Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Unusual cancellation on a French cover

I have received this cover a long time ago but I never took the time to share it with you. Over the weekend I was doing some clean up among the scanned images in my PC and I found it back and decided to show it today.

The stamps on the cover are not the reason why I wanted to write about it? Nevertheless, let me give some information about them.
The stamp on the left has been issued in 1973 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the cooperation treaty between France and Germany. That was signed on the 22nd of January 1963. The design of the stamp uses a mixture of the French and German flags to illustrate this cooperation.
The other stamp has been issued in 1989 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the French revolution. The stamp has been designed by the Belgian artist Jean-Michel Folon and pictures the birds used as a logo during the commemoration.

The real reason that triggered my intention to share this cover with you is the cancel. The block of four stamps is cancelled with an unusual rectangular cancel. Here is a close up of the cancellation (I tried to play with Photoshop to highlight more the cancel, this is the best I could do).

As you can see the cancel reads: Montrouge CCT1 920840.

Montrouge is the city where I live. CCT1 stands for Centre de Courrier Type 1 (Mail center type 1). My understanding is that a CCT1 comes from the split of a post office in two separate entities (located in the same place but with their own director): one entity for mail sorting/distribution and one for the general public. I don’t know what a CCT2 is and I don’t know if there are other types of CC.
I guess 920840 is the code of the CCT1 of Montrouge.

This is the firs time I see such cancel on a cover. I guess that what happened is that the cover left un-cancelled the place where it was mailed and that when it arrives in Montrouge mail center they used what they had in hands to cancel the stamps.

At the end it gives an unusual item!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A cover from Colombia and a new frog item

I recently received a very nice cover from Colombia that I would like to share with you. This is a registered letter, franked with an interesting number of stamps. The stamps are cancelled with a nice postmark from Bogota. A nice result! Here is the cover.

The stamp on the left part of the cover was issued in 2005 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Colpatria bank. The stamp pictures the Colpatria tower that hosts the headquarter of the bank, a 50 story skyscraper located in Bogota. This is the tallest building of the country; it was built in 1978/1979.

The stamp located in the middle of the cover is part of a set of four corporate stamps issued on the 1st of March 2009 to commemorate the launch 4.72, the new name of the postal service in Colombia. I could not find information about the origin of this name, 4.72?

The last stamp on the right was issued in 2006 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the birth of Saint Francis Xavier.

But what was even more interesting for me was what was inside the cover: a souvenir sheet recently issued by Colombian post to celebrate biodiversity. I’m not a bog fan of the design of the souvenir sheet, as it looks really artificial. It looks similar to other souvenir sheets issued by this country. I could not find the exact date of issue of the sheet, so if you have information, please contact me.

Here is the item.

As you can see the souvenir sheet pictures several frogs, two on the border and one on the stamp. The stamp pictures a rather impressive number of species of animals and plants! The design is quite loaded. Only the animals and plants pictured on the stamp are identified, which makes the stamp design even more crowded.

The frog pictured on the stamp is a Lhemann’s Poison frog (Dendrobates lehmanni), a species of frog that is endemic to Colombia. It is named after the Colombian biologist Frederico Carlos Lehmann. The stamp pictures three other animals and four plants!

I take this opportunity to tell you that I’m working on a BIG reshuffling of my frog stamp website. It takes me a lot of time and energy, this is why I have less time to update this blog. I hope I will be able to finish soon and to share it with you.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Is Christmas almost there?

I can not believe it. We are only at the beginning of November, but already since several weeks Christmas decorations and chocolates have appeared in shops and super-markets. Also on the philatelic front Christmas stamps issues are popping up from everywhere. On Tuesday it was the case of Royal Mail that has issued a set of stamps in various forms including a souvenir sheet.
Here are the stamps.

Here is the souvenir sheet.

Some of the stamps are also available in booklets.

The design is rather traditional for Christmas stamps, using scenes from the Nativity.

Christmas stamps, when they picture Nativity, is a big source for my collection of stamps picturing cows and oxen. Indeed, very often the traditional ox is pictured on the stamps together with the donkey as it is the case of one of the stamps from Royal Mail.

Also in the nativity stamps from France that I bough during the stamp fair (mettre un lien), several stamps picture an ox in the background. I will probably have to dedicate one part of my cow and ox stamp collection to Christmas stamps!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

My visit to "le salon d'automne" (cont'd)

Just a short postto share with you the FDC that I sent to myslef from the "salon d'automne" that I mentioned in my previous post.
Here are the two FDC.

I also wanted to share with you something I forgot. During the stamp fair, on the booth of the French post, you could buy an advent calendar. Here is a small picture coming from the web, the calendar being to big to be scanned.

The 24 "windows" of the advent calendar are decorated with "pictures of happinness". Behind each window there is a piece of chocolate. Of course I did not open any as I'm waiting for the 1st of December to start.

I found this idea rather strange. Even stranger is that the French post also sells a collector of 24 pre-personalized stamps reusing the same pictures than on the calendar. Here is the cover of the collector and the stamps. As the collector is rather large I scanned it in three pieces (the collector being folded in three anyway).

Thursday, November 03, 2011

My visit to “Le salon d'automne”

Today, Thursday 3rd of November, starts the “salon d'automne”, a stamp fair held in Paris every year at the beginning of November. As I am on holidays this week (yes!) I decided to visit the stamp fair to see if I could find interesting things. I'm just back, from it and as it is raining in Paris I decided to sit in front of my PC and to share with you the details of this visit.

The stamp fair will be held from today until Sunday the 6th of November. It is held in a place called “espace Champerret”, located in the north west of Paris. This place hosts a lot of various fairs all along the year. Here is a picture of the entrance.

The fair started at 10h in the morning, but I was there at 8h45 and I was not the first one. Several people were there already to be sure they would be the first ones to access to the LISA machines, the machines that distributes ATM designed for the occasion. This labels are not available out of the manifestation so you have to queue sometimes for hours to get them. I will be honest I did not have the patience to queue for them and therefore I did not buy any of them.

When I entered the fair I received the official program, containing also a map of the place.

This year is the 65th edition of the salon and Great Britain is the guest of honour.

The first thing I did when I entered the place was to go to the booth of the French Post to buy the stamps issued on this day and to get some first day cancellations. Here is a picture of the booth where you could buy the stamps newly issued (the picture is misleading, when I arrived there were already a lot of people queueing. The picture was taken at a quieter moment, during lunch time).

Before the stamp fair I had received an invitation to the first day ceremonies so I knew what stamps I could buy (these invitations that I show below are only for information. You don't need an invitation to participate to a first day ceremony, of course). 

The first new issue is a booklet of twelve stamps representing paintings picturing the nativity and that you can find in French museums. Here is a copy of the invitation to the first day ceremony and a picture of the booklet.

The first thing that you can see when you have the booklet in the hands is that the stamps are ridiculously small! 26X24 mm is very small for stamps picturing such beautiful paintings. You almost need a magnifier to be able to appreciate the paintings on the stamp. This is a pity. I don't know why they made the stamps so small!

The second issue is a block of Marianne, which is, as you know, the French definitive stamp. Again I show you the invitation and the block itself.

The block contains the seven Marianne of Europe that were issued after the change of postal rate in July.

For both issues you could get First Day Cancellations at the booth pictured below.

I took this opportunity to send some covers to myself (I will show them here when I get them back) and to some of my readers. I hope they will travel safely and arrive in a good shape.

Together with the stamps you could also buy two philatelic souvenirs, one related to the Nativity booklet and picturing one of the paintings, the one from Georges De La Tour (my favourite one!) and one dedicated to the stamp that has been chosen as the most beautiful French stamp of 2010, the stamp picturing Abbé Pierre, a very famous figure in France who made a lot for poor people.

But the stamp fair does not only contain the booth of the French Post. You can find also booths from  stamp dealers and from foreign postal administrations such as the one from Royal Mail pictured below.

From the booth of some foreign post offices you could send mails to yourself, which I did on the booth from Portugal post and from Israel post. I will show you the covers when I get them back.

I also visited a lot of stamp dealer booths in order to find some interesting items for my frog stamp collection but I did not find any. The problem is that my collection is now rather big, the old items that I miss are rare and difficult to find and I'm pretty well organized to get the new issues. Anyway this was an interesting visit since I could find some items for my cow stamp collection.

During the salon you can also meet some stamp designers who can autograph their stamps. The queue was so big that I did not do it but I nevertheless got an autograph!

Indeed, in the salon you could buy a collector issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the TV show Télé-philatélie that started in 1961 and ran for 22 years. A TV show dedicated to philately is rather seldom, and I remember very well watching it when I was young. The show was presented by Jacqueline Caurat who is pictured on the collector. 

She was present on the salon and I could get a a personalized autograph that I'm pretty proud of. This TV show as really great.

Here is a picture of Madam Caurat signing my collector. She is really a very charming lady and it was a great honour for me to be able to meet her.

Tomorrow the stamp fair goes on with other stamp issues. I don't know if I will have the time to go back there. If I do I will let you know.