Tuesday, April 23, 2013

French stamps used in Memel - 2 "Type Merson"

Michel No.30

I have talked about the 2 types of French stamps used in Memel in this blog before in the article "Type Semeuse". Today I would like to talk about "Type Merson". Why is it called so? Well, it's simple, it is written so on the stamp itself. This is one of details that lot of collectors who is not familiar with French stamps seem to ignore. To tell you the truth, I was one of them, I have never really collected French stamps and I didn't know about this inscription on the stamp for a long time. Luc Olivier Merson was according to Wikipedia, a French painter and illustrator. His paintings are well known in France but his designs of French stamps and banknotes are also famous.

Type Merson stamps were "heavily" used in Memel. The French administration never issued a definitive stamp probably due to the hyper inflation that hit most of the German influenced area in Europe at that time. The stamps were often re-used after being overprinted, particularly this Type Merson because of the size which was bigger than other Memel stamps. Some of them were overprinted over 3 times!

Overprinted over an overprinted stamp!
These 3 stamps Michel No.65, 120 and 166 are a good example. They first overprinted "Memel 1 Mark 25" on a 60 centimes French stamp then re-used it for 80 Mark stamp. The following year (1923), the Lithuanian administration that took over also used it to issue the bottom stamp on the picture. The "Memel 1 Mark 25" stamp (Michel 65) was also used in 2 separate occasions in the last 2 issues of the air post stamps. Mr. Luc Olivier Merson died in 1920 and never got see them. I wonder what he would think of this...

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