France 1949.jpg
France 1949 – polar scene and aurora

The curtain-like folds of an aurora loop overhead a sledging party on this stamp saluting French polar expeditions. The organization called Expéditions Polaires Françaises was founded in 1947 and two expeditions left from France in 1949, one bound for Greenland and the other for Adélie Land, part of Antarctica claimed by France. However, the style of the aurora resembles engravings from the French expedition to Bossekop, northern Norway, in 1838–40. (NB: Although the Stanley Gibbons catalogue describes the colour of this stamp as “blue”, it is in fact a dark navy to the point of being virtually black. The US Scott catalogue calls it indigo.)

SG number
Face value
15 francs