or From Cognac to Épernay, the capital of champagne
I never have been in a French Salon de Printemps as depressing as the Épernay ...

It is now almost standard that the CNEP (Chambre syndicale française des négociants et experts en philatélie) selects the worst possible location for the Salon Philatélique de Printemps, usually in a location distant from the city centre, and without adequate public transportation. It is also typical that any advertising in the chosen city is almost non existent. It is possible that this could be justified on economic reasons, and the need for a large exhibition space at the lowest possible cost. It is also true that holding a big philatelic event in small towns, with virtually the same structure and criterion since its creation in 1980, is, at least, risky in the age of the Internet. The result is a philatelic fair with a deficit, is unattractive, and with fewer visitors each year, as well as fewer CNEP associates commercial stands that do not cover expenses. However, the CNEP continues year after year with this spring ritual, in a strange mix of commitment to bring the stamps to the provinces, and an excuse to issue new philatelic products and derivatives.
Perhaps the CNEP should rethink the Salon de Printemps - in depth ...

If one of the last ATM issues in 2011 led us to Cognac (see article >, also published in VARIABLE 23), the 2012 Salon de Printemps was held in Épernay, the capital of the Champagne region.

The proposal came from the local stamp club, l'Association Philatélique Sparnacienne, which saw in this a chance to get a stamp dedicated to its city.
The philatelic event took place over the weekend of April 13th to 15th, at the Parc d'Expositions 'Le Millesium', a large convention and exhibition centre located on the southern outskirts of the city.
The previous shows of the Salon Philatélique de Printemps were held in Nancy (2001), Nîmes (2002), Nantes (2003), Clermont-Ferrand (2004), Aix-en-Provence (2005), Dijon (2006), Limoges (2007 - VARIABLE 4), Lyon (2008 - VARIABLE 9), Mâcon (2009 - VARIABLE 12), Colmar (2010 - VARIABLE 17) and Angers (2011 - VARIABLE 21).

The Salon of 2012 was made up of about 30 stands of philatelic dealers associated to the CNEP, and the large stand of La Poste, where visitors could obtain the Épernay special issues.

As usual, the organization gave some stands at the local stamp club, which held a small stamp exhibition, the association l'Art du Timbre Gravé, which hosted the signing sessions, and the organization of Amiens 2013, scheduled to hold the next national championship and the FFAP congress. There was also a stand of the TAAF postal administration (Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises), who produced a special issue, along with a tasting and sale stand of the main local product, Champagne.
The CNEP created its usual block without postal value, and also a commemorative champagne capsule (stopper).

But all this was not enough to attract visitors. Except for the morning of opening day, in the presence of the press and local authorities, and a few hours on Saturday, the rest of the Salon was characterized by a lack of visitors. Empty corridors and bored exhibitors.

Strict CNEP rules, anxious to preserve the business of its members, prevented any parallel philatelic promotional or commercial activity during the Salon. For example, they prohibited the sale of any philatelic souvenirs, produced with the Épernay issues, to the local philatelic group, or confiscated the free promotional copies of VARIABLE offered to visitors.

At the back of the large showroom, La Poste set up its temporary post office, where visitors were able to obtain the various special releases published on the occasion of the Salon. In particular, the Épernay - Marne stamp and the usual associated philatelic products - such as the engraving and the official philatelic document-, and the new commemorative vignette LISA.

Phil@poste prepared 2 special postmarks for the Salon - one designed by Sophie Beaujard, for the first day of issue of the Épernay - Marne stamp, and the other designed by Roland Irolla, with a variable date and commemorative of the Salon Philatélique de Printemps.

The ATM issue is a composition by Roland Irolla showing the Marne valley, as seen from Hautvilliers, and the Portail Saint-Martin at the right side.
A new feature of this issue is that Phil@poste will include the name of the designer in all the new LISA issues.

Roland Irolla is a painter, engraver and illustrator born in Algeria, in 1935. He is best known in the philatelic world as an illustrator of more than 600 philatelic documents and souvenirs, but he is also the designer of 3 stamps for the French post. The artist invited by the association l'Art du Timbre Gravé, was present at the Salon de Printemps, at the signing session.

Top. The maximum card is created using an original postcard published in the mid-20th century by the Moët & Chandon company, based in Épernay. The postcard and the picture also shows the Marne valley with the vineyards that cover the region, and Épernay in the background. The images are taken from the heights of Hautvilliers, where the monk Dom Pierre Pérignon created the méthode champenoise in the 18th century.
The Portail Saint-Martin is one of Épernay's oldest monuments. It was built in 1540 by the sculptor Pierre Jacques, as a side entrance to the Saint-Martin church. After the demolition of the church at the beginning of 20th century, the portal was preserved and transferred to Hugues Plomb square, next to the main post office.

The stamp is designed and engraved by Yves Beaujard.
is located in the heart of the wine region of Champagne-Ardenne, and is home of the leading champagne manufacturers. The Tour de Castellane highlights in the pictures.

The self-adhesive labels are printed, offset, in 4-colours, by Phil@poste. The label size is 80 x 30 mm., and incorporates a phosphorescent vertical strip at each edge of the design. The total production was 100,000 labels, although the number of ATMs finally issued is unknown.

Visitors could get the ATMs from the three self-service Monétel LISA 1 distributors, which use mechanical printing, and installed next to the temporary post office, or at the La Poste stand.
A fourth Monétel LISA 1 distributor, used only by La Poste staff, was available in the back office to fulfil both orders in advance, or large orders that could cause major queues on public machines. However, as can be seen in the images above, except for very specific periods, access to distributors was quick, and the usual obsolete distributor breakdowns and operational problems were quickly solved by a technician.

Considering the distributor used for the issue, its programmed prefixes, and the current postal rates on the date of issue, the basic set for this design is made up of 4 values - E 0,55 EUR - 0,60 EUR - P 0,77 EUR - LETTRE 1,00 EUR, corresponding to the basic rates for economic domestic mail (E - Ecopli), priority domestic mail (without prefix), priority international mail (P), and priority domestic mail for letters above 20 g. (LETTRE). The minimum face value programmed in the distributors was 0.55 EUR, the current national rate for economic mail.

E - Inland post Economique / Ecopli Inland post Prioritaire
P - International Priority mail - Prioritaire LETTRE - Inland letters above 20 g.

Especially valued by collectors, Monétel distributors can provide purchase receipts, also printed by ink, on the same self-adhesive labels to those used for the ATM printing. Depending on the language selected by the user during the selection of values, the text on receipts appears in French, English, Spanish or German.

Receipts in French for the purchase of the 4-values set, with the list of stamps issued and the total paid.
Below, receipts in the 4 languages for the purchase of ATMs with the smallest programmed value.

Another large national philatelic event, the MARCOPHILEX XXXVI, will be also held in Épernay, in October ... Maybe with a new LISA release ?

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This page was created in April 2012
and last updated:  30.04.12 . English edition rewritten by S. Goodman (29.04.2012)