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FRANCE. 71e Assemblée Générale de Philapostel, Cap d’Agde 2023

Following on from the 2022 convention held in Trégunc on the Atlantic coast (see article, published in VARIABLE 65), PHILAPOSTEL held its major annual 2023 event in the south of the country, on the Mediterranean coast.

The 71st convention organised by the Languedoc-Roussillon regional section was held over the weekend of March 24th & 25th 2023 at the Village Vacances Azureva in Cap d’Agde. It coincided with another major annual philatelic event, the Salon Philatélique de Printemps in Paris (article).

As in previous years, the meeting brought together representatives of the 25 regional and departmental associations of PHILAPOSTEL, the largest philatelic association in France. The event also included a philatelic exhibition, a postal art competition, and a new exhibition format called ‘Ma première exposition’, in which participants can submit an original collection limited to 12 pages.

Among the free class collections, I liked ‘Les enveloppes brodées d’Elisabeth’, a curious collection displaying brocade envelopes reproducing stamp images.

As in previous events, Philaposte produced a special vignette LISA for the Cap d’Agde convention. The design is by Geneviève Marot and shows an image of the joutes nautiques on the Hérault river, in front of the cathedral of Saint Etienne, in Agde.

The joutes are traditional nautical tournaments or jousts that pit together two participants equipped with a shield and a long spear in boats crewed by rowers. These tournaments, now considered a sport, have been held in Agde since 1601.

For the printing of the vignettes, Philaposte set up an IER NABANCO postal kiosk in one of the halls of the holiday complex, where the organisers sold the various philatelic and postal products produced specially for the event.

In addition to the vignette LISA, the organizers produced two personalized stamps, for sale also as a presentation pack, two postcards and a commemorative cover. The special postmark, also designed by Geneviève Marot, reproduces the clash between the two jouteurs.

The Marot designs, (inspired by photographs of joutes in the nearby city of Sète), were not to the liking of the local Agde representatives because of the inter-city rivalries and because of the accuracy of the illustrations … and rightly so.

Following the change of tariffs on January 1st 2023, there are no longer ECOPLI (CC) and PRIORITAIRE (AA) tariffs for domestic basic mail; only LETTRE VERTE (DD). The kiosks therefore only dispensed variable value stamps with two basic tariffs, one for domestic mail (LETTRE VERTE DD 1,16 EUR) and one for international mail (LETTRE PRIORITAIRE IP 1,80 EUR).

As in other philatelic events, the La Poste technician had set up the machine with the ‘stamps program’.  This is specially modified software which prevents the printing of the 2D Datamatrix code and the La Poste logo that are usually printed on all variable value stamps issued by postal kiosks installed in post offices.

By selecting the option ‘Vignette montant au choix’ on the kiosk’s main screen, it is possible to purchase stamps for domestic registered mail (LETTRE RECOMMANDÉE) with the prefix AA, with the programmed minimum value (1,16 EUR on the machine installed in Cap d’Agde) and with the three available compensation rates, R1, R2 & R3 (compensation of 16, 153 and 458 €, respectively), with and without acknowledgement of receipt (AR).

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

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