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.

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