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French Stamps

Commemoratives of 1937-1938

For commemorative French stamps, the big events of 1937 were the Paris International Exposition and the Paris International Philatelic Exhibition.  Of course, during the period from 1937 to 1938, there was no shortage of other significant subjects in French history to commemorate, as well.



The 1.50 Fr. denomination stamp shown above, at the left (Sc. #322), was issued on January 18, 1937 to publicize the International Skiing Competitions at Chamonix.

The design features a ski-jumper.


The 1.50 Fr. denomination French stamp shown above, at the right (Sc. #324), was issued on March 15, 1937 to publicize the Paris International Exposition.

The design features an allegorical representation of the exposition.


Paris International Exposition
Exposition Postcard

The Paris International Exposition, officially called the International Exposition of Art and Technology in Modern Times, was a World's Fair, held in Paris, France, from May through November of 1937.

In the postcard shown above, the Nazi Germany pavilion is shown at the left and the USSR pavilion is shown at the right, with the Eiffel Tower in the background.  Forty-four nations participated in the exposition, though much of it was monopolized by the intense competition between these two ideological arch-rivals.

Many other festivals and anniversaries occurred during the time of the exposition, including the 100th Anniversary of the Arc de Triomphe on May 23, 1937.



The two commemorative French stamps shown above (Sc. #325-326, Y-T #337-338) were issued on April 22, 1937 in Memory of Jean Mermoz.

The 30 C. denomination stamp comes in two different shades, Slate or Grayish Green (Y-T #337) and Yellow Green (Y-T #337A).  The Yellow Green shade is very rare.

Jean Mermoz (1901-1936) was a French aviator and a pioneer in commercial aviation.  He is considered a hero to many in both France and Argentina, and there are flight schools named in his honor. 

During an Argentine airmail flight on December 7, 1936, the Latécoère 300 Flying Boat being piloted by Mermoz crashed into the ocean.  Neither the aircraft nor the five members of the crew were ever recovered.



The two pictorial French stamps shown above (Sc. #327-328) were issued on May 31, 1937 to publicize the 13th International Railroad Congress in Paris.

The 30 C. denomination features an electric train, and the 1.50 Fr. denomination features a streamlined locomotive.


 

The block of four Ceres definitive stamps and two labels shown above, the center portion of the souvenir sheet shown at the left (Sc. #329), were issued on June 18, 1937 for the Paris International Philatelic Exhibition (PEXIP).  The stamps in the souvenir sheet are typographed, and they are perforated 14 x 13 1/2.

The souvenir sheet also exists imperforate, and as such, it is rare.

The souvenir sheet measures 150 mm x 220 mm.  The souvenir sheets (face value = 1 Franc) were sold only at the philatelic exhibition in Paris, and each holder of an admission ticket to the exhibition was allowed to buy one souvenir sheet.

 


The two commemorative French stamps shown above (Sc. #330-331) were issued in June 1937 to celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the Publication of "Discours de la Méthode" by René Descartes.

The common design features the detail from a portrait of René Descartes by the Dutch painter, Frans Hals (1582-1666).

The first stamp was printed with the name of the book being "Discours sur la Méthode", which is incorrect.  The error was quickly noticed, and the second stamp was printed with the corrected name of the book being "Discours de la Méthode".

René Descartes (1596-1650) was a French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist, often called the father of modern western philosophy.  His book, "Discours de la Méthode" (English:  "Discourse on the Method"), originally entitled (English translation) "Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One's Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences", is a philosophical and autobiographical treatise.  The book is the source of the famous quotation "Je pense, donc je suis" (English:  "I think, therefore I am").



The 1.75 Fr. denomination French stamp shown above, at the left (Sc. #332), was issued on September 17, 1937 to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the United States Constitution.

The design features an allegorical representation of France congratulating the USA.


The 90 C. denomination pictorial stamp shown above, at the right (Sc. #334), was issued on October 4, 1937 to celebrate the Opening of the Mountain Road at Iseran in Savoy.

The design features the 9,068 ft. elevation Col de l'Iseran, the highest paved mountain pass in the Alps.



The 50 F. denomination French stamp shown above, at the left (Sc. #348), was issued on June 16, 1938 to honor Clément Ader.

Clément Ader (1841-1925) was a French inventor, engineer, and aircraft designer, credited by many with being the Father of Aviation and the Father of Powered Flight.  For further information about Clément Ader and his inventions, please see the "Airmail Stamps of 1936-1950" page in this website category.


The 1.75 Fr. denomination stamp shown above, at the right (Sc. #349), was issued on June 1, 1938 to publicize the FIFA World Cup Soccer Championships in Paris.

Italy defeated Hungary in the final game of the 1938 World Cup Soccer Championship.



The 1.75 Fr. denomination stamp shown above (Sc. #352) was issued on July 19, 1938 to celebrate the Royal Visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain to France.

The design features a Seal of "Friendship and Peace", Victoria Tower (Westminster Palace) in London, and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.





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Commemoratives of 1937-1938






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The 75 C. denomination French stamp shown above (Sc. #323) was issued on February 15, 1937 to celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the publication of "Le Cid" by Pierre Corneille.

Pierre Corneille (1606-1684) is considered one of the greatest 17th Century French dramatists.  The comic-tragedy, "Le Cid", based on the legend of "El Cid", was first performed in Paris in January 1636.  The novel was published later that year.



The 55 C. denomination stamp shown above (Sc. #341) was issued on April 2, 1938 to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Léon Gambetta.

Léon Gambetta (1838-1882) was a French statesman, prominent during the time of the Franco-Prussian War.



The 1.75 Fr. denomination stamp shown above (Sc. #350) was issued on June 13, 1938 to celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the Birth of Dom Pierre Pérignon.

The design features a girl dressed in a
costume of the Champagne Region, and of course, holding a glass of Champagne.


Statue of Dom Perignon


Dom Pierre Pérignon (1638-1715) was a French Benedictine Monk who made important contributions to the quality and production of wines in the Champagne Region of France.  Contrary to popular belief, he DID NOT invent "sparkling-wine" or the "Champagne making process". 

The Moët & Chandon Winery named their, now famous, Champagne after him.  The first vintage of Dom Pérignon Champagne was in 1921.



The 55 C. denomination stamp shown above (Sc. #351) was issued on July 8, 1938 to honor Jean de la Fontaine on the 317th Anniversary of his Birth.

Jean de la Fontaine (1621-1695) was a French fable writer and one of the most widely-read French poets of the 17th Century.