Sunday, January 31, 2016

French media frenziness over Timbres Magazine's special issue

French monthly Timbres magazine redaction succeeded to make French general media speak about stamps and philately this whole month of January. A good second strike after the French Philatelic Service Director, Joëlle Amalfitano, went to two radio shows in October 2015.
The special issue cover: promise of "Geopolitics and unusual stories", and a gift to order for all purchaser: a Christmas minisheet from the Palestinian Authority.
It has been a long time without special issue from the magazine whose ancestor Timbroloisirs entertained Stamp World Cups special edition in the late 1990s to the 2000s.

In an editorial, Gauthier Toulemonde thanked funding by ADPhile, an association for the development of philately whose members are the main federated actors of French philately: the Associations' Federation, the Dealers' Chamber, La Poste, the French Red Cross (beneficiary of the semi-postal stamps) and the Philatelic Press Circle. Thank to this help he was confident that enough printed items would be placed in newspaper kiosks and media attention would be catched.

And indeed, the issue was used by journalists and chroniclers in a handful of media: France Inter's press review on New Year's Day on Staline's gift to Roosevelt, France 2's Telematin cultural review with the Gronchi rosa, a full page of Le Parisien about French living leaders on stamps.

Furthermore, Gauthier Toulemonde was guest to two morning shows: on the Parisian regional station of France 3 and on Europe 1. Even if questions are repetitive ones: monetary value of stamps, the most expensive one, or Toulemonde's expeditions. At least, they speak about stamps, philately and postal history for once.

About the content: following a classical atlas order, the redactors found history facts, philatelic stories, miscellaneous and answers to reader's questions about France, Europe, the other continents, finishing with Antarctica. About France, the article told how Dictator-President/Emperor Napoléon III and Marshall Pétain, and supporters of some others, put their head on stamps... while the Résistance used the face of Free French leaders de Gaulle on fraudulent stamps.

The special issue is interesting by the diversity of subjects covered - or reminded: some could find that some stories are too often retold in the French philatelic press... But the use of the news permits a renewal in styles about classical and semi-modern philately, whereas some articles went into contemporary stamps, like two pages reproducing stamps issued by Oceanian countries warning about global climate change.

On the renewal, to propose a synthetic article on living French leaders (or wishing to become leaders) on stamps of France is quite innovative and follows a recent affair when a postwoman reported a letter bearing demonetized stamps of Pétain. Concerning the rest of the world, the efforts are memorable and inventive: parallelism between present and past (Greece under European control), causes of today's tragedies (French problems in Mandate Syria) or illustrations of current problems (South China Sea's islands dispute).

The success is so real that a second volume is scheduled to be available at Paris Philex in May 2016, focusing on the French colonies. The first can be ordered on Timbropresse's webshop.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Week #2016.04 on SébPhilatélie

Sunday January 21st: (almost) joint article on Liverpool stamps.
The French version of the article on stamps of Liverpool, England was enlarged with some British special stamps of the past (the 1969 Metropolitan Cathedral stamp, a beautiful church) and some more touristic streets to visit.

Monday January 25th: postal changes at Gibbons Stamp Monthly?
January 2016 issue of the British magazine arrived in my mailbox three weeks later than usual... with a redundant airmail/Royal Mail sticker on it.

Worse: the February issue has not arrived yet... So, who's saving money on foreign subscriptions? RM or SG?

Wednesday January 27th: same article on Princess Royal's visit to the Falkland and South Georgia Islands.

Thursday January 28th: a French minister resigned, a philatelic contreversy came back to mind.
With the departure of Mrs Taubira from the French government, I remind readers that, if one of the two alleged creators is to be believed, her hand was one inspiration of the current French definitive series.

Friday January 29th: Will the Chester Cathedral in Lego be ready before a French local post office?
A little off philately: the Cathedral of Chester, England is raising money for an educational fund by building the building with Lego bricks. In Montpellier, the inhabitants of Malbosc, a ten year old new area, are still waiting the opening of the post office that should have happened some time ago... but will wait.

Saturday January 30th: two magazines, one topic, a coincidence?
In February issues, Laurent Veglio in Timbres magazine and Edward Klempka in Gibbons Stamp Monthly complete their article like two pieces of a jigsaw.

The former told the story of "the first international regular air service" between Vienna, Austria and Kiev, Ukraine in 1918 during one hell of a period for both countries. The latter described at length the overprinted stamps of the two Ukrainian states that were independent beetween November 1918 and the 1921 peace of Riga.

With these articles, I thought that I read more articles on the Central and Eastern European philatelic and postal consequences of World War One, but not about the postal history of the war itself in the trenchees...

Thursday, January 28, 2016

When the hand of Marianne provoked the French conservatives

Yesterday, Wednesday January 27th 2016, Mrs. Christiane Taubira resigned her position of Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals, one of the French Republic's most essential role in the tragic context we live in: a state of emergency that's continuing just like the vigilance plan against terrorism for the past twenty years, exhausting both the collective attention and both French civilian and military forces.
Left, Mrs. Taubira's right hand on a picture published by Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace ; right, Marianne de la jeunesse's hand signed by artists Olivier Ciappa et David Kawena.
A direct link between Christiane Taubira and philately was told by Olivier Ciappa when the Marianne de la jeunesse, the current definitive series of France, was unveiled on the 14th of July 2013 - note that the respective role in this design is disputed by David Kawena who refused the claimed inspirations told by Ciappa (watch the soap opera article on SébPhilatélie - lot of irony in these 2013-2014 texts).

The allegory received a lot of positive reviews by the high school classes chosen to select the three finalist projects proposed to the President of the French Republic. François Hollande chose their favourite project despite other stamp artists being more experience in philately.

At the unveiling ceremony in the Élysée Palace, Olivier Ciappa announced to journalists all the women that inspired him. At the beginning of the Summer - a long slow news period in France, journalists and very convervative people, angered by Mrs. Taubira's law project of extended marriage right to homosexuals, focused on the name of Inna Shevchenko, one of the Eastern European feminist movement FEMEN. The lady envoyed the news by a tweet: all haters and racists would have to lick her backside to send a letter...

Some journalists, like Ivan Valerio of Europe 1 Lab, quoted Ciappa more carefully: he told that he was trying to create a face using features of actress Marion Cotillard, former right wing Minister Roselyne Bachelot and then current left wing Minister Taubira. Three progressive women.

Failing in the task, "I remarked that [Bachelot and Taubira] both did a very gracious movement of the hand, when they spoke a long time, in monologue. I kept this gesture in my Marianne."

One day we'll have the version of David Kawena, known to be more inspired by Disney classical animated movies. Waiting that day, the current Marianne reminds discretly that politics can be done with pertinent and thoughtful speech longer than 140 characters, and that a politician can have strong opinions that he/she would be faithful to and won't contradict in a Mea Culpa editions booka four years later.*

* : note to non French readers, these past months, as the next Presidential election is mediatically approaching, the right wing candidates publish their program books. And because they were in power from 2002 to 2012, in the first chapters, they all apologize for the things they didn't enforce and are now proposing for the 2017-2022 presidency and legislature... At the same time they reproach Mrs. Taubira to stand by her positions, especially in the domains of Justice and equality of rights.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The red boxes, a mark of austral sovereignty

After a beautiful picture of Princess Royal on the British Royal Family Facebook page, a digging into postal activities in the Southern seas (the cold ones).

Note that the final part of the article was updated after publishing thank to information kindly provided by Stefan Heijtz.

While the new president of the Argentinian Nation, Mauricio Macri, visited the British Prime Minister last week, a member of the Windsor family finished her trip to the two oversea territories of the Falkland and the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands.

Let's conclude both leaders agreed they disagreed on these islands' future. Down under...
The Princess Royal inaugurated the renovated post office in Grytviken, South Georgia by unveiling its red box (Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands).
Princess Anne, daughter of the Queen, visited British proud citizens, scientists and went hiking in the local fauna and flora. Some acts of sovereignty were on schedule too.

In Grytviken, she unveiled the letter box of the renovated post office of this settlement founded by Norwegians, named by a Swede and inhabited by twenty people in 2008 (thirty if South Sandwichers are counted).

She paid homage to Sir Ernest Shackleton, by his tombstone. At the same time, let's remind the Royal Mail is celebrating the centenary of his failed Endurance expedition.
Princess Anne posted a souvenir card at the old post office in Fox Bay (Government House Falkland Islands, reproduced by The Royal Household).
Back in the Falkland, Anne mailed a postcard at Fox Bay, on the Western island (or Grande Malouine for the Frenchs). And that was the best place to do that. February 2016 issue of Gibbons Stamp Monthly informed readers that the almost centenary post office of Fox Bay became a postal museum in March 2015!

The building housed a wireless station in 1918 whose operator was acting as a postman. In 1988, the postal operations were moved to the local store. In 2014, philatelist Stefan Heijtz bought the place and transformed it into a museum with Hugh Osborne's help, another great specialist of the Falkland philately.
Special postcard marking the 21st January event of the pilar box inauguration by Princess Anne (photograph by Government House Falkland Islands, forwarded by Stefan Heijtz).
Now back to the picture: the British Postal Museum & Archive sent a King Edward VII red pillar box to be used on special occasion... Found it! Princess Anne inaugurated the box and mail its first mail in its new location.

Some commemorative covers were produced and will be sold by the Falkland Islands Philatelic Study Group to abound the Group's Stefan Heitz research fund to help philatelic research and publication on the British Saint Pierre and Miquelon - a compliment from me.

To visit the museum, find and ask either Stefan Heitz or one Fox Bay agents.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

All you need is love: the Beatles stamps in the Liverpool docks

In a let's catch up with the sister-blog in French: beginning of translation and adaptation of my articles after my (numerous) visits to Liverpool and Chester, England.

I'm just back from Liverpool, the former huge port of the North West England and now a growing university, touristic and nightlife cities, even if the 1945-1980s wreckage can be seen here and there (and first on Monday morning in front of local post offices).

The 2016 trip was a bit frisky but sunny. On the philatelic side, I made a discovery I should have made way before.

To start: let's remind that the port of Liverpool, from the docks themselves to place where trade was done and passengers were hosted after their train trip, is listed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The first stamp of The Beatles Story booklet by the private operator Universal Mail UK.
The port in activity is now downstream the Mersey River, with some installations upstream, but it's nothing compared to its former glory and the containerised leader of Rotterdam.

Facing the town center, the older docks are now visitable under Liverpool One commercial center when the Pier Head Promenade is a platform over the waters when you walk from the Titanic Memorial to the Museum of Liverpool. Note that's the memorial is at the entrance of the Isle of Man Steam Packet ferry pier.

Continue to walk to the Albert Dock, a square shaped bassin surrounded by former warehouses, opened in 1846. It was an inventive infrastructure: the first in Britain with no wooden structure for example. To turn it into a more modern and profitable use, chic restaurants and four museums are hosted there now.

Two free public one: the Merseyside Maritime Museum (with enough different exhibitions, objects and activities to entertain you a whole day long) and upstairs the International Slavery Museum that covers all the aspects of the Atlantic Trade from how people lived in West Africa four centuries ago to the suffering of Amerindians and Africans during the colonisation of the Americas and, for the letter, life in the plantations. Finally, the museum reflects on the black history (a difficult concept to explain in France where the expression "gender studies" are misinterpreted by most people) of Liverpool, a former slaver port. Currently, an exhibit warns visitors about child labor and poor women enslavement in India.

The complete The Beatles Story booklet with four of the exhibit rooms.
The first private one is a local window of the Tate Gallery - presenting paintings by Matisse until May 2nd.

The second one, of philatelic importance today, is The Beatles Story, a museum on the career of the famous rock group born in the city. A set of rooms, highly decorated, full of songs and fans' shrieks from Britain, Germany, the United States, etc. from the first local public party of two brothers to the inside a Yellow Submarine.

Emotion is lively in the final two rooms. The first summarized the life of the four beetles after their separation, concluding with a white memorial to John Lennon, his piano, guitar, glasses and the song Imagine.

La couverture du carnet The Beatles Story reprend les mentions de l'opérateur en bas, mais le logotype et la présentation publicitaire du musée.
This White Room is one of the four presented on the five stamp booklet sold at the museum's shop, and ordered to the private postal operator Universal Mail United Kingdom.

For those who missed the many articles and threads on philatelic blogs and forums, not forgetting philatelic press, Universal Mail UK issued postage stamps since 2008, valid for the postcard up to 10 grams sent outside the United Kingdom and the Crown Dependencies.

The company is gracious enough to catalogue them all there, but the "Bespoke" ones can only be found in the places concerned, like The Beatles Story.

The main advantages for tourists are that the stamps are sold in touristic areas shops: from museum shops to little newspaper/sodas/sweets vendors around. Then the cards can be thrown into the Royal Mail red boxes... because Universal Mail contracted the British operator to take care of the postal process (even if 2nd class mail maybe spee...).

If Universal Mail sells them at the Royal Mail international rate: currently five pounds the booklet of five, I know that street shops and museums can around it: five pounds fifty at The Beatles Story. The price of personalisation or of free market?

With your ticket you can continue to a film and another exhibit in a second site on the other side of the Pier Head Promenade (I haven't done it yet), and then begin the evening with improvised concert in the Cavern on Matthew Street where The Beatles began their stage debut sometimes ago.

But remember that all the pubs around you are housed into the former warehouses of the port of the British Empire, storing all kind of tropical fruits and some insects.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Week #2016.02 on SébPhilatélie

Low week on the English side of the week, let's look on the French side.

Monday January 11th: Green maritime landscape from Taiwan.
A beautiful change of scenery for a quarter rate than the French worldwide mail one!
Through a Postcrossing exchange came a beautiful Taiwanese landscape. It permitted me to discover Chungwha Post's Stamp Treasure: every stamps issued in China, following the Republic of China's version: Empire, Republic, then Republic in exile on Taiwan.

Tuesday January 12th: a strange Fijian Kiribati island.
How can we discover interesting territories to create a special postal history collection? Follow some geographers like Martin W. Lewis and his website GeoCurrents. Last November he wrote three articles (1, 2 and 3) on Pacific Ocean state, Kiribati.

In the first one, he told the story of Banaban, a former phosphate mining island, whose ancestral inhabitants relocated themselves in a Fijian island they bought, while keeping Kiribati passports. But now they struggled with the Kiribati government who needs all elevated grounds in case the sea level rises too much... The Banaban elders are thinking joining their island with Fiji, quite far South.

Wednesday January 13th: Happy New Year, Foula!
A small thiry inhabitant island at the edge of the Shetland islands, Scotland, celebrated New Year on Wednesday because they continue to follow the Julian calendar, despite the rest of the United Kingdom in 1752, with one day difference since 1900.

How philatelic? Contrary to other small British islands, Foula don't use a private system to send mail to mainland. They even kept their post office, even if it's a part-time job.

Thursday January 14th: Stamp Magazine's postal marking... A postal history.
Soon on SebPhilately, I will summarize the story on how the wrapping of Stamp Magazine, the British monthly, evolved these past years.

Saturday January 15th: The Arctic Expeditions joint issues of Greenland remembered.
An experimented engraver, a ice blue background, deep black lines... Beautiful.
Again a Postcrossing postcard received recently revived memories of the two joint issued Greenland created in 2007 with France and 2008 with Greenland, all stamps engraved by Norwegian artist Martin Mörck and printed by the Danish postal printer.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A Kiribati/Fiji geopolitical pause

In a way of thought: what is a "philatelic/postal country".

These past two years, to small books were published in France about small forgotten strange territories by Olivier Marchon and Bruno Fuligni.

The latter listed many current territories, former revendicated or once possessed by a Frenchman territories in the world, from the Pheasant Island (6 month Spanish, 6 month French since 1659) till megalomaniac microkingdoms in the jungle of Indochina and Guyana.

The former has a worldwide scope: is the summit of the Mount Blanc in France or Italy (nobody knows) or the parasite citadel of Kowloon right in the middle of British Hong Kong, even a Belgian railway cuttting through Germany thanks to the treaty of Versailles.
A map by Martin W. Lewis if you are in need to study administrative and sovereign strangeness in some territories (courtesy of Mr. Lewis,
We can talk of the many enclaves between India and Bangladesh or the curiosities of the Belgian-Dutch border. If you add up all administrative sweets all over the world, you can open a website like Martin W. Lewis of the United States.

A part of he managed explains how the concept of State and Nation-State that define the Western nations for the past two centuries or helped them slowly organise their states well before, is a fragile thought construction.

In a recent conference at Stanford University he developed some limits of the concept with concrete examples of our time. Some are known to philatelists but not recognize by the other States (Taiwan? Somaliland?).

All these niceties can help create a very precise postal history collection or a topical one.
This 1984 stamp of Kiribati reprensented the Banaba island (, a voluntary gather of picture of collectibles including stamps).
Lewis published three articles last November on Kiribati, a name that will wake up British Empire stamp collectors: 12 et 3.

In particular, the irst one of November 24th explained how Banaba is an isolated island in Extreme-West Kiribati, but governed firmly from Rabi Island, in Fiji...

Knwon as Ocean Island too, Banaba like neighbouring Nauru had got a large reserve of phosphate largely exploited by the British before the Kiribati independence in 1979.

But due to the nuisance of the mining activity and the fear of a potential - that happened effectively - Japanese occupation, the Banabans collectivelly bought an island - Rabi - in Fiji to relocate themselves.

Now, while climate changes slowly and Pacific islanders are in fear of submersion, the 6 kilometers square island is a treasure with a summit at 81 meters above sea level... if the Rabi Council of Leaders and Elders accepts Kiribats to be located on their ancestral island.

Eight Fijians representing a majority of Fijian inhabitants but all descendents of Kiribats citizens - and holding Kiribats passports - of a precise islands they own by ancestral rights.

First: hopefully French politicians have only to decide on binationality of terrorists...

Second: hopefully, Banabans and the Kiribati government can discuss a inventive solution. No! For some years, the Banabans are thinking of a very Western State-style solution: Banaba should become part of the Fijian territory...

Banaba, an idea of topical collection, anybody?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Week #2016.01 on SébPhilatélie

On the French side of the blog.
Mount Dhaulagiri on a Golden Jubilee stamp for its first ascent by Europeans. Clever the postcard producer printed a "airmail" label on the upper right corner.
Monday January 4th: Himalaya stamp on former monarchy's banknotes of Nepal.
While the blog in English came back to Christmas Eve 2014 in Saint Pierre and Miquelon, the French one goes up to Nepal with a postcard received Summer 2012.

Saturday January 9th: Of the importance of philatelic forums on the web.
With two threads of discussion from two forums ( and fr.rec.philatelie), I explained the importance of meeting and discussing with fellow philatelists.

First example: what's happening today in countries that seem not to issue stamps anymore. They overprint their (very) old stocks like Laos in March 2014 and March 2015. And a funny way to add-up stamp on stamp when rates rise in a Nigerian post office.

Second example: how Michel, a French philatelist, created a philatelic literature database and presents his updates on fr.rec.philatelie, hence creating an emulation to catch ideas and be helped to find ressources. Last item, a French association bulletin from the 1890s.

Sunday January 10th: a royally irreverent rest.
A non philatelic post on how I continue to study Royal Britishness without stamps: American TV series and some British novels. Since November 2015 E! channel's The Royals imagined a before the murder Hamlet-style, what if Hollywood was in London and the King the serious grand son of Edward and Wallis - that both his brother and his junior children haven't forget...
Queen Elizabeth (actress Claire Foy) discovering the weight of the Imperial Crown  (Netflix).
During year 2016 Netflix will broadcast The Crown, a biography of Queen Elizabeth II. The first season will tell her life as a Princess from King Edward VIII's incident till Coronation and her husband discovering his new difficult role as just consort.

Hope there will be scene of the Queen posing for Dorothy Wilding or managing the extacy of Tony Benn when he put around her feet projects to cut off her head on the stamps of Britain by David Gentleman.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

The Worthing Philatelic Society's private booket 1985

From an article of SébPhilatélie, Saturday October 24th 2015.

Coincidences animate life. I stayed in Worthing for a week during Summer 2014. In May 2015, a side visit to The Stamp Centre during London Europhilex was being very quite browsing the boxes... until Worthing appeared.
A private booklet cover created by the Worthing Philatelic Society for its fiftieth anniversary in 1985.
Here was a page of album accumulating a ten stamp block stuck on its cover and two other unused covers (no trace of gum) to permit the presentation of its four pages.

The album page as it was sold at The Stamp Center, 79 The Strand, London.
On a white thick white paper ten stamps of the Machin series, 12 pence emerald-green whose description can be found on the Machin database of The Machin Nut.

The four pane cover announced the anniversary, the list of the past presidents of the society and its officers in 1985-1986.
The open booklet with the stamps issued October 1985, just in time.
The stamps were issued on October 29th 1985. One of the six that can exist with a symbol printed on the gum when sell with a discount... but not these ten.

Postal rates tables by Stephen Fletcher shows the national postcard rate was 13 pence. It was lower to 12 p. on November 4th 1985, hence this emerald-green twelve pence. A successor of 1980 yellowish green 12 pence stamp.

Worthing concentrates a lot of philately in a city inhabited by one hundred thousands people. The West Sussex seaside resort, next to Brighton, is home of a stamp dealer who organizes a handful of auctions yearly from his shop near the main station.

And of five associations federated to the Association of Sussex Philatelic Societies whose newsletter can be found with the good keywords on web search engines.

The Worthing Philatelic Society, eighty years last year, have meetings in Durrington, area in the north-west of Worthing. In the same community center you can find the Goring Stamp & Postcard Club.

Closer to the city center (the town hall, post office, pier, and invetably the franchise shop street) gathered the East Worthing Stamp Club, the Worthing Society of Postal Historians, the Sussex Postal History Society and a regional section of the British Airmail Society.

Much associations that can explain the long list of meetings, exhibits and sales listed every month in British monthly magazines, Stamp Magazine and Gibbons Stamp Monthly.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

An educative animated movie about stamp used on French television

This year the rising of the postal rates was a blessing to French journalists ; at least the one on duty during this New Year's public holidays.

On public radio channel France Inter, Camille Marigaux went to ask people how much was needed to send a letter... They don't know, most of them don't send letter anymore and they overestimate the rate. The journalist added the opinion of the union representative reminding how costly the new proportional rates are going to be on just over the 20g limit letters.

From Mme A. Sylvain and M. Mullender's report for France 3, January 1st.
On French public channel France 3, the two people on duty were more creative: in a little bit rushed report, they succeed to remind "that Englishman"'s initiative to collect postal fees before transporting it - Rowland Hill perhaps, James Chalmers ?

But, then, it's a quick history of the postal rates inflation since 1849 till today, forgetting the old franc/new franc conversion of 1960... But they take time to make fun of politicians: Prime Minister Raffarin refusing a rising in 2002 but not in 2003, and a young François Hollande regretting that Raffarin didn't say the truth to the people...

The final line of the report is the new priority rate, that sending packet would be cheaper and The End.

No practical details. After listening France Inter, would these details be useful? After watching sister-channel France 2 on December 21st, do we want to know them?

Happiness anyway because, now, I have to find what is this papercut animated movie used at the beginning of France 3 report, including here to legendary Rowland Hill discovering how a maid cheated the King's Post by reading secret marks on letters she could not afford the postage due.

Monday, January 04, 2016

2014 Presidential stamped visit to Saint Pierre and Miquelon

This article summarizes three articles of SébPhilatélie of late Decembre 2014: A, B and C.

On Tuesday December 23rd and Wednesday 24th 2014, French President François Holland visited the French oversea collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon ; an event carefully followed by the inhabitants, the local public television, SPM 1ère... and the local philatelic commission.

A French patriotic territory
This Presidential visit was important because it was not a step along a visit to the United States or Canada, and the very first one to visit the commune-island of Miquelon-Langlade (less populated, it's the eight-shaped one thank to tombolos).

In Metropolitan France, newspapers readers commented angrily on the web about the cost of the overseas territories (used to be nationalist, here they wanted to give SPM to Canada...), the want of Hollande to visit people happy to meet him, and some very nasty enough (yes I am) to see there was a reminder that President Sarkozy never visited the archipelago...

La 1ère's Tuesday newsjournal followed the President listening to the two mayors, the president of the Territorial Council and fellow citizens speaking mostly of daily needs in the North Atlantic islands: maintaining infrastructures, need for elderly care houses... like in mainland France.

But, there were important arguments to be heard. Saint Pierre projects a great port to become a stopping point on the routes of big container ships, allowing them to unload cargo to smaller ship going to New England and New Scotland... while on the tombolos of Miquelon, a scientist explained the fragility of such sand structures if sea currents were to be changed. Democratic debate in action.

Good time for a stamp, isn't it?
Philatelicly, the visit was happy to local collectors: even before the issue of a special visit stamp, a collector was filmed proud to get the President's signature on his envelope. As proud as the other inhabitants taking pictures and films with their phones.
To be issued on December 24th during the visit of Saint Pierre's Museum, a quickly created stamp (La 1ère, December 23rd).
Éric Rességuier, the philatelist gendarme in Saint Pierre, succeeded to add up a lot of things on this unprogrammed stamp: old stamps, 73rd anniversary of SPM rallying the Free Frenchs December 24th 1941, marking the Presidential visit... Ouf!

The 0.76 euro stamp was useful: it would be, on New Year's Day, the new rate up to 20g to any part of the French territory.
The President signs one of the philatelic first day document at the local history museum (A. Pinault et L Firtion report, SPM 1ère, December 24th).

With his plane taking off at 9.30am, the Presidential visit of the Museum of Saint Pierre et Miquelon history was very early but marked by the second philatelic event of his mandate.

After letting high school students choose the three finalist project for the Marianne de la jeunesse definitive stamp, President Hollande signed a philatelic document entitled the first time a President of the French Republic commemorated the anniversary of the territory rallying the Free French force led by General de Gaulle in London.

A first day cancel on the day... after 5 days.
Because unprogrammed stamps for a surprise visit are difficult to plan in quietness of a printing plant located in south west France, and surely because Christmas is a sacred day, the first day ceremony took place at the Saint Pierre post office on the next Monday, December 29th...
The first day cancel designed by Nathalie Etcheverry et Jean-Jacques Olivero (P. Caillet, J. Anger et P. Derible report, SPM 1ère, December 29th).

... even if the first day cancel's dated "24-12-2014"... If I don't fool myself, the ship depicted is the submarine cruiser (?!) Surcouf. With three corvettes, she constituted the French fleet that freed the archipelago from possible obedience to Pétain's collaborationist régime or worse - de Gaulle's point of view - occupation by the United States, at war with Germany for some days on Christmas 1941.

Local tradition, these first day ceremonies are always crowded: personal collection, mail to Mainland French collectors. Know that such cancels are available for eight weeks at Saint Pierre.

Phil@poste Boulazac director confided this stamp was the second most shortest print done by his printing plant.


The common logo of the French Overseas local public network of radio and television (formerly RFO).

After this Presidential Christmas Eve, Éric Rességuier saw the issue of his four stamp minisheet about French Gendarmerie in North America in November 2015.

Patrick Derible, who reports the first day ceremony as a video editor at SPM 1ère, is one of the stamp artists of the islands through marine painting and sanguine portraits of local personalities.

Rességuier's stamps and Derible's biogaphy can be viewed in this 2015 promotional booklet by spmtimbres, the now defunct philatelic bureau of SPM.

If you want to visit these proud French people, they are preparing this year 2016 the bicentenary of their coming back after the Napoleonic Wars ; the English chased them every time they were at war with France until 1816.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Week #2015.53 on SébPhilatélie

Final week of the year and first days of the new postal rates in France.

Monday, December 28th: New Prime Minister put Canada Post's projects on hold.
A quick summary of the recent Canada Post's project to cut cost since 2013 and how they are all put on pause by the new majority elected last October: impopular communautary mailboxes for example, and no rise of the 1st class postal rates on January 11th!

Tuesday, December 29th: How to deliver packets in islands with no home mailbox?
As every semester, I google towards the French oversea collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon: always something to catch there.

The French version of this article was extended on the postal and philatelic actors of the archipelago while the English one explained nowadays' organisation of the oversea territories of France.

When I came to my mind that too many of my SPM articles on SébPhilatélie were never written in English, I began to translate and adapt there to you. I will extend them with intels on how to understand France, its overseas, etc.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 30th: A billion stamps sold to fight breast cancer.
Translated here too: of the event reported by The Sacramento Bee on Christmas morning about the United States' very first semi-postal stamp, still issued until at least December 2019. Looking for a new stamp speciality to study and collect?

End of year's annual accounts.
In two parts, I gather my own personal perception of the philatelic activities I know, read, discover during the past year and hoping for some to continue during the next. Both in my semi-ironic, semi-naive way of writing in French (you are warned in case you'll try Google Translate).
While beautifully reissued these stamps keep me sad for the past month because I was not able to buy them: fellow collectors/speculators made sure of that... (

A sad pessimistic view of the French philatelic pond on December 31st on the afternoon and a more enthusiastic one on January 1st in the morning, even from people I feel pessimistic about in the first article.
Even a free Stampex flyer from the British Philatelic Traders Society shows that philately can be fun, inspiring while about very classic stuff. If you don't follow the rules of the stamp program.
Let's note that the pessimistic was viewed 80 times in the span of 48 hours believing the Blogger tools (surely counting Google bots) while it was on first place of the blog for 20 hours. What bothers me is that the optimistic article was read only 22 times for the past 76 hours... Whatever.

Saturday, January 2nd: Marianne get off balance because of new rates.
Same article as the one posted here on my design balance problem with Marianne de la jeunesse series in the age of proportional rates (a Belgian innovation).

Saturday, January 02, 2016

New proportional rates throw Marianne off balance

Now you know the new proportional way to calculate postal rates in France (in text or in a grahical way on News du Phospho blog), but I feel uneasy in front of the new Marianne of the Youth stamps.

The new version of the Marianne of the youth, worth one priority point. The "250g" (4 points) survives the change and will help avoid a lot of peeling and pasting (La Poste's web shop).
Without an indicator, the lower left corner of the illustration is blanck, and the effigy seems standing over emptiness...

This won't bother the anti-Marianne of the youth design, either homophobic conservatists or people feeling the usual stamp artists of France were stolen the main stamp of France. These opinions appeared quickly during Summer 2013 when co-creator Olivier Ciappa said journalists the allegory was inspired by a FEMEN leader... in the middle of conservatist demonstrations against the Marriage for All Act. It became worse when, later, co-creator David Kawena decided to ask his national justice to intervene because he was claiming sole paternity of the design... As of today I don't know if the tribunal in Israel accepted the case, just a rumor that La Poste would have been happy to get some quiet even if "these stamps sold well".

Anyway, France keeps right with a big blank on its left.


On the stamp! Even if my sentence summarized the French political life of these past two sad months.

Let's propose solutions: put the name of the country in the center... would break the connection between France and the playing children. Make the arch went down to the designers' names? Better. Ask the artist(s?) to do it, even design a more complete version of the effigy? Excellent idea, but who to ask and pay?

And a phi? As proposed here.
A mail from a firm that confused letter and very small packet with two Green Letter 20g from what I call Image Services booklet on the left and Artist in Residence booklet on the right.
Why not even if I hate this graphic displeasure on the commemorative stamps.

But little by little I am convinced that the eventual definitive stamps of France and wished by the operator are the twelve illustrated stamp booklets, the print on order machine stamps (nicknamed LISA) and the discount webstamps you print yourself (Montimbrenligne).

Why not a phi on Marianne stamps, more bought by philatelists.

Friday, January 01, 2016

New proportional postal rates in France

Today, Friday January 1st 2016, La Poste's postal rates rises again in France and the overseas départements, and the overseas collectivities where La Poste still serviced them while they issued their own stamps (Saint Pierre and Miquelon and the Southern and Antarctic Lands).
One of the last ill franked up to 50 gram letter of France with two up to 20 gram green letter stamps. This was a bad habit costing some cents to senders unable to weight their letters.
The French postal operator decided to follow the European trend. The most common one is to have less weight levels, even if in France the 0-20 gram is kept and thus will increase a lot the cost of 20-50 gram letter.

But the main inspiration is the Belgian post, now bpost. On October 1st 2007, interior rates were proportionalised: you put as many points and stamps as needed depending the weight. One year later, January 2009, the point system was extended to European and worldwide mails, each system having its own point value. All Belgian stamps are concerned, even the philatelic program.

In France, the system was put around the two main definitive sort of stamps: the Marianne series and the twelve adhesive stamp booklets.

Tomorrow, first working day of the year (a non FDC January 1st cancel will be available tomorrow at the Carré d'Encre, the philatelic service shop in Paris), five new first rate Marianne stamps are issued to replaced the five up to 20 gram previous one.

No more written indicator, neither Belgian points... Just a blank space on the lower left corner. The color will be their service indicator:
- grey for the economic letter (écopli): one up to 20g (0,68 €), stick two for 20-100g, four for 100-250g ;
- green for the second class letter (green letter, 2 day delivery): 0,70 € the stamp ;
- red for the first class (priority letter, 1 day delivery): 0,80 € ;
- blue for European Union-Switzerland-Lichetenstein-San Marino-Vatican: 1 euro ;
- violet for Worldwide mail: 1,25 euro.
NewsduPhospho put it graphically this way.

Note that, economic tradition, all 0-20 gram letter to French Overseas cost as much as the national rates. Above, there is a 10g airmail supplement independent from the national rates.

All rates available to individual clients are available there on a pdf. The new stamps presented in the January issue of Phil'info webmagazine here.

You'll note that the first illustrated adhesive booklet of the year (Minerals) just bore the indicator "Priority letter", no more weight limit.

Former weight indicator stamps over 20 grams are still valid for what's written on them or, if add-up stamps needed at their 2015 value (hmm... postal rate puzzles for the collectors and the exhibition judges).

The commemorative program is not concerned and will continue to keep face value in euro currency.

On the philatelic side, considering the New Year's Resolution time, this change can help some to voluntarily put a stop in their definitive collections at December 31st 2015, plus the late 50g stamp use.

Others, perhaps inspired by Richard Rucklin's introduction articles in Timbres magazine since last September, will begin a specialisation into definitive stamp printing, use, varieties and oddities, etc. starting January 1st 2016.