Friday, August 19, 2016

A trimester commenting Paris-Philex show on SébPhilatélie

Updated Friday 26 August 2016.

Since late May it took place, I wrote and published articles on the collections exhibited at Paris-Philex stamp show, organised as the 2016 French Championship. Here are a short list of topics of these articles in French.

Wednesday 25 May: I'm wrong...
For once, almost without irony... almost, I wondered why philatelic magazines and websites spoke a lot about famous people of the organised philately, scandal of sold out special stamp issues to be speculated now, but not much (never?) about the competition that was the origin of organising the event.
One of the 2016 French national championship's diagonal going to the invasive sponsor and its many special costly issues. Notice the lights on the very high ceiling, please (licence Creative Commons nc-by-sa 3.0 fr).
It seems sadly Paris-Philex follows this trend. So, with my lack of knowledge, modesty of understanding philatelic competition, I tried to comment some collections while still wondering why there aren't much commentary about this sport: how many points? To which categories? Why did the judges underrated this part? etc.

Sunday 12 June: Exhibiting seems so easy.
At first sight, some large gold and gold medal collections are so easy to find during the first walk around the frames. In this first article:
- beautifully presented and smartly written collection on perforated Empire stamps on outgoing mail by Brigitte Abensur;
- the modern philately approach on A3 paper sheet by Marc Gérault who introduced the Marianne by Gandon with vertical pairs out of advertisement booklets;
- or you can force the boundaries of the frame like Laurent Bonnefoy. With a study on a high value definitive stamps of France you may thing it would be sufficient to impress the jury. Non, he found the wrap of a precious parcel between a French bank and the Finnish Revenue in 1907...
A full frame piece of cloth (collection Laurent Bonnefoy) . Underneath another postage for an heavy parcel.
A bad point though: with all the money the French post took out of pigeon pockets, why are the collections not as perfectly illuminated as the traders' booths ?!!

Tuesday 14 June: The award of the best dealer goes to...
Why not awarding traders at a stamp show? Best welcoming and patience (while I really need better knowledge when facing price tags...) AND do not write his prices on the items :)
JF-Stamps of Odense, Denmark (website).

Friday 17 June: looking for exoticism
Let's find new things to impress myself among all these collections.

Four collections about Spain, especially Spanish civil war, from invited Spanish collectors to Juan-José Ara Somohano from Béziers and his two collections, one of whose participated to the Cinderella guest category... In front of it, a philatelic judge was puzzled enough to admit Cinderella study and postal history share a lot in common, just like Cinderella specialist, the late Francis Kiddle advocate these past decades in the United Kingdom.
An example of mixt Daguin in 1934, a good summary of the use of these machines in Chile in my humble opinion (collection Jean-Michel Garaud).
You speak Spanish but Spain's too close? OK, Jean-Michel Garaud proposed Daguin cancellations in Chile.

You long for exoticism but don't want to go as far from the fridge and the television... No problem, instead of local marcophily to the French traditional end date of 1876, Jean-Claude Ferret went down to today's Nemours and La Poste's anonymous cancellation: no more place of cancel, not even a postcode, but a code that's officially a professional secret...

Thursday 23 June: exoticism outside the stamp show
Often stamp show organisers propose tour for non philatelic spouses forced to follow their philatelist. I take advantage being in Paris to discover the Museum at the Porte Dorée, twenty or so minutes by tramway from Paris-Philex.
The façade of the Palace of the Porte Dorée by Alfred Janniot - 1929-1931 - gloryfying the exploitation of the peoples colonised by France, under the principles "free" and "in peace" deeply engraved around the central allegory (picture under licence Creative Commons cc by-nc-nd 3.0 fr - note Janniot died in 1969).
Built as a permanent monument and museum to the glory of the French colonial empire in the thirties, it now hosts a Museum on Immigration in France... What a change! Begun under President Chirac, the project was so debateful on the right side of French politics that President Sarkozy "forgot" to inaugurate it.

A philatelist, a postcard collector or a fiscal one can really enjoy such a museum and the temporary exhibition on borders proposed at the time: horrible commercial postcards showing French and German policemen posing for the photograph expelling Roms at the border, fiscal stamps on visa card of anonymous or famous refugees (Ruldolf Nureyev).

Even an artwork by Cameroonian Barthélémy Toguo reminding that there actual human being behind papers and stamps.

Saturday 9 July: Everything's collectable
What did I hear about the new competitive classes in talks between serious philatelists at traders booths! And all this for one collectable of one open class collection: the mushrooms by Philippe Nadeau. Judge by yourself:
Ah ! Mould on bread... Who never as a child didn't try this small experiment in a plastic box? Collection awarded a large silver (collection Philippe Nadeau, Paris-Philex, mai 2016).
You also got poo from an elephant (along a thick hair and detached piece of skin - no animal was harmed during the creation of this exhibit) by Danielle Jonquet.

But if you carefully read the key of the elements, you discovered there was a serious competitive aspect presented with the element.

For people who are less odorous and more auditive, I can propose Charles de Gaulle's 18 June 1940 broadcast on vinyl disc by Yves Lehmann, a large look-heavy metal plaque in olympic collection of Daniel Hermann, or simply a anti-British propaganda postcard from Nazi Germany in the collection of Gérard Calvi.

Thursday 14 July: Is philately the history of colonisation and globalisation?
With aerophilatelic collections you can wonder a lot.

On how the European powers conquer Africa and then paved their way inside the continent, competing between each, René Maréchal studied the Imperial Airways routes to South Africa and was confronted by Daniel Blanquerin and Air Afrique routes to Madagascar, both starting in 1925 until the end of the 1930s.
What can be appreciated in a competitive exhibition is the variety of introductive pages and overall presentations (René Maréchal on the left and M. Blanquerin right).
The scramble for Africa and Asia created a global space for communication, with mail and telegrams going up and down between the metropole and its colonies. But collectors can discover unusual directions, like Christian Abravanel and its civilian mail from and to Palestine between 1938 and 1945. The most surprising in my eye was a July 1940 envelope from a bank in Jerusalem under British mandate to the Bank of Indochine in Hanoi under French control.

Sometimes these surprising directions are forced by nature. In a classic "maritime cancels on Semeuse", Alexis Cottineau proposed a stamped letter cancel in 1912 by the French Administrator in Kerguelen, the subantarctic archipelago, forwarded by a Norwegian private boat to British South Africa.

Finally, even if these empires and global economy were under European control, we can encounter the wish of the local populations to become independent.

In Égon Habé's collection of "EA" (État algérien / Algerian State) overprints, he showed as an introduction the reactions by French extremist civilians who overprinted "Algérie française" (French Algeria) Marianne de Decaris stamps at a time they fear the government in Paris may open dialogue with the independence movements.

These empires created to bring "civilisation" and "progress" to non European peoples failed then when the indigenous elites asked politely to be treated as free and equal as their colonisers.

To end these tour in the time of empires and globalisation, an encouraging cover who travelled between Rhodes to Tehran in May 1933 between two Jewish men, present in René Maréchal's other collection, Airmail of the Egean Sea in the 1930s. A Jewish Rhodian living under Italian control to a teacher of Alliance Israélite Universelle in Iran, a French educative association who opened schools internationally. It reminds us Jewish (uncomfortably) are a recognised minority in Iran still today, and that airmail companies from three powers carried this letter to destination: Italian to Athens, British to Baghdad via Cairo and Gaza, German to Tehran.

Sunday 14 August: A history of the consequences of war too.
Both World Wars inspired the exhibitors too, especially their philatelic and postal consequences when the fights ended.

In the one-frame class, André Milone circumvented the first four days of the West German currency reform in the French Occupation Zone (Saarland not included, the French franc was in use there, the French governments wishing to annex the industrious region). The Deutsche Mark was established on Sunday 20 June 1948. On Monday morning, new stamps were issued in the regions under French administration.
A 24 June 1948 letter: too late to use these "old pfennig" stamps, hence the postal clerk putting two new stamps (collection Alain Milone, Paris-Philex 2016).
The senders in Bade, Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinat had the possibility to use their remaining Reichsmark stamps for three days at 10% of their face value - the converting rate between RM and DM. Milone's frame chronologically ended with Thursday 24th mail with RM stamps refused as postage, having been demonetised the previous night.

A very colourful collection was Patrice Trzeciak's with covers from West Indies colonies trying to cross the Atlantic Ocean during the Second World War. The study was organised along the routes progressively established as new countries declared war in Europe.

Some collections were about World War One and of interest, especially if confronted with the temporary Borders exhibition at the Porte Dorée Museum. Jean-Luc Flaccus highlighted the city posts in Poland, when some municipalities tried to maintain postal communication while Germany, Austria and Russia were fighting over who got the bigger Empire (perhaps a connection with the size of hands?).

In the fiscal field, Edmond Andrau explained how the parcel paperwork and handstamps became French in a hurry starting December 1918 when the motherland took back Alsace-Lorraine from Germany.

On a side note, I wonder if collectors could improve their collections by adding their bibliography and use sourced maps with key when necessary. Like a student currently working at the National Postal Museum, Washington: "Cite your sources!" like an academic knows how too: it will really help curious readers, fellow researchers and... judges.

Wednesday 17 August: Am I after a stamp show result, a public relation one or is it a question of memory?
Even if there will probably be another article, I try to evaluate Paris-Philex 2016 stamp show. Claude Désarmémien, President of the French Philatelic Associations Federation, is pleased in his editorial of the Summer issue of the FFAP monthly, even if organising a 4 day show in the capital city of the major actors of French organised philately shouldn't have been so difficult.

My main problems were the lack of communication, not the general public at large. Newspaper ads are expensive and the media attention to stamp collecting quite light (the last scandal around a 140-character full of shit or hot air from a politician or a TV-reality star could wipe out any public attention).

I'm wondering why there was only one blog followed almost "live" the stamp show, the professional one of journalist Pierre Jullien on the celebrities and new stamp issues side mainly. Désarménien proposed a picture report some days after the show in the federal website... Report now lost somewhere with no easy to find-it-back link. Not even in a photo galleries section. :(

Almost nothing on the competition and the collections... But one remark on a public usenet forum about Laurent Bonnefoy's frame size entire.

I am not blaming the French philatelists: New York Stamp Show, way bigger in scale, get the same treatment. An Australian example. Shiny rare stamps, meeting friends important to the hobby...

Am I wrong to get interested in the competition backstage? To ask "What's an exhibition?"

But I'm hopeful after my July visit to the Royal Philatelic Society in London: until next 31 October and in conjunction with the First World's Cinderella Congress 16-18 September, the RPSL museum team proposed the late Francis Kiddle collection of British Congress ephemera and his philatelic medals.

Wednesday 24 August: The program booklet.
Let's not forget the most essentieal companion to a stamp show reporter: the program booklet to help find back names of collectors, essential data and memories of how the leaders of organised philately tried to explain how beautiful the show will be while it was organised in the fear of full cancellation.

Thanks to 2016 Paris-Philex booklet editor in chief Martine Divay.

Summary of any other Paris-Philex articles on SébPhilatélie will be published in this article. A note in the timely week summary will inform you.

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