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France Stamps and France Postal History


The first French mail service was set up to serve the King and the Royal Court on 19 June 1464.

In 1490 the Counts of Thurn and Taxis set up an international service. The mail service in France developed gradually and was eventually made available to everyone in 1603.

By a decree dated 19 July 1653, Renouard de Vélayer and Count Nogent were granted the right of collecting and delivering letters, notes and document within the city of Paris. Boxes were placed in different parts of the city for the reception of the post. The mail had to have a strip of paper, produced by de Vélayer, showing that payment had been made. From contemporary descriptions it would appear that these strips just had plain text printed on them. These paper strips were called billet de port payé and their price was one sou. The venture appears not to have been very successful; it ceased just after two years. None of these paper strip are known to exist today.

Until about 1700 the postal markings letters were endorsed by hand. In the early 1700s a start was made to introduce straight line postal markings.

By 1789 the whole country was covered with a postal network and relationships with neighbouring countries were established. The start of the revolution in 1789 disrupted the postal service for a while.

Dated postmarks were introduced in France in the early 1800s.

french stamps, france, french stamp images, french resource page The first postage stamps, depicting Ceres, were issued on 1 January 1849 and with the introduction of stamps various new marks were introduced to obliterate the stamps.

Following a vote on 21 November 1852 Napoleon III was declared Emperor and stamps depicting Napoleon’s head replaced the Ceres head. Initially the stamps were inscribed REPUB FRANC and in August 1853 new stamps inscribed EMPIRE FRANC appeared.

In 1870 France went to war with Prussia. The French were defeated, the Emperor captured and the empire was dissolved.

A Third Republic was declared and a provisional government set up in Bordeaux. The Ceres design of the Second Republic was reintroduced and the stamps were printed in Bordeaux.

The Prussians advanced and laid siege to Paris in September 1871 to February 1871. During the siege various methods were used to get mail in and out of Paris. This included manned balloons, floating canisters and pigeons. Stamps were printed in Paris during the seige using plates from the 1849-1852 issue.

The French Postal Administration operated Post Offices in a number of different countries using French stamps. During the First World War most of northern France was occupied by Germany.

Philatelic Societies for Collectors of French Stamps and French Postal History

France and Colonies Philatelic Society of Great Britain (UK)
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, and operates two thriving exchange packets and an Auction. It is a friendly and informal group to which new members are always made most welcome.

The France & Colonies Philatelic Society (USA)
The France & Colonies Group was organized in 1941 by seventeen philatelists who were interested in the stamps and postal history of France and the French Community. It was incorporated in 1961 as the France and Colonies Philatelic Society, Inc. (New York, nonprofit). Since then the membership has grown to more than 400 collectors throughout the American continent and overseas. The Society’s interest in French philately includes the Colonies, Offices Abroad, Monaco, Europa, Territories, and new Independent Republics.

New Issues of France stamps

Service Philatélique de La Poste
28, rue de la Redoute
92266 Fontenay-aux-Roses cedex, France
Tel :  +33 1418742 00

Selected pages on France Stamps and France Postal History

Want to buy stamps on the internet from france? Try stamp domain's auction search. Postage stamps and postal history of France
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Postage Stamps and Brief Postal History of France
from Australasian Philatelic Traders' Association Inc

Stamps and Postal History of France
by Keijo Kortelainen

France and French Colonies stamps - Discussion Thread
from - Postage Stamp Chat Board & Stamp Bulletin Board Forum

Postal History of France (1849-1878) pdf download
by Afzal H Nanjee

The Pigeon Post into Paris 1870-1871
by J.D. Hayhurst O.B.E
The postal history of the siege of Paris has long been a subject of intensive study; much has been written, much remains to be written. The research is mainly directed at the balloon post, occasionally at the boules de Moulins. In modern literature, references to the pigeon post are not rare but tend to include semi-fictional anecdotes or confusions of one feature of the service with another....

The Pigeon Post into Paris 1870-1871
The pigeon post was in operation while Paris was besieged during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871. The normal channels of communication into and out of Paris were interrupted during the four and a half months of the siege, and it was not until the middle of February 1871 that the Prussians relaxed their control of the postal and telegraph service...

1870s Paris Balloon cover found in Australia National Archives
from - Postage Stamp Chat Board & Stamp Bulletin Board Forum

The Pneumatic Post of Paris
by J.D. Hayhurst O.B.E
The network in Paris was commenced in 1866 by the construction of an experimental line between the telegraph offices at Grand Hotel and place de la Bourse...

A Mauritius postal stationery newspaper wrapper from Curepipe to Leipzig in Germany with a French Sea Post cancellation Ligne T which was used for the Marseille to Nouméa via Australia route.

French Sea Posts and French Ligne Cancellations
by Julian H Jones, TPO & Seapost Society
French Sea Posts commenced in earnest in the 1860's with services to the Caribbean and Mexico operated by the Compagnie General Transatlantique (CGT) steamship line of Paris.

Maury Newspaper Wrapper
from Stamp Domain
An Advertising wrapper produced by the Maury stamp business in Paris in 1894

France SG375, 1917/19 War Orphans Dieproofs and Essays
by Giorgio Leccese
A detailed study of French, Colonial, Andorra and Monaco proofs and essays

Postal History of Northern France (Nord)
by Emmanuel Lebecque

The German Fieldpost in the District of Valenciennes 1914-1918
by Emmanuel Lebecque

French Stamps designed by Czeslaw Slania

Histoire Postale
by E Bonnafoux

Local Posts in France
by Volker Kleiner
Details of French Locals Posts - Amiens; Gauthier Freres & Cie; Post of l´Agence Lorin Paris; Poneys-Poste; Valenciennes

International Postage Meter Stamp Catalog/France
The first meter cancels in France were introduced in 1924

BOOKS about French Philately and Postal History

France SG400e, 1923 Bordeaux Philatelic Congress The Flight of the Ville D'Orleans
by Ernst M. Cohn, 1970, 48pp
Perhaps the most fascinating flight from the 1870 Siege of Paris

Free French Censorship in the Levant
by D. M. Zimmerman Jr, 1980, 89pp
Details of the handstamps, markings and printed tapes

French Islands
by O. W. Newport and J. T. Whitney, 1981, 94pp
Postal markings of Chausey, Mont Saint-Michel, Bréhat, Ushant (Ouessant), Belle Isle, Ile de Ré and Ile d'Oléron

The Merson Type
by Dr Jean Storch and Robert Françon, published by the RPS, bilingual text, 1990, 198pp A study on the adhesive stamps, proofs, essays, forgeries and postal history.

Military and Postal History of the Revolutionary Armies in the West of  France 1791-1802
by Stanley J. Luft, published by Envision Monographs, 1993, 113pp

The Pigeon Post in Paris 1870 - 1871
by J. D. Hayhurst, 1970, 48pp

France SG 554, 1936 South America Flight The Cancellations on French Stamp of the Classic Issues 1849-1876
by Lesgor and Minnigerode, 1948, 136 pages

The type Sage issue of France 1876 - 1900
by P.R.A. Kelly, pub by Society of Postal Historians, 2000
A study of the postmarks and postal history.

The Siege of Paris September 1870 - January 1871 Par Ballon Mounte
by R. R. Thompson 1975, 322 pages, numbered edition of 525

Fakes and Forgeries of 20th Century French Postage Stamps
by R. G. Gethin, 2006, 148 pp
A detailed study from the 1914 Red Cross Surtax to 1997.

The postal history of the commune revolution, Paris 1871
by G Brown, 1992.

Table of French Postal Rates 1849 to 2005
by Derek Richardson, 2006, 3rd edition, 96 pp

Bibliography - France - Stamps & Postal History

by Thomas Berger
(Link to the original page via the Way Back Machine)