03 honegger philatelie Wissenswertes

The stampless period

Thursday, 25th December until Wednesday, 31st December 1851

In the young Swiss State no less than 297 different coins existed towards the end of 1851 (in addition to a number of regular foreign coins), which were used as means of payment in the individual cantons. To remedy this confusion, a reform determined a new universal law throughout Switzerland in view of the coinage system towards the beginning of 1862. It was introduced the new coins on 1st Jan.1852, which system was interestingly enough based on the French system, which was already in use. in Switzerland For us philatelists, it is now important that therefore all Swiss stamps  collected were handed by the post offices on the 24.12.1851and sent back to Bern on the 25.12.51 of the  general post office. On the 1.1.1852, the stamps were redistributed and calculated in the new currency. At the same time, a new Tax system was introduced from this date. This had the effect that in future there was no use use for the local post and Poste locale stamps because there were  no more from then from half used sheets  for special postage rates,such as for overweight heavy mail. For this reason, the last mails were no longer delivered. In the future, there were only three letter codes. Postage was newly uniform 15 cents for letters in the third circle (over 10 R). For this purpose the Red map was introduced showing on the 1.1.52 was newly and delivered in this manner. This is according to the Zumstein system 18 and 19 points, with the small point on the value and the centimes stamps.

For the time between the 25.12.1851 and the 31.12.1851 in the so-called "stampless time", there were no federal stamps to buy at the post offices. The letters had to be paid cash or the recipient had to pay the postage. Therefore there should be no letters with stamps in these seven days. However private people were still in the possession of some stamps, they were postage letters but still so. Because most people had no private stock of previous stamps, prepaid letters from these seven days are also today still quite rare to find. For precisely for this reason we are interested in Philately course today all the more!to find a probably unique and a piece or another, quite reasonable in this catalogue in paragraphs 197, 426.

In my catalogue from 1989, I have mentioned for the first time the stampless time, based on a study by Jean Winkler, the great researcher of Swiss pre-philately. His assumptions for that is no longer true after today's findings, just as little as an article by Toni Abele, also a great connoisseur of the classic Swiss stamps and major researchers in the field of cantonal issues.

Our documentation, which is meant as a never completed life's work and which is currently "being fed by our daughter-in-law", we have documented the following supporting documents where one must add that a large number of catalogues is still needed to be processed.

Further Comments:

-In Geneva, was the last seven days of December 1851 the so-called Neuchâtel at the counter and was still issued and stamped. These had to be sent back not to Bern, because it was a cantonal, issued not by the Bern general post office. Letters with Neuchâtel from this period are "normal" letters. You cannot compare with the rare stampless  letters are just as little as such with the still occurring Vaud 5 stamps. Winkler was even adding them both!

-The unfranked letters from the spamless time are rare but not excluded still to find one or two and therefore also witz us surely only to a part of the documentation. They should be divided into three groups:

(a) Letters, which are paid in cash at the counter. They usually front bear a stamp of FRANCO or a p.p. or but a federal lozenge as a sign that there are letters paid up to the recipient. A Tax sign at verso means that the postage for the letter has already been paid.

(b) Letters with a front Tax sign. Here, the recipient had to pay the postage.

(c) Official letters that were before during and after the stampless time free of charge. Those are not the rare documents from the stampless time because for that  no postage was required.

((The letters under a) and (b)) I would classify % of stamped letters from the stampless time priced approximately with 10-20. (The official or free letters are under (c)), however, cheaper.

From the rare stamped letters from this stampless period there are only 4-6 pieces per day. And the 36 exist in total so far. A number so that is less than that of the rarest cantonal stamp on letter. For comparison, of the double Geneva today around 120 to 130 letters are likely to be known!

If you have more letters from this stampless time, we would be grateful to receive a photocopy, so that we can add yours to our research file.


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