Thursday, July 13, 2017

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 307

View of Monaco from Monte-Carlo, 1908

The message on this used, divided back postcard is dated 4 March 1908.   An interesting thing about this date is the date of the painting on the front of the card.  Hugh H. Cameron (1835-1918), a Scottish artist, has dated his painting January 1908 making this card almost an instant printing.  It was possible and popular at that time for individuals to have postcards made from their own photographs or a painting.  That together with the message “with the author’s compliments, Hotel Bristol” suggests it is not too improbable that Cameron may have had the card made to send to a friend, Guy Repton, staying in nearby Cannes at the Hotel Bellevue. 

Running along the left margin on the reverse is an identifying number, 10480 together with the name of the publisher/printer, Locq, Mathorel & Ch. Bernard, Paris.  Many of the examples of cards produced by this company are paintings of animals, flowers, scenes such as this one, and people. 

 Green, Louis II profile stamp, 1908

Although difficult to discern because of the cancellation marks, the stamp shows the profile of Prince Louis II the grandfather of Prince Rainier III and great-grandfather of the current Prince, Albert II, and a female figure sitting on the number value of the stamp on the right side next to the checkered coat of arms and palm leaves decorating the left side.  

 Monaco stamp with the International Circus cancellation, 2017

The small principality of Monaco has used postmarks since 1704 and used French and Sardinian stamps until 1885 at which time the principality began to issue its own stamps.  Due to interest in stamp collecting a Stamp Issuing Office was created in 1937.  Prince Rainier III, a noted stamp collector, was quoted as saying that stamps were “the best ambassador of a country.”  His collection forms the basis of Monaco’s Museum of Stamps and Coins.  Stamps from Monaco are popular with collectors and provide another source of revenue for the principality.  The rates are tied to the French postal rates.  By chance I discovered this postcard with its stamp in a local antique mall shortly after receiving a letter that included a new issue stamp from Monaco sent by a friend.  The new stamp shows the coat of arms composed of a red and white diamond pattern and a cancellation mark that announces the annual international circus festival held in Monte Carlo.  

 Principality of Monaco, aerial view, 1939

Logo for Edition “La Cigogne” (The Stork)

 Early 1930s, blue Peace Stamp, French

The first card showed Monte Carlo from the sea looking toward the city.  This second used postcard numbered 1463 has a divided back and is titled “Principalite de Monaco – Vue Générale prise de la Turbie” provides a different view of the city.  It is a black & white, real photo, aerial view by Edition “La Cigogne” (The Stork), 15 Rue St.-Francois-de-Paule, Nice, with an early 1930s blue French Peace stamp postmarked of 30 – 5 1939 or 30 May 1939.   Like some other postcards this one has a company logo on the reverse, not in the center but at the lower left.  

Trivia:  The House of Grimaldi has ruled Monaco since 1297.  The only times since then that Monaco was not under the House of Grimaldi was when the French annexed it during the French Revolution and during World War II when it was under Italian control before being liberated.  In 1419 the Grimaldi family purchased Monaco from the Crown of Aragon and solidified their rule.  In 1612 Honoré II began calling himself Prince of Monaco.  In 1630 he had to ask the French for protection against the Spanish and Monaco then became a vassal of the French kings.  After 1814 the Grimaldi family returned to the throne.  There was a revolution in 1910 that forced adoption of a constitution in 1911 turning Monaco into a constitutional monarchy, at least on paper.  It has become known as a tax haven for the wealthy.  Similar to Las Vegas and Nevada, Monte Carlo and Monaco have had great success with the gambling industry.  French, Italian, English and Monégasque are all languages widely spoken in Monaco.  Prince Rainier III married the American actress Grace Kelly in 1956.  The current ruler, Prince Albert II, the son of Prince Rainier, has a son and daughter, twins, assuring the continuation of the Grimaldi line for at least one more generation.  Included in the links below is one to the family tree of the House of Grimaldi.

For more information, see:,_Prince_of_Monaco

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