Friday, November 12, 2010

The game of the frog

11As an echo of my last post I would like to show you today a pre-stamped envelop that I bought recently on an auction website and that I received yesterday. This is a pre-stamped envelop from France that belongs to a series dedicated to traditional games of the north of France. This envelop is illustrated with a game called “the game of the frog” or “the game of the barrel”.

This game is a very old one. The objective of the game is to throw small objects (stones, coins etc) into one or several holes made in a piece of wood placed on top of a barrel. After the 19th century a frog was often added on one extremity of the piece of wood, giving to the game its name “the game of the frog”. If you could succeed throwing the object into the mouth of the frog then you could win much more points. The frog was sometimes replaced by other sculpted animals, even by human heads. It seems this game is rather famous in the north of France, but it is played in other places in the world such as in South American where the game is known as “sapo” (toad) or “rana” frog.

The printed stamp on the envelop reuses the design of a stamp that is part of a set issued in 1993. This set contains “greeting stamps” illustrated by comics author. The stamp used on the cover contains the greeting “Good luck” and was designed by Mezzo. Here is a copy of the original stamp (the scan comes form the excellent website Phila Echange).

Three main differences between the original stamp and the printed stamp:
- the mention of the date of issue (2003) has disappeared.
- the mention “republique française” has been replaced by “France”
- and finally the printed stamp contains the mention phil@post which is the name of the company in charge of printing stamps for the French postal administration

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