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 FCPS-LogoIn 1949, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the first French postage stamp, a group of British philatelists set up a pioneering  specialist  philatelic society devoted to the study of the stamps of France and the then French Empire. From small beginnings, the France and Colonies Philatelic Society now unites over 300 collectors in Britain and overseas in the many and varied delights of the stamps and postal history of la Francophonie.

The Society provides an extensive programme of meetings in several locations, holds an annual Philatelic Weekend, publishes a well regarded and authoritative Journal and series of monographs as well as several more extensive specialist philatelic books, operates a magazine circuit, two thriving exchange packets and three postal Auctions a year. It is a friendly and informal group to which non-members are welcome to attend any of our meetings.



Zoom has become popular in the last few months as a means of conducting online meetings. It was decided that the France & Colonies PS follows suit. Could members interested please advise Chris Hitchen by email  to let us know whether you would simply wish to view displays or whether you would be able to give a display as well. Those without a webcam can of course still view the displays but will not be seen by others.

Future information on Zoom meetings will only be sent to those who express an interest. Many will not be interested and we do not want to bother those members with unnecessary emails. Read more

FULL DETAILS ON HOW TO JOIN AND/OR DISPLAY IN ZOOM - The first meeting was held on Tuesday 12 January details here. The next meeting will be held Tuesday 9 February at 14:30 GMT.

Whilst circumstances are still difficult for most, the vaccination roll out should improve matters by early summer. Many who enjoy are weekend meeting were disappointed when that scheduled for March had to be cancelled. The good news is that we have now managed to rearrange this for 9th to 11th July 2021 back at our old venue at Charlecote.

A full program will be made available to all well before the meeting. Application form and further details are here.

Until circumstances change future planning is clearly not possible, consequently there are no scheduled meetings advertised in the Programme Card for 2021. The website will always have the latest information so members will need to consult that regularly to see what is going on. When things improve then Convenors will arrange meetings as soon as practical. It may well not be feasible to advise these in the Journal in advance. Details of converors is herePlease consider using the FORUM in the meantime - perhaps share your latest acquisitions or any query or comment you may have. If you have not registered as a member, please contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your preferred password and a Username will be provided.

All Society services continue as normal, it is only meetings that are off limits for the time being.


Due to the continued cancellation of meetings for the foreseeable future, it was decided for the enjoyment of all to place a Virtual Display on-line when no Journal is published. It is hoped it will grow into a permanent display and continue when the world gets back to "normal". Society members are treated to the display for the month preceeding the web up-loaded display where it will remain until the owner wishes it removed. Society members are encouraged to contactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to showcase their displays. Should members wish to remain anonymous for the on-line displays they may do so.

We have three short displays to entertain you this month - It is envisaged new displays will be uploaded in January and February.

Axis Occupation of France GIF

Alan Baum has kindly supplied us with a selection of pages from his collection ‘The Axis Occupation of France’. This offers us an opportunity to see material that we normally only come across when turning the pages of the back of the catalogue:-
Pétain and the Legion of Volunteers against Bolshevism
German Occupation of Northern France
 • Dunkirk
 • Coudekerke
The Atlantic Pockets.
 • Lorient.
 • St Nazaire
ltalian Naval Base at Bordeaux  Continue reading

 § § §

 The second display is from Paul Grigg with a chapter from his collection of the rural postal service in France. Here we are treated to a thorough examination of the CL and CD marks of the first half of the 19th century in his display ‘France - Rural Service Correspondance Locale, Distribution'

Before 1829 local collection and delivery of mail was almost non-existent. The environs of main post offices had some sort of delivery service but outlying areas had none unless private arrangements were made. lt was up to private individuals to collect their letters but many seldom visited their post office, as a result of this some
300,000 dead letters were recorded
in 1828. To overcome the problem proposals for rural collection and delivery were made law in acts published 3'd and 10e June 1829.

This resulted in the installation of some 35,000 mailboxes and the recruitment of some 5000 extra staff to work as rural mailmen which in itself was a boost to local economies.
Continue reading

  § § §

Regions of France in Picture Postcards Roger Niven

 Our third display is from Roger Niven and is entitled ‘The regions of France in the early 20th century as illustrated in Picture Postcards from 1902 to 1918’.
This is a fascinating insight into a very short period of French history including the postcard depicting the washerwomen in Nice. Those of you who know this town may just about work out where the photo was taken.

The early 20th Century saw France emerging from the shock of defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and the collapse of the Second Empire. As the memories of the war faded "La Belle Epoque" described a new mood of optimism and prosperity in the country.
One result was an increased awareness of the rich diversity of the regions of France, and an interest in celebrating the perceived "difference" of a superior French culture. The French railway network made travel throughout France more accessible for both the local population and the growing number of tourists; and these were eager to buy and send iilustrations from their journeys. Continue reading

Earlier Displays

France Rail Mail by Steve Ellis, examines one of France’s major companies, the P.L.M., together with its forerunners, from 1849 to the present day and illustrates the cancellations encountered on mail transported by the company.

French Conquest of Tunisia  by Peter Maybury, Peter is the Society’s leading authority on maritime mail of French North Africa and has regularly enthralled us at the Annual Philatelic Weekends with his outstanding material. Peter’s display is on the French Conquest of Tunisia includes precursor mail as early as 1777 as well as material from both expeditions between 1881-1883.

Metz Balloon Post September 5 to October 3, 1870. from Steve Walske who is well known for his collections of the American Civil War Blockade 1861-65 and the Pony Express, he shows us this magnificent display of similarly elusive material from his unique collection of Balloon Post

Madagascar and Dependencies by Ed Grabowski. The display studies the postal usage of the Colonial Allegorical Type, also referred to as the Navigation and Commerce issue, in Madagascar & Dependencies during the late 19th century and early 20th century.

The Chapelle de Ronchamp issues of 1964 and 1965: by Mick Bister. In the summer of 2018, while driving down from Alsace to Burgundy, Mick Bister made a short detour to visit the Chapelle de Notre-Dame du Haut above the little town of Ronchamp. The history of the site over the centuries and ultimately the involvement of one of the most talented architects of our time, Le Corbusier, inspired Mick to return to his collection of 1960s stamps and see how the two stamps depicting the chapel, issued in 1964 and 1965, could be developed into an in-depth study.

Please note: The information displayed in these pages is copyright. The images used are used with permission from the owners’ of the material. Permission for the use of any material within these pages must be sought from the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.and must be quoted in references.



front cover J293 WEBThe 60 page December edition of the Journal is now at the printers and hopefully will get to you in the early days of December. Members who receive their Journals digitally will also receive their copies in the next few days via WeTransfer rather than Dropbox. Please let This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. know if you have any problems downloading any files..

We are always in need of articles, large or small, if you have something of interest please consider sending it for inclusion in a later edition. Type your text in Word, add any images, scanned at 300dpi, as separate jpeg attachments and email them to Mick Bister. 

Journal 294's articles are:
•  France and the British post office 1660 to 1833
•  Post-independence postmarks of the Central African Republic - Part 3
•  The International Reciprocal Concessionary Rate for Newspapers and Periodicals
•  The 1F50 ‘tolerated’ letter rate to the Comité International de la Croix Rouge in Geneva
•  A guide to blocs-feuillets and other miniature sheets blocs-

Plus 10 shorter items including a new series on the Napoleonic Wars 1803-1815. We also have a query from Richard Broadhurst who asks if anyone has any information on the beautifully illustrated FIDES charity labels printed by the Institut de Gravure depicting missionaries in different countries.Fides vignettes1We also have in depth reviews of Les indésirables : les camps d'internés civils français et étrangers 1939 – 1946 en France et dans les Colonies' and Yvert & Tellier Catalogue ‘Timbres de France’ , Tome 1, 2021, and a follow up of Zentralafrika 2018/2019 and Züdafrika 2018/2019, plus our usual Society notes and a report on a live meeting in Wessex!  All articles are richly illustrated with examples of covers or stamps a selection of which is shown in the rotating gallery above. Jan Gane

The Journal, produced three times a year is available to members only - an application for membership can be downloaded here. Back issues of the Journal from 2003 - 2015 may be viewed here.


You can join our Forum without being a member of the Society - just contact the Website Manager with your name and preferred password and you will be supplied with a username - you don't have to be a member!.


...STOP PRESS...   STOP PRESS...    

The President and Committee regretfully announce the passing of Colin Spong on the morning of January 2nd 2021.
Colin was a well respected member of the Society. Members wishing to pay their respects to his family should contact Chris Hitchen by email for details of address and funeral arrangements.
Image shows Colin enjoying a celebratory drink at the Society's 70th Anniversary at Charlecote.
© Mick Bister
News lot106

30 January  2021

Almost 700 lots will be offered in the Winter Auction. The catalogue is available to view, images and further details have been uploaded to the Auctions page.