Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Edward Hopper stamp… and a word about face value

As I announced in a previous post, the French postal administration has issued recently a stamp picturing a painting from Edward Hopper. As he is one of my favorite painters I would like to show you (again) the stamp that I really like.

Edward Hopper was born in 1882 in Nyack, New York and died in 1967 in New York City. He showed talent in drawing very early. He seems to have inherited from his mother his artistic abilities and from his father the love of French and Russian culture. He painted his first signed oil painting at the age of 13. After graduation he decided to follow an art career. Between 1906 and 1910 he made several trip to Paris where he found his inspiration in the streets and cafés scenes. He was attracted by realistic art. In 1924 a rupture can be seen in his work as he focuses on more American subjects: 
- common features of American life
- seascapes and rural landscape

On the emotional aspect, his paintings often reflect solitude, loneliness, regret, boredom. The solitary figures in his work are often women as in the painting “Morning sun”, from 1952, and chosen to illustrate the stamp. In this respect the stamp is very representative of his work.

Other works of Edward Hopper has been illustrated several times on stamp, mainly from the USA, as the one I showed in a previous post.

So you see, I like this stamp. It is rather large and really pays tribute to the painting.

But there is something that disturbs me about it: its face value. 1.45 euro is huge. The normal rate of a letter below 20g in France is 0.60 euro. 1.45 is the rate for a letter between 50g and 100g, so useless to say that I won’t see this stamp very often on my mail!
Note that this is the same for all large stamps from the art series issued since a long time by French post.

This is a pity, because I really like it, but if I want to use it on a cover, I will necessarily over-frank the mail. So I will loose money, and my philatelic correspondents may be unhappy to receive over-franked cover. A lot of them like to get covers with the exact franking, which I understand.

I wonder what (and who) decides the face value of a stamp? With the recent issues from France, you can hardly frank a letter with more than one “nice” stamps without over-franking the mail. I wonder if this is the same in all countries. Any feedback?


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Secção Filatélica Associação Académica de Coimbra said...

In Portugal we have a similar problem: many stamps and with hight facial value