I have received this letter end of last week and it made me happy for several reasons.
First of all it was sent by a friend of mine, Rob, who lives in Canada. Thank you very much Rob! The cover is impressive. In fact the colours look sharper on the scan than in reality: probably a wrong settings of my scanner…
Secondly, it comes from Saint Pierre and Miquelon, and this is the first letter I receive from there. In case you don’t know it, Saint Pierre and Miquelon is a little piece of France located far away from the main land. This is a group of small islands off the eastern coast of Canada. Those islands are part of France and form the Territorial Collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon. On top of the two main islands (one called Saint Pierre and one called Miquelon) other smaller islands are part of the territory : Ile aux Marins, Ile aux pigeons, Grand Colombier, Petit Colombier, Ile aux vainqueurs.
Saint Pierre and Miquelon issues its own stamps. You can find more information about them on the official website : http://www.spmtimbres.com/. You will see that a reasonable number of stamps are issued every year, and very often they are engraved stamps, which makes them attractive.
As far as definitive stamps are concerned, Saint Pierre and Miquelon re-uses the French definitive stamps (the famous Marianne) overprinted with “Saint Pierre et Miquelon” on three lines. These are the stamps that you can see on the cover sent by my friend. In fact on this cover you can see 17 different Marianne of Lamouche (the current definitive French stamp). All those stamps have been issued in 2005 (11 have been issued in January and 6 in March following a change of postal rate). The two stamps located on the right bottom corner are the TVP (Timbre à Valeur Permanente) i.e. the stamps without indication of face value that are valid for a standard letter within France (standard service for the red one, economic service (slower) for the green one).
The picture on the cover if a picture from the Ile aux Marins (the Sailors’ island). In fact the cover is originally a PAP (Pret à Payer) i.e. a postal stationary that has been transformed into a normal cover.
At the end it gives a very pleasant philatelic souvenir.