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French Stamps

Definitives of 1932-1944

Four major types of small-format definitive French stamps were introduced between 1932 and 1939.  These were the Paix Type, the Ceres Type, the Mercury Type, and the Iris Type.  Additional denominations of these definitive stamps of the Republic of France, as well as later printings of some of the existing denominations, were introduced well beyond the German occupation of northern and western France during World War II (1940-1944) and the creation of the German-backed French State in Vichy (1940-1944).  The practice of issuing attractive, large format, pictorial definitive stamps also continued during this period.



The twenty Paix ("Peace") Type definitive French stamps shown above were issued between 1932 and 1939.  They are all typographed and perforated 14 x 13 1/2.

Their Scott catalog attributes are as follows:

  • 30 C.  (1932 - Sc. #264) - Deep Green.
  • 40 C.  (1932 - Sc. #265) - Bright Violet.
  • 45 C.  (1932 - Sc. #266) - Yellow Brown.
  • 50 C.  (1932 - Sc. #267) - Rose Red.
  • 55 C.  (1937 - Sc. #268) - Dull Violet.
  • 60 C.  (1937 - Sc. #269) - Ocher.
  • 65 C.  (1932 - Sc. #270) - Violet Brown.
  • 65 C.  (1937 - Sc. #271) - Bright Ultramarine.
  • 75 C.  (1932 - Sc. #272) - Olive Green.
  • 80 C.  (1938 - Sc. #273) - Orange.
  • 90 C.  (1932 - Sc. #274) - Dark Red.
  • 90 C.  (1938 - Sc. #275) - Bright Green.
  • 90 C.  (1938 - Sc. #276) - Ultramarine.
  • 1.00 F.  (1932 - Sc. #277) - Orange.
  • 1.00 F.  (1938 - Sc. #278) - Rose Pink.
  • 1.25 F.  (1932 - Sc. #279) - Brown Olive.
  • 1.25 F.  (1939 - Sc. #280) - Rose Carmine.
  • 1.40 F.  (1939 - Sc. #281) - Bright Red Violet.
  • 1.50 F.  (1932 - Sc. #282) - Deep Blue.
  • 1.75 F.  (1932 - Sc. #283) - Magenta.

The 40 C. denomination comes in two types, the 50 C. denomination comes in four types, the 65 C. (Ultramarine) denomination comes in three types, the 90 C. (Ultramarine) denomination comes in two types, and the 1 F. (Orange) denomination comes in two types.  Please refer to the France specialized catalogs for details.

The 50 C. denomination, 65 C. (Ultramarine) denomination, and 90 C. (Ultramarine) denomination were also issued in booklets.

As a rule, these stamps were produced with very poor centering.  Well centered examples are scarce.



The two provisional definitive French stamps shown above were overprinted and re-valued in 1934 and in 1937.

The catalog attributes are as follows:

  • 50 C. on 1.25 F.  (1934 - Sc. #298) - Olive Brown.
  • 80 C. on 1.00 F.  (1937 - Sc. #333) - Orange.



The three pictorial definitive French stamps shown above were issued between 1933 and 1935.  They are engraved and perforated 13.

The catalog details and descriptions are as follows:

  • 90 C.  (1933 - Sc. #290) - View of Le Puy-en-Velay.  The city, near the Loire River, is best known for its 12th Century cathedral, for the lentils grown there, and for lace-making.
  • 2.00 F.  (1935 - Sc. #299, Y-T #301) - A Brittany river landscape (description, in French).  It is believed that this is a landscape-montage of the area near the mouth of the Vilane River in Brittany, where the stamp artist lived.  The building with the spire does not exist. 
  • 3.50 F.  (1935 - Sc. #302) - View of the 12th Century Cloister of the Church of St. Trophime at Arles.


The Brittany 2.00 F. denomination stamp of 1935, normally printed in green, also exists in slate (Y-T #301A), and as such, it is very rare.  An example is shown above.



The six Ceres Type definitive French stamps shown above were issued between 1938 and 1940.  They are all typographed and perforated 14 x 13 1/2.

Their Scott catalog attributes are as follows:

  • 1.75 F.  (1938 - Sc. #335) - Dark Ultramarine.
  • 2.00 F.  (1939 - Sc. #336) - Carmine Rose.
  • 2.25 F.  (1939 - Sc. #337) - Ultramarine.
  • 2.50 F.  (1939 - Sc. #338) - Green.
  • 2.50 F.  (1940 - Sc. #339) - Violet Blue.
  • 3.00 F.  (1939 - Sc. #340) - Rose Lilac.



The six pictorial definitive French stamps shown above were issued in 1938.  They are engraved and perforated 13.

The catalog details and descriptions are as follows:

  • 02.00 F.  (1938 - Sc. #342) - The 1st Century Arc de Triomphe of Orange.  The triumphal arch was originally built during the reign of Caesar Augustus (27 BC - AD 14) to honor the veterans of the Gallic Wars and the Legio II Augusta.  It was later modified during the reign of Tiberius (AD 14 - AD 37) in AD 27 to celebrate the victories of Germanicus in the Rhineland.
  • 02.15 F.  (1938 - Sc. #343) - Miners.
  • 03.00 F.  (1938 - Sc. #344) - Palace of the Popes and the Saint-Bénézet Bridge at Avignon.  The 13th Century fortress was the seat of Western Christianity and the residence of six Popes during the 14th Century.
  • 05.00 F.  (1938 - Sc. #345) - Medieval fortress city of Carcassonne in Southern France.
  • 10.00 F.  (1938 - Sc. #346) - Keep and Castle of Vincennes, a massive royal fortress east of Paris.  The fortress was constructed between the 13th and 17th Centuries, initially as a hunting lodge, then finally, as a royal residence.
  • 20.00 F.  (1938 - Sc. #347) - The Port of St. Malo.  The fortress city of St. Malo, in Brittany, was originally founded by the Gauls during the 1st Century BC, and it later served as a fortress and commercial center during the Roman Empire.  The modern name comes from a monastic settlement located there during the early 6th Century.  During World War II, the ancient walled city was almost completely destroyed.  Most of it was rebuilt between 1948 and 1960.



The seventeen Mercury Type definitive French stamps shown above were issued between 1938 and 1942.  They are all typographed and perforated 14 x 13 1/2.

Their Scott catalog attributes are as follows:

  • 01 C.  (1939 - Sc. #353) - Dark Brown.
  • 02 C.  (1939 - Sc. #354) - Slate Green.
  • 05 C.  (1938 - Sc. #355) - Rose.
  • 10 C.  (1938 - Sc. #356) - Ultramarine.
  • 15 C.  (1938 - Sc. #357) - Red Orange.
  • 15 C.  (1939 - Sc. #358) - Orange Brown.
  • 20 C.  (1938 - Sc. #359) - Red Violet.
  • 25 C.  (1938 - Sc. #360) - Blue Green.
  • 30 C.  (1939 - Sc. #361) - Rose Red.
  • 40 C.  (1939 - Sc. #362) - Dark Violet.
  • 45 C.  (1939 - Sc. #363) - Light Green.
  • 50 C.  (1939 - Sc. #364) - Deep Blue.
  • 50 C.  (1941 - Sc. #365) - Dark Green.
  • 50 C.  (1942 - Sc. #366) - Greenish Blue.
  • 60 C.  (1939 - Sc. #367) - Red Orange.
  • 70 C.  (1939 - Sc. #368) - Magenta.
  • 75 C.  (1939 - Sc. #369) - Dark Orange Brown.



The thirteen Iris Type definitive French stamps shown above were issued between 1939 and 1944.  They are all typographed and perforated 14 x 13 1/2.

Some of the stamps shown in the image above may NOT BE in denomination sequence.

Their Scott catalog attributes are as follows:

  • 0.80 F.  (1940 - Sc. #375) - Red Brown.
  • 0.80 F.  (1944 - Sc. #376) - Yellow Green.
  • 1.00 F.  (1939 - Sc. #377) - Green.
  • 1.00 F.  (1940 - Sc. #378) - Crimson.
  • 1.00 F.  (1944 - Sc. #379) - Greenish Blue.
  • 1.20 F.  (1944 - Sc. #380) - Violet.
  • 1.30 F.  (1940 - Sc. #381) - Ultramarine.
  • 1.50 F.  (1941 - Sc. #382) - Red Orange.
  • 1.50 F.  (1944 - Sc. #383) - Henna Brown.
  • 2.00 F.  (1944 - Sc. #384) - Violet Brown.
  • 2.40 F.  (1944 - Sc. #385) - Carmine Rose.
  • 3.00 F.  (1944 - Sc. #386) - Orange.
  • 4.00 F.  (1944 - Sc. #387) - Ultramarine.

The 1 F. (Crimson) denomination was also issued in booklets.



The three pictorial definitive French stamps shown above were issued in 1939.  They are engraved and perforated 13.

The catalog details and descriptions are as follows:

  • 70 C.  (1939 - Sc. #394) - Woman wearing a traditional costume of Languedoc.  Languedoc is a Department (State) of France, and it is one of the major wine producing regions of France.  Its capital is Toulouse.
  • 90 C.  (1939 - Sc. #393) - View of Pau Castle.   The castle has occasionally been the residence of French nobility since the 14th Century, however, it is best remembered as having been used as a holiday home by Napoleon Bonaparte, when he was the French Emperor.
  • 90 C.  (1939 - Sc. #395) - Pont de la Guillotière in Lyons.  The bridge, formerly known as the Rhone Bridge, is the oldest bridge crossing the Rhone River, having been originally constructed for the Crusader armies during the late 12th Century.





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