France - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

France, a country in Western Europe bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Spain, Andorra, and the English Channel has a total land area of 210,026 square miles and a population of around 63 million. France is one of the founding members as well as a permanent member of the UN. It is the wealthiest European nation in aggregate household wealth. The French enjoys a high standard of living and has high life expectancy. It has the second largest forest asset in the EU. The major industries of France are telecommunications, aerospace and defense, ship building, pharmaceuticals, construction and civil engineering, chemicals, and automobile production.

Travel Resources:

France is the most visited country in the world, justified by its artistic attractions, gourmet cuisine, superior vineyards and their products, haute couture, and standard of living. Though July and August are the best time to visit May, June, and September are considered wallet friendly. The major attractions of France are the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame de Paris, The Louvre, Palace of Versailles. The major cities are Paris, Lyon and Marseille and the major holiday areas are The Provence and the French Riviera.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
France Eyewitness Travel Guides978-0756660567$20Introductory section designed for travelers, followed by region-wise coverage including Paris and Ile De France, Northeast France, Western France, Central France and the Alps, Southwest France, The South of France, followed by a Travelers needs and Survival Guide.
Rick Steves’ France 2011 with Map978-1598806632$17Excellent coverage of villages, hill towns, and cosmopolitan cities including Paris, Avignon, and Nice. Another highlight is the excellent value hotel and restaurant recommendations.
Streetwise Paris Map978-0935039252$8Laminated Street Map. Main Paris Map at 1:14,000 scale. Paris Metro Map and a Map of France.
Michelin Map France: Provence French Riviera978-2067135352$101:200,000 scale. City map of Marseille.
France Grounded Adapter Plug – GUBB001FD86B6$8
Other Travel NeedsNAVaries



Philatelic Profile:

France, a country in Western Europe bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Spain, Andorra, and the English Channel has a total land area of 210,026 square miles and a population of around 63 million. The first stamps of France were a set of nine stamps issued in 1849 and 1850 in the Ceres theme. Each stamp in the set is rare with most cataloging for thousands of dollars. It depicts the effigy of Ceres, goddess of plants in Roman mythology. The same design was reused in 1870 following the Franco-Prussian war when Louis-Napoleon was defeated and replaced by the Third Republic. In the interim, issues surfaced with a portrait of Louis Napolean, the first President (1848 to 1852) and the last Monarch of France (1852 to 1870). First was a set of two stamps (Scott #10 and #11) released in 1852. These stamps are also very rare and fetch well into the thousands. Ceres issues along with Louis-Napoleon designs along with a ‘Peace and Commerce’ theme were the only stamp issues of France until the turn of the century. The most expensive stamps during this period are mint Tete beche pairs of these early stamps. They fetch upwards of $100K.

France issued a long set of twenty four stamps between 1900 and 1929 in the “Rights of Man” theme. The set (Scott #109 to #132) catalogs for around $1500 mint and $140 used. The designs show symbols of the National Motto (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity), “Rights of Man”, and “Liberty and Peace”.  The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen is a fundamental document of the French Revolution that has since become the precursor document to international human rights instruments. The 8th Olympic Games was held in Paris in 1924. To mark that event, a set of four stamps were released. The set (Scott #198 to #201) catalogs for around $100 MNH and $15 used. The designs show Allegory of Olympic Games at Paris, the trophy, symbols of Milo Crotona, and a victorious athlete. Milo Crotona is a sixth century BC Olympic wrestler who won six times.

Other issues of France enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A set of twelve stamps released between 1929 and 1933 in the Architecture theme. The set (Scott #247 to #254A) catalogs for around $1900 MNH and $400 used. The designs show Reims Cathedral, Mont-Saint-Michel, Port of La Rochelle, and Pont du Gard, Nimes.
  2. A souvenir sheet released on June 18 1937 for International Philatelic Exhibition in the Ceres theme. The sheet (Scott #329) catalogs for around $450 MNH and around half that for used. The sheets were sold only at the exhibition and admission to the exhibition was required to purchase one, thus accounting for the premium valuation.
  3. A set of two stamps released between 1939 and 1940 for New York World’s Fair. The set (Scott #372 to #373) catalogs for around $25 MNH and $15 used. The designs show Statue of Liberty, French Pavilion, and Trylon and Perisphere. Statue of Liberty is a UNESCO World Heritage Site at Liberty Island, New York City originally gifted to the United States from the people of France, dedicated on October 28, 1886.
  4. A set of six stamps released on March 5, 1955 in the Inventors theme. The set (Scott #757 to #762) catalogs for around $10 MNH and $8 used. The designs show Philippe Lebon (illuminating gas), Barthelemy Thimonnier (sewing machine), Nicolas Appert (canned foods), Dr. Claire Deville (aluminum), Pierre Martin (steel making), and Bernigaud de Chardonnet (rayon).
  5. A set of two stamps released between 1962 and 1965 in the Gallic Cock theme. The set (Scott #1024, and #1024B) catalogs for around a dollar MNH and a little less for used. There is a variety of #1024 issued on luminescent paper and that is valued at a huge premium at $750. Gallic Cock is a national symbol of France that is a common theme in French issues. The theme was first used in a 1944 set that used another national symbol (Marianne). That set (Scott #477 to #495) is valued at around $15 MNH or used. Since then, there have been a number of reissues of the same theme and most of those are valued in a similar range.
  6. A set of five stamps released in 1985 in the Tourism theme. The set (Scott #1947 to #1951) catalogs for around $4 MNH and a dollar for used. The designs show View of Vienne, Cathedral at Montpelier, St. Michel de Cuxa Abbey, Talmont Church at Saintonge Romane, and Solutre. Tourism is a long running theme of French issues that are not yet valued highly. The series is however very collectible, given that France is the #1 tourist destination in the world.
Numismatic Profile:

Coins of the area of present-day France dates back to the Celtic period when coins were cast using an alloy of bronze with high tin content (Potin). Gold Francs were issued as early as 1340 AD. Other highly collectible gold coins include 20 Francs and 40 Francs issues of the Napoleon Bonaparte era, 500 Francs Ecus from the 1990 to 1995 time-frame, and French Euro Gold Proofs of the 2000s.

Numismatic items of France include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$1 and upRecent and other common UNCs starts around $1. Early 19th century centimes starts around $5. Olympic Silver and other Commemorative Silver Proofs from the 1990s and 2000s starts around $50. Gold coins and high grade coins from the early 19th century and prior dates starts around $100 and go well into the 100s. Early 20th century Essais, 19th century gold coins, etc go well into the 1000s.
Paper Money$2 and up100 Francs from the 1950s onward in VF starts around $2. Early replacements and other rare notes go into the 100s.

Collectible Memorabilia:

Scarves, ties, cosmetics, lavender, chocolates, wine and spirits in unique bottles, watercolors, arts, antiques and a mini Eiffel tower in some form are popular takeaways from the place.


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Art$10 and up19th century photograph and art prints start around $10 and go into the 50s for older or limited edition varieties. Original oil paintings and posters start around $50. Works by Robert Delval, Jim Buckels, Edouard Pignon, Marie De Garay, Paul Delormoz, John R Good, Kelly Hallam, etc go well into the 100s and 1000s.
Pottery and Glass$15 and upArcoroc crystal bowls start around $15. Haviland and Limoges china serving dishes and plates start around $40 and go well into the 100s. Lalique and Baccarat crystal pieces start around $50 and go well into the 100s and 1000s.
Antiques$20 and up18th century maps start around $20. 19th century silver spoons, eggcups, etc start around $50. Antique furniture pieces start around $100.
Militaria$10 and upOriginal WW photos start around $10. WW badges, crosses and order medals start around $30. 18th century and older counterparts go into the 100s.
Decorative Curios$20 and upLimoges and Haviland simple presentation plates, and curios start around $20. More complex trinket boxes, painted eggs, etc from Limoges start in the 50s. Daum, Lalique and Limogines figurines and vases go well into the 100s and some in the 1000s.
Historic Memorabilia$30 and upNapoleon Bonaparte memorabilia from the 19th century start around $30. Original historical documents and picture start a little higher.

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Last Updated: 12/2015. 


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