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French Stamps

Defintitives of 1926-1933

Beginning in 1926, definitive French stamps of the Semeuse Type and the Pasteur Type were re-valued to fulfill a shortage of smaller denomination postage stamps.

Beginning in 1929, the high-denomination allegorical Merson Type definitive stamps were finally retired.  They were replaced by what the Yvert-Tellier Catalog calls the "Monuments and Sites" series.  For our purposes, we'll call them "Pictorial Definitive" postage stamps.  The French would continue this practice of issuing higher denominaton pictorial definitive stamps throughout the 20th Century, creating some of the most impressive stamp issues in all of Philately.



The 12 re-valued definitive French stamps shown above were issued between 1926 and 1927.  They are as follows:


  • 25 C. on 30 C.  (1926 - Sc. #227) - Light Blue.
  • 25 C. on 35 C.  (1926 - Sc. #228) - Violet.
  • 50 C. on 60 C.  (1927 - Sc. #229) - Light Violet.
  • 50 C. on 65 C.  (1927 - Sc. #230) - Rose.
  • 50 C. on 75 C.  (1926 - Sc. #231) - Blue.
  • 50 C. on 80 C.  (1927 - Sc. #232) - Vermilion.
  • 50 C. on 85 C.  (1927 - Sc. #233) - Vermilion.
  • 50 C. on 1.05 Fr.  (1926 - Sc. #234) - Vermilion.
  • 50 C. on 1.25 Fr.  (1926 - Sc. #235) - Blue.
  • 55 C. on 60 C.  (1926 - Sc. #236) - Light Violet.
  • 90 C. on 1.05 Fr.  (1927 - Sc. #238) - Vermilion.
  • 1.10 Fr. on 1.40 Fr.  (1926 - Sc. #240) - Cerise.

The 25 C. on 35 C. Violet exists with a double overprint, and the 50 C. on 65 C. Rose exists with an inverted overprint.



These 3 Fr. pictorial definitive French stamps were issued between 1930 and 1931.  They come in four types which are all shown above.


  • Type I (Scott #247) - Printed in Dark Gray.  The window of the first turret on the left is made of two lines.  The horizontal line of the frame containing "3F" is not continuous.
  • Type II (Scott #247A) - Printed in Dark Gray.  Same as Type I, but the line under "3F" is continuous.
  • Type III  (Scott #247B) - Printed in Dark Gray.  Same as Type II, but there is a deeply cut line separating the "3" and "F".
  • Type IV  (Scott #248) - Printed in Bluish Slate.  Same as Type III, but the window of the first turret on the left is made of three lines.


Reims Cathedral
Painting by Domenico Quaglio (1787-1837)


This pictorial definitive features the Reims Cathedral or actually, Notre-Dame de Reims.  The cathedral is actually situated on the site of a basilica founded in 400 by St. Nicaise.  Clovis, the first King of the Franks, was baptized there by St. Remi in 496. 

The cathedral was damaged by fire in 1210, but it was repaired and expanded over time.  The cathedral, as it is today, was completed sometime during the 14th Century.  The coronation of every French monarch, up until Charles X in 1825, has been held in the Reims Cathedral.



These 5 Fr. pictorial definitive French stamps were issued between 1930 and 1931.  They come in two types which are both shown above.


  • Type I  (Scott #249) - The line at the top of the spire is broken.
  • Type II  (Scott #250) - The line at the top of the spire is continuous.


Mont Saint-Michel


Mont Saint-Michel or St. Michael's Mount is an island commune in Normandy, located about a half mile off the coast.  The island, as of 2009, is 247 acres in size, and it has a population of 44.

The island has been of strategic importance since ancient times, and since the 8th Century, it has been the seat of the monastery, from which it gets its name.  Legend has it that the Archangel Michael appeared to St. Aubert, the Bishop of Avranches, in 708, and instructed him to build a church on the rocky islet.

Mont Saint-Michel is one of France's most recognizable landmarks, and it is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, drawing more than three million visitors each year.



These 10 Fr. pictorial definitive French stamps were issued between 1929 and 1931.  They come in three types which are all shown above.


  • Type I  (Scott #251) - The top of the "E" of "POSTES" has a serif.  The oval shading inside the "0" of "10" and the outer oval are broken at their bases.
  • Type II  (Scott #251A) - The top of the "E" of "POSTES" has no serif.  The "0" of the "10" is the same as Type I.
  • Type III  (Scott #252) - The top of the "E" of "POSTES" has no serif.  The interior and exterior lines of the "0" of the "10" are complete.


View of La Rochelle Harbor in 1762
Painting by Claude Vernet (1714-1789)


These stamps feature a view of the Port of La Rochelle.  La Rochelle is a city of Western France and port on the Bay of Biscay.



These 20 Fr. pictorial definitive French stamps were issued between 1929 and 1931.  They come in three types which are all shown above.


  • Type I  (Scott #253) - The shading of the first complete arch in the left middle tier is made of horizontal lines.  These stamps are 36 x 20.75 mm, are printed on thick paper, and they are perforated 13 1/2.
  • Type II  (Scott #254) - Same as Type I.  These stamps are 35.5 x 21 mm, are printed on thick paper, and they are perforated 11.
  • Type III  (Scott #254A) - Shading of the arch is made of three diagonal lines.  These stamps are printed on thin paper, and they are perforated 13.


Pont du Gard - Nimes, France
From Flickr - 2007 Photograph by Emanuele


These French stamps feature a view of the Pont du Gard.  The Pont du Gard is an ancient Roman aqueduct bridge that crosses the Gardon River of Southern France.  It is part of the Nimes Aqueduct, a 31 mile long aqueduct constructed by the Romans during the early 1st Century.  The aqueduct was closed in the 6th Century, following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire.

The Pont du Gard is the highest and the best preserved of all the Roman aqueduct bridges, and it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1965.



The 2 Fr. pictorial definitive stamp shown above was issued in 1931

View of the Arc de Triomphe from the Champs-Élysées
From Flickr - 2010 Photograph by Jiuguang Wang


The design of this 2 Fr. stamp features a view of the Arc de Triomphe  (Triumphal Arch) in Paris.  The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments in the World.  It stands in the Place de Charles de Gaulle, formerly the Place de l'Étoile, at the Western end of the Champs-Élysées.

The arch was constructed between 1806 and 1836.  It is 164 feet high, 148 feet wide, and 72 feet in girth.  The arch was built to honor those that fought and died during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.  The insides of the arch is inscribed with many of their names.  In a vault underneath the Arch is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.

With the arch being so wide, during the 1919 victory parade, Charles Godefroy flew his Newport biplane through the middle of the arch, an event that was captured on newsreels at the time.





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Definitives of 1926-1933






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