Sunday, November 27, 2016

Week #2016.47 on SébPhilatélie and other blogs

Monday 21 November: 3rd week of demonetisation in India.
I have continued to follow the implementation and consequences of the demonetisation of 500 and 1000 rupee banknotes in India, announced Tuesday 8 November by Prime Minister Modi.

The main conclusions I end up by reading The Times of India are that daily waged workers in cities and farmers in rural areas continue to struggle because of the lack of liquidity, in the former's bosses' pockets or because their savings-at-home notes are now worthless.

Improvising a lot, Mr Modi's Government seems to play by the ear: encouraging the dematerialisation of monetary payments, enjoying retailers' initiative to dispense new notes from their credit card terminals in their shops, and promising now to put as much notes as possible in the country. Last move was to stop exchanging old 1000 rupee notes over bank counter, to encourage the use of bank accounts and credit cards.

On the winning side police and army confirmed that criminal and paramilitary groups are strangely quiet since November 8th... Too occupied to smuggle their old notes stock to bank counters discreetly... Not enough it seems. The Indian revenue services seems busy checking people and firms putting too much money on their bank account.
Comparison between a normal version (upper one) and the erroneous one (bottom) (Times Now).
On the collectors' side, a second lawful type for the new 2000 note was acknowledged by the Reserve Bank of India: the rush at all printing plants crreated this error that may trouble citizens in the future.

Wednesday 23 November: French philatelic service hired communication agency.
French communication news website CB News announced Insign, "alternative communication solutions agency", just gets two new clients: a chesse protected indication and the French philatelic service, Phil@poste.

The former wishes to be known and have new way of communicating and selling in France and worldwide. Check your magazines and stamp exhibitions next year for the results.

Friday 25 November: Millions to be exchanged next week at David Feldman Autumn Sales.
Philatelic auction house David Feldman will propose a full week of sales starting Monday 28.
The printing plate of the 1847 Post Office of Mauritius (David Feldman).
The gems of the week will be proposed on Thursday 1 December 6pm: the printing plate of Mauritius "Post Office" 1847 stamps and the "Bombay cover" of 1850. Both estimated millions of euros.

The plate was considered lost for three quarter century, hidden in French philatelist and politician Maurice Burrus' estate owned by his niece. Rediscover by her heirs, David Feldman organised a world stampshow tour to present it in London, Singapore and Monaco in 2015, and New York last May.
Blue Mauritius (
Both items are the objects of two brochures written by experts of the Mauritius Post Office, available in pdf format (the plate, the cover). Among the author, Helen Morgan who wrote a book on these stamps.

Saturday 26 November: find Summer again by any means necessary.
After one week of British-Mediterrean weather (always rainy/too hot temperature), the return of sunshine on Saturday made me find many signs that Summer is coming back... Don't believe George R.R. Martin.

Among the signs the colors of the December issue of Timbres Magazine and of its third special geopolitic issue on borders, in newsstand December 13th.

Sunday 27 November at Timbres au type Semeuse: the French stamp printing plant in 1913.
The writer of this French Sower stamp blog found higher quality pictures of a known newspaper report of 1913 in the French National Library website. The journalist visited the French postal printing plant in Paris.

Complement on Monday 14 August 2017: In the Summer issue of Timbres Magazine Gérard Gomez told the story of printing stamps in 1913 from the pictures held by the French National Library.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Already a second type for the new 2000 rupee note in India

Since Tuesday 8 November 8pm the people of India has been trying to work, consume and simply live with a lack of high value notes after Prime Minister Modi demonetised the 500 and 1000 rupee notes by surprise.
The new 500 rupee note (Reserve Bank of India via the Wikipedia in English).
On Thursday 10 two new banknotes (500 and 2000 rupees) were issued at crownded bank counters... A very theorical issue for the 500 rupees. Testimonies in the Indian media seems to imply the new higher note can be found, but that two and a half week later (today) the 500 rupees are in short number.
Comparison between a normal version (upper one) and the erroneous one (bottom) (Times Now).
Worse 24/7 new TV channel Times Now announced today that an erroneous printing version of this long awaited 500 ruppe note is circulating. The default is a shift to the left of part of the design and to the right of a visual security feature.

The Reserve Bank of India acknowledged the problem and explained it was caused by the rush to print enough notes in such short notice. It assured people that both version are legitimate as long as all security features can be found on the notes...

... But should people be confident in the notes? Would the first fraudulent designs be accepted because consumers would not be able to be sure if it could be the legal erroneous one? Or would people refuse all 2000 notes altogether to avoid such deception?

Sadly this problem is only a small one compared to the daily struggle of the daily paid workers (whose employers haven't enough cash to pay them daily) and of the farmers (whose savings for seeds and crop insurance are worthless and their banks cashless).

And it has only been eighteen days...

Daily summaries of the demonetisation consequences on the blog in French: 1, 2, 3,...

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Londonian society looking for new iconic doorstep

Two weeks ago the council of the Royal Philatelic Society London voted on an important decision concerning its headquarters at 41 Devonshire Place, in the British capital.
Andrew Martin arriving at a certain doorstep to present the king and philatelist George V in  the recent philatelic Timeshift documentary (BBC Four, first broadcast Monday 14 November 2016).
President Frank Walton's message recalled the two decade long debate - speed up by the necessity these past six years - on how to fund the standards upgrading of the building open to members and visitors all year long: from all level accessibility to respect of the Heritage Listed obligation in the Marylebone area, including the modernisation of all networks (from the web to electricity).

A task that would have moved out everything for fifteen months. And in the end would have let the Society still with the problems of space for the library and the museum, and welcoming researchers and public.
One of the announcing poster for Stockholmia 2019, the 150 anniversary exhibition of the RPSL, with the famous door redesigned by Maria Gadh (exhibition website).
In the end the commercial value of the building is equal to the estimated cost of renovating it completely... The council decided to sell 41 Devonshire Place and find a new renovated and more spacious nest for all visitors, conferences, books, periodicals, archives, museum artefacts, personnel of the Society... if possible at the public transport crossroad in London.

41 Devonshire Place has been the Royal Philatelic Society London since 1925.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Kalevala fun with suricates by Joan Fontcuberta

Back to my Ducks and Kalevala open class collection with a postcard found at the souvenir shop in the modern art Centre Pompidou, in Paris last summer.

Edited and sold by VP - Pourvoyeur d'images, it reproduces a picture from the Miracles and Co by catalan photographer Joan Fontcuberta. He imagined the acts and daily life of a bogus orthodox monastic community in Karelia that organised course on performing miracles.
« Munkki Juhani fait lire un chapitre du Kalevala à des suricates lapones », Miracles et Cie, 2002 (éditions VP - Pourvoyeur d'images).
Monk Juhani helds a Kalevala, Finland's national saga established by Elias Lönnrot in the 19th century, for a "lapone suricate" to read it with the greatest of interest.
In dark yellow the habitat of suricates (or meerkats): Namib, Kalahari, Southern Africa (map by David1010 under licence Creative Commons by-sa 3.0).

When anthropomorphism of the standing suricate joins the absurdity of the artist or faith... depending of the point of view of the spectator.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Week #2016.46 on SébPhilatélie

Monday 14 November: 1960-1980 Finland summarised with 4 stamps.
A gift of a Finnish Postcrosser: 4 stamps that show the traditions, economy and international life of Finland between 1960 and 1980.

Tuesday 15 November: Indian banknotes demonetisation aftershocks.
A new page to lighten the first article on the sudden demonetisation of the 500 and 1000 rupee notes in India. From the political fights to the long waiting lines, forgetting the effects to farmers, but not to smugglers of false money from neighbouring countries.
Th 5000 rupee note of Pakistan (via Daily Pakistan).

During the week even the Pakistanese minister of finance had to insist he was not preparing to remove the 5000 rupee note by surprise.

Today some quietness (but in the rural regions) because bank branches were opened only for usual operations and the banknote exchange of their elder clients.

Wednesday 16 November: an introduction to British stamps and philately on BBC Four.
On Monday night BBC Four broadcasted a Timeshift documentary on How Britain Get Stuk on Stamps (available for a month for UK residents).
The presentation of the documentary on the BBC Four website.
A very nice show if you believe the British philatelists' comments on the Stamp Boards forum.

Thursday 17 November: A video game stamp from Lithuania... Heraldic sorry.
On another Postcrossing card, I almost misundersood a stamp:
Thanks to Igor via Postcrossing.
A videogamer would say it's Link on Epona. In fact it's one of the 2016 definitive stamps of Lithuania on ancient depiction of the Vitys, the country's coat of arms.

Saturday 18 November: Netherlands stamps of 2016.
After a jury elected a Grand Prix of Philatelic Art for the Netherlands - guest of the Paris Autumn Stampshow earlier this month, I get into the PostNL philatelic shop of PostNL to give my own awards (and do some comment on how PostNL issued so many stamps... minisheets).
Personal award NL2016: Dutch literature (Collect Club, PostNL).
As the jury liked the photographic lesson on how to picture everchanging blue circles, I like this lesson on how to photograph books from many directions.
Touristic award (among so many issues, including the flurorescent eye-killing ones): fishing villages (CollectClub, PostNL).

Fun award for the Children Stamps illustrated the characters by Fiep Westendorp (CollectClub, PostNL).
Sunday 20 Novembre: Fun with the Kalevala with modern artist.
An article linked to my Don Rosa-Kalevala open class collection, soon to be translated on this blog in English.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Week #2016.45 on SébPhilatélie

Monday 7 November: How much the French philatelic program?
It depends on the definition of "postage stamp of France" you choose in the Charter of Philately, signed by La Poste and the organised philatelic organisations in 2009.

Funnily I add up the November issues face values in actual euro if you wish to buy all stamps, and then lower it in "Charter euro currency" if you accept to limit yourself to the stamps aimed at collectors (value indicated in euro, gummed, perforated, with a phi - the Greek letter - on them).

The French program is quite cheap after all. So: buy it all and just tell the Charter value to your spouse, your friends you want to convert to stamp collecting and, of course, your banker.

English speaking collectors would be interested to know that the French philatelic service will publish its 2016 stamp yearbook in English, with all the phi-stamp around ninety euros. Know that you won't get the postal indicator adhesive booklets and many special minisheets issued for stamp shows.

Wednesday 9 November: Harsh demonetisation of banknotes in India.
Since Tuesday 8pm local time, the population of India is on panic mode after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced all a sudden that 500 and 1000 ruppee banknote would null and void by midnight, that banks would close on Wednesday and start exchanging old notes with the new 500 and 2000 ones on Thursday and be opened all week-end.
How to get rid of it if you collected them too muc in the eye of the Indian revenue administration? Specimen of the 1000 rupee note issued 2000, valueless now (Reserve Bank of India via the Wikipedia in English).
The official goals are to fight counterfeiting and revenues from illegal activities. The fiscal administration will inquire people if they brought high amount of old notes at the bank counters and launch investigations at jewellery and hawala stores in 25 cities, including ones that were trading in these notes after their demise and to check if their gold stocks were lawful.
The new 2000 rupee note, launched on Thursday 10 (Reserve Bank of India).
By following the live coverage of The Times of India of Delhi, the situation has been a mess these past four days in a country whose notes constitues 90% of all payments. Many administrations, energy companies and public transport firms were authorised to accept the demonetised notes for a few days to avoid angering the crowds and to decrease the pressure on bank and postal counters.

Of course politicians comment and showbusiness as usual to criticise the Prime Minister's move and the difficulties he created in the life of the common people. Rumours of the PM's friends warned before began to spread.

Better than the live coverage of the United States presidential election? Not sure.

Friday 11 November 2016: centenary of the Veterant Office and first year after...
This year France commemorates the centenary of the Office for veterans and victims of war, born to fund the help to mutilated soldiers of the Great War. One way was to sell to the public the Bleuets, small blue flowers that were at first in 1916 manufactured by the injured soldiers to help them forget their daily suffering and fright of their return to civil life.
The stamp created by Nicolas Vial, issued Thursday 10 November 2016 (, a well-built and serachable database on French stamps).
Artist Nicolas Vial proposed a nightly blue and blood on the Invalides, the veteran home ordered by King Louis XIV, now the Museum of the French Army.

Sadly since January 2015 and one year after the Saint-Denis and Paris terrorist attacks on civilians, this design and symbols strikes different and still present strings.

Saturday 12 November: The history and culture of Algeria by its stamps and press.
How can one discover what is Algeria?

Look at the 19th century engravings and 20th century pictures Kenneth Nilsestuen put to immerse his public in the landscapes at his conference on the colonial postal history of this country. Watch it on Vimeo thank to the Collectors Club of New York.

With two articles in French monthly Timbres magazine, François Chauvin presented stationeries sold by the French Algerian post in 1939 to promote touristic monuments (November 2016 issue) and indigenous crafts (Summer issue). The author explained how well-intentioned French learned persons wished to help Algerians artisans found back the purity of their art... even if chemical colors worked better.

But this two sources worked on Algeria from his colonial past. How to discover it from there?

Every Thursday in his magazine, newspaper El Watan proposes a philatelic article either by Mohamed Achour Ali Ahmed or Arslan Selmane. Their texts present the country with the stamps it has issued since 1962, from the point of origin of the Berber calendar to the tradition to put Presidents  of the Republic on stamps, local craftmanship and heroes of the independence.

How many stamps written in tifinagh, the Berber alphabet?

Every week in El Watan and, section hebdo/magazine, or with the help of Google.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Week #2016.44 on SébPhilatélie

Monday 31 October: odd-centered cancels on Postcrossing mail.
When you receive a card through the Postcrossing's postcard blind-exchange, there is always something suprising: in the sender's message, the stamps chosen, of course the postcard illustration... or how it was cancel at the start.

If a Canadian postmen checked this card at the sorting office and didn't put out his pen: thank you.
Mid-October three successive cards amplified the problem: at first a nice Dutch round datestamp for three stamps..., then a neatly applied round datestamp with waves of Finland missing the upper right corner... and finally these Canadian stamps untouched by machine cancellation or a pen.

I get a summary of Canada history, nature and symbols, at correct postage, but with no postmark. Hopefully, I don't do uncancelled stamp contraband :)

Wednesday 2 November: cod and magpie at Philataipei 2016.
When you can't travel to an international stampshow, you're happy to find reports in philatelic magazines and testimonies on stamp forums, like Australian-based members on Philataipei 2016.

The Atlantic Cod stamp and his three dimension aspect as shown by Posta (Posta website). 
One member of this forum proposed pictures of the exhibit by security printer Cartor (based in France, owned by a British group) to explain how it produced the Faroese issue on the Atlantic cod with actual cod skin stuck on the stamps.

A good way to discover the work of Icelandic company Atlantic Leather, that produces nice things with leathered fish skin.

Another member, not from Taiwan, explained how the stamp with value on-demand distributor works in the Republic of China. The machine doesn't give change back, but the value you ask for plus another stamp with the value of the change (need a 5 dollar postage, paid with a 10 dollar coin, equal two 5 dollar stamps).

Thursday 3 November 2016: why subscribing to a stamp club in Quebec.
On 25 Septembre 2015, TVCL, a community tv channel of the Laurentides region of Quebec, Canada, proposed a nice and educative talkshow on stamp collecting and the interest of stamp clubs by three members of local clubs.

In French, free view on demand there and on Vimeo.

Saturday 5 November 2016: From plane to optic fiber, Fiji at the center of the Pacific.
From an envelope bought in October, a little text on the central role of Fiji in airways and internet connections for the Pacific countries, including French overseas collectivity of Wallis and Futuna.
The air and floral postage from Fiji to France in 1976.

Sunday 6 November 2016: The mysteries of Serua and Mary in Fiji.
Another Fiji cover from the same recipient in France and two topics.
A very touristic, though christian, postage from Fiji to France in 1983.
A touristic one with the definitive stamp on Serua island (and its mysterious poles in the sea) and a christian one by the 1982 Christmas stamp and the sender, St Mary's Convent - from the Marist Sisters arrived in Fiji in 1892?

Elsewhere in France: 
In the November 2016 issue of L'Écho de la timbrologie (available on printed or digital subscription) the Director of the French philatelic service announced there will be a second Paris-Philex in 2018. Yes in France the national stamp show is announced by the postal operator... Must be a question of artihmetics.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Stamp collectors at NATO headquarters

On Wednesday 26 October 2016 the Belgian post (bpost) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) celebrated the new buildings of the Western military alliance headquarters, set in Brussels since December 1966.
The "European one point" stamp, sold in illustrated minisheets of five (bpost webshop).
The postal operator issued a five stamp minisheet by Kris Maes representing the principal front of the new headquarters, with the circle of member states flags - Belgium, the Unites States, the United Kingdom and Turkey well placed in the foreground and the alphabetic order (and the needs of the current situation in the Middle East?).

The first day of sale is reported by NATO on its youTube page. First are the stamps printed and checked by employees of the postal printing plant in Mechelen, with the proud speech of Belgium permanent representative.

Then, with images of the sales, NATO Deputy Secretary General  Rose Gottemoeller of the USA expressed her joy (on Twitter too) as a stamp collector with her husband. She told that, assigned in a foreign country, they bought complete sheet of a particularly appreciated stamp to frame and decorated their house.

The video ends with collectors getting their first day cancels and sticking the stamp in their Belgium album pages.
Charles Mazelin signed souvenirs at the French ten anniversary stamp he designed and engraved, 12 December 1959 (NATO website).
A gift: the NATO website has got a small history of the postage stamps and commemorative cancels created in its name, starting 1952 with Portugal and the United States issues.

The display lacks mails posted during the operations under NATO command - but too close to war and casualties surely... and choose them carefully, the Allies are still blamed for some of them.