Monday 26 December: Spink catalogue, Brun's expertise and U.S. organised philately thinking about the future.
Three December news: Spink launched the 2nd edition of his French stamp catalogue and one of the French philatelist who participated in revamping the modern Marianne definitives wrote about it on his blog: News du Phospho.
Long experienced expert Jean-François Brun published three new papers to explain and warn collectors on falsification and fraudulent stamps and cancellations. A must-read in French. One is a study on how very early the philatelic journals knew of the Sperati family business, way before Jean became famous.
Finally, a summary on the cyclic event many Western countries' organised philatelies experienced every decade? Two decades? To gather and think about to spend savings to ensure the future of philately. The last French let's meet and chat a lot experience was... φ. The current one without publicity seems more probant towards schools and reading collectors.
Let's hope the best for the U.S. 2016-2017 experience.
Saturday 31 December: Benin and Cameroun, two current French-Chinese-British philatelies.
In the January 2017 issue of Timbres magazine a study of a 2003-2008 definitive series of Benin by Nicholas Pertwee is proposed, showing that with curiosity, perseverance and an Evangelist association receiving lots of mail, you can study a current African country series in a very traditional way, including overprints and postal rates.
On the same continent and century, Marc Parren proposed his "observations" on how the Cameroon Postal Services managed their issues from 2009 and 2015 in the 98th issue of Cameo, the journal of the West Africa Study Circle. A very enlighting read to understand how developing countries' post offices are struggling between the cost of printing their philatelic needs in advance of their sales, the temptation to get to the collectors' wallet without having the communication capacity to reach them...
... and the risk of delegating to agencies or a powerful friendly country.
Sunday 1 January: finally the French new international rates are on.
Although less people are sending paper mail these days, every announcement of more expensive postal rates make commenting people angry...
In France, by (commercial or political) precaution, the rates starting this Sunday (technically on all items mailed after Saturday noon) were announced last Summer, but only for the national rates (economic, environmental, priority).
Postcrossers like me had to wait until today to discover how much it will cost the French senders of actual postcards (more than 700,000 since July 2005): +3 eurocents to +5 eurocents on all nationwide and rest of the world letter, but +10 cents to the European Union and Switzerland !
And, there, no journalist to work out why can mail to the neighbouring countries be more expensive to send than to the rest of the world from one year to another.
Postcrossers, the financial director of La Poste thank you very much.