood on the Invalides, the veteran home ordered by King Louis XIV, now the Museum of the French Army.

Sadly since January 2015 and one year after the Saint-Denis and Paris terrorist attacks on civilians, this design and symbols strikes different and still present strings.

Saturday 12 November: The history and culture of Algeria by its stamps and press.
How can one discover what is Algeria?

Look at the 19th century engravings and 20th century pictures Kenneth Nilsestuen put to immerse his public in the landscapes at his conference on the colonial postal history of this country. Watch it on Vimeo thank to the Collectors Club of New York.

With two articles in French monthly Timbres magazine, François Chauvin presented stationeries sold by the French Algerian post in 1939 to promote touristic monuments (November 2016 issue) and indigenous crafts (Summer issue). The author explained how well-intentioned French learned persons wished to help Algerians artisans found back the purity of their art... even if chemical colors worked better.

But this two sources worked on Algeria from his colonial past. How to discover it from there?

Every Thursday in his magazine, newspaper El Watan proposes a philatelic article either by Mohamed Achour Ali Ahmed or Arslan Selmane. Their texts present the country with the stamps it has issued since 1962, from the point of origin of the Berber calendar to the tradition to put Presidents  of the Republic on stamps, local craftmanship and heroes of the independence.

How many stamps written in tifinagh, the Berber alphabet?

Every week in El Watan and elwatan.com, section hebdo/magazine, or with the help of Google.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Week #2016.44 on SébPhilatélie

Monday 31 October: odd-centered cancels on Postcrossing mail.
When you receive a card through the Postcrossing's postcard blind-exchange, there is always something suprising: in the sender's message, the stamps chosen, of course the postcard illustration... or how it was cancel at the start.


If a Canadian postmen checked this card at the sorting office and didn't put out his pen: thank you.
Mid-October three successive cards amplified the problem: at first a nice Dutch round datestamp for three stamps..., then a neatly applied round datestamp with waves of Finland missing the upper right corner... and finally these Canadian stamps untouched by machine cancellation or a pen.

I get a summary of Canada history, nature and symbols, at correct postage, but with no postmark. Hopefully, I don't do uncancelled stamp contraband :)

Wednesday 2 November: cod and magpie at Philataipei 2016.
When you can't travel to an international stampshow, you're happy to find reports in philatelic magazines and testimonies on stamp forums, like Australian-based StampBoards.com members on Philataipei 2016.


The Atlantic Cod stamp and his three dimension aspect as shown by Posta (Posta website). 
One member of this forum proposed pictures of the exhibit by security printer Cartor (based in France, owned by a British group) to explain how it produced the Faroese issue on the Atlantic cod with actual cod skin stuck on the stamps.

A good way to discover the work of Icelandic company Atlantic Leather, that produces nice things with leathered fish skin.

Another member, not from Taiwan, explained how the stamp with value on-demand distributor works in the Republic of China. The machine doesn't give change back, but the value you ask for plus another stamp with the value of the change (need a 5 dollar postage, paid with a 10 dollar coin, equal two 5 dollar stamps).

Thursday 3 November 2016: why subscribing to a stamp club in Quebec.
On 25 Septembre 2015, TVCL, a community tv channel of the Laurentides region of Quebec, Canada, proposed a nice and educative talkshow on stamp collecting and the interest of stamp clubs by three members of local clubs.

In French, free view on demand there and on Vimeo.

Saturday 5 November 2016: From plane to optic fiber, Fiji at the center of the Pacific.
From an envelope bought in October, a little text on the central role of Fiji in airways and internet connections for the Pacific countries, including French overseas collectivity of Wallis and Futuna.
The air and floral postage from Fiji to France in 1976.

Sunday 6 November 2016: The mysteries of Serua and Mary in Fiji.
Another Fiji cover from the same recipient in France and two topics.
A very touristic, though christian, postage from Fiji to France in 1983.
A touristic one with the definitive stamp on Serua island (and its mysterious poles in the sea) and a christian one by the 1982 Christmas stamp and the sender, St Mary's Convent - from the Marist Sisters arrived in Fiji in 1892?

Elsewhere in France: 
In the November 2016 issue of L'Écho de la timbrologie (available on printed or digital subscription) the Director of the French philatelic service announced there will be a second Paris-Philex in 2018. Yes in France the national stamp show is announced by the postal operator... Must be a question of artihmetics.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Stamp collectors at NATO headquarters

On Wednesday 26 October 2016 the Belgian post (bpost) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) celebrated the new buildings of the Western military alliance headquarters, set in Brussels since December 1966.
The "European one point" stamp, sold in illustrated minisheets of five (bpost webshop).
The postal operator issued a five stamp minisheet by Kris Maes representing the principal front of the new headquarters, with the circle of member states flags - Belgium, the Unites States, the United Kingdom and Turkey well placed in the foreground and the alphabetic order (and the needs of the current situation in the Middle East?).

The first day of sale is reported by NATO on its youTube page. First are the stamps printed and checked by employees of the postal printing plant in Mechelen, with the proud speech of Belgium permanent representative.

Then, with images of the sales, NATO Deputy Secretary General  Rose Gottemoeller of the USA expressed her joy (on Twitter too) as a stamp collector with her husband. She told that, assigned in a foreign country, they bought complete sheet of a particularly appreciated stamp to frame and decorated their house.

The video ends with collectors getting their first day cancels and sticking the stamp in their Belgium album pages.
Charles Mazelin signed souvenirs at the French ten anniversary stamp he designed and engraved, 12 December 1959 (NATO website).
A gift: the NATO website has got a small history of the postage stamps and commemorative cancels created in its name, starting 1952 with Portugal and the United States issues.

The display lacks mails posted during the operations under NATO command - but too close to war and casualties surely... and choose them carefully, the Allies are still blamed for some of them.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Week #2016.43 on SébPhilatélie and the newsstands

Wednesday 26 October: Stamp artists and philatelic design in Stamp Magazine.
In the British monthly a piece of news, a letter from a reader and two articles encourage the readers to reflect on the role of stamp artists and designers.

In the news: in September PostNord, Danmark and Swede's postal operators, announced its whole philatelic programs will be printed by Cartor, the French subsidiaries of International Security Printers (Walsall a reincarnation ago). The fear is about both countries' tradition of philatelic engraved printing while Cartor doesn't have the equipment... Future will tell.
« Absolute purity of function and form » for Blair Thomson and the end of many debate to the number of stamp issues in the world (British training stamp used before the 1971 decimalisation ; from commons.wikimedia.org).
In the mail a reader reminds Royal Mail and Stamp Magazine that the credits of current British stamps are too often given only to the graphic agency, and not enough to the eventual artist chosen by this agency. He gives the example of the striking Great Fire of London stamps and presentation packs, dranw by Liverpool-born comics artist John Higgins.

Two articles rewarded creators for their part of the work. Peter Marren told the genesis of the 1966 Battle of Hastings issue and how Harrison and Sons printers and David Gentleman transposed the Tapistry of Bayeux into stamps.

Then, along the publication of their book, Graphic Stamps, by Unit Editions, designers and stamp collectors Iain Follett and Blair Thomson picked the ten best and effective stamp designs from the 1960s to the 1980s. You can learn more on Thomson by this interview for the Australia Post philatelic service and Graphilately, his Instagram picture account of his collection.

Wednesday 26 October: New Timbres Magazine 2016 formula sailing full ahead.
In France, after a first new setting in September 2015, monthly Timbres Magazine is now sailing full ahead to a course wished by the majority of its readers, hence the new motto "New formula / more current".

The collectors of France and its colonies are sure to find organised philatelic news, many articles, end-of-the-mag chronicles on all specialities and times of French philately. The rest of the world and topical philately are not forgotten while fitting a different number of articles and spaces (partly in the chronicles and sent questions on mysterious foreign stamps).

A final note on the diversity of writers and chroniclers, that allows every reader find interest in something unexpected. For a personal example, most technical articles on classical traditional philately elude me completely. But a new series of chronicles caught me off guard with philatelists explaining how they research into a mystery whereas making sure the traditional collectors get the knowledge they wish for to look for the possible rarity in their stamps. 

To worldwide collectors of France and colonial empire, why not learn French reading this monthly? Subscriptions are available on the editor's webshop.

Tables of content of past issues can be browse through this private website managed by a philatelic bibliophile (Timbropresse edited three indexes every fifty issues too).

Thursday 27 October: numismatic souvenirs in the museum shops of London.
In the shops of the Imperial War Museum (near Waterloo station) and the British Museum of London, I found souvenirs from Westair, a company who produced reproduction of ancient artefact or souvenirs around actual coins.
A symbolic front to catch the consumer's attention (Westair).
By visiting many museums I think you can recreate a complete World War 2 coin set. Each coin paired with a square of hardback paper describing one aspect of the British daily life during the war.

At the British Museum shop two larget set were available. A five penny collection, one per monarch since Queen Victoria. And the one pictured above: a predecimal set under Queen Elizabeth II with a decimal Crown (normally the 1977 Silver Jubilee one, but I got the 1972 Silver Wedding and that's fine too).

Of course, at the reasonable price proposed, the coins are used, down to smoothed out Queen Victoria penny. Though when you didn't plan to make a tour of high street coin dealers, it's part of the trip fun :)

Saturday 29 October: television fun with the British Royal Family (alleged) life.
A non philatelic article on two television series setting in the life of either the actual Queen Elizabeth, or a very fictional, tv reality style, Hamlet murderously inspired British monarchy.
Will the heroin succeed in her hereditary role? Will her people know six decades of happiness? Will we see Tony Benn displaying David Gentleman headless stamp projects at the feet of the Queen? Don't know what I am dreaming about: read this book by Douglas Muir urgently (Netflix, screen capture from Behind Closed Doors video, posted 11 April 2016 on youTube).
On Friday November 4th, watch when you want Netflix will issue the ten one-hour episodes of the first season of The Crown, the first part of its biography of the current British monarch. All teasers are depicting many conflicts:  loss of the fatherduty and an embarrassing uncle, the Crown versus the Government, an old style husband facing a new position, a sister in love, and anything that can help Peter Morgan and his team create suspense and force you into binge watching.

The next month, December 4th, will start in the United States on E! the third season of The Royals by Mark Schwahn, a quite different animal. Imagine Shakespeare's Hamlet be played with the will to launch a civil war between a young unprepared heir, a power hungry queen mother and a treacherous uncle... while the sister of the heir and the daughters of uncle are... doing what some stars do that they ought not to do when your life is followed by an hungry crowd of paparazzi.
The royal couple in front of the 90th birthday stamp issue at Windsor's Queen Elizabeth mail centre, on Wednesday 20 April 2016 (picture published in South African newspaper The Citizen).
In comparison the current state of the Windsors and their problems (Does William work enough? Shouldn't Charles stop writing to the government? What other places could be named "Queen Elizabeth"?) and even the past ones are quite uneventful.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A new philatelic webshop for African bureaux

During a side conference on October 5th at the Universal Postal Union Congress in Istanbul, Turkey, the public postal operator of Morocco (Poste Maroc in French, Barid Al Maghrib in Arabic) and seven fellow operators of Africa announced the launch of a common philatelic sale website: the Hub philatélique africain or Africa Philately Shop in the two languages available at  http://www.africaphilatelyshop.post .

A press realease was posted by Poste Maroc on his website the same day, explaining the purpose and project around this new tool.
The Moroccan stamp announcing the Africa Philately Shop, printed by the French post's printer plant Phil@poste Boulazac (Poste Maroc).
Host of the website, Poste Maroc issued a nine dirham stamp for the occasion, with the officials signing first day covers.

The illustration is as perforated simple and efficient as the website that I suspect could be easily used with the touchscreen of a smartphone - the object whose text-and-phone only form has permitted to develop banking and commercial services for many, unhoped for during the landline period.

The six countries whose postal operators entered references on the Hub are; Burkina Faso (2), Ivory Coast (7), Mali (1, the 400 francs Serval - the animal in thanks to the French military operation), Mauritania (10), Senegal (12) and the host (2 stamps, 1 minisheet, 3 commemorative covers).

Part can be selected for order, the other not. But I didn't finalize a new client inscription and place an order: the website is currently missing some legal page to reassure the customer and not all necessary page to order were translated in English.

Though when finished, the operation seems promising. The list of participants could reach Centrafrica and the Democratic Republic of Congo, partners of the initiative. And all those who can sign in in the future: officials of the Universal Postal Union and of the West African States Postal Conference that replaced in 2012 the West African Postal Conference, created 2001.

The press release explained the long-term project: that the philatelic new issue trade can be kept under the continental operators' control and to "open the prospect to establish an African platform for e-commerce" (my amateurish translation from the French).

It reminds the multi-sellers site host by Mauritius Post or the World Online Philatelic Agency (WOPA) host by Gibraltar, available in six languages and payment in twenty currencies, even some not used in the represented countries. As of today, WOPA proposed clients to look and buy directly stamps and souvenirs of 39 postal operators from more than 20 European States (a lot of overseas and autonomous regions and three operators from Asia, but more and more "normal" bureaux such as Austria, Croatia, the United Kingdom and, recently, la France).

As soon as the Africa Philatelic Hub/Shop is up and running smoothly, there will one more source for informations on African countries issues and stamps eventually (Ah... what of the postal agencies?) available in the local post offices.