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FRANCE. The 2024 Salon Philatélique de Printemps in Salon-de-Provence

After some changes in the management of Philaposte, in particular the dismissal of Laurence Dartiailh, head of philatelic events and main promoter of the LISA issues for the last 15 to 20 years, rumours had circulated that Philaposte would no longer be issuing new commemorative LISA vignettes in 2024. However, after some months of uncertainty, Philaposte announced new issues, the first one being for the Salon Philatélique de Printemps.

This annual philatelic fair is organised by the CNEP, the Chambre syndicale française des Négociants et Experts en Philatélie held in even years ‘en province’ i.e. in a city outside the capital, and in odd years in Paris. In 2024 the city chosen was Salon-de-Provence, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in south-eastern France.

The Salon Philatélique de Printemps 2024 was held from April Thursday 4th to Saturday 6th at the Espace Charles Trenet, a concert and performance hall in a busy shopping area in the city centre. The event brought together some twenty philatelic dealers associated with the CNEP, as well as l’Art du Timbre Gravé and l’Amicale Philatélique Nostradamus, the local philatelic association.

The exhibition, on display during the Salon, entitled ‘Les visages de Marianne’, a great collection assembled by Cyril de La Patellière over a period of more than forty years, consisting of initial and final designs by different artists of the ‘Mariannes’ or definitive series of France.

As usual at such fairs, the Salon appeared more or less busy on the morning of the first day only, with visits from local dignitaries and a few visitors interested in the special Salon issues. These included the Salon-de-Provence stamp and the vignette LISA and, to a lesser extent, a new personalised stamp block issued by the CNEP.

The local La Poste set up a temporary post office on the stage of the hall, where visitors were able to purchase the new Salon-de-Provence stamp, and obtain the special postmarks for this event. The LISA issue could be obtained from the two IER NABANCO postal kiosks, temporarily moved from the nearby La Poste – Salon Massenet post office and set up at the side of the hall.

Interestingly there is also an IER 950 NABUCCO kiosk installed in this post office, so it would not be a surprise to come across vignettes LISA with this printing variety, printed after the Salon …

The Salon-de-Provence stamp, printed in intaglio, is a composition that brings together three outstanding buildings in the city: the Tour de horloge, the château de l’Empéri, and the Fontaine Moussue.

The vignette LISA, on the other hand, depicts the town hall or l’Hôtel de Ville, built in the 17th century (main picture). It is an entirely photoshop design, and the label rolls are offset printed.

All the special issues for the Salon, as well as their respective postmarks, are designs by Christophe Laborde-Balen, an artist specialising in engraving, who participated in an enjoyable signing session organised by l’Art du Timbre Gravé.

Surprisingly, the two IER NABANCO postal kiosks installed in the Salon were running different software. The machine installed on the left had not been modified and used the normal software or programme used by all the kiosks installed in the La Poste post offices (left screen, with the main menu). The machine on the right, on the other hand, had been configured with the ‘philatelic programme’, with only a few purchase options available (right screen).

Both machines issued variable value stamps with the same design, but with very obvious differences; the kiosk on the left printed the Datamatrix code and La Poste logo on the stamps and the one on the right did not.

But the differences between the two programmes go much further. By selecting the option ‘Vignette montant au choix’ on the kiosk’s main screen, it is possible to purchase stamps for domestic mail (LETTRE VERTE) and registered mail (LETTRE RECOMMANDÉE with the three available compensation rates, R1, R2 & R3, with and without acknowledgement of receipt AR) with the prefixes DD & AA, respectively, starting from the minimum programmed value. This value is €0.15 when using the IER NABANCO kiosks in the normal programme mode but €1.00 when using the ‘philatelic programme’.

Therefore, at one of the kiosks set up at the Salon Philatélique de Printemps in Salon-de-Provence, vignettes LISA for tracked mail or ‘COURRIER SUIVI‘ were available as an exception to the norm.

Sticker suivi‘, stamp or label with a face value of 0.50 EUR providing the tracking option to an ordinary domestic mail ‘LETTRE VERTE‘.

Right, ‘MAINTENANCE‘ label or test print.

Below, stamps and tickets for domestic tracked mail ‘LETTRE VERTE SUIVIE‘, equating to a ‘LETTRE VERTE‘ stamp plus a ‘Sticker suivi‘, and the new ‘LETTRE SERVICES PLUS‘ stamp, the domestic express option introduced in early 2023 offering tracking and 2 day delivery.

(English edition rewritten by J. Gareze – April 2024)

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