A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar


A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. Interested? So into the Blues...

Friday, April 1, 2016

Switzerland

1852 Scott 12 15r vermilion "Coat of Arms"
Quick History
Switzerland (Helvetia) is at the  European junction of Germanic and Romance language and culture, and hence has four linguistic/cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Although the majority of the population is German language speaking, the self identity of the Swiss is molded more through the shared alpine geography, the shared historical background, and the long history of direct democracy and federalism. Traditionally, the Swiss have maintained their neutrality as a means to keep their (relatively) small nation from being overwhelmed by their more populous and bellicose neighbors. That, and the self defense protection afforded by the alpine ruggedness and isolation. ;-)

By Napoleon's time (1803), Switzerland was a Confederation of 19 cantons, Each canton had a good deal of autonomy within the loose confederation framework. In 1815, the Congress of Vienna affirmed Swiss independence and Swiss neutrality.

1832 Delmarche Map of Switzerland (22 cantons)
From 1843-51, the cantons of Zurich, Geneva, and Basil produced their own stamp issues. These are some of the most valuable stamps ever produced (CV $1,600-$40,000).

Swiss Cantons (26 cantons presently)
A new constitution was formed for the Federal State in 1848, modeled on the U.S.A. example. The constitution  provided for a central Federal authority, while leaving the cantons to self-rule on local matters.

Stamps for the Federal Administration were introduced in 1850, as well as the new Swiss franc.

Swiss "Coat of Arms"
The initial stamps produced between 1850-1852 had a central vignette of the Swiss "Coat of Arms"

This was followed by the "Sitting Helvetia" type from 1854-1864.

Bern was selected as the "federal city" (Bundesstadt), and the Swiss population grew to 4,200,00 by 1941.

The International Committee of the Red Cross was formed in Geneva in 1863.

The League of Nations was based in Geneva in 1920.

Because of Switzerland's firm neutrality stance (and plain good luck!), the country was not invaded in either WW I or WW II.

Of interest, Switzerland was the last Western republic to give women the right to vote (1959-1990).

In 2002, Switzerland became a full member of the United Nations.

Switzerland (and Liechtenstein) are presently surrounded by members of the European Union.

1858-62 Scott 36 5r brown "Helvetia"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for 1843-1942 Switzerland, 637 major descriptive numbers. The categories include the ultra-expensive Cantonal Administration stamps (1843-1850), regular, semi-postals, air post, postage due, official, official for the  War Board of Trade, official for the League of Nations, official for the International Labor Bureau, and Franchise stamps. Of those (all the categories), 323 are CV <$1-$1+, or 51%.

Switzerland has a stellar reputation (and expense!) for the 1843-1850 Canton issues, the early 1850-1852 Federal Administration issues, and some of the non-perforated and perforated 19th century "Helvetia" issues. This is the playground of the philatelic rich and famous.

The 20th century regular issues, though, are generally at modest expense, as many were collected and saved. The semi-postals, which are lovely, are inexpensive to moderately expensive. ( I will devote a separate post to the attractive Swiss semi-postals. :-) Other categories ( air post, postage due, official) are a mixed bag: some inexpensive, some fairly expensive.

For the purposes of this blog post, we will focus on the regular issue 1852-1918 stamps.

Zumstein Catalogue
The Scott catalogue, as usual, will be the primary reference for this review. It is O.K. as a general source for the (U.S. based) WW collector. Admittedly, the Scott is a bit annoying, in that the 1882-1907 "Numeral" and "Helvetia" issues have many minor numbers mixed in with the major numbers. The way the minors are presented, it appears that they all really should be major numbers.

I'm confident that the Michel would present Switzerland in a thorough manner. 

One might also look for a copy of the Zumstein (in German and French), which is published from Bern, Switzerland. I have a 1996 edition.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Rappen or Centimes = 1 Franc
1852 Scott 12 15r vermilion "Coat of Arms"
Vermilion Frame Around Cross
The Federal Administration, which began in 1848 with approval of a new constitution, resulted in the the issuance of stamps from 1850-1852 (13 major Scott numbers) with a Swiss cross and a posthorn motif.

The 1852 15r vermilion, illustrated above, is one of the least expensive @ CV $125.

All of these issues were declared invalid for use on October 1, 1854.

1858-62 Scott 37 10r blue "Helvetia"
Thick Ordinary Paper, Rough Impressions
The "Sitting Helvetia" design was introduced in 1854, embossed, with various colored silk threads embedded in the paper, and issued on thin, medium, or thick imperforate paper. The impressions ranged from fine to rough. Based on these variables, Scott recognizes issues from 1854 (six stamps), 1854-55 (four stamps), 1855-57 (eight stamps), 1857 (four stamps), and 1858-62 (six stamps).

All are fairly expensive to expensive, but the 1858-62 issue on thick ordinary paper, rough impressions, and green silk threads has five stamps with CV $20+-$100.

1858-62 Scott 38a 15r pale rose "Helvetia"
Note the design denominations are in rappen, centimes, and (Italian) centesimi.

The 1858-62 issue issue especially lists many minor number color shades (eight). This example is probably the pale rose compared to the major number dark rose color.

I was having a hard time spotting the silk colored threads, as I expected they would be similar to granite paper examples with the threads lying in random fashion.

Threads? What color?
But the silk thread is embedded horizontally through the paper as a security measure. !! The 1858-62 issue has "green" silk threads, and, on close examination, that appears to be the case here.

1862-64 Scott 47 40c green "Helvetia"
White Wove Paper, Wmk "Cross in Oval", Perf 11 1/2
The 1862-64 nine stamp issue was perforated 11 1/2, and is on white wove paper. CV ranges from $1- $60+ for seven stamps.

Note that now the denomination is in Franco.

Wmk 182 "Cross in Oval"
These and some subsequent issues have a "Cross in Oval" (Wmk 182) seen on the back of the stamp. The watermark is not a true watermark, as it was impressed after the paper was produced, but before gum was applied.

BTW, there are two major types of watermark: Type 1- width under 9 mm, and Type 2- width under 8 1/2 mm.

1867-78 Scott 58 40c gray "Helvetia"
White Wove Paper
Seven more stamps were issued between 1867-78, but in different denominations or colors. Six of the stamps are a modest CV $1-$9+.

1881 Scott 62 10c rose "Helvetia"
Granite Paper
The 1881 nine stamp issue is distinguished by using granite paper. CV is <$1-$20 for the issue.

Granite Paper: Blue and Red Silk Threads
Pieces of blue and red silk threads scattered about on the paper is characteristic of these granite paper varieties. Usually fairly easy to tell.

1882-89 Scott 71 5c maroon "Numeral"
Wmk 182; Granite Paper
Between 1882-89, the 2c-15c lower denominations were given a "Numeral" design. These 1882-89 stamps are on "Cross in Oval" (Wmk 182) paper.

Granite paper was used for the 1882-89 seven stamp issue. The granite paper varieties are further parsed into Type 2 (major number) and Type 1 (minor number) Wmk 182 watermarking types.

White paper (and Type 2  Wmk 182) was also used for a 1882 five stamp issue. These (white paper)  stamps have a much higher CV compared to the more common granite paper stamps. 

1905 Scott 115 5c green "Numeral"
Numeral Type of 1882-99; Wmk "Swiss Cross"
The "Numeral" types of 1882-89 were issued again in 1905 for six denominations. These can be distinguished by the Wmk 183 "Swiss Cross" watermark.

Wmk 182 "Cross in Oval"; Wmk 183 "Swiss Cross"
Here are the two watermarks found during the classical era.

1882-89 Scott 74 12c ultramarine?
Thick vs Thin Numeral?
Both have  Wmk "Cross in Oval" 
I did find a bit of a puzzler in my collection. These two 12c ultramarine stamps appear to have Wmk 182 "Cross in Oval". The watermark appears to be of the type 2 variety- although, admittedly, I do not have a lot of experience with this watermark. In other words, the stamps appear to be Scott 74 (Wmk 182 Type 2), rather than Scott 74c (Wmk 182 Type 1), or the 1905 Scott 117 (Wmk 183).

Yet, wouldn't you agree that the numerals are thick vs thin?  I either have a variety, or I am making a mistake in identification.

1882 Scott 84 40c gray (Large Numerals) "Helvetia"
1904 Scott 85 40c gray (Small Numerals) "Helvetia"
Perf 11 1/2 - 11 3/4
The 1882-1904 20c denominations and higher had the "Standing Helvetia" design. These stamps were engraved, and had perforation 11 1/2- 11 3/4. There were seven major number and one minor number stamp in this grouping. The paper for this issue, and the next several issues was white.

Note that the "40c" denomination comes in a large numeral and a small numeral. The large and small "40c" stamps are 22 years apart, though, in terms of year of issue.

1888 Scott 90 25c yellow green "Helvetia"
Perf 9 1/2
The 1888 five stamp issue is perforation 9 1/2. The 25c yellow green is only CV $20, while the other stamps in this issue are CV $100+-$700.

1891-99 Scott 88a 3fr yellow brown "Helvetia"
Perf 11 1/2 X 11
The "Standing Helvetia" stamp catalogue numbers are often determined by careful perforation measurements. Here the 1891-99 four major number, six minor number stamp grouping is perforation 11 1/2 X 11.

1901-03 Scott 95a 30c red brown
Perf  11 1/2 X 12
The 1901-03 grouping of eight minor numbers is perforation 11 1/2 X 12. I should note that all the "Standing Helvetia" issues reviewed so far do have wmk 182 "Cross in Oval" paper.

1905 Scott 110 1fr carmine
Helvetia Types of 1882-1904
White Paper, Wmk 183, Perf 11 1/2 X 11
This issue, in contrast, has wmk 183 "Swiss Cross" paper.  This issue was released in 1905 on six major number stamps and one minor number denomination stamp. The perforation is 11 1/2 X 11.

It is on white paper.

1907 Scott 119 20c orange
Helvetia Types of 1882-1904
Granite Paper, Perf 11 1/2 X 12
The 1907 "Standing Helvetia" issue is on granite paper, and shows the wmk 183 "Swiss Cross".

Seven stamps (one of them a minor number) has perforation 11 1/2 X 12.

Five stamps (four of them minor numbers) have perforation 11 1/2 X 11.

For the "Standing Helvetia" stamps, there are plenty of plate flaws and retouches for all values. If one wishes to specialize in an issue, the "Standing Helvetia" stamps would be a good candidate. ;-)

1900 Scott 98 5c gray green "UPU Allegory"
1900 Scott 101 5c gray green Re-engraved
In 1900, Switzerland issued their first commemorative stamps, a three stamp set with one design depicting a "UPU Allegory" for the 25th anniversary of the Universal Postal Union.

Of interest, the set was re-engraved in 1900 also. The re-engraved set shows a clearer impression, most notably the horizontally lined background. The figures of value are lined, rather than solid.

"William Tell's Son"
1909 Scott 146 2c bister "Bow String in Front of Stock"
1910 Scott 149 2c bister, First Redrawing 
"Bow String Behind Stock, Thin Loop above Crossbow"
1911 Scott 153 2c bister, Second Redrawing
"Bow String Behind Stock, Thick Loop above Crossbow"
"William Tell's Son" was the motif for the lower denomination definitives of 1909. There is the original drawing of 1909, the first redrawing of 1910, and the second redrawing of 1911. Differences are as described. I fondly remember these from the days of my childhood collection.

1918 Scott 162 7 1/2c gray Type I
Scott 162c 7 1/2c slate Type II
The 1918 7 1/2c has two types. The "7" is clearly thicker in Type II. The upper base plate is thinner than the lower base plate in Type II., In contrast, with Type I, the base plates are the same thickness.

1918 Scott 182 3fr red "The Mythen"
Between 1914-1930, an engraved five stamp pictorial set with three views ( the Rutli meadow, and the Jungfrau and Mythen mountains) was issued.

Lovely, lovely scene. 

Deep Blue
1867-78 "Helvetia" Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 53 pages for classical era Switzerland. All the major Scott numbers have a space- including the Geneva Canton 1843 Scott 2L1 @ CV $40,000. It may be awhile before I fill that space. ;-)

In addition, all the minor number 1881-1907 "Helvetia" stamps, and the minor number grilled gum varieties have a space.


1862-64 Scott 44 10c blue "Helvetia"
White Wove Paper, Wmk "Cross in Oval"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on eleven pages, has 321 spaces for regular, semi-postal, postage due, franchise, and air post stamps. No official stamp spaces were included. Coverage is 50%.

The 1940s editions offer similar coverage, although the '69 edition appears to have a few more spaces ( A formal review was not done) .

Of the 109 1913-1940 semi-postals in the Scott 1840-1940 catalogue, BB has spaces for all of them after 1918, save for the souvenir sheets. Nice! Of interest, none of the semi-postals in BB reach the CV $10 mark, although some are close.

The "Most Expensive" (CV > $35) eight stamps needed to fill BB spaces include ....
1858-62 Scott 35 2r gray ($275) !
1855-57 Scott 25 5r dark brown ($40)
1862-64 Scott 46 30c vermilion ($47.50)
1862-64 Scott 47 40c green ($65)
1882-89 Scott 75 15c yellow ($40)
1882 Scott 84 40c gray ($50)
1938 Scott 246 10fr green/greenish ($35)
1929 Scott C14 dull green, yellow green, & blue ($57.50)

There are an additional seventeen stamps that are "expensive" (CV $10+-$30+). See the "Comments" section below the checklist for specifics.

Checklist

1854-62
35, 25, 37b or 37,

1862-63
41,42,43,44,45,46,47,

1867-81*
60,61,62, 54 or 63, 64,65,56,
58 or 66, 67,68,

1882
69,70,71,73a or 73,74,75,
82,83,84,86,87,

Next Page

1889-1902 (-1905 actually here)
72, 73, 117*, 118*, 94a or 94, 95a or 95,

1889-1905
96a or 96 or 109, 97a or 97 or 110, 88a or 88b or 111,

1904
85,

1900*
98 or 101,99 or 102,100 or 103,

1907-08
126,127,128,129,130,131,132,133,
134,135,136,139,141,144,145,

1908-09
146,147,148,164,165,166,

Next Page

1910
149,150,152,

1914-15
167,170,171,172,

1914-15
181,183,184,

1915-18
186,187,188,189,

1916-18
154,151,162,140,143,182,

1919
190,191,192,

1920-21
193,194,195,196,197,199,

1921-22
158,168,169,177,178,137,

Next Page

1924-25
159,175,176,180,138,142,

1924
200,201,204,205,202,203,

1931
209,

1932
216,217,218,

1932
210,211,212,213,214,215,

1934
219,220,221,222,223,224,225,

1936
227,228,229,231,232,233,234,235,

Next Page

1937-39
237,238,239,240,
241,243,244,245,
246,247,248,249,

1939
256,257,258,259,
260,261,262,263,
264,265,266,267,
268,269,

Next Page

Semi-Postal
1918
B10,B11,

1919
B12,B13,B14,

1920
B15,B16,B17,

1921
B18,B19,B20,

1922
B21,B22,B23,B24,

1923
B25,B26,B27,B28,

1924
B29,B30,B31,B32,

1925
B33,B34,B35,B36,

1926
B37,B38,B39,B40,

1927
B41,B42,B43,

1927-30
B45,B46,B47,B53,B54,B55,
B44,B48,B56,

Next Page

(Semi-Postal)
1929
B49,B50,B51,B52,

1931
B57,B58,B59,B60,

1932
B61,B62,B63,B64,

1933
B65,B66,B67,B68,
1934
B69,B70,B71,B72,

1935
B73,B74,B75,B76,

Next Page

(Semi-Postal)
1938
B90,

1936
B77,B78,B79,

1939
B95,

1936
B81,B82,B83,B84,

1937
B87,B85,B86,B88,

1938
B91,B92,B93,B94,

1939
B96,B97,B98,B99,

1940
B100,B101,B102,B103,

Next Page

(Semi-Postal)
1940
B106,B107,B108,B109,

Next Page

Postage Due
1878-80
J1,J2,J3,

1884-92
J21,J22,J23,J24,J25,

1910
J35,J36,J37,J38,J39,J40,J41,J42,

1924-26
J48,J49,J50,J51,J52,J53,J54,J55,

1938
J60,J61,J62,J63,J64,J65,J66,J67,

Franchise Stamps
1911-12
S1,S2,S3,S4,S5,S6,

1935
S13,S14,S15,

Next Page

Air Post
1923-35
C3,C4,C5,
C6,C7,C8,C9,

1924
C10,C11,C12,

1929
C13,C14,

1932
C16,C17,C18,

1932-38
C21,C22,C23,(C20),

(C24),(C25),

Comments
A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1858-62 Scott 35 2r gray ($275) !
1855-57 Scott 25 5r dark brown ($40)
1858-62 Scott 37 10r blue ($20+)
1862-64 Scott 42 3c black ($10+)
1862-64 Scott 46 30c vermilion ($47.50)
1862-64 Scott 47 40c green ($65)
1881 Scott 67 50c deep violet ($10+)
1881 Scott 68 1fr gold ($20)
1882-89 Scott 75 15c yellow ($40)
1882 Scott 84 40c gray ($50)
1882 Scott 86 50c blue ($20+)
1901-03 Scott 88b 3fr yellow brown ($20+)
1904 Scott 85 40c gray ($20+)
1900 Scott 100 25c blue ($30+)
1908 Scott 141 70c dark brown & buff ($10+)
1915 Scott 189 80c on 70c ($10+)
1938 Scott 246 10fr green/greenish ($35)
1878-80 Scott J3 3c ultramarine ($20+)
1923-25 Scott C6 35c brown & buff ($10+)
1923-25 Scott C7 40c violet & gray violet ($10+)
1923-25 Scott C9 50c black & red ($10+)
1924 Scott C11 75c orange & brown red ($10+)
1924 Scott C12 1fr violet & deep violet ($30+)
1929 Scott C13 35c red brown, bister & claret ($10+)
1929 Scott C14 dull green, yellow green, & blue ($57.50)
B) *1867-81- mixture of 1867-78 white wove paper issue and 1881 granite paper issue. Some stamps are excluded because of color criteria.
C) *117 & *118- are actually a 1905 issue, although BB labels the date criteria "1889-1902".
D) *1900 -original vs re-engraved
E) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.

1900 Scott 100 25c blue "UPU Allegory"
Universal Postal Union, 25th Anniversary
Out of the Blue
So ends our brief and introductory review of the earlier regular issues of Switzerland. But we are not done. Up next- the Swiss semi-postals. :-)

Note: Maps, and "Coat of Arms" image appear to be in the public domain.

Comments Appreciated!

4 comments:

  1. "I'm confident that the Michel would present Switzerland in a thorough manner. "

    It's pretty similar to (basic) Zumstein listings, so it's definitely easy-to-follow & logical. IMHO the biggest problem with Scott is the format/presentation. Most of the information is there, but it's hard to 'visualize'.

    -k-

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's face it- the Scott presentation for Switzerland is a visual mess. ;-)

      Delete
  2. Switzerland, right after Sweden. Two of the philatelic giants with some of the best philatelic history and absolutely gorgeous stamps, a tradition that continues to this day. I will wager writing these last 2 countries up was a pleasure given the quality of the material you were able to present.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gene- It was! The only regret is I feel the need to move on, as time waits for no one. ;-)

      Delete