Sunday, March 13, 2016

Philately in general media on a very very slow news day in France

When the Syrian civil war(s) and its consequent flows of refugees travelling to the European Union... Or the economic ans social debates in France... Or even the composition of France's football/soccer team for the European Championship in a hundred days (at home please)... When even a local vendetta-like murder happened in daylight in a respected clinic in the town center... are not enough to fill a regional paper, journalists sadly go to philately.

Two types of them.

First, the century old postcard or letter that fi-nal-ly reached the recipient... An error of the post is now impossible because all sorting office and mail center equipment and buildings have been replaced, renewed, rebuilt in the last decades.

But, anyway, journalists continue to wonder how it happened when the recipient's descendant calls them... When it's surely someone who found this card in a second-hand book or in its collection without idea how to use it and perhaps thought the message moving enough for the family.

Second type rehappened this week in southern sunshine Midi libre, after a previous episode from Britanny in June 2015.
The front page of Saturday March 12th 2016 issue (screen capture of the website).
Someone, in a horrorful shriek and thereafter shock, is watching at a face of fascist and racist dictator Philippe Pétain on the stamps used on a received letter...

Friday evening, the event was teased on the newspaper's website. And the full story (a semi-page with a huge picture of the our accused stamps) printed and announced right on the middle of the frontpage and highly placed on the website mainpage.

How many casualties? Unemployed people? Threat to national security?

What's the story about every time it happens?

Generally, a web purchase that can fill just a standard letter, that is franked with stamps from the 1940-1944 that are demonetized and forbidden on mail since Liberation. Either the postman (postwoman in June) reports it to his hierarchy or the recipient shrieks in absolute horror and goes into shock while calling a local journalist.

You can take the Midi libre article of Saturday, replace the name of the local stamp dealer and the regional mail center director, and you can reprint it anytime it will happen. The dealer teaches the Muggles stamps in franc currencies can still be used on mail, but the a handful of demonetized ones, especially those of Emperor Napoléon III and of Philippe Pétain.

The mail sorting director explains how many letters goes through his center every night. That the machine correctly reroutes this kind of old franked mail to a human because it doesn'y recognize the phosphor band less stamps. That the postman in a hurry, because of productivity, quickly evaluate the authenticity of the stamps and if the value is equal to the necessary rate in euros (1 euro = 6.55957 new francs = 0.0655957 old pre-1960 franc).

And, generally there, begins the bashing of La Poste and of the postmen. An anonymous philatelist source accuses loudly the latter not to be able to recognize all French stamps from 1840 to this day.

The former beats itself up by explaining why the said letter is not even taxed!!! At maximum because of the use of unlawful stamps, at minimum because 6 old francs is way under the 0.80 euro priority letter rate (but close if 6 new francs). The director explains they risk behind trapped with a mail if the recipient refuses to pay the tax (a fixed penalty plus the double of the insufficience) and his workforce would have lost a lot of tim at every step of the way.

Finally, the article concludes on one of the reader's comment: an old stamp with a 2016 clear dated round cancel! Not very common these days in France with the recent unlocated inkjet printed cancel at mail center. But valuable... if you can make a star of this enveloppe thank to mediatisation. Sigh.

Whereas these are the same postage stamp collectors and dealers that used or sold the many old stamps in their stock because they are disappointed with their financial investment. Like in many countries, French stamps issued between 1940 and 1980s were so broadly bought that you can buy them with a discount, or cheat the post by underevaluating a franking in old franc, etc.

Now they know they can continue: La Poste won't bother, mainly because the deputies and senators renounced to demonetize all stamps in franc... After all, it's a strategy to dry up the stock.

Hopefully, the rest of the newspaper let you know more important things about postal services. On Monday April 4th, the new Montpellier area of Malbosc will finally see its post office open after a five year announcement and difficult construction (the region is located under an Autumn/Spring storm climate with many dry small rivers not to forget).

And, relayed on the French side of this blog in April 2015, Midi libre restarts his participation to a school competition organized by Fondation Varennes to help high school students discover firms and occupations. In 2015, the regional platform of La Poste at Montpellier Airport was explored by students of the northern suburbs.


Nice idea: instead of jumping on an imaginary fascist conspiracy through stamps, Midi libre can send his Tintin and his anonymous philatelist source spend six days, from Sunday evening to Saturday noon following the mail from the post offices and the street mailboxes to the refused by machine letters to the rural area postman.

Let's see how they cope.

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