FRANCE - 66 Congrès du Groupement Philatélique du Centre-Ouest - Cognac 2011
For the third time since its foundation in 1974, the Cercle Philatélique de Cognac organized and hosted the 66th regional conference of the Groupement Philatélique du Centre-Ouest (GPCO). This group brings together 5 departments of the region - Charente, Charente-Maritime, Deux-Sèvres, Vendée and Vienne, with a total of 32 associations and over 1,500 collectors.

The philatelic event was held, on the weekend of October 22nd and 23rd 2011, at the 'La Salamandre' convention centre, in Cognac.
In the entrance hall, the Cercle Philatélique arranged a reception desk and the sale of the commemorative material produced for the occasion, in particular a series of 14 Timbr@Moi, or personalized stamps, dedicated to the 14 communes that make up the Cognac community. For younger visitors, the organization also arranged some games and activities related to philately

Inside, the philatelic exhibition had about 240 panels, grouped into different classes. The La Poste local staff installed a small temporary post office, with two IER LISA 2 postal kiosks. At the back, another hall was occupied by a few philatelic dealers.
We applaud the superb organization, and we are also very grateful for the warm welcome shown by the organization to all the visitors.

For the occasion, the Cercle Philatélique de Cognac asked Phil@poste to produce a new commemorative LISA or vignette d'affranchissement.

The design shows a view of the city from the Charente river, with the Château des Valois, the Tours St. Jacques, and the Hennessy cognac house. On the left is the 'La Damme Jeanne' barge and, at the right, the silhouette of the statue of François 1er, a monarch born in the city. The design is by Elsa Catelin.

The Tours St. Jacques and the Château des Valois, dating from the 15th century, are the best preserved medieval vestiges of the city. Next to the towers, there is the Hennessy cognac headquarters and bottling plant, built in the 19th century on the site of the former 17th century Couvent des Cordeliers.
The origin of this spirit, which took the name of the city, dates back to the fifteenth century. The wine of the region was very popular in northern kingdoms, the UK and The Netherlands, but suffered from conservation problems because of the long journey on barges from the Charente docks. So they decided to distill it. During the seventeenth century, to reduce volume and transportation costs, double distillation was used, which is the origin of the current cognac. Even today, the life and economy of the city are closely linked to the production of the eau-de-vie de Cognac, and major brands (Camus, Hennessy, Martell, Otard, Rémy Martin, ...) have production and bottling plants in the city.
The maximum card at the left - below, is a postcard reproducing a picture of the early twentieth century, showing the loading of boxes and barrels of cognac onto barges, going from the Charente docks to Tonnay-Charente and La Rochelle, on the Atlantic coast. The Tours St. Jacques can be seen in the background. This method of transportation by the Charentais boats, one of which has been rebuilt, is now used for tourist trips, and was used until 1939.
On the right, the maximum card is produced with the first stamp dedicated to Cognac in 1961, showing an aerial view of the Charente quays and the historic city centre

The self-adhesive labels were manufactured by Phil@poste and have identical characteristics to previous thermal issues. An initial print run of 11,000 labels was planned. However, the local La Poste received advance orders for a total of 8,000 ATMs, so they decided to increase the final printing to 19,000 labels.
The new Cognac ATM edition could be obtained during the two days of the conference from the two postal kiosks IER LISA 2 Évolution(gray, foreground) and IER LISA 2 XP(blue) installed next to the La Poste temporary post office.
Both distributors were were configured with the same tariff, based on the current postage rates on the date of issue, and -at least during the exhibition- the minimum value programmed was 0.55 EUR, the current national rate for economic mail.

A special congress postmark was available at the temporary La Poste post office.
This philatelic event, along with the interest aroused by the release of the Cognac special LISA issue, had wide coverage in the regional press.

The following images show the ATMs with the minimum face values ​​for the first weight step for the most common text and shipment types, both for domestic and international mail, with the current postage rates on the date of issue.

Test label Inland economic mail - ECOPLI
Inland mail - LETTRE VERTE Inland priority mail - LETTRE PRIORITAIRE
International priority mail
Inland priority mail - Small parcels
International priority mail - Small parcel
Registered domestic mail, first security level
R L1

The friendly Elsa Catelin, author of the design of the labels used for the ATM release, was present at the conference, in the La Poste temporary post office, signing autographs and showing her work to visitors.
Since 2004, the artist has created many designs and engravings for Phil@poste, among which are included the vignettes d'affranchissement for Tarbes 2009 (VARIABLE 13) and Villeneuve-sur-Lot 2010 (VARIABLE 19). After the congress, she was awarded, by the prestigious Grand Prix de l'Art Philatélique Français 2011, for its souvenir-sheet, dedicated to the 800th anniversary of the Reims cathedral.

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This page was created in October 2011
and last updated:  02.11.11 . English edition rewritten by S. Goodman (01.11.2011)