After scanning 12,500 engraved stamps into the database I thought there was little more to knock me out but the detail on this stamp from Eugene Lacaque did just that. It was issued for the 47th Congress of French Philatelic Societies in 1974. SG 2052, Scott 1412.
What amazed me is the amount of detail Lacaque managed to include. Looking at the stamp in the album you can see that there is a cyclist in the foreground but when you enlarge it you can even see the spokes on the wheels of the bicycles. How good is that? If this had been done in photogravure, that level of detail would have just been dots.
Back in the good old days - say, the sixties (well, they were good for me. I was a teenager) engravers had a lot more time to produce a die. The quality of the stamp was the most important thing as it reflected the image of the country. Since then, those countries that still engrave give their engravers far less time as economics is more important and stamps are far less of a symbol of national pride. All this is understandable, I suppose, but a lot of modern engraved stamps fail to excite me and I consider them a bit "cartoonish". Of course, there are still a lot of really desirable engraved stamps being produced and when you find them, it is nice to share them with others who can appreciate their worth. I found this set of waterbirds, designed and engraved by Marie-Noelle Goffin at a local auction and I think they show that modern engraved stamps can still be beautiful works of art.
France SG3108-11, Scott 2320-3 Multi-colour engraving.