16th February 2016 France/Monaco & British Indian Ocean Territory

At the last meeting we were treated to two completely different displays by our own members. Firstly, Malcolm Moodie gave an historical overview of France and Monaco supported by a very full display of postage stamps of the period 1849 to 1945. The first stamps of France used the Ceres design which has proved to be an ever present design throughout French Philately. These were soon replaced with stamps portraying President Louis Napoleon who engineered a re-instatement of the Empire and as a result became Emperor Napoleon III and stamps were issued reflecting this change. However, the Empire proved short lived.

After a disastrous war with Prussia, the Third Republic was established and in 1871 a new issue showing Peace and Commerce was introduced. The next design by Merson was presented which proved to be a long standing one with many issues following in later years.  The Sower design is also well known with a number of different versions displayed showing striped & solid backgrounds and many different types.

After WWI a number of War Orphan Funds stamps were introduced to raise money as France suffered the third highest casualty rate and so there were a large number of orphans.

From then until WWII many commemorative issues were introduced alongside more commonly known definitive designs showing Pasteur, Peace, Iris and Mercury. In addition, a number of stamps were issued supporting various Philatelic Exhibitions including Bordeaux 1923, Paris 1925, Strasburg 1927 and Le Havre in 1929.

In 1940 a French State was formed with Marshall Petain as the leader. Numerous stamps depicting Petain were displayed and he remained the dominant image until the allied forces liberated France in 1944 and promptly issued new stamps, printed in Washington, showing the Arc de Triomphe.

Besides Postage Stamps a range of Railway, Revenue and Telegraph stamps were shown alongside Pre-cancels and Postage Due material.

This was followed by a short display of Monaco. Initially, Sardinian stamps were used but in 1860 these were replaced by French issues and then in 1885 Monaco produced their first stamps. Numerous definitive sets were displayed showing Princes Charles III, Albert and Louis II alongside some nicely designed commemoratives.


Then Ian Grace closed the evening with a very informative display from the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), reflecting the history, wildlife and culture of the islands. Stamps and postal history illustrated the British Empire’s decline in the Indian Ocean after 1947 and the origins of BIOT as a colony created in 1965 to provide military airfields resulting in the exile of the native inhabitants from Diego Garcia.


The next meeting is on 15th March when Anne Stammers will display on the subject of “Rocks to Riches”. The Banbury Stamp Society can now be found on-line at ‘www.banburystampsociety.co.uk’ or for more information contact J. Davies 01295 255831.