1912 Scott 1 5h yellow green "Prince Johann II"Quick History
Imagine if all the Principalities, Duchies, Free Cities, and Kingdoms in Europe had not coalesced. We would have a smorgasbord of small stamp issuing entities today.
Well Liechtenstein still exists as a Principality and a constitutional monarchy.
Consisting of 62 square miles entirely in the Alps between Switzerland and Austria, German speaking Liechtenstein had but 11,000 people in 1941. The Capital is Vaduz.
The Principality was tied closely to the Austrian Empire until the end of WW I.
But it was also ruled by the childless Johann II, Prince of Liechtenstein, from 1858-1929, a period of 70 years! Johann II granted a constitution for Liechtenstein in 1862. The Principality left the German Confederation in 1866, and the army was abolished in 1868 because of expense.
In 1912, the first stamps of Liechtenstein were produced, looking remarkably like Austrian stamps of the era. This is not coincidental, as Austria was administering the Post Office. This state persisted until 1920, when, after a year of Liechtenstein National administration, Switzerland was given the task in 1921. The Heller/Krone currency was then switched to Rappen/Franc.
In 1929, Johann II's brother Franz I (Francis I)-also childless- became Prince at age 75. The reign lasted until Franz I died in 1938. Prince Aloys, the heir presumptive, had removed himself earlier from the line of succession in favor of his own son, Franz Josef. Therefore Franz Josef (Franz Joseph II) became the new Prince, and reigned until his death in 1989. Franz Joseph II was the first ruling Prince of Liechtenstein to live full time in the principality.
Liechtenstein -along with Switzerland- remained neutral during WW II.
Today, Liechtenstein is quite wealthy, as measured by GDP per capita. The Principality is also, to interject some trivia, the world's largest producer of sausage casings and false teeth.
1929 Scott 90 10p olive green
"Prince Francis I, as a Child (Some 65 years prior!)Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, for 1912-1940, 155 regular, 14 semi-postal, 23 air post, 28 postage due, and 29 official category major descriptions for Liechtenstein. Total = 249. Of those, 129 are CV <$1-$1+, or 52%.
Liechtenstein, though, has two populations of stamps in many albums. The first population, consisting of the 1920 issues of the Liechtenstein National administration of the Post Office (Some 38 regular and postage due stamps), is extremely common, as these issues were demonitized and remaindered by the Swiss, who took over administration of the Post Office in 1921.
The second population- the rest of the stamp issues- are much less common in general collections. As the CV is rather high ($1+-$10) for many in this second population, one only finds stamps of Liechtenstein if the WW classical collector had a particular interest in the region.
Of the some half dozen general collection feeder albums I have, the generalization held true. Every collection had plenty of the 1920 Scott 18-25, 32-49, and Postage Due 1920 Scott J1-J12. But the collections had little of anything else, except for some earlier Austrian administration issues.
Consequently, I had to search out stamp dealers and on-line for some more Liechtenstein stamps. They are available, naturally, but at a price. ;-)
A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Heller = 1 Krone
100 Rappen = 1 Franc (1921)
1912 Scott 2 10h rose "Prince Johann II"
Liechtenstein had its first issue in 1912, with Austria handling the administration of the post office. A three stamp issue was produced with the portrait of the ruling Liechtenstein Prince Johann II, who had already been in that role for 54 years. Obviously, Austria was designing the stamps for Liechtenstein, as they appear remarkably similar to the Austrian stamps of the era. CV for the three stamp issue is $10+-$40.
1917-18 Scott 5 5h yellow green "Coat of Arms"
During 1917-18, a six stamp issue was produced. The lower denomination stamps had the "Coat of Arms" design, as shown.
1917-18 Scott 7 15h dull red "Prince Johann II"
The higher denomination stamps had the same portrait as the earlier issue with a redesigned frame. CV for the stamps is $1+.
1918 Scott 10 20h dark green "Prince Johann II"
In 1918, a single stamp was issued to honor the 60th year reign of Prince Johann II. Note the dates in the upper corners.
1920 Scott 14 40h on 3h violet
"Coat of Arms"
"Coat of Arms"
In 1920, the Austrian administration of the post office was suspended, and Liechtenstein assumed responsibility for one year, The preceding 1917-18 six stamp issue was overprinted or surcharged, covering up the "k.k.oesterr.post" imprint. The post WW I inflation must also been a consideration, as the surcharges were as high as 2 1/2 Kroner. CV is $1+.
1920 Scott 22 25h dark green "Coat of Arms"
In 1920 a large set (23 stamps) with three major designs was released in both imperforate and perforate forms. Some of the imperforates are in slightly different colors, while others have the same colors as the perforates. The 25h "dark green" imperforate shown above is listed as 25h "olive green" for the perforate variety. The eight imperforate varieties are CV <$1. Of interest, Scott gives all the varieties (both imperforates and perforates) a major number.
1920 Scott 38 40h claret "Gutenberg Castle"
The second major design is shown above, although there are eight discrete vignettes. And the perforated 1920 issue has 15 stamps, all with CV <$1. Why so cheap? The Swiss, when they took over administration of the post office in 1921, demonitized and remaindered these stamps onto the stamp market. No doubt you have a good supply in your Liechtenstein collection. ;-)
1920 Scott 46 10k ocher
"Coat of Arms with Supporters"
The high denomination stamp (10k) was issued in a large impressive size, but still has a CVof <$1.
1920 Scott 48 80h red brown
"Madonna and Child"
For the 80th birthday of Prince Johann II, a three stamp set with a "Madonna and Child" design was released. Although quite attractive, these stamps even today are <$1 mint.
1921 Scott 56 3rp orange "Arms with Supporters"
On January 31, 1921, the Swiss took over administration of the post office, and the denomination also changed to Rappen/Franc. Alas, no more "cheap" Liechtenstein stamps for collectors. ;-)
A new 16 stamp issue was produced. The lower eight denominations had the above design. CV for this design is $1-$20.
1921 Scott 66 40rp dark blue & black
"Old Roman Tower at Schaan"
The seven middle denominations had this frame design with a changing vignette. CV ranges from $1+-$30. Quite attractive, yes?
1924 Scott 70 5rp on 7 1/2rp dark blue, perforation 12 1/2
1924 Scott 70a, perforation 10
Surcharged in Red
In 1924, several stamps were surcharged in red, as the example shows. One thing I should mention is stamps of this era for Liechtenstein may come in several perforations- with minor numbers. Here a Scott 70a (presumably) with a measured perforation of 10 is shown. (The catalogue lists it as 9 1/2. ;-)
1924-28 Scott 78 10rp yellow green
"Courtyard, Vaduz Castle"
Between 1924-28, a 7 stamp issue was produced. Some are lithographed, others are engraved. An engraved specimen is shown above. The CV for the 6 lower denomination stamps is $1+-$8+.
1929 Scott 91 20rp carmine
"Prince Francis I as a Man"
In 1929, the 70 year reign of the childless Prince Johann II came to an end with his death. His brother, Prince Francis I, also childless, became head of the Principality. He was 75 years old.
There was a four stamp set released in 1929 for the occasion. It featured Francis I, Princess Elsa (his spouse), and a portrait of the Prince as a young child. I'm not sure why that was done, but you can view the Francis I child portrait stamp illustrated above the "Into the Deep Blue" header.
1930 Scott 96 10rp dark violet "Mountain Cattle"
In 1930, a 14 stamp issue was released, all with different pictorial scenes. An example is shown above. The CV is not inexpensive, with 11 stamps @ $5-$80+. In addition, a number of minor number perforation varieties are in the catalogue.
1934-35 Scott 116 3rp copper red "Coat of Arms"
Another varied pictorial issue was released in 1934-35. This 16 stamp production has a CV of <$1- $200+, although most are in the $1+-$10+ range. The higher CV in general for the stamps of Liechtenstein is, no doubt, the reason they tend to be scarce in general collections, except for the 1920 issues.
1937-38 Scott 137 5rp emerald
"Chapel at Masescha"
A 14 stamp pictorial set was produced in 1937-38. Quite attractive, as illustrated above. CV is <$1-$9+. It is quite astounding that Liechtenstein, by aligning itself with Switzerland, managed to remain "neutral" and not be invaded during WW II. Remember, Liechtenstein had no army.Deep Blue
1925 Scott B3 30rp deep blue "Prince Johann II"
Liechtentein did issue some semi-postals, but did not follow the Swiss lead of a yearly set. In 1925, a three stamp set was issued for the 85th birthday of the prince regent. The excess 5 Rappen was given to charity.
1928 Scott B7 5rp + 5rp brown violet & brown
"Railroad Bridge Demolished by Flood"
In 1928, a four stamp semi-postal issue was produced to aid the victims of the Rhine floods. CV today is $10+. Nicely designed.
1930 Scott C3 25rp olive brown
"Airplane over Rhine Valley"
The first air post issue, 6 stamps, was released in 1930. This handsome stamps have a CV of $5-$20+.
1934-35 Scott C9 "Golden Eagle"
A 5 stamp air post set featuring the Golden Eagle and Osprey was produced in 1934-35. There are minor numbers with grilled gum. CV is $5+-$10+.
1939 Scott C17 10rp violet "Barn Swallows"
A lovely 7 stamp air post issue with birds in flight was produced in 1939. CV ranges from <$1-$2+.
1920 Scott J1 5h rose red
1920 Scott J10 1k dull blue
During the National administration of the post office in 1920, this 12 stamp postage due set was produced. CV is <$1. These stamps are quite common in collections because the Swiss remaindered them when they assumed administration of the post office in 1921.
1928 Scott J20 50rp purple & orange
An 8 stamp postage due set on granite paper was released in 1928. CV is <$1-$5+.
1932 Scott O2 10rp dark violet
Overprinted "Regierungs Dienstsache"
Official stamps were overprinted on the 1930 issue with a crown and the imprint as illustrated. This 8 stamp issue has a CV of $5+ to $3000+!
1920 overprinted surcharged issue in Deep BlueThe Deep Blue (Steiner) section for classical Liechtenstein consists of 23 pages. The Steiner uses the Scott catalogue for major number spaces, and is easy to follow here.
1930 Scott 99 30rp deep ultrmarine "Chapel at Steig"Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on five pages, has 76 regular, 20 postage due, 13 semi-postal, and 18 air post spaces. Total = 127. Coverage is 51%. Considering that there are higher CV stamps in the catalogue, BB does an overall good job of choosing the lower priced selections.
• There are 17 stamps with CV $10+, 3 stamps with CV $20+ in the album, but none cross the $35 "Most Expensive" category.
• BB provides spaces for all the regular issue 1920 perforated types. Some of the imperforate stamps can be substituted into a space, but others are excluded because of difference in design. Also, some of the imperforates are actually a different color. It might be best to put only perforates into these spaces, and find other room for the imperforates that one has.
• BB ends early as there are six regular stamps issued in 1940 (CV <$1) where no spaces are found (Actually, these spaces are in Part II.).
• The first 1912 issue is not offered a space (Although admittedly the CV is $10+).
• The surcharged stamps of 1920,1921 & 1924 ( 10 stamps- CV <$1-$1+) are not given a space. BB as a general rule does not offer many spaces for overprinted/surcharged issues.
• No Official stamps are given a space, although I found 14 stamps with CV <$1-$1+.
18 or 32, 19 or 33, 20 or 34, 21 or 35, 36, 23 or 37,
25 or 42, 43,44,45,46,
A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1928 Scott 84 30rp slate blue & olive green ($10+)
1933 Scott 111 10rp purple ($10+)
1933 Scott 112 20rp brown carmine ($10+)
1933 Scott 113 30rp dark blue ($10+)
1934-35 Scott 125 50rp light brown ($10+)
1925 Scott B1 10rp yellow green ($10+)
1925 Scott B2 20rp deep red ($10+)
1928 Scott B7 5rp + 5rp brown violet & brown ($10)
1928 Scott B8 10rp + 10rp blue green & brown ($10+)
1928 Scott B9 20rp + 10rp dull red & brown ($10+)
1932 Scott B11 10rp (+ 5rp) olive green ($10+)
1932 Scott B12 20rp (+ 5rp) rose red ($10+)
1932 Scott B13 30rp (+10rp) ultramarine ($20)
1930 Scott C2 20rp slate ($10+)
1930 Scott C4 35rp slate blue ($10)
1930 Scott C5 45rp olive green ($20+)
1930 Scott C6 1fr lake ($20+)
1934-35 Scott C10 15rp red orange ($10+)
1934-35 Scott C11 20rp red ($10+)
1934-35 Scott C12 30rp bright blue ($10+)
B) *1920- BB provides spaces for all the perforated types. Some of the imperforate stamps can be substituted into a space, but others are excluded because of difference in design. Also, some of the imperforates are actually a different color. It might be best to put only perforates into these spaces, and find other room for any imperforates that one has.
C) *1934-35- C9a-C13a with grilled gum could be substituted.
1939 Scott C23 2fr violet "Lammergeier"Out of the Blue
Who wouldn't like to collect a cozy little country set among the alpine grandeur with tastefully designed selected stamps? ;-)
Note: Map appears to be in the public domain.
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