Tuesday, 17 January 2017

My New Pierre Gandon Blog

A big hello to all my fellow collectors. I hope everyone had a great Christmas! I have loads planned for my blogs for 2017 - health permitting. The first thing for the year to report is that I have created a new blog dedicated to my Pierre Gandon stamp collecting journey. HERE is the link. So if you have any interest in Gandon stamps, come on over for a look-see! And maybe offer me some tips :)

Happy stamping for 2017!!

Until next time...

Thursday, 21 July 2016

I Muse...On Red Cross Booklets

Not long after I started looking for French engraved stamps I spotted a Red Cross issue booklet. It was very nice, but at the time I honestly didn't give the idea of buying any of them all that much thought. Then the other day I received a couple of year sets in the mail. One of the sets was 1969. I have to say the Red Cross stamps really stood out as superb. While studying them, I recalled seeing some booklets on ebay. So I went and had a look to see what was available and the prices. I quickly found a booklet for the 1969 stamps for only $4.00 Australian. I thought this was reasonable -  I hope it was - so I bought it.

I haven't received the item yet, so the below scan is not the best quality, but its good enough to get a glimpse of what I got. Both stamps were designed and engraved by Pierre Gandon from paintings by Nicolas Mignard.

Does anyone else out there collect these booklets? Have I in buying this first one, opened up a whole can of monetary worms I should have left in the can?

Until next time... 

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Monaco 1958 - Basilica of St. Pius X

The Basilica of St. Pius X located at Lourdes in France is a part of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes. For those of you who are not catholic, the sanctuary is a major catholic pilgrimage site where it is believed that the Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Bernadette Soubirous on several occasions. These appearances are known as the Marial Apparitions. I personally remember learning about St. Bernadette when I was in school many moons ago. If you'd like to read more about St. Bernadette click HERE.

Designed by architect Pierre Vago, the Basilica is also known as the Underground Basilica since it is almost entirely underground. And it is truly massive! When I first looked at some images from inside the Basilica I was staggered. It incorporates over 12,000 square metres of open space which can accommodate up to 25,000 worshippers. The Basilica was opened in 1958 - the same year as the release of the Monaco stamp - in anticipation of the massive crowds that would gather for centenary celebrations of the Marial Apparitions.

Here is an image from Wikipedia just to give you an idea of the scale of the building...


On 15 May 1958 Monaco issued a set of two Airmail stamps. The 100f stamp, depicting the Basilica of St. Pius X, was engraved by Albert Decaris.

When I first started collecting Decaris stamps I saw this particular stamp and, to be honest, I didn't think all that much of it. But in preparation for this blog I did some research into the subject of this stamp and I was fascinated, which in turn gave me a new appreciation of the stamp. Decaris has done a rather nice job of rendering the impressive main entrance to the basilica. Certainly not my favourite Decaris stamp but nice nonetheless.

Until next time...

Monday, 18 July 2016

France 1969 - Stamp Day

The horse-bus, or what is more commonly known as the horse-drawn omnibus, was used for passenger transport before the advent of motor vehicles. They were predominately used in Europe and the USA in the late 19th century.  The typical omnibus was like a large stage coach. They were often double-decker with the bottom level enclosed and the top level open the air. Occasionally the top level had a canopy to protect passengers from the elements. On the lower level the seating was typically arranged as two wooden bench seats running along the sides of the cabin facing each other. While on the second level the each seats were arranged in the same fore to aft configuration, but the benches were placed back to back in order, I presume for the passengers to look out at their surrounds more easily. Interestingly, it seems that large businesses took advantage of these vehicles as a form of moving billboard. Covered in advertising, omnibuses actually looked pretty cool.


On 17 March 1969 France issued a fantastic stamp featuring an omnibus for Stamp Day. Click HERE for more on Stamp Day. The stamp was designed and engraved by Pierre Becquet.

This stamp is absolutely beautiful. The details are stunning. As the eye wanders over this stamp, we see a superbly rendered omnibus in vivid green. You can clearly see the bench seat arrangements in the cabin as mentioned above. Although background detail, the building to the right has been drawn with minute attention to detail. In the foreground to the right we see a couple taking a stroll down the street, the woman dressed in all her finery with a wide-brim hat and a parasol. The design is so alive we can almost hear the clack-clack of the horses hooves on the road and the murmur of the chatter from the passengers as the vehicle trundles past.

Until next time...