A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar


A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. Interested? So into the Blues...

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

France - Bud's Big Blue

Exposition Coloniale
Paris, 1931
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Enormously popular, rigorously studied, and profusely chronicled, classic era French stamps get royal treatment in BB. 

Except for the very most expensive and the sinking fund semis (Caisse d'Amortissement), BB leaves out almost nothing. The scans show some examples of the omissions.

French postmarks have become a specialization of their own (see http://marcophilie.org/ and especially http://marcophilie.org/x/x-for-i.html). I’ve spent enjoyable hours visiting virtual Auneau, Charleville, and the like. Cancels show on page one and throughout. Such postmarks impart a wealth of information.

The relationship between French and French colonial stamps also provides fascination. Allegories of peace, navigation, commerce and “the rights of man” predominate, mostly for reasons of political expedience. They represent what the French wanted, ideally, their colonial enterprise to become. 

Even the early Ceres effigy (goddess of growing plants) carries the same subliminal message. The Exposition Coloniale (1931), philatelically commemorated by France and most colonies, opened as colonialism was being increasing questioned and falling into disrepute. The Exposition and its stamps aimed to prolong the fading dream.


Census: 409 in BB space, 35 tipped-in, 90 on supplement pages.

Jim's Observations
The French stamps and French history are quite intertwined.

Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte, the nephew and heir of Napoleon I, was elected President in 1848. And so began the (short lived) era of the French Second Republic.

The Second Republic printed the first French stamps in 1849-50: an imperforate seven stamp series featuring the  effigy of Ceres, goddess of growing plants in Roman mythology. She wore a garland of wheat and a cluster of grapes in her hair. The head of Ceres, appropriate for a new republic, had been also associated with liberty.

But after the coup in December,1851, Prince President Louis Napoléon Bonaparte had his effigy on French stamps. Two stamps with the likeness of President Louis Napoléon were issued in 1852. Then, as Emperor Napoleon III, his effigy appeared progressively on stamps issued throughout the Second French Empire era.

And so it goes. The stamps of France are unique and special.

Enjoy Bud's French Big Blue collection, and the wonderfully designed stamps (and ideas!) they entail!

France 1849-1900 and BB Checklist
France 1900-1940 and BB Checklist
France BOB, Semi-Postals, and BB Checklist

Note: Scan coverage presented here does not include "Offices in Morocco" or "Offices Abroad (China, Egypt, Turkey etc)". These will be presented at a later date.

Page 1 (Click and enlarge for examination)

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Supplements
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Comments appreciated!

8 comments:

  1. It was a real treat to view the pages of this fine collection. French stamps are some of the most beautiful, and colorful, ever released worldwide. Thank you!

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  2. I'm glad you enjoy them. Probably French stamps are my favorites from an artistic point of view, followed closely by Greece, Laos and Czechoslovakia in the post WWII era.

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  3. I couldn't agree more. France, Greece, Laos (a former French colony), and Czechoslovakia are producers of some of the best designed stamps ever.

    French stamps are about as good as they get, as can be seen with these beautiful stamps and with many modern French commemoratives, usualy very well designed and produced.

    Czech stamps were about as well designed and beautifully engraved as I've ever seen. (And they're cheap to buy -- a wonderful thing for collectors).

    I'll add a few more countries which produce beautiful stamps. The former French colony of Tunisia has issued many extremely well designed stamps which are some of my favorites. Sweden regularly issues very well designed and well produced stamps as does Switzerland, though a certain sameness is noticeable with Swiss stamps. Italy often issues beautiful stamps, too. The stamps of Monaco are very good even if they are mainly for collectors, and again they reflect French style.

    In Southern Africa, Namibia and Botswana issue many very nicely-designed stamps lately.

    In Asia, Japan is certainly just about the best, though sameness and a tendency toward excessive cuteness (and too many stamps!) mars many Japanese stamps. Still, the best Japanese stamps like their national park series are excellent.

    French Polynesia is another French stamp design offshoot that issues extremely beautiful stamps.

    I'll even add the UN which I think does a great job of producing very nicely-designed stamps -- when they aren't yet another set of flags.

    I even like a lot of Soviet/Russian stamps many of which have a wacky over-the-top quality, especially their space issues with all the swoopy rockets going up into space.

    It would be even more fun to list the countries that regularly produce the "world's worst designed stamps." But I'll hold off on that since someone may collect them!

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  4. Thanks, Drew, for your keen eye, especially regarding UN stamps. For several years, WFUNA, a non-profit organization that aims to strengthen the UN and promote transparency within it, produced a series of brilliant first day covers and graphics signed by living artists, some of whom designed the stamps. I've collected a few. My favorite is signed by Edwina Sandys, Winston Churchill’s daughter whose most notable sculpture is titled “Christa.” She once wrote “True Art is always Art for Art’s sake – but it can also be other things as well.” Such as, she might have added, small adhesive labels called stamps.

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  5. Oops. I mistyped. Sandys is Churchill's granddaughter.

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  6. French designed Saar region stamps are quite beautiful.

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