As soon as he became the sovereign prince of Monaco, H.S.H. PRINCE RAINIER III showed his interest in philately, as he considered stamps to be "THE FIRST AMBASSADOR OF A COUNTRY" :
- He chose subjects, on proposal of the Director of the Stamp Issuing Office, and signed drawings and proofs of colors of every stamp,
- He decided to create a "Postal Museum ", in 1950, within the Palace and entrusted to the Director of the Stamp-Issuing Office, assigned for the keeping and the classification of the philatelic Collection constituted by His predecessors, Albert Ier and Louis II,
- He created the Advisory Commission of the philatelic Collection, in 1987, in charge of classifying updating and increasing the patrimony which constitutes all documents connected to postage stamps, including varieties. This private Collection becomes Crown Property in 1997, and the Commission adds numismatics in its expertise in 2001,
- He wished the construction of a Stamps and coins Museum, on the Terraces of Fontvieille then recently gained on the sea, opened to the public in 1996 and presenting His philatelic and numismatic Collections, very complete and among the most renowned.
Coins are presented as well, since the first one which bore mention "Prince of Monaco" and asserted Monegasque sovereignty, in 1640, coins for commercial trading with the East, specific banknotes in 1920 and coinage of necessity for lack of sufficient metal after the First War, the golden coins under Charles III, until Francs and Euro of the present Administration.
Some essays and pieforts were minted, as well as "Fleurs de Coins" sets from 1974, arousing interest for Monegasque "Franc". The institution of the Euro is considered as highly interesting for collectors, in particular from Germany and Italy, and speculation appears ; the minting rights (1/500-th of France) is insufficient but the Principality pursues a wise traditional policy with circulation coins and products more specifically intended for Collection (Proofs, Brilliant Uncirculated, silver and gold coins).
The Museum is composed of two showrooms:
- the main room presents the complete chronology of currencies, since 1641, and Monegasque stamps, since 1885, as well as temporary thematic exhibitions; the public can discover plasters used in the process of striking of currencies, the awls and all the documents which participate to the issuing of stamps, and to admire a machine copperplate engraving which printed the stamps of Monaco during more than 60 years; a broadcasting zone allows to discover a film of presentation of the philatelic history, of the manufacture and of marketing of stamps and an encyclopaedic computer border concerning monegasque philately and numismatic,
- the room of the rare stamps, the real case, shelters préphilatelic
documents, Sardinian and French stamps used in Principality
("precursors") and the first Monegasque stamps of the administrations of
Charles III and Louis II ("classics") ; it is in this safe that were
presented to the public the seven Exhibitions of "100 stamps and
philatelic documents among the rarest of the world", in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2013.
Past major International Philatelic Exhibition, "MonacoPhil 2015" has been organized on 3 to 5 December 2015, with world Rarities and 60 booths of postal Administrations and international stamp dealers.
The Museum is also a sales department and proposes to its counter stamps and coins of Monaco, as well as paraphilatelic products (books, enamels, scarfs). Products are also available on the website www.mtm-monaco.mc.
Office des Émissions de Timbres-Poste © 2019