BIOGRAPHY: Antonin Jean Delzers

Antonin Jean Delzers was born in Castelsarrasin, France on 17 August 1875.

He was a pupil at the School of Fine Arts in Toulouse, and subsequently at the School of Fine Arts in Paris, where he was a fellow pupil of another future French stamp engraver, Gabriel Antoine Barlangue. Delzers won the Grand Prix de Rome in 1900, in which year he also won a state travel grand.

Delzers engraved stamps from 1917 on. His early work for France, however, was still done for letterpress printing. Only in 1930 did his first hand-engraved, recess-printed French stamp appear, the 'Sourire de Reims', which became an iconic stamp within the French philatelic catalogues.

In 1931, Delzers would engrave the third type of the Rheims cathedral stamp which was first issued in 1930. The first two dies used for this stamp were engraved by Antoine Dezarrois, but he probably was no longer able to engrave the third type. This was then, in March 1931, engraved by Delzers, even though Dezarrois' name was retained on the stamp. Delzers' die is easily recognisable because it includes a dotted shadow immediately below the central porch. The Reims Cathedral stamp was reissued in 1938 with a surcharge for the restoration fund, but for this issue, too, the Delzers die was used.

Delzers is probably best known within philatelic circles for his design of the French ‘Paix’ definitive, which was introduced in 1932. That, too, however, was a stamp printed by letterpress.

Of his engraved work, it could be argued that his 1937 National Museums issue of France, depicting Samothrace’s Victory, is his most iconic work. In 2015, it was incorporated in the annual ‘Trésors de la Philatélie’ series issued in France.

In 1942, Delzers contributed an engraving to the Paris 1943 sheet of labels, issued at the stamp exhibition of ’42. The design depicted Mme Récamier’s salon.

Antonin passed away in Castelsarrasin, France on 7 November 1943. His family has since donated his work to the Ingres museum in Montauban, France, where parts of it are usually exhibited.

You will find Antonin Jean Delzers' database HERE.

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