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French Stamps

Commemoratives of 1927-1931

Commemorative French stamps were not issued in vast quantities between 1927 and 1931, but this period did result in some wonderful philatellically inspired issues which are highly valued by collectors today.

The VERY LARGE souvenir sheet shown above (Y&T #241-42 (Bloc #2), Sc. #241, #241a-41b)  was issued on June 4, 1927 for the International Philatelic Exhibition in Strasbourg, The actual size of the sheet is 111 mm x 140 mm.

The souvenir sheet features  a 5 Fr. denomination stamp of the Semeuse-Type, printed in ultramarine, and a 10 Fr. denomination stamp of the Semeuse-Type, printed in carmine rose.  Between the two French stamps is a label, inscribed "STRASBOURG / 1927".

These souvenir sheets were ONLY SOLD, as souvenirs, at the exhibition, thus they are very scarce and expensive today.  Some people also collect the two stamps, separated from the souvenir sheet, with the label in between them.  Along with single stamps from the souvenir sheet, these appear for sale much more often than the souvenir sheets themselves, but they are still pretty costly.

The two stamps shown above (Y&T #244-45, Sc. #243-44) were issued on September 15, 1927 to celebrate the visit of members of the American Legion.  The national convention of the American Legion was held in Paris during 1927. 

The central vignette depicts the "SS Paris" and Charles Lindbergh's plane "The Spirit of St. Louis".  At either side are busts of the Marquis de Lafayette, who became a Major General during the American Revolution, and of American General George Washington

The 90 C. stamp at the upper left (Y&T #243, Sc. #242) was issued on September 7, 1927 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Pierre Eugène Marcellin Berthelot (1827-1907)

Berthelot was a scientist and chemist, and he is considered one of the greatest chemists of all time.

The 50 C. stamp at upper right (Y&T #257, Sc. #245) was issued in March 1929 to celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Relief of Orleans by French forces led by Joan of Arc.  The stamp depicts Joan of Arc, dressed as a knight, and riding a horse to battle.

Jeanne d'Arc (1412-1431) was a French peasant girl, believed to have had a vision of the Archangel Gabriel.  The archangel instructed her to support King Charles VII and to fight to liberate France from English domination late in the Hundred Years War.  She gained prominence after victories in lifting the Siege of Orleans and in several other battles.  She was captured by the English on May 23, 1430.  She was later convicted of heresy by clerics sympathetic to the English cause, and on May 30, 1431, she was burned at the stake. 

After her death, the Church heard a retrial of her case.  On July 7, 1456, she was found innocent of the crime of heresy.  She was canonized by Pope Benedict XV on May 16, 1920.  Since the Middle Ages, Joan of Arc has been considered a French national heroine, and today, she is one of the Patron Saints of France.

On May 18, 1929, the Merson-Type 2 F. definitive French stamps were overprinted EXPOSITTION / PHILATELIQUE / LE HAVRE / 1929, in blue, to promote the International Philatelic Exhibition at Le Havre during May 1929.  The stamps (Y&T #257A, Sc. #246) were only sold at the exhibition for 7 F., which included the price of the admission ticket.

The 50 C. stamp shown at the upper right (Y&T #263, Sc. #255) was issued January 1, 1930 to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the 1st French Settlement in Algeria.  The design features a view of Algiers, as seen through a large window.

Two concurrent definitive postage stamps were overprinted on April 23, 1930 to celebrate the 48th Congress of the International Labor Bureau in Paris.  They are both shown above (Y&T #264-65, Sc. #256-57).

The five commemorative French stamps shown above (Y&T #270-74, Sc. #258-62) were issued to publicize the International Colonial Exposition, held in Paris, France during six months of 1931.  The small format stamps were issued in 1930, and they all depict the head of a Fachi Woman from the colony of Niger.  The wide format stamp was issued in 1931, and it shows an allegorical representation of "French Colonials".

The purpose of the exhibition was to display the diverse cultures and immense resources of the French colonial empire.

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Commemoratives of 1927-1931