Wednesday, June 14, 2017

French villages got talent... and a stamp

On Tuesday 13 June 2017, Rochefort-en-Terre hosted the one-night contest Le Village préféré des Français on France 2, the main public television channel, presented by Stéphane Bern, our current perfect son-in-law and expert on European royalty.
Very rare event in France nowadays: a new stamp announced on prime time tv (ok, not the best audience of the night facing an international football match) and in a knowledgeable way: the picture shown is the engraved one, not the computer before gravure one (France 2, catched and captured thank to Dominique Stephan of the Blog philatélie, an important blog for amateur of France from the Sower to current events).
The village in Morbihan, Brittany, won the 2016 edition of the show created in 2012 and broadcasted live in June. A sort of Let's spend the holidays in our homeland. I have been told of many past participating villages by weekenders, hikers and... of course: stamps.

For a long time now the French post has a tradition of issuing "touristic stamps" on cities, villages, regions, natural parks, islands,... And whatever techniques the artists and the printer used, the result is often far better and enjoyable than the other main category: anniversaries of personalities and institutions that can be very logo-only or with not enough hints of why they are commemorated.

Sometimes the smaller the place, the bolder the artist or the printer: multicolor intaglio printing are common in France, but not often with such stricking color as bright red on quieter colors. Other examples can be found (browse database or your Dallay/Spink catalogue) with seldom colors such as brown, violet and dark orange together for village close to mountainous cliffs.

Artists' side: you can find modern-style illustration like the summer beach of Saint-Brévin-Les Pins last year, or use of the sky and clouds to place symbolic elements of a city.
The illustration project by Elsa Catelin before engraving (via Blog Philatélie). It's the form generally presented by Phil@poste in its catalogues and publications.
During the 2017 edition of the tv show, the stamp for Rochefort-sur-Terre was presented in exclusivity. The stamp was added at the last moment (officially in May) in the philatelic program and its illustration hidden until tuesday night.

Enthusiastically (his normal behavior) Stéphane Bern showed the inside of a file to the camera: a complete sheet of the new stamp alongside the engraved one-page souvenir Phil@poste edits with each issue. He insisted enough on the artist Elsa Catelin, one of La Poste's in-house engravers.
First day cancel in Rochefort-en-Terre (La Poste Bretagne's Twitter account)
And the announcement: the first of day of sale for the morrow - Wednesday 14 - in Rochefort and Carré d'Encre, Phil@poste's shop in Paris, and the general sale on Thursday.

This show can be watched again for 30 days (but because of TV tax that may be not possible outside France): over here. The stamp announcement was cut and posted on youTube over here.

For a more negative article on the new stamps on France: read this other article in French on SébPhilatélie.

Note added Thursday 24 August 2017:
This televised event displeased the editor of L'Écho de la timbrologie, one of the three French philatelic monthly magazines, because of the embargo on the stamp and all intelligence about its issue, place of first day of cancel, etc. La Poste is accused of hiding news from the usual stamp collectors.

Until now I was only aware of British dealers being unable of preparing first day cachet for "secret issue", that Royal Mail hadn't even told them the topic. And when their amateur competition on auction websites displaying stamps to be issued ,which appearance was under embargo until media launch.

Rest the question: How did these media launch attract non collectors to stamps?

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