The Principality of Monaco (Principauté de Monaco) is a sovereign city-state located on the French Riviera in Western Europe. It is bordered by France’s Alpes-Maritimes département on three sides, with one side bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Its center is about 9.9 miles (16 kilometers) from Italy and only 8.1 miles (13 km) northeast of Nice, France. Monaco has a land border of 3.40 miles (5.47 km), a coastline of 2.38 miles (3.83 km), and a width that varies between 1,859 and 382 yards (1,700 and 349 meters). It has an area of 0.78 square miles (2.02 km²), or 500 acres (202 hectares), and a population of 38,400, making Monaco the second smallest and the most densely populated country in the world; only Vatican City is smaller. The state consists of only one municipality (commune). There is no geographical distinction between the State and City of Monaco, although responsibilities of the government (state-level) and of the municipality (city-level) are different.
The highest point in the country is a narrow pathway named Chemin des Révoires on the slopes of Mont Agel, in the Les Révoires Ward, which is 528 feet (161 meters) above sea level. Monaco’s most populous Quartier is Monte Carlo and the most populous Ward is Larvotto/Bas Moulins. There are two ports in Monaco, Hercules and Port Fontvieille. Monaco’s only natural resource is fishing; with almost the entire country being an urban area, Monaco lacks any sort of commercial agriculture industry. It is known as a playground for the rich and famous, due to its tax laws. In 2014, it was noted about 30% of the population was made up of millionaires, more than in Zürich or Geneva.
Monaco is a principality governed under a form of constitutional monarchy, with Prince Albert II as head of state. Although Prince Albert II is a constitutional monarch, he wields immense political power. The House of Grimaldi have ruled Monaco, with brief interruptions, since 1297. The official language is French, but Monégasque, Italian, and English are widely spoken and understood. The state’s sovereignty was officially recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861, with Monaco becoming a full United Nations voting member in 1993. Despite Monaco’s independence and separate foreign policy, its defense is the responsibility of France. However, Monaco does maintain two small military units.
Economic development was spurred in the late nineteenth century with the opening of the country’s first casino, Monte Carlo, and a railway connection to Paris. Since then, Monaco’s mild climate, scenery, and gambling facilities have contributed to the principality’s status as a tourist destination and recreation center for the rich. In more recent years, Monaco has become a major banking center and has sought to diversify its economy into services and small, high-value-added, non-polluting industries. The state has no income tax, low business taxes, and is well known for being a tax haven. It is also the host of the annual street circuit motor race Monaco Grand Prix, one of the original Grands Prix of Formula One.
Monaco is not formally a part of the European Union (EU), but it participates in certain EU policies, including customs and border controls. Through its relationship with France, Monaco uses the euro as its sole currency (prior to this it used the Monégasque franc). Monaco joined the Council of Europe in 2004.
Monaco’s name comes from the nearby sixth-century BC Phocaean Greek colony. Referred to by the Ligurians as Monoikos, from the Greek “μόνοικος”, “single house”, from “μόνος” (monos) “alone, single” + “οἶκος” (oikos) “house”, which bears the sense of a people either settled in a “single habitation” or of “living apart” from others. According to an ancient myth, Hercules passed through the Monaco area and turned away the previous gods. As a result, a temple was constructed there, the temple of Hercules Monoikos. Because the only temple of this area was the “House” of Hercules, the city was called Monoikos.
The Rock of Monaco served as a shelter for the area’s early humans from the end of the Paleolithic period, approximately 400,000 BC, evidence of which has been found in a cave in St. Judist’s Gardens. According to the accounts of historian Diodorus Siculus and geographer Strabo, the area’s first permanent settlers were the mountain-dwelling Ligures, who emigrated from their native city of Genoa, Italy. However, the ancient Ligurian language, which probably was Indo-European, is not directly connected to the Italian dialect spoken by the modern inhabitants of Liguria, nor to the modern Monegasque language.
During the sixtth-century BC. Phocaeans from Massalia (modern day Marseille) founded the colony of Monoikos. The Roman emperor Julian wrote of Hercules’s construction of Monaco’s port and a coastal road. The road was dotted with altars to Hercules, and a temple dedicated to him was established on the Rock of Monaco. The name Port Hercules was subsequently used for the ancient port. Monoeci meaning “Single One” or Monoikos meaning “Single House” could be a reference to Hercules or his temple, or the isolated community inhabiting the area around the rock. According to the “travels of Hercules” theme, also documented by Diodorus Siculus and Strabo, both Greeks and native Ligurian people asserted that Hercules passed through the area.
After the Gallic Wars, Monoecus, which served as a stopping-point for Julius Caesar on his way to campaign in Greece, fell under Roman control as part of the Maritime Alps province (Gallia Transalpina). The Roman poet Virgil called it “that castled cliff, Monoecus by the sea” (Aeneid, VI.830). The port is mentioned in Pliny the Elder’s Natural History (III.v) and in Tacitus’ Histories (III.42), when Fabius Valens was forced to put into the port (Fabius Valens e sinu Pisano segnitia maris aut adversante vento portum Herculis Monoeci depellitur).
Monaco remained under Roman control until the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in 476. The city was then under the domain of Odoacer until his fall at the hands of the Ostrogoths in the late fifth century. Monaco was recaptured by the Romans during the reign of Justinian in the mid-sixth century and was held until its capture by the Lombards in the seventh century. Monaco then passed hands between the Lombards and Franks. Though these raids left the area almost entirely depopulated, the Saracens were expelled in 975, and by the eleventh century the area was again populated by Ligurians.
In 1191, Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI granted suzerainty over the area to the city of Genoa, the native home of the Ligurians. On June 10, 1215, a detachment of Genoese Ghibellines led by Fulco del Cassello began the construction of a fortress atop the Rock of Monaco. This date is often cited as the beginning of Monaco’s modern history.
As the Ghibellines intended their fortress to be a strategic military stronghold and center of control for the area, they set about creating a settlement around the base of the Rock to support the garrison; in an attempt to lure residents from Genoa and the surrounding cities, they offered land grants and tax exemption to new settlers.
The Grimaldis, descended from Otto Canella and taking their name from his son Grimaldo, were an ancient and prominent Guelphic Genoese family. Members of this family, in the course of the civil strife in Genoa between the Guelphs and Ghibellines, took refuge in Monaco, accompanied by various other Guelphic families, most notably the Fieschis.
Francesco Grimaldi seized the Rock of Monaco in 1297, starting the Grimaldi dynasty, under the sovereignty of the Republic of Genoa. The Grimaldis acquired Menton in 1346 and Roquebrune in 1355, enlarging their possessions. In 1338, Monegasque ships under the command of Carlo Grimaldi participated, along with those of France and Genoa, in the English Channel naval campaign. Plunder from the sack of Southampton was brought back to Monaco, contributing to the principality’s prosperity.
Honoré II, Prince of Monaco secured recognition of his independent sovereignty from Spain in 1633, and then from Louis XIII of France by the Treaty of Péronne (1641). Since then the area has remained under the control of the Grimaldi family to the present day, except when under French control during the French revolution from 1793 to May 17, 1814, as part of the département of Alpes-Maritimes.
The principality was re-established in 1814, only to be designated a protectorate of the Kingdom of Sardinia by the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Monaco remained in this position until 1860, when by the Treaty of Turin, Sardinia ceded to France the surrounding county of Nice (as well as Savoy).
With the protectorate, that lasted nearly half a century, Italian was the official language of Monaco. The Monégasque dialect is closer to Italian than French, but influenced by both.
During this time there was unrest in the towns of Menton and Roquebrune, which declared independence, hoping for annexation by Sardinia and participation in the Italian Risorgimento. The unrest continued until the ruling prince gave up his claim to the two towns (some 95% of the country), and they were ceded to France in return for four million francs. Designated as a protectorate of the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna after Napoleon’s defeat, Monaco’s sovereignty was confirmed by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861. France accepted the existence of the Principality of Monaco, but annexed 95% of its former territory (the areas of Menton and Roquebrune). Monaco’s military defense since then has been the responsibility of France.
The famous Casino of Monte Carlo opened in 1863, organized by the Societé des Bains de Mer (“Sea-bathing Society”), which also ran the Hotel de Paris; taxes paid by the S.B.M. have been plowed into Monaco’s infrastructure. Economic development was spurred in the late nineteenth century with a railway link to France.
The Prince of Monaco was an absolute ruler until the Monegasque Revolution of 1910 forced him to proclaim a constitution in 1911.
In July 1918, a treaty was signed providing for limited French protection over Monaco. The treaty, written into the Treaty of Versailles, established that Monegasque policy would be aligned with French political, military, and economic interests. One of the motivations for the treaty was the upcoming Monaco Succession Crisis of 1918.
While Prince Louis II’s sympathies were strongly pro-French, he tried to keep Monaco neutral during World War II but supported the Vichy French government of his old army colleague, Marshal Philippe Pétain.
Nonetheless, his tiny principality was tormented by domestic conflict partly as a result of Louis’ indecisiveness, and also because the majority of the population was of Italian descent; many of them supported the fascist regime of Italy’s Benito Mussolini.
In November 1942, the Italian Army invaded and occupied Monaco, setting up a fascist puppet government. Soon after in September 1943, following Mussolini’s fall in Italy, the German Army occupied Monaco and began the deportation of the Jewish population.
Among them was René Blum, the prominent French Jew who founded the Ballet de l’Opera in Monte Carlo, was arrested in his Paris home and held in the Drancy deportation camp outside the French capital before being transported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where he was later killed. Blum’s colleague Raoul Gunsbourg, the director of the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, helped by the French Resistance, escaped arrest and fled to Switzerland. In August 1944, the Germans executed René Borghini, Joseph-Henri Lajoux and Esther Poggio, who were Resistance leaders. Under Prince Louis’ secret orders, the Monaco police, often at great risk to themselves, warned in advance those people whom the Gestapo planned to arrest. The country was liberated, as German troops retreated, on September 3, 1944.
Prince Rainier acceded to the throne following the death of his grandfather, Prince Louis II, in 1949. On April 19, 1956, Prince Rainier married the American actress Grace Kelly; the event was widely televised and covered in the popular press, focusing the world’s attention on the tiny principality.
The revised Constitution of Monaco, proclaimed in 1962, abolished capital punishment, provided for female suffrage, established a Supreme Court to guarantee fundamental liberties and made it difficult for a French national to transfer his or her residence there.
In 1963, a crisis developed when Charles de Gaulle blockaded Monaco, angered by its status as a tax haven for wealthy French. The 2014 film Grace of Monaco is loosely based on this crisis.
In 1993, Monaco became a member of the United Nations with full voting rights.
In 2002, a new treaty between France and Monaco clarifies that if there are no heirs to carry on the dynasty, the Principality will remain an independent nation, rather than be annexed by France. Monaco’s military defense, however, is still the responsibility of France.
On March 31, 2005, Rainier III, who was too ill to exercise his duties, relinquished them to his only son and heir, Albert. He died six days later, after a reign of 56 years, with his son succeeding him as Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco.
Following a period of official mourning, Prince Albert II formally assumed the princely crown on July 12, 2005, in a celebration that began with a solemn Mass at Saint Nicholas Cathedral, where his father had been buried three months earlier. His accession to the Monégasque throne was a two-step event with a further ceremony, drawing heads of state for an elaborate reception, held on November 18, 2005, at the historic Prince’s Palace in Monaco-Ville.
On August 27, 2015, Albert II apologized for Monaco’s role during World War II in facilitating the deportation of a total of 90 Jews and resistance fighters, of whom only nine survived. “We committed the irreparable in handing over to the neighboring authorities women, men and a child who had taken refuge with us to escape the persecutions they had suffered in France,” Albert said at a ceremony in which a monument to the victims was unveiled at the Monaco cemetery. “In distress, they came specifically to take shelter with us, thinking they would find neutrality.”
In 2015, Monaco unanimously approved a modest land reclamation expansion intended primarily for some desperately needed housing and a small green/park area. Monaco had previously considered an expansion in 2008, but called it off. The plan is for about six hectares of apartment buildings, parks, shops and offices for about 1 billion euros for the land. The development will be adjacent to the Larvotto district and also will include a small marina. There were four main proposals, and the final mix of use will be finalized as the development progresses. The name for the new district is Anse du Portier.
Monaco has the world’s second highest GDP nominal per capita at US $153,177, GDP PPP per capita at $132,571 and GNI per capita at $183,150. It also has an unemployment rate of 2%, with over 48,000 workers who commute from France and Italy each day. According to the CIA World Factbook, Monaco has the world’s lowest poverty rate and the highest number of millionaires and billionaires per capita in the world. For the fourth year in a row, Monaco in 2012 had the world’s most expensive real estate market, at $58,300 per square meter.
One of Monaco’s main sources of income is tourism. Each year many foreigners are attracted to its casino (where citizens are denied entry) and pleasant climate. It has also become a major banking center, holding over €100 billion worth of funds. The principality has successfully sought to diversify its economic base into services and small, high-value-added, non-polluting industries, such as cosmetics and biothermics.
The state retains monopolies in numerous sectors, including tobacco and the postal service. The telephone network (Monaco Telecom) used to be fully owned by the state; it now owns only 45%, while the remaining 55% is owned by both Cable & Wireless Communications (49%) and Compagnie Monégasque de Banque (6%). It is still, however, a monopoly. Living standards are high, roughly comparable to those in prosperous French metropolitan areas.
Monaco is not a member of the European Union. However, it is very closely linked via a customs union with France and, as such, its currency is the same as that of France, the euro. Before 2002, Monaco minted its own coins, the Monégasque franc. In preparation for this date, the minting of the new euro coins started as early as 2001. Like Belgium, Finland, France, the Netherlands, and Spain, Monaco decided to put the minting date on its coins. This is why the first euro coins from Monaco have the year 2001 on them, instead of 2002, like the other countries of the Eurozone that decided to put the year of first circulation (2002) on their coins. Three different designs were selected for the Monégasque coins. However, in 2006, the design was changed after the death of ruling Prince Rainier to have the effigy of Prince Albert.
Monaco also has a rich and valuable collection of collectors’ coins, with face value ranging from €5 to €100. These coins are a legacy of an old national practice of minting silver and gold commemorative coins. Unlike normal issues, these coins are not legal tender in all the Eurozone. The same practice concerning commemorative coins is exercised by all eurozone countries.
Since 1929, the Monaco Grand Prix has been held annually in the streets of Monaco. It is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world. The erection of the Circuit de Monaco takes six weeks to complete and the removal after the race takes another three weeks. The circuit is incredibly narrow and tight and its tunnel, tight corners and many elevation changes make it perhaps the most demanding Formula One track. Driver Nelson Piquet compared driving the circuit to “riding a bicycle around your living room”.
Despite the challenging nature of the course it has only had one fatality, Lorenzo Bandini, who crashed, burned and died three days later from his injuries in 1967. Two other drivers had lucky escapes after they crashed into the harbor, the most famous being Alberto Ascari in the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix and Paul Hawkins, during the 1965 race.
Since 1911, part of the Monte Carlo Rally has been held in the principality, originally held at the behest of Prince Albert I. Like the Grand Prix, the rally is organised by Automobile Club de Monaco. It has long been considered to be one of the toughest and most prestigious events in rallying and from 1973 to 2008 was the opening round of the World Rally Championship (WRC). From 2009 until 2011, the rally served as the opening round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge. The rally returned to the WRC calendar in 2012 and has been held annually since. Due to Monaco’s limited size, most of the rally is held in French territory.
The Monaco Marathon is the only marathon in the world to pass through three separate countries, those of Monaco, France and Italy, before the finish at the Stade Louis II.
A municipal sports complex, the Rainier III Nautical Stadium in the Port Hercules district consists of a heated saltwater Olympic-size swimming pool, diving boards and a slide. The pool is converted into an ice rink from December to March.
From July 10-12, 2014, Monaco inaugurated the Solar1 Monte Carlo Cup, a series of ocean races exclusively for solar powered boats.
The national flag of Monaco (Drapeau de Monaco) is one of the world’s oldest national flag designs. The has two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and white, both of which have been the heraldic colors of the House of Grimaldi since at least 1339. The present bicolor design was adopted on April 4, 1881, under Prince Charles III. Monaco’s original flag, which was similar to its current state flag but bore an older version of its coat of arms, was in use from the principality’s early days (except during its annexation to France from 1793 to 1814) until the present, simpler design was adopted in 1881. It is almost identical to the flag of Indonesia, except for the ratio of height to width.
The postal history of Monaco can be traced to the principality’s first postmark in 1704. Stampless covers are known with both manuscript and handstamp postmarks for Monaco and Fort d’Hercule (1793-1814 French occupation); as the principality was once much larger, postmarks of the communes of Menton and Roquebrune prior to their 1848 secession might also be included.
Monaco used Sardinian stamps from 1851 until 1860, when by the Treaty of Turin, Sardinia ceded to France the surrounding county of Nice and relinquished its protectorate over Monaco; French stamps with Monaco or Monte-Carlo postmarks were used thereafter. Two forms of cancellation are known for the French period. With the first, the postmark is on the cover away from the stamps; an obliterator with an identifying post office number 4222, or later 2387, inside a diamond of ink dots cancelled the actual stamps. The second applied the postmark directly on the stamps, as both a date stamp and cancel. All of these postal forerunners, particularly usages of Sardinian stamps with Monaco cancels, are far more valuable than the same stamps postally used in the issuing countries.
The first Monégasque postage stamps were issued on July 1, 1885, and featured the image of Prince Charles III of Monaco (Scott #1-10). A second series of definitives were first issued in 1891 bearing the portrait of Prince Albert I; these saw several color changes and denomination additions during the 30-year span of the design (Scott #11-29). Two of the Albert I stamps received overprints plus one with an overprint and surcharge on March 5, 1921, to commemorate the birth of Princess Antoinette, daughter of Princess Charlotte and Prince Pierre, Comte de Polignac, on December 28, 1920 (Scott #30-32). Three more of these stamps received value-change surcharges in 1922 (Scott #33-35). A new set of definitive stamps, including Monaco’s first pictorials, appeared between 1922 and 1924 (Scott #40-49); these exist both perforated 11 and imperforate.
In 1937, the principality responded to a growing interest from philatelists by creating a Stamp Issuing Office. The 1949 accession of Prince Rainier III led to increased importance for the principality’s philatelic issues. During his reign, the prince was personally involved in all aspects of the design and format of the principality’s philatelic issues, and he was quoted as stating that stamps were “the best ambassador of a country.” The prince was a noted philatelist and his collection was the basis of Monaco’s Museum of Stamps and Coins.
Monaco joined the Universal Postal Union in 1955 and PostEurop in 1993. Monaco’s postage stamps, which are tied to French postal rate, continue to be popular among collectors and are considered to be a source of revenue for the principality.
On December 13, 1946, Monaco released a set of nine stamps issued in tribute to the memory of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Scott #198-202, #B93, #C14-15, #CB6). An additional stamp bearing a close resemblance to these was issued on May 15, 1947, as part of a set of five air post stamps marking Monaco’s participation in the Centenary International Philatelic Exhibition (CIPEX), held that month in New York City (Scott #C16-C20). The stamp, bears one of my favorite images of President Roosevelt, based on a photograph of him examining a stamp from his own extensive collection. The picture is one of several photographed on May 5, 1936; notice that President is NOT using tongs to hold the stamp. Roosevelt is quite famous as the “Stamp Collecting President.” The 50-centime violet stamp is beautifully engraved on unwatermarked paper.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) was unique among United States presidents and is remembered and respected for his strong yet compassionate leadership during the Great Depression and World War II. Despite the strain of such continuing political and economic crises, the 32nd President of the United States (1933-45) pursued his lifelong interest in collecting stamps. He was a serious philatelist who took great pride in his collection and interest in the philatelic arts at all levels.
His interest began when he was eight years old and his mother passed her collection on to him. He enjoyed stamps, he said, because of their link with geography and history, not for their intrinsic value. While recovering from polio, he spent many bedridden hours arranging and annotating thousands of specimens. As President, there was scarcely a day when he did not spend some time with his collection. FDR was very active in the design process for new stamps, exercising veto power over proofs that didn’t meet with his exacting standards. He even sketched original designs for several issues, including a Mother’s Day stamp (Scott #737) intended to encourage Americans to write their moms.
The time each day spent with his stamps relaxed President Roosevelt during those very tense times. He claimed, “I owe my life to my hobbies — especially stamp collecting.” His son James recollected, “I have vivid memories of Father sitting at his desk when he had a half hour or hour with no appointments . . . with his stamp books and an expression of complete relaxation and enjoyment on his face.” In addition to enjoying his stamps privately each day, FDR joined stamp clubs, bought stamps from dealers and in auction, and promoted the hobby by association with stamp shows such as the 1936 international exhibition TIPEX in New York City.
Congressman Joseph R. Pitts of Pennsylvania, Curator of the National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C., introduced a 1998 exhibition of items detailing Roosevelt’s philatelic activities by writing,
“President Roosevelt’s stamp designs reveal a great deal about the events that occupied his attention as well as his personal stamp collecting interests. Though not an artist, he had an above-average knowledge of the elements of design, and he knew what would be pleasing to him as a stamp collector. This exhibit showcases the postage stamps bearing President Franklin Roosevelt’s designs along with other items from his personal philatelic collection. These objects offer a fresh perspective of one of our nation’s most esteemed leaders.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first stamp design was done as a favor for a friend — Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd — who needed help promoting his second Antarctic expedition. The President’s sketch, calling for a commemorative-size stamp arranged vertically, shows the eastern coast of the United States and South America, the western areas of Europe and Africa, and the routes of Byrd’s trans-Atlantic, North Pole and South Pole flights.
In preparing the model for this stamp, the artists at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, took certain liberties with the FDR’s suggestions but retained the President’s concept. Instead of showing only certain coastal areas, a globe was implemented, to show the routes of Byrd’s journeys more clearly. Later, when this original sketch was reclaimed from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the President autographed it “Franklin D. Roosevelt” in pencil and dated it. The Polar stamp was issued on October 9, 1933.
President Roosevelt insisted that the Post Office Department carry mail bearing this stamp to the expedition base in Little America for canceling and return. The President understood that collectors would pay dearly for the special cancellation. A post office was established 70 feet below the ice.
Each collector paid 53 cents per cover to get the “Little America” postmark — 3 cents for the stamp, and 50 cents to finance Byrd’s expedition. Admiral Byrd was, of course, deeply appreciative, and wrote the President: “Dear Franklin: I am greatly moved by the wonderful way in which you have helped me at this time of great crisis in my life. My expedition has been so costly that I have been threatened with bankruptcy. … It is rather beautiful, Franklin, the way you have come to the rescue of your old friend.” Roosevelt’s sole request of Byrd was “a letter for my stamp collections.” Naturally, FDR received quite a few.
Less than a hour before Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death on April 12, 1945, he reportedly talked with his second Postmaster General, Frank C. Walker, on the telephone and promised to participate in the first day of issuance ceremonies for the United Nations stamp in San Francisco. The President had been sitting for a portrait that Elizabeth Shoumatoff was painting when Walker called. When the president ended his call she praised the recently-issued Florida Statehood stamp, and asked if he had anything to do with it. “I certainly did,” he is reported to have responded. Minutes later he complained of a severe headache and collapsed from a cerebral hemorrhage.
“Towards United Nations” became Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first memorial. Though the issuance date was less than two weeks away when the President died, the Post Office Department ordered the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to revise the design to include “Franklin D. Roosevelt” in the field below the date and above the flat laurel branch.
According to the website for the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum:
“At his death, his personal stamp collection numbered over 1,200,000 stamps, 80% of which was of little value — ‘scrap’ as the President called it. The collection was sold at public auction in accordance with his wishes and realized $228,000.00. The stamps he received officially from foreign governments were not sold, but are a part of the holdings of the Roosevelt Library.“
The FDR collection was sold by H.R. Harmer Auction Galleries of New York beginning about 1946. A number of covers were included, mail sent to President Roosevelt. An interesting point: the wax seals on the back of the envelopes were cut out “for security reasons”. Harmer’s placed one of a number of different rubber-stamped messages on the back, to give some provenance to what was, at the time, a very mundane cover. One of the items in my own collection is a cover that was once part of the Roosevelt collection, having been mailed to him from Paris, France, in 1934: