Sunday, 5 April 2015

Adrian's choice

I'm all excited! I have now worked on Karl Bickel senior for a full year, and as I promised myself at the beginning to choose a different engraver each year, I'm about to choose a new one! For some time now I have not been able to add anything to my Bickel collection because items either eluded me or they were too expensive. Only the fact that I haven't process all information about him yet refrained me from choosing a new engraver earlier.

But tomorrow is D-Day and I'm very much looking forward to it! Initially I thought I would work my way through all the engravers I have already included in my monthly column for Stamp & Coin Mart, which would mean I would 'have to' move on to Robert Cami. However, this would mean I would already know what I will be working on for the next 50 odd years (if we're spared), which is something I'm not that keen on.

So I've decided to go completely random and, with a little help from my computer, just randomly choose an engraver from my database. I've already done two dry-runs and came up with a Chinese engraver (whose name I've already forgotten) and the Latvian engraver Karlis Krauze. Exciting stuff! But tomorrow I'll finally know which one I'll really take on, so one more restless night!

For a short while I also toyed with the idea of opting for those engravers which get looked at most often on my site, which would mean having to go for Albert Decaris. In the end I chose not to but I do have more on him right now!

Remember that last time I showed you one of the Ceux qui créent nos timbres booklets? Well, I told you then that I have more of those, so today I'm showing you the very first one, published late 1955.

The first volume has biographies of the engravers Jean Pheulpin and Albert Decaris, with the latter also writing the introduction. And he's also the one who engraved the goddess Ceres especially for the booklet, thereby setting a great little tradition.

But I have more on Decaris, because one day, when browsing ebay, I stumbled across a very friendly priced lot of items from Decaris' beautiful French History stamp series of the late 1960s/early 1970s. The first item from that lot was a deluxe proof of the 1970 Louis XIV stamp.

Now I would normally not opt for items such as these but at least I believe they're printed from the master die so they're nice, crisp printings. But what I fell for were these colour proofs.

You see them quite often for French stamps and they do get criticised for being rather philatelically inspired, but I can't help but like them. To me they show once again that a good engraving has enough tonal variety to be printed in monochrome.

And what I like about the item above is that you can see how they experimented with the distribution of the various colours. Whereas on the eventual stamp Louis XIV's colour is only shared by the sun, the colour proof has some side illustrations printed in his colour as well.

So in all I'm quite chuffed with these latest Decaris additions!









  1. Hi Adrian,
    Your new Decaris additions are truly superb!! Very jealous lol. I particularly love the colour proof of the Louis XIV stamp. WOW!!

    1. Yes, aren't they just! And quite a bargain. So you see, if you constantly keep looking out for loads of different things, you will eventually bump into something this nice.