03 honegger philatelie Wissenswertes

The tobacco-brown Rayons II

For more than 100 years Rayon collectors were familiar with a rather dark nuance of the yellow Rayons. It was then dubbed tobacco-colored. There was never a standardized procedure for describing it. In the beginning, there was mostly only a single nuance which could be “tobacco-brown”, an annoyance to Josua Bühler, a stamp connoisseur and the first director of the Bern postal museum. He decided to announce a meeting of connoisseurs and specialists to take place in Olten on February 6, 1971 in the last 1970 issue of the Swiss Stamp Journal. Invited guests were asked to bring their issues in question. The participants were determined to discuss them on the spot and eventually find a definition to agree on. I was cheerful to receive a list of participants of the Olten “tobacco conference” from Mr. Erhard Olten from Zofingen, a renowned contemporary philatelist who I deeply appreciate for avoiding making a fuss in public. Instead he just conducts his nonetheless meaningful work silently and in a precise manner. At that time, I was honored to be among the six dealers who were invited to the conference. Without exaggeration, I can say that this conference had the aristocracy of Rayon connoisseurs, especially regarding examiners and certifiers.

If I am asked to summarize the results: the provided stamps were vastly different from each other. It was impossible to talk about just one single nuance and everyone was determined to say that only their issue was tobacco-brown and all the others were not. From this conference on however, the opinion of Werner Städeli prevailed, who was saying that contrary to established customs there was not just a single nuance of “tobacco-brown”, but an array of tobacco-brown issues ranging from light to dark colors – needless to say that their price range was equally diverse.

In terms of catalog terminology there were no major changes during the last decades. Common catalogs knew two nuances: “light tobacco brown” and “dark tobacco brown”. However, this was not sufficient at all considering that there was no commonly acknowledged palette of colors to work with. Within the Old Switzerland circle of the Swiss association of stamp dealers we have been turning to the issue numerous times and were looking for a solution. The situation changed when a certifier was found who was really interested in the issue: Urs Hermann. In discussions with his colleagues he frequently addressed the topic and was supported by Pierre Guinand and Christoph Hertsch. During more recent meetings between the association’s Old Switzerland circle and Urs Hermann we were able to agree on a result, that is determined to settle disputes about the issue. We provided between 50 and 60 stamps in question to Urs Hermann which aided him in creating a unified classification. Of course, it would have been much simpler if there were just a few nuances, but in the end the initial methods of identifying these issues were too approximate and vague. Hermann consulted the Schwaneberger Verlag’s Michel color palette (edition 37 and older) to determine the right terminology. It is crucial for everyone to adhere to a unified scale while examining or even certifying certain issues. Unified color palettes require a degree of acclimatization and examining the stamps is not easy either due to their black print and occasional remainders of postmark ink. Mr. Hermann suggests a division in four categories even if the fourth darkest nuance is virtually non-existent and neglectable for collectors – just like the complete cross bezel which is also rare on these issues.

Tobacco-brown issues are derived from the A1 printing stone exclusively!

Farbnummern  nach Michel Farbenführer

*

O

Brief

1. Tabakbraun, Chromgelb

16IIaa

6-0-5

7500.-

1300.-

2400.-

16IIaa

6-0-6

7500.-

1300.-

2400.-

16IIab

6-0-7

LP

4000.-

7000.-

16IIab

6-0-8

LP

4000.-

7000.-

 

 

 

 

 

2. Tabakbraun, Gelbocker

16IIab

9-5-4

12000.-

2000.-

3500.-

16IIab

9-5-5

12000.-

2000.-

3500.-

16IIab

9-5-6

12000.-

2000.-

3500.-

16IIac

9-5-7

LP

6000.-

15000.-

 

 

 

 

 

3. Tabakbraun, Gelborange

16IIad

9-5-4

12000.-

20000.-

35000.-

16IIad

9-5-5

12000.-

20000.-

35000.-

Color palette according to Michel:

This third group of dark tobacco brown issues has only six known pieces in existence, two of which are contained in the Ernst Müller collection owned by the Basel Historical Museum. The remainder is kept in private collections.



The classification will be added to the catalog of the Association of Swiss Stamp Dealers.

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