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.

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