Monday, 29 February 2016

France 1949 - Aerial Views of France Airmails

Commencing on the 27 April 1949, France issued the first stamp in what was to become a glorious set of five Airmail stamps, the last of which was issued on 16 January 1950. All of the stamps in this set were designed and engraved by Albert Decaris. This set is known by the name: Aerial Views of France.


The 100f  value, issued 27 April, depicts the city of Lille, France.

Lille is located in French Flanders on the Dûele River in the north of France. There is an interesting feature within this stamp worth mentioning. Turn your eye to the middle left of the stamp. You will see a column. This is the Goddess Monument. It commemorates Lille's resistance to the Austrian siege of 1792. Atop the column stands the Goddess. She has in her right hand a a linstock, which was used to light the fuses of cannons. Another interesting feature in the stamp is located in the centre foreground of the stamp. This arched structure is known as the Porte de Paris. This is one of the gates that was originally a part of the ancient wall that surrounded the city.


The 200f value, issued 23 June, depicts the city of Bordeaux.

Bordeaux is a port city located on the Garonne River in southwestern France. Bordeaux is considered the wine capital of the world. There are a couple of features in this stamp worth highlighting. The first is the Gustave Eiffel Railway bridge in the centre of the stamp. And to the left stands St. Michael's church, with the prominent bell-tower known as "The Arrow" reaching toward the sky.


The 300f value, issued 23 June, depicts the city of Lyon.

Lyon is located in east-central France in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alps region, between Paris and Marseille. The Rhône and the Saône Rivers snake through the centre of this amazing stamp. The left side of the stamp is dominated by a geographical feature known as "The Hill That Preys". Sitting atop the hill is the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fouvière. And behind that at the top left is the Tour métallique, a TV tower fashioned to resemble the last stage of the Eiffel Tower.


The 500f value, issued 1 July, depicts the city of Marseille.

Marseille is located in France's south coast, and is the second largest city in France. The prominent feature of this stamp is the Old Port, which has been the city's natural harbour since around 600 BC when Greek settlers from Phocaea arrived.


The 1,000f value, issued 16 January 1950, depicts the city of Paris.

The capital of France, Paris is located in the north of the country on the River Seine. This stamp is the pièce de résistance of the set. It is truly superb! The image is looking west. Dominting the centre left of this stamp is Notre Dame Cathedral. Winding through the right of the stamp is the river Seine.

This stamp also highlights some of the many bridges of Paris. While doing research for this blog, I found a great Powerpoint presentation on the net dealing with the bridges of Paris on stamps. Click HERE to look at the presentation. Within that presentation is an image that lists the names of many of the bridges Decaris engraved into the stamp.

Until next time...

Stay Decaris Crazy!

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

I Muse...On a Cursive Revelation!

While compiling stamp images to do my France 1946 Year Set blog, I had somewhat of a durr revelation! In my Luxembourg Palace blog - click HERE - I commented on the unique way in which Decaris signed his name to the stamp.

It has been signed in cursive script. What I did not realise was that Decaris signed every stamp he engraved in 1946 in the same way! Just in case you don't believe me, I have arranged below a close-up image of the signature on each stamp Decaris engraved in 1946.

Joan of Arc


Francois Villon


Peace Conference



Until next time...

Stay Decaris Crazy!

Sunday, 21 February 2016


Year Set


S.S. Pasteur
Issued 17 May

Saturday, 20 February 2016

France 1946 - Francois Villon

Francois Villon was born in Paris in 1431. The first thing that came up when I googled this guy was that he was a poet. I thought 'okay, this will be a pretty simple, perhaps not so exciting blog'. But then I kept reading and I grew more and more interested.

It seems that good old Francois was more than just a poet. He was somewhat of a rabble-rouser. I think Wiki used the term 'Ne'er do well'. It all started on 5 June 1455. Francois along with two others - including a priest! - were in the Rue Saint-Jacques, when trouble erupted. In a scuffle a knife was pulled on Francois, who in turn drew his own knife. His assailant struck first, then Francois responded by stabbing his attacker. But he didn't stop there. To ensure his attacker would never again do him harm, Francois struck him with a stone, killing him. Now a murderer, Francois Villon fled. In his absence he was sentenced to banishment. He was later pardoned for this crime. 

Not to be deterred from his new life of crime, Villon is said to have robbed the chapel of the College de Navarre. A year after the crime took place, one of Villon's gang turned king's evidence and named Villon as the ringleader of the robbery. He was again sentenced to banishment and did not return to Paris. Is it believed that after this he was part of a wandering band of thieves. The demise of Francois Villon is unknown. After 1463 he simply disappeared. A commentator by the name of Anthony Bonner wrote this of Villon's possible end:
"He might have died on a mat of straw in some cheap tavern, or in a cold, dank cell; or in a fight on some dark street..." (Bonner, The Complete Works of Francois Villon, Bantam, 1960, p xxiii)

In 1946 France issued a set of six stamps commemorating 15th Century celebrities. Albert Decaris designed and engraved two of these stamps. Joan of Arc (see my blog on this stamp HERE). The second stamp is the subject of this blog - Francois Villon.

This is an interesting stamp depicting a rather colourful character. What is that expression on his face? Fear? Guilt? Contrition? Whatever Villon may be thinking here, I'm glad I got to meet this intriguing poet. The joy of stamp collecting!

Until next time...

Stay Decaris Crazy!

Friday, 19 February 2016

France 1946 - Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc, which in French is Jeanne d'Arc, was born into a peasant family at Domremy in north-east France on 6 January c. 1412. Joan of Arc is famous for her military role in the Hundred Years War. She said that she received visions from the archangel Michael and other angels. They instructed her to approach Charles VII and offer her services to the country. Her amazing victories at the siege of Orleans and several other battles at the age of 18 gained her legendary status. But not enough it seems to save her from the stake. On 23 May 1430 she was captured by the French Burgundian faction who were allied with the English. She had many charges thrown against her and she was found guilty and burned at the stake on 30 May 1430.

But the story doesn't end there. Twenty five years after her execution, her trial was reconsidered and she was found not guilty - not that it helped her much! She was thus declared a martyr. In 1909 she was beatified, and in 1920 canonised. She is now remembered not only in the church, but through modern popular culture, in literature, movies, television and video games to name a few. For more on this amazing young woman click HERE.


On 28 October 1946, France issued a set of six stamps commemorating 15th Century celebrities. Two stamps in this set were designed and engraved by Albert Decaris. Francois Villon and Joan of Arc. Since this blog is a quick study of Joan of Arc, it is this stamp we shall examine.

This stamp is stunning. The divine adoration on the face of Joan coupled with the heavenly rays of light illuminating her path to sainthood make this stamp a real Decaris treasure.

Until next time...

Stay Decaris Crazy!

Wednesday, 17 February 2016


Year Set


Battleship Le Clemenceau
Issued 18 April



Postage Dues - Carved Figures
Issued ???

Tuesday, 16 February 2016


Year Set*


S.S. Normandie (Blue-Green Reprint)
Issued 26 May


* The Scott catalogue lists a further two shades of this reprint. This is the only catalogue to do so. Those listed reprints are:-
  • Blue
  • Turquoise 

Saturday, 13 February 2016

France 1946 - Luxembourg Palace

The original Luxembourg Palace was designed by French architect Salomon de Brosse. Construction took place between 1615-1645. Its original, purpose was to be the residence of the regent Marie de' Medicis, the mother of Louis XIII. It went through two further refurbishments to get the stage we see today. Its usage also changed over time. It has been a legislative building since 1805, and since 1958 it has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.

By DXR - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

On 29 July 1946, France issued a 'Sights and Monuments' series. The Luxembourg Palace engraved by Albert Decaris appears on the 10f value. This engraving was subsequently used for different values in later years.

This is one of my favourite early Decaris stamps. He has masterfully etched the structural details of the building to great effect. And the gardens are truly beautiful. One expects a slight breeze to ruffle the leaves of the many plants surrounding the building.  

There is a rather charming little detail to this stamp, a final flourish as it were. Instead of the engraver name simply appearing in standard text, Decaris has signed his name in cursive as though this were a painting. I love this aspect of the stamp!

Until next time...

Stay Decaris Crazy!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016


Year Set.


Issued 23 April


Cloister of St. Trophime
Issued 2 May


French Guiana

Tercentenary of the Founding of French Possessions in the West Indies
Issued 21 October

40c Grey Brown

Image Forthcoming

50c Red

1, 50f Ultramarine

Image Forthcoming

Monday, 8 February 2016

France 1946 - Paris Peace Conference

The Paris Peace Conference of 1946 was held between the months of July to October in Paris, France. Representatives from United States, Soviet Union. Great Britain, France and other allied powers discussed and agreed upon the provisions for the Paris Peace Treaties, which included monetary reparations, adjustments to territories, and political changes aimed at promoted democracy and peace. These treaties were signed in February 1947.


On 29 July 1946, France issued a set of two stamps in honour of this momentous event. The high value stamp of this set, the 10f, was designed and engraved by Albert Decaris.

The imagery of this stamp is simple yet very effective. We have the dove representing peace at the point of being released, ready to fly the world over, promoting its credo.

Until next time...

Stay Decaris Crazy!

Friday, 5 February 2016

Monaco 1961 - Sphinx at Wadi es-Sebua

Wadi es-Sebua is the site of two Egyptian New Kingdom temple complexes. The first temple was built by the Pharaoh, Amenhotep III, who ruled Egypt from 1386 to 1349 BC.

Amenhotep III from a colossal granite statue


The second temple was constructed by Ramesses II. Ramesses II is perhaps the most famous Egyptian  Pharaoh - behind Tutankamen, I guess. He reigned from 1279 to 1213 BC, an unprecedented 66 years! His activities while Pharaoh are great and many. Click HERE for more on the "Great Ancestor".

Ramesses II at Luxor


This complex of temples is also known as the Valley of the Lions, so named after the sphinx lined path leading to the temples. Below is a sphinx of Ramesses II at Wadi es-Sebua...

By (Mr. Dennis G. Jarvis) -, CC BY 2.0,

The construction of the Aswan dam project threatened to flood the site of the temples, thus destroying these amazing monuments. The project, commonly referred to as the Aswan Dam, is actually the construction of the Aswan High Dam. The original Aswan Dam was built between 1898-1902. The Aswan High Dam, built between 1960 and 1970 had a significant effect on Egypt, one part being its monuments in the Nubian regions. The reservoir for the dam, called Lake Nasser, would flood many important ancient monuments if a solution were not found.

It is at this point in the story we can introduce the stamp issued by Monaco on 3 June 1961. It was issued to help gain publicity for the protection of these temples.

This stamp, engraved by Albert Decaris, showcases the need for the protection of monuments lest, as the image depicts, the monuments get drowned in flood waters. 

Thankfully, it was decided to move certain important monuments, these temples being two such monuments along with others such as Ramesses II's temple at Abu Simbel. Wadi es-Sebua was dismantled in 1964 and moved 4km west of its original location. The monuments avoided the disastrous outcome as depicted on the stamp! Incidentally, the temple at Abu Simbel was relocated in 1968. Now monuments such as these can continue to be enjoyed for many generations to come.

Until next time...

Stay Decaris Crazy!