Sunday, August 28, 2016

Week #2016.33 and 34 on SébPhilatélie

A good one and a half week of writing thank to fellow philatelists who seriously participate to forums (you should read forums), and to societies broadcasting their members' reasearch.

Thursday 18 August: Classical postal history of Algeria to 1851.
A very well illustrated and full of postal history and historical knowledge conference at the Collectors Club in New York last June 15th: Kenneth Nilsestuen present the mail (mostly from Europeans) from Algeria starting with a 1603.

The msot ancient European letter from Algiers to Toulon, France dated 1603 (collection Kenneth Nilsestuen, Collectors Club, New York, June 2016).
Look for the engravings and pictures Kenneth Nilsestuen used to put the viewers in Algeria as it was before the French invasion in the 1830s, during which mail increased in number.

Filmed conference available on the Collectors Club website or on Vimeo.

Next part on 15 November with the 1849-1876 period.

Saturday 20 August: Let's Cinderell in London mid-September!
The proclaimed very first World Cinderella Congress will take place in London between Friday 16 and Sunday 18 September, thank to the Cinderella Stamp Club.

From an exhibition at Stamp dealers show at the Business Design Centre, Islington, to lectures, collections and trade tables at the Royal Philatelic Society building, Marylebone, where you could admire the memorabilia of past British Philatelic Congresses donated by the late Francis Kiddle.

Kiddle, a Cinderella specialist, is also remembered through a booklet that reproduced a handful of lectures he gave at Congresses, including three showing how Cinderella collection has become more and more included into philately since the 1980s.

Monday 22 August: Stanley Gibbons' back to philately. Finally!
A summary in French of what the StampBoards participants were commenting since the beginning of the decade: how the Stanley Gibbons company was losing its soul and financial safety.

After creating a mastermind in Jersey, the company bought both competitor specialist stamp dealers and high priced good trades. In a way seeing Spink auction house as its main enemy.

But, the marketplace website strategy was costly, the Jersey heads most interested in profit than products and consumers and the London Stock Exchange players were not amused.

Starting last Spring, the Boards of directors went fast: they let the executive officers refinanced the company while putting forward their new colleague, non executive director/stamp collector Harry Wilson... And as the Gibbons share was down to 7 pence, on 15 July, the Jersey heads were made redundant and Wilson's capacity become executive.

Just in time for the publishing of the August issue of Gibbons Stamp Monthly and its three page interview by the fireplace with Wilson that you can even read for free (Buy our shares, please!)

Capitalism and Game of Thrones...

Tuesday 23 August: Somalia postal service back on track.
Those who follow carefully the evolution of states knew that a Federal Government was established in Somalia in 2012, a first since the country collapsed into civil war and war tribe control with a hint of islamism since 1991.

A government whose power was first limited to the control of Mogadishu airport, before a 2013 international operation put a limit to the nuisance of the islamist militias (still there however). Somalia Post was resurrected late 2013 but was not very operative...
Three of the letters prepared and reveived by Indian blogger Jinesh Joseph, forwarded by David Langan to Mugadishu GPO on 10 August 2016 and received around ten days later in Bangalore, India (collection Jinesh Joseph,, with his permission).
... Until two collectors shut the news on their blogs and StampBoards. David Langan, a world postcard collectors, visited the Somalian capital early August and visited the Great Post Office there. Surprised but pleased with the interest, the officials there gave him a tour and accepted the mail he's got for himself and Jinesh Joseph, a world countries collector.

For now, Somalia Post is renovating and opening post offices throughout the country, even in separatist Somaliland it seems. Thank to an agreement with Emirates Post, it receives mail from overseas but delivers it only at the counter... Put your correspondent's phone number along the address.

What the hope? Next January 2017, Somalia Post wish to propose a postbox service for people to collect their mail, and that they can send mail abroad like our two bloggers.

Friday 26 August: An American trilogy (1): cultural diversity.
Even if I know that diversity in the United States society is not without difficulties, I wrote that article to confront the current French problems with diversity to the philatelic happenings in the US and Canada.

The French problems: fighting jihadism and islamism by banning (over)dressed women from the beaches and non pork eating kids from school restaurants doesn't feel very effective to me, even if I am no intelligence agent, nor lawyer.

On the North America side: USPS regularly issued religious holidays stamps for all religions present in the society. A stamp for the end of Ramadan in France... Do you actually want more kilometers of ill-argumented comments on social networks and under newspapers web articles!

Last February, Canada Post reminded all the memory of the only Black soldiers in the Canadian Great War history. Their role was limited to cut wood in the French Jura mountains and suffered the very cold weather there, almost no of them face combat.
Yes, if you search French newspaper websites of 2013, you'll find racist comments on the playing boy in the corner... (personal collection).
Black people on a French stamp can be done, only among the famous trilogy Governor Éboué, writers and politicians Senghor and Césaire. But only on confidential commemorative please, the last time a kid looks not European enough on the current definitive Marianne of the Youth... Hateful comments by readers.

Hopefully, the French post tries to show the diversity of the French population: last June, at the end of the schoolyear was issued a stamp for the 150 years of the Ligue de l'enseignement, an association that promoted all kind of activitives for the teachings of children. La Poste hired caricaturist Plantu (founder of Cartooning for peace) that explicit described the girl on the stamp in the September issue of Timbres magazine.

A shame this stamp was not issued in front of the news camera in a primary school by the Minister of Education on next Thursday, the first day of school in France.

Saturday 27 August: An American trilogy (2): hyperactiv philatelic research.
"Roads not taken" could summarize my impression after many years of watching French organised philately from afar and discovering British and US ones closer through the Royal Philatelic Society London's activities and library.

This opinion strenghtens with the 27-28 October Grand Opening of the American Philatelic Society library in a former match factory in Bellefonte, in the middle of Pennsylvania.

The American Philatelic Reasearch Library has now the space it needed for many years to come, to host members and researchers, lend books on site and by post. In Paris, there is a philatelic library on top of the postal museum... Not sure the same standard.

The speaker of the opening will be David Beech, retired Curator of the Philatelic Collections of the British Library... Sure, there are philatelic books and periodicals at the France National Library, even some digitised... But no specialist portal about them. Better used the British managed Crawford Library project for that purpose.

As I say in French: You may fish something philatelic on the BNF's Gallica website. Fishing's good to contemplate open air nature without being annoyed by fishes.

"Roads not taken": I would say that the French philatelist unconsciously chose local associations over specialised associations and project societies (RPSL, Collectors Clubs, etc.), opposed to what some decided in the UK and the US.

On The Stamp Collecting Forum whose recent threads inspired this American Trilogy, when one asked for advices on how to begin an exhibition, steps, stationery materials, etc. The answer wasn't advices, it was a link to the American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors!!!

I fear to discover one day the answers I'd get on a French forum or at an association sunday meeting in France.

Sunday 28 August: An American Trilogy (3): My name's Tomato.
I became aware of the existence of Tomato on Wednesday 10 August. It was standing there in my peripherical vision, on the side wall of the last automated gas station in center Montpellier, France.
Tomato (licence creative commons nc-by-sa 3.0 fr).
Add Tomato locker as one of your address and the next time you order from web hypermarket Amazon, you can retrieve your packet here and not at home.

Amazon is continuing to propose new ways of distributing products: street lockers, drones one day?

But if you listen carefully to people's testimony, like on The Stamp Collecting Forum, you will discover that the new actors of the packet indutry do still need the historic operator.

In a little city and its surrounding rural areas, a forumer discovered that since April the local USPS postmen drive with their vehicles packed by Amazon. Every day, including closed Sunday, a private delivery company unload Amazon arriving boxes and envelopes at the distribution office.

To the rural areas, guess the most common deliveries? Animal food and babies diapers. From the new hip bookshop to your local supermarket, that's Amazon thanked to the USPS daily presence everywhere in the country, especially areas where the income is lower.

Another forumer confirmed with UPS, a private express company. You are not at home, they have to keep the package and come back, lose money. Nowadays either you pay for them to keep it or you won't and they put it in the local postal system with USPS ; and you receive it with one more day of waiting.

Finally, readers from the United States who are Amazon clients too, if you want to financially aid the American Philatelic Society, the American Philatelic Research Library or any other philatelic associations that is a charity under the US fiscal law, go suscribe to Amazon Smile and 0.5% of your purchase will be given back to your chosen charity.

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