Monday Morning Brief | French stamps with prizes

Nov 28, 2016, 3 AM

Watch as Scott catalog new-issues editor Marty Frankevicz discusses France’s new Christmas stamps that include chances to win prizes ranging from earphones to a new car.

Full video transcript:

Good morning and welcome to the Monday Morning Brief for November 28, 2016.

It’s that time of year when we start to think about Santa somehow squeezing down that chimney and leaving you those items that have been dancing around in your head for the past year.

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On November 14, La Poste, the postal service of France, issued a booklet of 12 self-adhesive Christmas stamps. While there’s nothing unusual about countries issuing Christmas stamps this time of year, La Poste made these stamps an enticing purchase, because each stamp in the booklet offers someone in France the chance to be the recipient of “a major award,” just like Ralphie Parker’s dad in A Christmas Story

Each stamp has a scratch-off panel covering a code number that can be entered into La Poste’s website. If the entrant has keyed in the proper code number, they may instantly win one of 2,000 prizes being awarded once an hour from November 14 to January 6.

No tacky lamps are being awarded, however, but the winner may become a recipient of a package marked “Fra-gee-lay,” because most of the instant-win prizes are electronic - ranging from batteries and earphones to cameras and tablets.

In February, the final ten prizes will be awarded to contestants who have already entered - six high-definition televisions, three vacation trips for two, and a Renault automobile worth 20,000 euros. Of course, the catch is that this contest is only open to residents of France. Zut alors!

Over the years, other postal services have tried to boost the sale of their stamps with giveaways. Collectors of Japan are familiar with their New Year stamps bearing serial numbers. If your stamp has the drawn number you are the grand prize winner. Lottery sheets of two stamps that are not available for sale at post offices are the smallest prizes in their contest. These sheets are awarded to those whose stamps have the last two digits matching the winning numbers.

And Israel tried to get kids to collect stamps by selling them sealed packages of sheets of stamps, with some of the stamps being quite scarce. The scarce stamps could be exchanged for prizes, but all told, the kids would have made out better if they just kept the stamps.

For Linn’s Stamp News and the Scott Catalogues, unleashing my inner Darren McGavin, I’m Marty Frankevicz. Enjoy your week in stamps.