Sunday, May 29, 2016

Week #2016.21 on SébPhilatélie and on the web

Monday 23 May: Frank Walton presents... Sierra Leone.
A huge collection was exhibited by Frank Walton, President of the Royal Philatelic Society London, on Thursday May 19th: non-members of the RPSL are introduced to it through a pdf file ; members can watch the collector filmed the stamp frames' presentations and enjoy the 578 frame ebook online!

Note that the pdf introduction includes a bibliography to help all collectors began the path to West Africa.

Monday again: cancel at the mail centre experimentation in Switzerland.
German speaking newspaper Blick wrote on the postmark collectors' worry of an experimentation by Swiss Post in the Canton of Solothurn. To be sure all mail is cancelled and to save clerck's time, all mail will be cancelled at the mail sorting centres - a method applied in France and the United Kingdom.

The worry is, like in France with the complete disappearance of illustrated flammes, that the illustrated datestamps of many Swiss post offices would no more be available on the demand of senders.

Tuesday 24 May: again a philatelist on Saint Pierre and Miquelon radio station!!!
Who is addicted to the other: the philatelists or the public TV/Radio channels of the French archipelago? Anyway, in Brumes de Capelans, Fabrice Fouchard, current President of the Club philatélique de Saint-Pierre, was invited to speak of his club's activities and projects of all scales and dimensions.
Poster promoting SPM presence at New York Stamp Show (Jean-Jacques Oliviéro for the Club philatélique de Saint-Pierre).
From the slow but decisive growth of the Club on the international philatelic scene to how its members wish to introduce the hobby to any inhabitants of the islands ; or to buy exhibit frames to, perhaps one day, own a Club house open to all.

Wednesday 25 May: First step in my Paris-Philex summary.
I spent a dozen hours or so at Paris-Philex in the scope of three days, adding some Parisian touristicallities outside philately. From my wrongs, I began a summary of this show because many comment on the speculative issues of the French philatelic service, some are completely happy with the shorter and more intimate version of the Federation's Paris show...

But no one comment publicly at lenghth on the philatelic competition, the most interesting part of the show and... the cause of it. I hope to succeed writing at least two articles on the exhibition soon.

Thursday 26 May: introduction to a definitive series of Algeria.
In Algerian newspaper El Watan's weekly chronicle - yes Algerian collectors still enjoy a weekly column in a national newspaper, Arslan Selmane continues to write on the stamps of Algeria since 1962. This week, the Views of Algeria before 1830 series issued 1982 and 1984 can entertain a specialist collector for a long time.

Thursday again: Paris-Philex, Federation President satisfied = Stamp Director must be VERY HAPPY!!!
The President of the French Philatelic Associations Federation posted a first illustrated summary of Paris-Philex : « in the opinion of all, it was a success »... I may not read the same websites or listened to the same people at the show... There were some defaults, perhaps with special unprogrammed speculative costly stamp issues?

But because our national patron and sponsor, the Director of the French philatelic service fulled his coffers: "it was a success" because there will be a Paris-Philex 2018.

If you go read the philatelic program of late May-June 2016, you could be mistaken and believe there are enough stamps to entertain the former 10 day Paris Stamp Show...

Friday 27 May: What am I missing in New York?
A little ballad on the New York 2016 Stamp Show website, particularly the pages listing the exhibited collections. Guests of this article: the five philatelists from Saint Pierre and Miquelon.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

French stamps, stars of June 2016 Stamp Magazine

French stamps are at the center of the June 2016 issue of Stamp Magazine of Britain, from a series of little classics to an over-technological new issue.
The June 2016 cover.
First feature article and main cover title, Adrian Keppel, specialist of all definitives of the world and webmaster of a database-blog of stamp engravers, proposes a six page introduction to the Blanc series of France. It was the low values of the country for the first third of the twentieth century.

A lot of ideas of collection are presented: a portrait of Paul-Joseph Blanc, the different types, uses, many of the numerous overprints (charitable, precancels, the government in exile of Montenegro) and projects of unissued overprints (for the prematured liberation of Alsace-Lorraine in 1915)

To end, two sentences on all the uses outside France, first overprinted, then a a keyplate design.

Two pages before, John Grace is this month's Devil's Advocate in which he proposes Royal Mail to issue a stamp that would create such an excitement in the general population to go buy stamps and booklets...

Let's accuse Phil@poste, the French philatelic service, that issued the scratch-and-sniff herb stamp for the European Football Championship...
The 1 euro version of the stamp ; a more expensive one with still another layer of special ink is currently sold at Paris Philex stamp show... Who say GREEDY?
For Grace, the scratch part would surely be a success in a nation of bookmakers, punters and lottery scratchers. Advantage for everybody, including the philatelic world: if there is a win, customer'll be happy ; if lost, let's send a letter!

In the next months Reader's Letters, all the lottery stamp experiments, including by scratching, will be reminded... Don't know if the French pre-personalised ones was so successfull last year.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Second Postcrossing stamp for Russia

For a cross-country topic, go read the article on Mikhail Bulgakov on SebPhilatélie.

Let's find something gentle to say about Russia, whose pol... athl... gas prod... tigers?... landscapes... Artists!1

Yes! Russia, whose landscapes on postcards and artists are wonderful... especially with magic screensPostcrossing it is then!
The stamp, the second on this topic for Pochta Rossii (
The stamp with a surprising transport and housing design, plus an envelope "I love Postcrossing" (why not a postcard?), by I. Sidenko is the second for Russia on the blind exchanged postcard exchange website, launched 14 July 2005. A site where Russian postcrossers are the second most sending with soon 4 million card, while the leading German group is advancing towards 5 million.

Overall, since 2011, it is the 23rd of the topic.

The SebPhilately's Postcrossing Catalogue has been updated accordingly.

1: This little prank will give the same list for France: a government destroying the Labour Law, costly team sport players, too important nuclear energy... But the landscapes and the artists... Let's add the cheeses :)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Eurovision Day: Oh Happy Day!

Translated during the ESC from the article in French written at noon.

The most motivating day of the year: the Saturday of the Eurovision Song Contest final!

A competition superbly ignored by most of the French, idolized almost everywhere else in Europe, down (or up if you're from there) to Australia, and, now, by a paid tv channel in the United States.

A week of rehearsals, semi-finals and the big party... before politicking came back tomorrow.
Motto, key-picture and logotype of the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 (via the Wikipédia in English).
So important, that postal operators issued stamps at the effigy of their former Eurovision winners: four stamps for Norway in 2010 for example.
Alexander Rybak, Norwegian ESC 2009 winner, on a stamp from the 18 May 2010 series, on a postcard received via Postcrossing (thank you Jörg, cancelled 3 June 2010).
Last year winner, the Swede Måns Zelmerlöw was awarded a 20 personalised stamp sheet by Austria Post (with a premium of almost 6 euros... by an operator that sell luxuous vacuum cleaner too)... For the first 2016 semi-final he sung the new scenic version of Heroes interpreted now with actual children. Even if the animated ones were artistic too.
The special sheet by Austria Post - a collector would be the name in France (to the product).
No stamp this year from the Swedish part of PostNord ; after all, Austria Post was an official partner of the 2015 contest. Moreover, the Swedish philatelic program seems light and balanced: watch the  2015 and 2016 issues still available.

A default though: most stamps need to be bought by booklet or strip of ten... even at the WOPA agency.

Obviously, the stamp promoting equal rights for lesbian, bisexual, homosexual and transgender people may have attract many of the Eurovision public to the post offices of Stockholm, being issued May 4th, a week before the semi-finals.
Issued the week before the contest and opening the Pride season in the Free World (
However, a musical series was issued 15 January 2015 to acknowledge the celebrity and success of six Swedish pop artists: soprano turned popstar Robyn, disc jockey AviciiSeinabo Sey for soul pop, singer and producer Max Martin and folk duo First Aid Kit.
Two of the 2015 stamps celebrating Swedish pop (philatelic bulletin of PostNord).
The series is pleasant to watch as it is drawn with a pen by Jenny Mörtsell, a common tool of illustration.

Now, what song has touched my ears or my reflexion during the promotions and the semi-finals? Every ones that are pop or rock... obviously or I won't be watching the show right now!

Austria again with Zoë who sings her fearytale à la Disney Classics and in French... Yes, something is not quite Eurovisionesque there ;) Pupil at the French high school of Vienna, the whole of her first album is in French. And Austrians like it since she's the winner of the national public competition. Et ça plaît en Autriche puisqu'elle est issue du télé-crochet national.

In the topic: let's party but lest not forget... The Ukrainian singer Jamala commemorates the Crimean Tatars deported in 1944 by the Soviet government... Born in Kyrgyzstan from a Crimean Tatar father and an Armenian mother, her family came back to Ukraine only after the dislocation of the Soviet Union in 1991. Like France last year with the centenary of the Great War, the goal is not to win but to send a message... Will he hear it ?

And finally, surprise: has France Télévision put some cash aside or win the lottery to host the 2017 edition, right between to two rounds of the French presidential (and tumultuous) election on Sundays 23 April and 7 May?

Imagine: a bilingual song any European can understand, lively, and the final broadcast on the main public channel... Something's fishy here.

Let's hope because he will alone on the scene. Even with the magic screens, it can lack of show. But, since 2010, the entertaining Jessy Matador and his dansers, French know that some Central and Eastern European jurys and televoters have some difficulties with the multicultural live in Western Europe.


We are the heroes of our time...

But we dance with the demons in our mind...

We are the heroes...

Friday, May 13, 2016

Scott Pilgrim vs parcels and Canadian coins

This article full of spoilers is translated from an article of SébPhilatélie, published 1st August 2015.

Scott Pilgrim is a graphic novel in six volumes, published between 2004 and 2010. Written and drawn by Canadian Brian Lee O'Malley, this author studied the black and white manga style just to do it (a color edition is available since 2012). In 2010, it was the object of a well done movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, starring the eternal adulescent Michael Cera.
Cover of the first tome (
The intrigue and the decorum aimed readers whose youth happened in the 1990s. In the suburbs of Toronto, Scott, 23, is unable to live by the imperative of society: no really working, not a student, invasive unpaying roommate, boyfriending a high school student by chance, while playing in an amateur rock band whose members work, pay their rent, hope music can be a livelihood one day.

All this routine is disrupted when Scott glimpse colored hair Ramona Flowers, who rollerskates to deliver parcels for Amazon. To find her again, the hero must discover internet and e-commerce, just two years after the opening of

The internet episode at Scott's rommmate is as funny as it's absurd, but reminds readers of how we domesticate internet in the 2000s: what's the address for Why are you waiting the delivery, you just order something on a Friday evening!

Read the comics to discover what happened to the parcel as soon as Ramona delivers it: a sort of critic of our consumer society from a hero who doesn't seem to understand it... or even to have noticed it exists. For example, when he enters in a franchised café who works his sister... to find that, despite the identical look, this is not THE café she works in.
Screen capture of the video game inspired by both the books and the movie (walkthrough by DPADAttacks!-SpongeFreakDX, posted on youTube 4 March 2011). 
Despite this unsensitivity of the world around him, Scott knows how to defend himself from enemies and take all the coins he can get from their pockets, just like on this screen capture of the beat'em all video game. Yes because having a girlfriend, a potential love story on the side, no car and a patient roommate who wish to have some privacy mean you need at least enough to dine out and take a bus home.

Problem is Ramona has seven evil exes united to destroy any hope in the 8th potential boyfriend... who must behave as a video game hero facing seven bosses to free the princess. Yes, that's it: Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda are sitting right there.
The Legend of Zelda's hero Link and his horse Epona on one of France's Hreroes of the video game issued 2005 when youth was a philatelic target (
Collecting coins (or ruppees or rings for those who prefered Sega's hedgehog Sonic) like a video game hero, Scott is in fact behaving like a video game hero piloted by a video game player: that's a level of meaning that make me read and reread the graphic novel. And notice when secondary character are astonished that Scott battles with the exes without knowing what they want or tells what seems the most appropriate answer to get things into motion...

Like a player who pounds on the main button of the gamepad in order to get rid of the lenghy dialogues and finally get to the beat' em up travelling. But to reach and win against the seven ex, Scott will need to become less predictable.

Introductive headbanner to the Canadian Mint's page about the circulating coins (Canadian Mint website).
A fantasy fiction even if only Scott, Ramona and the seven evil exes diverged from reality: demon invocation, vegan telekinesy (??!), draconic music, and of course: magic sword.

The specificity of the video game, issued alongside the movie, is that the player needs to see the value of the coins he gets from defeating enemies. Despite designed for high definition game consoles - PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Ubiosft Montreal studio created a 16 bit graphism, imitating the 1990s consoles such as the Super NES and the Sega's Megadrive.

But, all coins are immediately identifiable as Canadian coins. Let's have a look again:
A second screen capture (same walkthrough by DPADAttacks!-SpongeFreakDX). 
The exaggerated tail of the beaver for the 5 cent coin (nickel) ; the triangles for the sails of the Bluenose on the little ten cents (dime), a ship well known to philatelists ; the caribou of the quarter of dollar.

Then the studio designer skipped the half dollar bearing the arms of Canada, just like they didn't depict the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II: no politics in a video game.

Directly up to the yellow dollar coin with a childish bird: the loonie who gave the nickname of the coin. Finally, found only after defeating bosses: the bicolor two dollar coin with a large animal. A bison? No, a polar bear, toonie, with strangely exaggerated ears.

What's left to say: since 2012, the one and two dollar coins have been modified to fight falsification while the one cent have been progressively taken out of circulation.

No maple leaf in the game.

Note : the video game presented here was sold on the on-line stores of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 until December 2014.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Week #2016.18 on SébPhilatélie and France Inter

This past week, almost all articles have their version in French and English, but two:

Thursday 5 May: ships on Chine stamps, a way to show power.
Stamped corner of a postcard from the People's Republic of China.
After Gauthier Toulemonde's new special issue on geopolicy, an article about the expanding sea power of the People's Republic of China. The French journalist discovered that former French colony and current French military base, Djibouti, was to host a Chinese facility in the international operation against piracy from Somalian pirates.

I found back in my archives French news article on how the small Pacific islands states and Sri Lanka were courted by Beijing, in competition to other regional, and even, world power.

These stamps I received on a Postcrossing exchange show an Arctic research vessel of Chinare, the Chinese Administration on Arctic and Antarctic (issued 2014) and an oil refinery ship from a 2013 three stamp series on off shore oil production.

Sunday 8 May at 9am: Cinderella for a counterfactual history book.
Cover of the 2011 edition of Niall Ferguson's book (
As a lover of uchrony/alternate history, I am interested in the historians who have tried counterfactual history: to study the documents and facts of past events and tried, by imagining that History could have gone elsewhere, to understand how it would have been possible or impossible, forced by certain choices. The objective being to weight the actors, their choice, etc.

To promote the reedition of 1997 counterfactual history book Virtual History by British historian Niall Ferguson, Penguin ordered a recreation of British 1929 Universal Postal Congress stamp into a Nazi 1949 Universal Postal Congress with the effigy of Aldolf Hitler... Sure to catch the eye of a philatelist.

And as I was browsing for philatelic intelligence:

Sunday 8 May at 6am: Gauthier Toulemonde launch new media offensive.
Cover of the second special Le Dessous des timbres [Underneath the stamps]issue on "The unbelievable French presence in the world" (Timbropresse webstore).
On the model of the first special issue last Autumn-early Winter, editor-in-chief Gauthier Toulemonde made his first appearance on a French national media to promote philately and the second special issue on the French presence in the world through - and I only quote a few examples - stamps of the French post offices in Greece or Ethopia, history on how the French interferd in local affairs of many continents and some anecdotes on French dreamers trying to seize empty territories for themselves.

This morning he was interviewed by Dorothée Barba in the early morning broadcast of national public radio France Inter between 6:17 to almost 7am: anecdotes on stamps and geopolicy mainly, and why do the adventurer want to live and telework from desert island (an experiment he will do again next October).

Because of the heated French debate on the Labour Law reforms, he was asked about remuneration inequalities, the indeterminate work contract (CDI) he prefers as a small firm boss, and what his view on working conditions are.

And at 11.30am in France, let's remember Victory against totalitarism in 1945 and tomorrow reflect on why we need stronger European Union and United Nations.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Fantastic introduction to stationeries of Saxony

Yesterday, Thursday 5 May 2016 at 41 Devonshire Place, Arnim Knapp from Germany presented a conference on stationery envelopes of the Kingdom of Saxony from 1859 to 1965.

And in a half hour he suceeded a high level philatelic presentation (gold medal at Belgica 2001 by the International Federation's archive) while convincing the sitting public and the youTube viewers to get interested in postal stationeries.

Even the non members of the Royal Philatelic Society London can enjoy Arnom Knapp's talent through his pdf booklet on the Society's website and imagine the judicious selection of documents he did for the conference: stationeries of course, preparatory printings and archives,...

... and simple and efficient schematics to explain how these envelopes were printed with embossing, gummed (to close them) and full of safety features to fight fraudulent products.

With the questions of the British presents, versed in Mulready, the reflexion went to the patents that covered the British machines mentioned in the presentation.

I feared the stationery + non-Commonwealth combo: I had a wonderful hour on the genesis of an issue, on a postal history and history of technologies.

Next rendez-vous on Thurday 19 May: Frank Walton will prepare an introduction video to his exhibited collection of Sierra Leone to 1961.

For those interested in French classical and modern stationeries or French contemporary "prêt-à-poster" (the commercial name invented by La Poste), click here and discover a website André Hurtré webmastered from January 2001 to January 2012.

Monday, May 02, 2016

One hundred gold medals for Saint-Pierre and Miquelon specialist

Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon 1ère, the public television and radio channels of the French oversea collectivity, loves philately: early April, both spoke with philatelist Jean-Jacques Tillard who celebrated his one hundredth gold medal at the 53th exhibition of  Lakeshore Stamp Club, on Saturday April 2nd 2016, ten years to the day after he won the first one in this Dorval club, in the island of Montréal, Québec.
Jean-Jacques Tillard at home in front of the albums containing the two collections he was to present at Lakeshore (Marie-Paule Vidal, Flavie Bry and Séverine Luberry for SPM 1ère).
To watch the television report on Monday April 4th, look over here. And for the radio show Brumes de Capelans of Wednesday April 13th: voilà!

Compared to lJean-Jacques Tillard previous interview last October, these two moments show a more personal approach of the philatelic competitor and the man, who accumulated one hundred gold and large gold medals in ten years.

How has he done it? An impressive collection of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon dating back to his youth. Thousands hours of work... and he put his professional career on hold, open a philatelic expertise compagny in order to get a revenue while learning, preparing and exhibiting.

It gave the collectivity a volunteer to promote Saint-Pierre and Miquelon all over the philatelic world, not only in Metropolitan France.

Consequently, it's a Quebecan club who celebrated the recordman. And the local philatelic club of the archipelago has become a full member of the Interamerican Federation of Philately and, thus, five of its member will compete at New York Stamp Show late May: five for a population of six thousands...
Bottom line, full center, a stamp of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon on a stamp of Ecuador for the continental exhibition in Quito, in September 2015 (website of the Interamerican Federation of Philately).
He spoke about it while making fun of the Cassandres of the 2000s who promised him difficulties and failures because Saint-Pierre and Miquelon philately wasn't enough to succeed in competitive exhibition... Exactly the opposite point of view of the President of the Lakeshore Stamp Club after he discovered Tillard's collection in 2005.

What are the main dates, ask the radio presenter?
2 April 2006 : first gold medal at Lakeshore.
June 2007 : first world gold medal in Saint Petersbourg, Russia.
2010 : victory at the Canada Championship.
2012 : first participation to an exhibition in the United States.
2013 : first world large gold in Rio de Janeiro.
The large gold collection became a postage stamp and this book (Jean-Jacques Tillard's website).
2015 : second world large gold in Singapore.
2016 : to the FIP Championship Class?

In the end, what after New York? New projects, he said but keeping some mysteries on their nature.