Earlier this week, the French postal administration has issued a set of stamps to celebrate the coming Rugby World Cup that is going to be held in November in New Zealand. Being a big fan of rugby I was rather impatient to get these stamps. Yesterday I could find the time to buy then, but I must admit I'm finally a bit disappointed.
Two items have been issued. First a souvenir sheet containing four stamps.
Two stamps picture scenes from a rugby game: a player extracting the ball from a scrum and a player making a pass. Two other stamps picture sceneries from New Zealand.
Why am I disappointed? For several reasons. First of all the stamps picturing the rugby players are not very nice. The design looks very artificial. Another thing I do not like is that nowhere (nor on the stamps nor on the sheet) it is explained what part of New Zealand are pictured on the two other stamps.
A quick search on the internet helped me to find out that the stamp on the left pictures Auckland (that was easy to guess). The stamp on the right pictures a view from Arthur's Pass National Park. This is a national park located on the south island that was founded in 1929. The place looks very nice. It is a real pity that none of the places are mentioned on the stamps or on the border of the sheet. Don't you think so?
The border of the sheet pictures the logo of the Rugby World Cup 2011. In fact this is the same logo for each world cups, only the year changes. Also the sheet pictures the flag of the twenty countries participating to the final part of the competition: South Africa, England, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Scotland, USA, Fiji, France, Wales, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Namibia, New Zealand, Romania, Russia, Samoa and Tonga.
To be noted that, as far as I know, this is the first time that Russia is qualified for the final competition!
On the background of the sheet there is a design looking like Maori tattoos that are rather well known now (and are rather famous among rugby players).
Here are two FDC of this stamp issue with two nice different cancellations.
On the same day, French post has issued a stamp made of silver. This stamp is sold in a plastic protective capsule included in a cardboard card of the size of a credit card. Here is a view of both side of the card.
The stamp has a high face value (5 Euro) and I'm pretty sure nobody is going to use this stamp on mail... On the back side it is written that the stamp should be kept in the protective capsule because otherwise it may blackened because of oxidation. In know from experience that even if kept in this capsule, the stamp is going to blacken!
This is not the first time the French post issues a silver stamp (check here my blog post on the first one).
This silver stamp is for me more a curiosity than a real postal item...