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FRANCE. Salon Philatélique de Printemps Paris 2023

Finally, after four years of turbulence and cancellations due to the pandemic, the Salon Philatélique de Printemps returned to Paris in 2023, in its usual format and location.

The last Salon de Printemps in Paris was held in 2019 (see article, published in VARIABLE 52). The following year, the Salon planned for in Dole was cancelled, although the LISA issue was eventually printed at the local La Poste office (article and VARIABLE 57). The 2021 Salon de Printemps de Paris was also cancelled, and in 2022 a small Salon was held in Dole, albeit without a LISA issue and with little attendance

The Salon Philatélique de Printemps – 7e Biennale Philatélique was held in March from Thursday 23rd to Saturday 25th 2023, on the same weekend that PHILAPOSTEL held its annual meeting in Cap d’Agde (see article).

Organised by the Chambre syndicale française des Négociants et Experts en Philatélie (CNEP), this stamp fair was held in hall C of the Espace Champerret in Paris, with some 40 stands occupied by dealers, some philatelic associations and Philaposte, of course!

According to the organisers, some 6,500 people visited the Salon during the three days. A figure that is decreasing year on year with visitors being mostly attracted by the release of Philaposte’s special issues, sold exclusively -sometimes until stocks are exhausted- during these fairs.

Among the special issues, a poster with ‘Poste Aérinenne C.I.T.T. Paris 1949’ stamps and the Gustave Eiffel 1832-1923 souvenir sheet as well as the ‘Lettre Services Plus‘ stamp sheet.

In 2023, in order to better address customer requirements, reduce its carbon footprint, and to be able to guarantee the universal postal service, La Poste has revamped its entire range of postal services for domestic mail. The ‘Écopli’ and ‘Prioritaire’ mail options are no longer available, and since January 1st 2023 the only ordinary mail option is ‘Lettre Verte‘, with a J+3 delivery (aim to deliver within three days).

The priority or express delivery options are the ‘e-lettre rouge‘, with next day delivery only available for digital mail printed by La Poste, and the new ‘Lettre Services Plus‘, with a two-day delivery and with ‘Suivi’ or tracking included.

Without doubt, as mentioned in the marketing of the fair, the star of the 2023 Salon Philatélique de Printemps issues was the Catacombs of Paris. Philaposte released a ‘traditional’ stamp and a new LISA issue, and the CNEP devoted its usual block to this unique cemetery, now surprisingly transformed into one of the city’s main tourist attractions …

The catacombs are actually limestone mines from Roman times, a labyrinth of underground tunnels that were filled in from the end of the 18th century until the mid-19th century with bones from the city’s cemeteries. Opened to the public in 1809, this great ossuary, the largest in the world, houses the bones of some six million Parisians (see maximum cards).

The stamp, the LISA vignette and the three special postmarks related to these issues, are designs by Louis Genty, a young designer who since 2021 has produced several stamp designs for La Poste.

The LISA consists of a composition depicting various areas of the Catacombs, in which one can recognise, on the left, the so-called ‘Crypt of the Passion’ or ‘Rotunda of the Tibiae’, a pillar consisting of a barrel-shaped covering of skulls and tibiae.

For the printing of the vignettes LISA, Philaposte installed a single IER NABANCO postal kiosk with thermal printing next to its stand.

And as in previous fairs, in order to reduce queues at the kiosks and to simplify the sales process, Philaposte offered 6000 packs of LISA vignettes for sale. With the demise of the domestic ECOPLI (CC) and PRIORITAIRE (AA) options, the packs now only include stamps with the two basic shipping indicators available for ordinary mail; DD for domestic ‘LETTRE VERTE’ and IP for international mail. These stamps had been printed earlier with their back office computer system and a Brother thermal printer.

The IER NABANCO kiosk installed at the Salon de Printemps issued stamps with the ‘stamps program’ software.  This is specially modified software which disables 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.

The images below show stamps issued by both equipments, with differences in the imprint size and the position of the shipping types.


Brother printer

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 (1,00€ on the machine installed in Paris) and with the three available compensation rates, R1, R2 & R3 (compensation of 16, 153 and 458 €, respectively), with and without a receipt (AR).

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

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