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Swiss Stamps

Definitives of 1907-1933

(Helvetia Types)


New Swiss stamps were introduced beginning in 1907, replacing the Numeral and Standing Helvetia definitive postage stamp types that had been in use since 1882.  These new lower-denomination definitive postage stamps featured a profile portrait of Helvetia, and the new higher-denomination postage stamps featured the popular Seated Helvetia with Sword design.

Most collectors prefer to collect all these stamps together in sets, arranged by denomination.  That is the way the Scott catalog list them, and that is the way they are all presented on this page.  There were many printings of these stamps over a period of some 26 years, and in the Zumstein and Michel catalogs, they are listed in the years that they were actually issued.  For one focusing only on these particular types, these catalog listings can be very difficult to follow.  Thus, following each section below, I will include a table containing the year of issue, the Zumstein number, and the Scott number for each of the stamps illustrated in that section.  The color descriptions used are those from the Zumstein catalog.


Portrait of Helvetia

The new 10 C., 12 C., and 15 C. denomination defintive stamps, featuring the half-length portrait of Helvetia, were issued along with the Tell Boy stamps, in order to replace the Numeral definitive stamp issues of 1882-1906.


The three Helvetia Type definitive Swiss stamps shown above were issued on November 11, 1907.

The 10 C. denomination was also issued in booklets.

The catalog listing details follow:

  • 10 C.  (1907 - Zu. #104 - Sc. #129) - Red.
  • 12 C.  (1907 - Zu. #105 - Sc. #130) - Ocher.
  • 15 C.  (1907 - Zu. #106 - Sc. #131) - Lilac.


Modified designs
of the three lower-denomination Helvetia Type definitive Swiss stamps were issued during 1909

All three of
these denominations were issued in sheets and in coils, and the 10 C. denomination was also issued in booklets.

These Helvetia stamp denominations were replaced by those of the new William Tell definitive postage stamps in 1914.

During 1915, some of the 12 C. denomination stamps of this series were re-valued to 13 C.  An example is shown above.

The catalog listing details follow:

  • 10 C.  (1909 - Zu. #120 - Sc. #164) - Red.
  • 12 C.  (1909 - Zu. #121 - Sc. #165) - Bister Brown.
  • 15 C.  (1909 - Zu. #122 - Sc. #166) - Lilac.

  • 13 C. on 12 C.  (1915 - Zu. #133 - Sc. #187) - Bister Brown.


Grilled Gum

"Grilled Gum" Stamps
Mint Example (left), Used Example (right)

Beginning in 1930, many Swiss stamps were treated with a light grilling process, applied with the gumming, to prevent the stamps from curling.  As shown above, it resembles a faint grill of vertical and horizontal ribs covering the entire back of the stamp.  This effect can usually be seen, even after the gum has been removed.


Seated Helvetia with Sword

The new 20 C. through 3 F. denomination defintive stamps, featuring the Seated figure of Helvetia with a Sword, were issued to replace the Standing Helvetia definitive postage stamp issues of 1882-1907.

These Swiss stamps are referred to in the catalogs as the "Helvetia mit Schwert" or "Helvetia with Sword" Issues.


The sixteen Helvetia with Sword type definitive Swiss stamps shown above were issued between 1908 and 1934.

A few of these denominations were issued both in sheets and in coils.  The 25 C. denomination, in deep blue, was also issued in booklets.


The 40 C. denomination stamps come in two types, as illustrated above and described below.

  • Type I - There are three leaves below the hilt.  The designer's name "L'Eplattenier" is completely spelled out below the hilt. .
  • Type II - There are only two leaves below the hilt.  Only the designer's initials "CL" are seen below the hilt.

Here are the catalog listing details for all the sheet-format Helvetia with Sword definitive Swiss stamps shown above.

  • 20 C.  (1908 - Zu. #108 - Sc. #132) - Red Orange and Yellow.
  • 25 C.  (1908 - Zu. #109 - Sc. #133) - Blue.
  • 30 C.  (1908 - Zu. #110 - Sc. #134) - Brown and Green.
  • 35 C.  (1908 - Zu. #111 - Sc. #135) - Green and Orange.
  • 40 C.  (1908 - Type I - Zu. #107 - Sc. #136a) - Rose Lilac and Yellow.
  • 40 C.  (1908 - Type II - Zu. #112 - Sc. #136) - Rose Lilac and Yellow.
  • 40 C.  (1922 - Type II - Zu. #161 - Sc. #137) - Bluish Ultramarine.
  • 40 C.  (1921 - Type II - Zu. #156 - Sc. #137a) - Greenish Blue.
  • 40 C.  (1925 - Type II - Zu. #176 - Sc. #138) - Lilac and Green.
  • 50 C.  (1908 - Zu. #113 - Sc. #139) - Dark Green and Pale Green.
  • 60 C.  (1917 - Zu. #140 - Sc. #140) - Brown Orange and Yellow.
  • 70 C.  (1908 - Zu. #114 - Sc. #141) - Brown and Yellow.
  • 70 C.  (1924 - Zu. #162 - Sc. #142) - Violet and Yellow.
  • 80 C.  (1917 - Zu. #141 - Sc. #143) - Gray and Orange.
  • 01 F.  (1908 - Zu. #115 - Sc. #144) - Carmine and green.
  • 03 F.  (1908 - Zu. #116 - Sc. #145) - Olive Yellow and Yellow.

Grilled gum (see description above) varieties:

  • 35 C.  (1933 - Zu. #111z - Sc. #135a) - Green and Orange.
  • 40 C.  (1933 - Type II - Zu. #176z - Sc. #138a) - Lilac and Green.
  • 50 C.  (1933 - Zu. #113z - Sc. #139a) - Dark Green and Pale Green.
  • 60 C.  (1933 - Zu. #140z - Sc. #140a) - Brown Orange and Yellow.
  • 70 C.  (1933 - Zu. #162z - Sc. #142a) - Violet and Yellow.
  • 80 C.  (1933 - Zu. #141z - Sc. #143a) - Gray and Orange.
  • 01 F.  (1933 - Zu. #115z - Sc. #144a) - Carmine and green.


The 80 C. on 70 C. re-valued Swiss stamp shown above, at the left, was issued in 1915.

The 20 C. on 25 C. re-valued Swiss stamp shown above, at the right, was issued in 1921.  This stamp was issued both in sheets and in booklets.

Here are the catalog listing details:

  • 80 C. on 70 C.  (1915 - Zu. #135 - Sc. #189)
  • 20 C. on 25 C.  (1921 - Zu. #151 - Sc. #199)





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