Monday, September 26, 2016

The Witcher games make Polish Post proud

Translation from the article in French published on SébPhilatélie last Saturday 24 September 2016.

Since Friday 16 September 2016, millions of non philatelist teenagers and adulescents are reminded by their main video game news website that postage stamps still exist.
Geralt of Rivia on his own minisheet stamp (Poczta Polska).
The Post of Poland is proposing videogamers and stamp collectors 180 thousands single stamp minisheet, at the rate of six złoty. The Witcher series and its hero Geralt of Rivia reached their third episode in May 2015 on Windows computer and current generation consoles.

The games took inspiration from short stories and novels by fantasy writer Andrzej Sapkowski. In an universe miwing European Middle Age and magic, the hero fights monsters and braves dangers in an open world the player can fully explore.

A commercial issue?

Not necessarily: only one small rate Polish stamp honoring a Polish writer, whose works is known abroard, and using pictures of their franchised video games createed by Polish studio CD Projekt RED.

Where did I put the video game minisheet a friend brought back from Japan?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Week #2016.38 on SébPhilatélie and at Timbres Magazine moving headquarters

Tuesday 20 September: Corners and nooks in British philatelic monthlies.
Summer 2016 made no exception to the taste of exploring as many places and times through the reading of British monthly magazines.

Don't miss: Daniel Scheepers' article on the South African 'War Effort' issues and its bantams (Stamp Magazine dated August) ; Alaistair Gunn's one on Australian 'Living Together' social series of the 1990s (Stamp October).

More classical yet very didactic on historical and financial values of the Secession period letters: John L. Kimbrough (Gibbons Stamp Monthly September) explained the difference between the seceeding states' decision to secede the Union, the establishment or their joining to the new Confederation, and finally the split of the postal services. One day more or less on a letter from one of the considered states and...

Thursday 22 September: Jacques Renollaud, French-British Isles postal relations specialist passed away.
Article translated in English here.

Friday 23 September: Even Centrafrican corner studied in Gibbons Stamp Monthly.
Just the day after Tuesday's article, a new unexpected corner of the world appeared in the October issue of Gibbons Stamp Monthly: the Centrafrican Republic by Michael Round, rarely (never?) seen in French philatelic press.

A summary from colonial age to the last times of civil peace, with almost only cancelled stamps after independence! A tour de force considering the country was a furnisher of cancel-to-order stamps for stamp dealers' packets for beginners.

Saturday 24 September: an article soon to be translate here.
Video gamers and collectors of Poland must wait until tomorrow, please.

[The next Monday: Thank you for your patience: over here, please.]

Saturday 24 September in newsstands: Timbres Magazine going full French reverse...
The French monthly has gone an identity crisis for the last year: the September 2015 "new formula" looked mostly like its former self despite editor in chief Gauthier Toulemonde's promise to follow the wishes of the majority who answered the latest magazine survey.

I was happy: the three last issues of the 2015-2016 season were in my humble opinion the best read with articles on many parts of the philatelic topics, places and times, some writers adding bibliography and context to their exhibited collections encouraging further research and readings.

But, surprisingly, Toulemonde announced in his July-August editor's note that a complete revolution was underway for the September issue, without precising what neither why.

However the September and October issues showed that Timbropresse team put their leader in a straitjacket, booked him for a long stay in the desert of Oman for the Autumn if he refused to apply the previously mentioned survey (or has he eventually volunteered that desert experiment?).

For the revolutionary part yet: the magazine moved from Paris city center to a Paris outside doorstep office building in Pantin (larger cheaper offices), between August and October - forcing the part media, part commemorative cover operation to Oman be delayed.

For the conservative revolutionary part: the new Timbres is "more current" as said on the cover... Understand in the current French political mood: for French (and France lovers) only. Only short articles on France and its colonies, with an accent on immediately useful to French collectors (short columns on current prices vs catalogue quotes, recent frauds presented to two experts, redefinitions of popular collections such as plating and phosphorescence errors).

My personal opinion: very deep sigh... as I am not very interested into all-French collecting. Some articles keep some interest but mostly thank to the sharpen writing style of their authors. Un-French topics can be found in Toulemonde's special issues and in small corners, especially if boobs are shown. Sigh...

Hopefully, English speaking readers who can read French or professionally use Google Translate, now President-Philatelist Nicolas Sarkozy's Gallic France's now got a full philatelic magazine for you. Yeah!

The French version of this "more current formula" in thoughtful preparation (mostly waiting the next Sarkozy's stupid quote on history).

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Obituary: Jacques Renollaud, a postal historian between France and the British Isles

By a sad mail,the president of the Club philatélique franco-britannique, Robert Marion, announced that one of French philatelic elders Jacques Renollaud passed away, Saturday 17 September, aged 90.

Former officer of the Club and of the Irish Philatelic Circlethe European Academician was known for the study of the French-British postal relations until 1855 and of the Irish-British ones until the 1920s. In Britannica, the periodical of the Club, he helped members follow the news of the Machin stamp saga.

He was still present at Europhilex 2015 in London and at the World Stamp Show in New York last Spring with his catalogue of the Mail of French Prisoners-of-War in England 1744-1815 (available through the Club). You can read, on the Club philatélique brainois website, Mr Renollaud's summary on his collection proposed in an European Academy of Philately's exhibition during Braphil'15, marking the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Week #2016.37 on SébPhilatélie

British magazines and a good news for the philatelist of Southern France!

Tuesday 13 September: What stamp is the first of Gibraltar?
A read back into the game proposed by Richard Garcia in Gibbons Stamp Monthly August 2016 issue: among four competitors, which one is the first stamp of Gibraltar?

Not an easy question between the first stamps sold and postally used from Gibraltar to Spain, the British ones finally used there on international mail, fiscal ones in local Spanish currency, and finally the first catalogued ones (British Victorian overprinted).

And I wonder why not add the first ones that didn't look like a British stamps: the pictorial issue of 1930? And why does Yvert et Tellier continue to think the first stamp of France is the number 3 in its catalogue???

Wednesday 14 September: a scandalous issue for Stamp Magazine.
The October 2016 issue of British Stamp Magazine (published mid-September) turns around the topic of scandals... voluntarily or not.

This cover will get a lot of reader's comments I bet (Stamp Magazine website).
In the newspages old scandalous "uncrowned king" Edward VIII get his commemorative issue in form of a Postal Museum overprinted Post & Go printed on demand stamps. New scandal when John Crace imagined, with a lot of acid and caustic soda, the Royal Mail issuess after the Brexit referendum... with a certain 350 million pound bus on stamp premium...

It's very rare that politic news end into a general philatelic magazines. Generally, when a blogger is too close to the red line, readers doesn't appreciate.

Possible unvoluntary scandal: a Third Reich stamp on cover to announce John Winchester's article on the centenary of tanks??? In the article, and in a position of combat, the Canadian engraved 1942 stamp or the British Day D 1994 one would have avoided some comments I'm sure.

Next episode: November to January Reader's Letters in the same publication.

Sunday 18 September: Montpellier to host France's national exhibition in June 2019!
Earlier this week the Association philatélique de Montpellier announced that the Federation of French Philatelic Associations accepted its candidature to host the national exhibition, championship and federal congress in June 2019.
The picture shown with the good news picturing the support of the Métropole of Montpellier and the public company managing the venue, Montpellier Events (Association philatélique montpelliéraine).
The venue will be Montpellier Exhibition Park, in nearby Pérols. A place more and more connected to the city center and incoming ways: line 3 of tramway (the beaches are nearby), airport is in the neighbour, the A9 highway and the speedways for the ones who wish to check the nearby wineyards (including the new Protected Designation of Origin - AOC - of Pic Saint-Loup north of Montpellier).

The Saturday 8 to Monday 10 (Pentecôte Bank Holiday in France) event will take place just after Stockholmia, the celebration of the 150 years of the Royal Philatelic Society London.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Week #2016.36 on SébPhilatélie

Experts, a lot of books and a tv series... with a look back to the mid-2000s.

Sunday 4 September: Expertise offensive in France, still going.
For almost a year now, associate experts Calves son and Jacquart are continuing expending their presence after they open their expertise certificate index on the web that allow to check a certificate a buyer or an exhibition judge wish to control.

This September, they are now publishing a monthly column in Timbres magazine alerting the public with the fraudulent and false stamps, cancellations or overprints they encountered recently.

November 2015, expert master Jean-François Brun, still active but perhaps not into communication as his two competitors, launched a pedagogic blog with pdf file to explain and teach the collectors on the problem of identifying frauds.

In the last article, he highlighted the lightness of stamp catalogue that have refused to print that a 70 cent Paquebot Pasteur can not exist without overprint (its issue was chaotic because of the 1939 declaration of war), allowing the hopeful doubt of having found a rarity... Then he reminds consumers that a dealer should not expertize the material he knows he is going to sell.

Wednesday 7 September: The 1836 Anglo-French Postal Convention by Geoffrey Lewis.
Having read large part of Australian postal historian Geoffrey Lewis' book, I proposed my literary critic - despite being a moron in the field he studied :)
The book cover (Books on philately. The philatelic bilbiopole).
The first chapter is the most important because he graphically explains what one should look at on a 1830s letter that went through the British-French postal road. Both postal administrations then created a mean to be sure that incoming and outgoing mail were going to be paid whatever the origin and destination in the whole world.

And that's why the other chapters are very interesting, even if quite repetitive. Lewis established them by marcophilic and geographic topics. Yes, he repeats a lot the same principles, but you easily find all the intels you need to decipher the marks on that particular letter you are holding.

To see how Geoffrey Lewis works, a pdf summary of one of his conference is available on the American Philatelic Society's Postal History Symposium website. He participated to the 9th edition at the New York Stampshow last May-June.

The book is published by the Royal Philatelic Society London.

Saturday 10 September: Philatelic t-shirt in The West Wing.
Article available in both French and English.
The philatelic collectibles on the heroin's shoulders (The West Wing, 2005).
And I am still interested in any information on who designed this t-shirt, please.

Sunday 11 September: Belgium in the Biblioteca Sebastiana.
Thank to a gift this week, I present the three Belgian books in my small library: the 50th edition of the Official Catalogue of Belgium (2005), Patrick Maselis' 2005 book on the thirteen trials of creating colonies in the whole world from the Azores Islands, known as the Flemish Islands back in the mid-15th century, until the still Belgian inhabitants of Villaguay, Argentina.
Cover of the Englihs and French edition of Vincent Schouberechts' book (the editor website).
2016 new publication I received is Vincent Schouberechts' The Post Books: 500 Years of history in Europe (Lannoo edition). Through the study of fifty documents, he told the larger public possible how the postal system was established, has grown in Europe from the 16th century until the General Union of Post that make international sending of mail easier.

A common line helps organised the book: the birth and death of the postal monopoly of the Thurn und Taxis family in the Holy Empire. On the side, the author proposes trips to the Antiques, Middle Ages and Space mail. Let's hope it attracts new people towards the study and collections of old documents and postal history.

The most attentive of you will remember the special exhibition proposed by the Club of Monte Carlo at Europhilex London 2015: 20 documents for 20 events that changed the world. The enjoy this book and the pdf of the exhibit still downloadable.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Stamps in 'The West Wing' tv series

Ten years ago last May the final episode of The West Wing was broadcasted in the United States. Created by Aaron Sorkin, it tolds the daily work of a fictionous democrat president. It was a pedagogic work to explain the theory and practice of the federal republic... especially as it was on during the adventurous and teapartyist mandates of George Walker Bush.
The White House Chief of Staff alarmed by her Blackberry at the beginning of 365 Days during the 6th season of The West Wing (2005, screen capture of the French DVD edition).
On the philatelic side, I have already written in March 2007 on the episode Galileo of the second season during which political adviser Josh Lyman discovered the selection process of the U.S. philatelic program, with the inequalities between the 50 states and the territories, like Puerto Rico, in the background.

Yesterday evening my eyes were intrigued by the déjà vu feeling from C.J. Cregg's clothes in the 12th episode of the 6th season, 365 Days ; an episode on the blues of the final presidential year.

Squinting my eyes in the second scene with the character (screen capture), the light went up: a black t-shirt with classical postage stamps of Queen Victoria for sure. Perhaps from Edward VII and George V reigns... Even royal effigy and arms of other European monarchies.

Of course such a detail is difficult to check on Google eleven and a half years afterwards: What forums' archives should be explored? Did a philatelic magazine catch it then? How to find the designer from one single piece of cloth?


This article is available in French on SébPhilatélie.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Week #2016.35 on SébPhilatélie

Monday 29 August: cartophily, philately and genealogy.
French newspaper Le Figaro proposed a reprint of a 1903 article on the novelty in Summer holiday correspondence that pictorial postcards created in the beginning of the 20th century.
Le Tréport, Normandy: the bath (collection Casa-Rodriguez, 2009, creative commons licence; reproduced in, 26 August 2016).
Imagine that only a handful of words was then authorised on the picture side. Instead of an "it was better before" approach, the 1903 journalist appreciated that the holidaymakers could enjoy their summer time instead of writing lengthly letter describing the place and the activities.

I continued with a critic of postcard specialist Serge Zeyons in the September 2016 issue of Timbres magazine. The monthly encountered a printing reform and Zeyons' article suffers of it: the pictures are so tiny. But the text is longer than usual and with a bibliography to extend the topic way further than postcards: life in the farms and country in old time France.

And I wonder: could Timbres create a joint event with a genealogy magazine? The latter and its readers could retrieve the identity of the people on Zeyons' card while the former and its readers could value the card and the stamp... All of them discovering the multiple interest of the postcard collection...

Tuesday 30 August: Saint-Pierre and Miquelon born artist came back for the Summer.
It's a tradition for landscape painter Raphaële Goineau to spend August in her native Saint-Pierre, in the French collectivity in front of Newfoundland, Canada. It's a tradition for the local public television to report of her stay and current activities in Western France and in the archipelago.

Here is the 27 August report on SPM 1ère.
Le Banc bleu, a painting by Raphaële Goineau , stamp issued 2009. A wooden and color touch reminding North American houses (
This year, the journalists reported her new role of artistic consultant for the Saint-Pierre and Miquelon philately since the death of Marc Taraskoff in March 2015. She is seen adapting on her computer a naval drawing by a local artist to adapt it for intaglio printing at Phil@poste Boulazac, the French post printing plant.

Wednesday 31 August: Who said it? or a philatelic parody of the burkini crazyness.
Beware: disrespect towards French Prime Ministers and female body content in the post (since the French males seems obsessed by what women should show on the beach this summer).
The current Marianne of the Youth issued 2013, designed by Olivier Ciappa and David Kawena. Ciappa alleged on the presidential unveiling that she was inspired by Femen activist Inna Shevchenko (first day cancels took place in the city where there was a high school that participated to the Marianne selection).
Who said: "Marianne, she's bare breasted because she feed the people. She doesn't wear a veil because she's free! That's the Republic!" (count: it just enough to be retwitted!)

A: Olivier Ciappa, Republic-inspired, to explain the seem to be bare shoulders and long hair of his design... before the now famous tweet about Inna Shevchenko.

B: Inna Shevchenko herself while demonstrating fully nude in front of the townhall of Nice, to enjoy the stripping on beach policy of security deputy major Christian Estrosi... Just before she was arrested by local policemen because, the conservative being hypocritical, males should only covet female bodies on beaches.

C: Prime Pornograph Dominique de Villepin, then Prime Minister, just before grossly concluding that "France wish to be fucked. It itches in her pelvis". (note: B never happened, C did...).

D: Current Prime Minister and now new Prime Pornograph of the Nation Manuel Valls because his junior collaborators can't read completely and with curiosity the works of Maurice Agulhon, historian of how the Third Republic took root in our nation, and of Pierre Nora, specialist of the Republican symbols and places. University professor Mathilde Larrere tried to educate the "moron" through his own language: tweets.

What about radical imams? Foreign finance of mosque building? Surely more effective yet more dangerous than disturbing mothers with children on beaches or kids not eating pork at school restaurants.

Thursday 1 September: An inspired rentrée at the RPSLondon.
The first trimester of the schoolyear will be well occupied at 41 Devonshire Place, London, between the traditional activities of the Royal Philatelic Society London and the special events the society hosts. The article in French put together news from The London Philatelist dated July-August.

My apologies for the exhibitors and lecturers I won't name. The Weekly is a summary ; they are acknowledged in the French article and will be again in articles commenting their individual event during the season.

On the special event side: the World Cinderella Congress 16-18 September, the same week of Stampex, its dealers and two exhibitions (Cinderella Stamp Club and King George VI Collectors Society) and of the first paper by Keeper Michael Sefi from stamps of Guyana and Barbados in the Royal Philatelic Collection (Thursday 15).

September exhibitions at 41 will continue to show the Francis Kiddle Congress collection and the Cinderellas created by groups of retired and elderly through a partnership between the RPSL and the University of the Third Age (U3A). The Society is looking for a supply of gummed paper and a perforation machine to allow the successful activity to be reproduced outside London.

Thursdays lectures and exhibitis until the beginning of November will present many islands, both actual ones (Barbados, Channel Islands occupied by the German forces, the Victorian fiscal stamps of the West Indies) and philatelic ones (fiscal so, scoutism and scout postal history by Norwegian Hallvard Slettebø).

The two monthly exhibitions will cover other fields: Bahrain postal history in October, classical mail of Great Britain in November.

Those who are curious of new fields and tools for philately will be interested by the two final events of my list. Wednesday 12 October, the Crawford Seminar will educate to "Digital Philately for Beginners". How the computer, its softwares and companions such as the scanner, can enrich the practice, study and collection of stamps and mail (scan, image study), down the stream to how to create an exhibition or spread the knowledge (slideshow, publishing). John Horsey gave a very stricking evidence of that with his monumental study of hundreds of the Queen Victoria 5 pounds (a book, and a RPSL conference October 2015).

Next, Friday 4 November, Chris King, immediate Past President of the RPSL, will give this year Stuart Rossiter Memorial Lecture on "Challenges and Opportunities of Researching Online". In the study case of Napoleonic Danmark, he will show a postal historian can become an actual historian in the social, economic, political subfields.

An approach supported in recent competition with the 2C class of the International Federation of Philately that was recently found in France with Timbres magazine article (May 2015) by Guy Dutau on a 1861 letter from Tahiti to Chile resolved with the technics of genealogy. And how Robert Marion told visitors of his Mauritius postal/social history exhibition the future of the desperatelt ill writer of a letter... That didn't die in Mauritius.

Saturday 3 September: Funny Hong Kong stamps cancelled in Copenhagen.
Bought for fun at the Danish dealer JF-Stamps, last Paris Philex.
The Danish cancel on the Hong Kong stamps (personal collection).
A 6 April 1951 envelope posted by John Manners and Co. Ltd, in Hong Kong and arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark on the 10. But why apply the mark on the stamps while another cover of the same people and almost dates is clearly marked lower.