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Swiss Stamps


Air Mail Issues

of 1919-1938


Definitive Swiss stamps for use on Air Mail letters were first issued in 1919.  Local stamps had been issued as early as 1913 for aviation events, but they were not officially authorized by the federal government.

Oscar Bider taking off from Bern on his Pioneer Flight
Across the Alps on July 13, 1913

Powered flight in Switzerland, during the first decade of the 20th Century was more of a hobby or sport, rather than an industry.  Demonstration events were occasionally held throughout the country, to see which of the daredevil pilots could fly the greatest distance, the greatest height, or at the greatest speed.


The 50 C. denomination Seated Helvetia with Sword definitive stamp shown above, at the right, was overprinted on April 30, 1919 for use on the Zurich - Bern - Lausanne Air Mail Route.  Even though 500,000 of these first Air Mail stamps were printed, authentic examples of them are very scarce.

The 30 C. denomination Seated Helvetia with Sword definitive stamp shown above, at the left, was overprinted on November 14, 1920 for use on the Basel - Frankfurt-am-Main Air Mail Route.  Only 180,000 of them were printed.  Mint examples are readily available, but authentic used examples are rare.

Flown covers with either of the Air Mail Swiss stamps shown above are also rare, and they are very high priced.  Forged overprints and forged cancels also exist on these first two Swiss airmail stamps, so it is wise to only purchase properly authenticated examples.



Beginning in 1933, many Swiss definitive Air Mail stamps were treated with a light grilling process, applied with the gumming, to prevent the stamps from curling.  As shown below, 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.

Gum Varieties
Regular Gum (top) -- Grilled Gum (bottom)

This grilling process began not to long after definitive Air Mail stamps were first issued, and it continued throughout their long period of postal usage.  In most cases, the regular gum examples are much scarcer than the later grilled gum examples.


 


The ten definitive Swiss stamps shown above were issued between 1923 and 1937 for use on all Air Mail letters.  They are all typographed, and they were printed on granite paper with either "regular gum" or "grilled gum".

The first definitive Air Mail stamps utilize four designs, which are:

  • Monoplane in flight.
  • Pilot at the controls.
  • Biplane in flight.
  • Icarus, as an allegorical symbol of flight.

The catalog details of these stamps are as follows:

  • 15 C.  (1923 - Regular Gum - ZU #F3)
  • 20 C.  (1925 - Regular Gum - ZU #F4)
  • 25 C.  (1923 - Regular Gum - ZU #F5)
  • 35 C.  (1923 - Regular Gum - ZU #F6)
  • 40 C.  (1923 - Regular Gum - ZU #F7)
  • 45 C.  (1923 - Regular Gum - ZU #F8)
  • 50 C.  (1923 - Regular Gum - ZU #F9)
  • 65 C.  (1924 - Regular Gum - ZU #F10)
  • 75 C.  (1924 - Regular Gum - ZU #F11)
  • 01 F.  (1924 - Regular Gum - ZU #F12)

  • 20 C.  (1937 - Grilled Gum - ZU #F4z)
  • 25 C.  (1934 - Grilled Gum - ZU #F5z)
  • 45 C.  (1937 - Grilled Gum - ZU #F8z)
  • 50 C.  (1935 - Grilled Gum - ZU #F9z)
  • 65 C.  (1936 - Grilled Gum - ZU #F10z)
  • 75 C.  (1936 - Grilled Gum - ZU #F11z)
  • 01 F.  (1933 - Grilled Gum - ZU #F12z)


The three new definitive Air Mail Swiss stamps shown above were issued between 1929 and 1935.  They are all typographed, and they were printed on granite paper with either "regular gum" or "grilled gum".

These definitive Air Mail stamps utilize two designs, which are:

  • Winged letter.
  • Bird carrying a letter.

The catalog details of these stamps are as follows:

  • 35 C.  (1929 - Regular Gum - ZU #F14)
  • 40 C.  (1929 - Regular Gum - ZU #F15)
  • 02 F.  (1930 - Regular Gum - ZU #F13)

  • 35 C.  (1933 - Grilled Gum - ZU #F14z)
  • 40 C.  (1933 - Grilled Gum - ZU #F15z)
  • 02 F.  (1935 - Grilled Gum - ZU #F13z)


The three Air Mail Swiss stamps shown above were issued on February 2, 1932 for the International Disarmament Conference, held in Geneva.  They were all printed on granite paper with "grilled gum".  The designs feature a stylized aircraft in flight.

Their catalog details are as follows:

  • 15 C.  (1932 - Grilled Gum - ZU #F16)
  • 20 C.  (1932 - Grilled Gum - ZU #F17)
  • 90 C.  (1932 - Grilled Gum - ZU #F18)


The seven provisional Swiss stamps shown above were overprinted and re-valued between 1935 and 1938.

Their catalog details are as follows:

  • 10 C. on 15 C.  (1932 - ZU #F19a) - Glazed surcharge.
  • 10 C. on 15 C.  (1932 - ZU #F19b) - Matte surcharge (not shown).
  • 10 C. on 65 C.  (1938 - ZU #F22)
  • 10 C. on 15 C.  (1933 - ZU #F20a) - Glazed surcharge.
  • 10 C. on 15 C.  (1933 - ZU #F20b) - Matte surcharge (not shown).
  • 10 C. on 20 C.  (1936 - ZU #F21)
  • 30 C. on 90 C.  (1936 - ZU #F23)
  • 40 C. on 90 C.  (1936 - ZU #F24) - Red surcharge.
  • 40 C. on 90 C.  (1936 - ZU #F24a) - Vermilion surcharge (not shown).
  • 40 C. on 20 C.  (1937 - ZU #F25)








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Switzerland

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The affiliated eBay seller auction lots provided by eBay, Inc. are not the responsibility of the management of this website.  On high priced material, make sure the lots you are buying are properly authenticated.

Remember that the lots on most of the European eBay sites are priced in EUROS.  The lots on the Switzerland eBay site are priced in SWISS FRANCS.  The Swiss Franc is roughly equivalent to the US Dollar.  Shipping charges may be more, and the lots may take longer to arrive.  Also, make sure the foreign seller ships to your country, before bidding on or buying his lot.










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Swiss Stamps - Air Mail Issues of 1919-1938






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