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FRANCE, Essays, proofs etc. of the first issues

Essaies et Úpreuves

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A large number of essays and proofs seem to exist of the first stamps of France. Here some examples:

Essay: as above designs, but inscription 'ESSAI 1858 00 POSTES 00'. These essays are listed as 'imitations' in 'De la Falsification des Timbres-Poste' by J.B.Moens (1862). It says: "NOTA. Le millesime indique assez que ces timbres ne sont nullement des essais, comme on veut bien le faire croire, attendu que le gouvernement francais n'a jamais eu l'intention en 1858, de creer des timbres a l'effigie de la republique' (the French government had no intention whatsoever to create stamps with this images in 1858). Moens states that these labels exist in the colors yellow, red, green and blue.

Ceres essay in two colours: 5 c red and brown.

Ceres essay, Ceres facing to the right instead of to the left.

Napoleon III issue: essays of 5 c red, 30 c grey laureated and 4 c brown laureated; I've seen many other essays in non-issued colours.

Empire Franc essay 20 c grey with head of Emperor different

Essay, inscription 'REPUB FRANC' on top head surrounded with the text 'LOUIS - NAPOLEON BONAPARTE'; 25 c violet on blue. I've also seen an essay of 25 c brown. This is the 'Projet Meillet et Pichot' often wrongly referred to as 'Essai de Cayenne'.


With 'NAPOLEON II EMPEREUR' written around the head (Projet Bordes of 1867), I've often seen it 'cancelled' with a bar.

Another essay in a similar design as the postage stamps with laureated head and with '1804 - 1814' inscribed at the bottom with the portrait of Napoleon I. These essays were made in 1854.

This seems to be an essay made in 1876 in the value 10 c red, 10 c brown and 1 c red, yellow and grey (projet Gaiffe). I've also seen 10 c blue, 10 c green and 10 c black.

Essay with four heads in the corners, inscription 'FRANCE POSTES': 30 c orange.

Unissued Envelopes with Napoleon III

The above cuts are essays of envelopes (that were never issued, the so-called Projet Renard, engraved by Barnoux and Trottin). The head of the emperor appears in an ellipse, the text reads 'EMPIRE FRANCAIS TIMBRE-POSTE'. The head is embossed. The value is 00 c. They also exist in green. I've seen slightly different type with much larger rounder '00's in the color brown.

A similar essay of 1865, but with the head of the Emperor printed instead of embossed, also 00 c. I've seen the colors dark brown, light brown, blue, and red.

Copyright by Evert Klaseboer