Stamps of 2023: Monaco (January 2023)

Jan. 3, 2023

Coat of Arms Definitive

On January 3, Monaco issued the latest entry in its Coats of Arms definitive series which began on December 3, 2000. Other non-denominated stamps in different colors or imprint dates appeared in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2017, 2019, 2020,2022, and now 2023. The latest version was released in a booklet of 10 self-adhesive stamps with a permanent unit value corresponding to the postage price of a 20 gram letter for Monaco and France (the “green letter” rate). This was equivalent to €1.16 per stamp on the date of issue. The layout design was created by Créaphil and 250,000 copies of the stamp (25,000 booklets) was printed by Phil@poste using the photogravure process with serpentine die-cuts and measuring 26 x 31 mm.

The coat of arms of Monaco, referred to also as an armorial achievement or an arms of dominion, is the symbolic representation of the House of Grimaldi, the current sovereigns of the principality of Monaco. The armorial achievement carries important symbolic meaning and not only represents the Grimaldis’ pedigree, but also their rule over the territories they possess. In this case, the Franciscan monks, the crown, collar of the Order of Saint Charles, and lozenge of red and argent all link to events in history relevant to their rise in Monaco as sovereigns, dating as far back as the 13th Century.

As to the origins of this achievement: traditionally borne by the eldest male of each generation and tailored to their individuality, the modern image we see today is reminiscent of hundreds of years of tradition rather than a single heir. Being of Italian descent themselves, the Grimaldi connection to Genoese aristocracy is old but strong; their influence over Monaco has lasted over several hundred years – originating in their ascent to power beginning in the late 11th Century.

Jan. 3, 2023

Prince Albert II Definitive

The latest in the Prince Albert II definitive series that began in December 2012 was issued by Monaco on January 3. These were designed and line-engraved by Martin Mörck. This stamp with permanent validity corresponds to the postage price of a 20 gram letter for Monaco and France at the “green letter” rate which was €1.16 on the date of issue. Measuring 26 x 31.77 mm each, the stamps were printed by Phil@poste by recess (steel engraving) in sheets of 10 stamps in a total quantity of 80,000 pieces.

Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre Grimaldi was born at the Prince’s Palace of Monaco on March 14 1958, and is the second child and only son of Prince Rainier III and Grace Kelly. He attended the Lycée Albert Premier before studying political science at Amherst College. In his youth, he competed in bobsleigh during Winter Olympic finals before retiring in 2002. Albert was appointed regent in March 2005 after his father fell ill, and became sovereign prince upon his death a week later. Since his ascension, he has been outspoken in the field of environmentalism and an advocate of ocean conservation, and adoption of renewable energy sources to tackle global climate change, and founded The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation in 2006, to directly raise funds and initiate action for such causes and greater ecological preservation.

With assets valued at more than $1 billion, Albert owns shares in the Société des Bains de Mer, which operates Monaco’s casino and other entertainment properties in the principality. In July 2011, Prince Albert married South African Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock. He has four children, American-born Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, French-born Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste and the twins Princess Gabriella and Hereditary Prince Jacques.

Jan. 3, 2023

Sainte-Thérèse of Lisieux 150th Birth Anniversary

Sarah Lazarevic designed the single stamp released on January 3, 2023, to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Sainte-Thérèse of Lisieux. Recess printed by Phil@poste in a quantity of 40,000 stamps, this €2.32 stamp measures 40 x 32 mm and was printed in sheets of 10 stamps.

Thérèse of Lisieux was born Marie Françoise-Thérèse Martin on January 2, 1873, also known as Thérèse de l’Enfant Jésus et de la Sainte Face (Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face), was a French Catholic Discalced Carmelite nun who is widely venerated in modern times. She is popularly known in English as the Little Flower of Jesus, or simply the Little Flower, and in French as la petite Thérèse (little Thérèse).

Thérèse has been a highly influential model of sanctity for Catholics and for others because of the simplicity and practicality of her approach to the spiritual life. She is one of the most popular saints in the history of the church. Pope Pius X called her “the greatest saint of modern times”.

Thérèse felt an early call to religious life and, after overcoming various obstacles, in 1888, at the early age of 15, she became a nun and joined two of her older sisters in the cloistered Carmelite community of Lisieux, Normandy (yet another sister, Céline, also later joined the order). After nine years as a Carmelite religious, having fulfilled various offices such as sacristan and assistant to the novice mistress, in her last eighteen months in Carmel she fell into a night of faith, in which she is said to have felt Jesus was absent and been tormented by doubts that God existed. Thérèse died at the age of 24 on September 30, 1897, from tuberculosis.

Her feast day in the General Roman Calendar was October 3 from 1927 until it was moved in 1969 to October 1. Thérèse is well known throughout the world, with the Basilica of Lisieux being the second most popular place of pilgrimage in France after Lourdes.

Jan. 9, 2023

45th Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival & 10th New Generation Circus

On January 9, Monaco will release a pair of stamps commemorating the 45th Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival and the 10th New Generation Circus. Alain André designed the stamps, denominated €1.80 and €1.16 respectively, of which 40,000 copies were printed of each using offset lithography by Phil@poste in sheets of 10 stamps for each design, measuring 30 x 40.85 mm each.

“The 45th Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival and the 10th New Generation Circus will be held at the famous Fontvieille Big Top from January 20-29, 2023. After being deprived of a Festival in 2021 and 2022, the public will be able to rediscover all the magic of the circus as we mark these two anniversaries. The two events will merge on occasion to put on an exceptional show bringing together acts from both the International Circus Festival and the New Generation Circus. There will be a single competition programme with some of the best acts in the world, judged by an international jury of circus professionals.”

Jan. 30, 2023

Colette 150th Birth Anniversary

Cyril de la Patellière designed and Claude Jumelet did the line engraving for a single €3.70 stamp marking the 150th birth anniversary of the author and actress known as Colette which will be released by Monaco on January 30, 2023. Phil@Poste printed 36,000 copies of this stamp using three-color recess printing in sheets of six stamps. Each stamp measures 52 x 40.85 mm.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette was born on January 28, 1873, to war hero and tax collector Jules-Joseph Colette and his wife Adèle Eugénie Sidonie (“Sido”), née Landoy, in the village of Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye in the department of Yonne, Burgundy. Jules-Joseph Colette was a Zouave of the Saint-Cyr military school. A war hero who had lost a leg in the Second Italian War of Independence, he was awarded a post as tax collector in the village of Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye where his children were born. Colette was the youngest of four children. She had three older siblings and attended a public school from the ages of 6 to 17. The family was initially well off, but poor financial management substantially reduced their income.

Known mononymously as Colette, she later became a French author and woman of letters. She was also a mime, actress, and journalist. Colette is best known in the English-speaking world for her 1944 novella Gigi, which was the basis for the 1958 film and the 1973 stage production of the same name. Her short story collection The Tendrils of the Vine is also famous in France.

Upon her death, on August 3, 1954, Colette was refused a religious funeral by the Catholic Church on account of her divorces, but given a state funeral, the first French woman of letters to be granted the honor, and interred in Père-Lachaise cemetery.

Colette’s numerous biographers have proposed widely differing interpretations of her life and work over the decades. Initially considered a limited if talented novelist (despite the outspoken admiration in her lifetime of figures such as André Gide and Henry de Montherlant), she has been increasingly recognized as an important voice in women’s writing. Before Colette’s death, Katherine Anne Porter wrote in the New York Times that Colette “is the greatest living French writer of fiction; and that she was while Gide and Proust still lived.”

One thought on “Stamps of 2023: Monaco (January 2023)

  1. Pingback: Stamps of 2023: Monthly Wrap-Up (January) | Mark Joseph Jochim

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