A Stamp Goddess

The Stamp Man

The Stamp Man

2020-09-24 14:58:10

Your chance to own one of the premier philatelic items of the world

I’m excited with what I have to share with you today. 

You see, it is one of my favourite items in philately.

This is why I’m so excited…

  • It is from one of the world’s first stamp issues
  • It has an iconic design depicting a goddess and has an interesting historical context
  • It is not just a standard issue, which would be nice enough, but among philately’s most renowned errors and its very existence remains a mystery
  • It not only depicts a goddess but it is also of goddess-like quality worthy of being adored
  • It is both rare and desirable
  • I am able to offer it to you today at a great price 

The Penny Black of France

France was almost nine years behind Britain in issuing its first stamps on 1 January 1849. France was still early to the party being the 5th country in the world to issue stamps.

Their issue marked the application of a postal reform similar to Britain bringing the introduction of prepaid postage by the sender.

The first French stamps were created a few months after the proclamation of the Second Republic.

Because of being a Republic, France could not feature a monarch like the penny black. Instead they opted for an effigy of the goddess, Ceres, the symbol of liberty and the Republic.

a 3rd century AD statue of Ceres in the Louvre

A 3rd century AD statue of Ceres in the Louvre

Ceres was the ancient Roman goddess of agriculture, fertility and motherly love. In Roman mythology she was also referred to as the “Great Mother”.

This was appropriate as a symbol since agriculture has always historically been a large part of the national economy.

The design was also intended not to portray any specific republican or Revolutionary connotations.

It was drawn by Jacques-Jean Barre who was the general engraver at the Paris Mint. His drawing used for the first postage stamps from France became appreciated as a fine philatelic work of art.

These first stamps were replaced after the coup in December 1851 when Prince-President Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte decided to have his effigy on French stamps.

The first Ceres stamps from France, however, remain the most adored of all French stamps and are appreciated by philatelists worldwide.

A major French rarity

What I have for you today is something more than just a standard example of the first postage stamp from France.

Here it is…

France 1849-52 20c black Ceres horizontal pair, showing variety, 'Tete-beche', SG23.

You don’t need to be a devout philatelist to see what is unusual about this fine pair! 

These “head against foot” stamps are among philately’s most renowned errors, known as tête-bêche.

The dramatic error is caused by the upside-down placement of an individual stamp die during the printing preparation.

There were six printing plates used, in all, for the production of the 20 centimes Ceres stamps.

The tête-bêche is known for positions 92,110 and 148 of the first printing plate, position 93 of the third plate and position 115 of the fifth plate. The other three printing plates were all normal.

There is, however, a mystery as to the very existence of these tête-bêche errors…

Anatole Hulot, in charge of the printing of the Ceres stamps, was both famous and highly experienced. It is considered inconceivable that such inverted stamp errors on three of the printing plates would not have been spotted by him.

It is therefore widely accepted that these inverted dies were there for a purpose. No one has ever been able to find out what that purpose may have been. And, today it remains one of the great philatelic mysteries.

Regardless, I am so glad they do exist as they are now one of the premier philatelic items of France.

Goddess-like quality

Without holding this in your hands, you can’t truly appreciate how visually stunning this rarity is.

What is most remarkable, in general, about the production of Hulot’s 20c black stamps is their consistency.

Unlike the penny black which is renowned for appearing in different shades between black and grey, the French equivalent are almost all of a beautiful deep black colour.

This major French rarity as a tête-bêche pair benefits further with such large margins all around.

The icing on the cake in terms of perfection is in the usage with the bold strikes of the diamond grill cancels in black.

This level of quality makes it both rare and desirable.

The authenticity and quality of the piece are assured as it is also accompanied by a recent certificate of authenticity from the Royal Philatelic Society (2019).

Offered at a discount to market value

The Stanley Gibbon’s catalogue price for this tête-bêche pair is currently £9,000. My price is £7,500, a discount of 17%.

More important than price, you should understand how much work goes in to finding an example of this famous error in such fine condition…

As I said at the beginning, this is one of my favourite philatelic rarities so, obviously, I am a keen buyer.

My search took five years.

During that lengthy period, I endured the tedium of viewing other examples which just didn’t cut it because of condition flaws such as cut margins, thins, staining and poor cancellation examples.

This was all very frustrating. Naturally, pursuing perfection is hardly ever going to be easy.

But finally, all these efforts were rewarded when I discovered this piece of superior quality.

All that hard work to find the right quality example of this major stamp rarity is ultimately the service I provide to you.

It is always a pleasure when I have the rare opportunity to handle items of great beauty and rarity, such as this.

This is now your chance to experience the same pleasure I have briefly enjoyed.

Don’t miss out

To summarise:

  • One of the most coveted and revered stamp errors of the world
  • Of a quality which took me five years to find
  • At a fair price

Click here to buy now

Call me immediately on +44(0)1534 639998. 

Or email me today at mike@paulfrasercollectibles.com.

Merci et bonne collection de timbres!

Kind regards

Mike Hall

CEO, Just Collecting Limited

PS. France is one of the most popularly collected stamp countries. Paris is still, today, known for being a city of stamp collectors. There are an estimated two million people in France with private stamp collections, according to the French Association of Dealers and Experts in Philately.

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