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Telegraph stamps of the World

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Steve Hiscocks wrote:
There seems to be little that can be said about the telegraph stamps of Switzerland. They were used to prepay telegrams between 1 January 1868
(although Moens states that they were issued in late 1867)   and 30 September 1886. All were printed by the   Swiss Federal Mint   —
typographed and embossed such that the white parts of the design are proud. The main point of interest is the change in 1881 from a plain white
paper to what is called 'granite paper' in the UK: that is paper containing short silk threads — red and blue in this case. These may easily be seen with
a magnifying glass on the back or on the white parts of the design. In spite of the fact that the granite paper issues were current for only six years against
13 years for the plain paper issues, the granite paper issues are much more common.

My note:
The flecks of silk threads can sometimes be quite sparse.
There is also the issue of different colours used for the central parts,
the apparent shade of which can be affected by toning. It is not always easy to identify a particular stamp.
Beware of fake cancels on the last 20Fr stamp.


1868-1869 Typographed on plain white wove paper without watermark. Perf. 11¾ (frame colour given first).


Switzerland 25c Switzerland 50c Switzerland 3F Switzerland 20F Switzerland 20F
25c (H1) 50c (H2) 3Fr (H4) courtesy of Schuyler Rumsey
Philatelic Auctions. (click image for listing)
20Fr (H5) 20Fr (H5) used in 1884
Mint examples showing carmine centres and a used 20Fr courtesy of Dave Elsmore.


Switzerland 25c Switzerland 20F Switzerland 20F used?
50c (H10,red) 20Fr (H19,rose-red) Beware of fake cancels.
It is easy to add something like this.
Comparison of red and rose-red centres.

The naming of colours is always problematic. There are only two types of 20Fr listed, and one is on granite paper.
The used 50c is dated 1878, granite paper was used from 1881.

Switzerland 25c Switzerland 50c
25c (H1 or H15?) 50c (H2 or H16?)
These appear to be without the silk threads, but the centres look like rose-red.



Hisc. 1868 Description Mint Used
H1 25c grey and carmine 200.00 300.00
H2 50c blue and carmine 100.00 50.00
H3 1Fr green and carmine 375.00 125.00
H4 3Fr gold and carmine 1250.00 750.00
H5 20Fr pink and carmine 50.00 25.00


1874 As above but colour changed.

Hisc. 1874 Description Mint Used
H6 3Fr brown and carmine 500.00 750.00


1877 As above but new values and colours changed (red centre).

Hisc. 1877 Description Mint Used
H7 5c black and red 100.00 275.00
H8 10c dark red and red 125.00 375.00
H9 25c grey and red 200.00 375.00
H10 50c violet-blue and red 250.00 50.00
H11 1Fr green and red 1500.00 300.00
H12 3Fr light yellowish brown and red 75.00 15.00


1881 As above but on granite paper (coloured fibres in the paper).

Switzerland 5c Switzerland 10c Switzerland 25c Switzerland 50c
5c, 10c, 25c and 50c (H13-16) with pink centres on granite paper


Switzerland 1Fr Switzerland 3Fr Switzerland 20Fr Granite back
1Fr, 3Fr and 20Fr (H17-19) with pink centres on granite paper, together with the back of the 1Fr.


Hisc. 1881 Description Mint Used
H13 5c black and rose-red (shades) 0.75 1.50
H13a         black and rose-carmine 1.20 2.25
H13b         grey-black and rose-red 1.50 3.00
H14 10c rose-red 0.75 1.50
H14a         rose-red and dull rose 0.75 1.50
H14b         rose carmine 1.80 3.75
H15 25c olive-grey and rose-red 1.25 2.00
H15a         olive-grey and pink 1.25 2.00
H15b         olive-grey and scarlet 1.50 2.50
H16 50c prussian blue (shades) and rose-red 0.75 1.50
H16a         prussian blue and pink 0.75 1.50
H17 1Fr green (shades) and rose pink 1.00 2.00
H17a         green (shades) and rose carmine 1.00 2.00
H17b         deep green and rose-pink 1.50 3.00
H18 3Fr bistre and rose-pink 5.00 2.00
H18a         deep bistre and rose-pink 5.00 2.00
H18b         deep bistre and scarlet 5.00 2.00
H19 20Fr carmine-rose and rose-red 30.00 120.00

Hiscocks added the following note:

  Note. The prices of the earlier issues may seem very high.
                Unfortunately they do in fact line up with those asked and obtained  
                by European dealers and there is no point in setting lower prices.


A proof of the 5c.

25c with Töss cancel
25c with a neat Töss, cancel.
courtesy of briefmarkenauktion.de

25c with Töss cancel
16Fr 80c worth of 1881 issue stamps on a part of a telegraph form, courtesy of briefmarkenauktion.de
This kind of cancel could easily be faked on a single 20Fr stamp, be careful.




There are currently six perfins known on Swiss Telegraph stamps.

B/W perfin on 5c   B/W perfin on 1Fr   B/W perfin

N.S/B perfin   N.S/B perfin   SWR perfin on 1Fr   SWR perfin

B/W perfin on 5c   B/W perfin on 10c   B/W perfin on 25c   T perfin

B/W perfin on 50c   B/W perfin on 1Fr   B/W perfin on 3Fr
As can be seen, the T perfin is very variable !

N.HF perfin   N.HF perfin

The images and information above are courtesy of Jeff Turnbull.
A new addition comes from Kurt Ehrler :

B/W perfin on 50c   B/W perfin on 50c
G & B is Geilinger & Blum of Winterthur.

"B/W" of : - "Bank in Winterthur". Mostly on 1Fr but also 5c.
"N.S/B"  of : - "Nussbaum Steiner", Birrwil & Rupperswil.  (5c, pair of 50c)
"SWR"  of : - (Mechanische) "Seidenweberei, Ruti", Zurich.  (on 1Fr)
"T"  of : - "Thomann & Leicht", Zurich.  (all but the 20Fr)
"HF" of Henri Fierz, Zurich, Fluntern. (5c and 50c)
"G & B"  of : - "Geilinger & Blum", Winterthur.  (on 5c)

NOTE: -   N.S/B, & T scan is not to scale.


Telegraph Form.

25c with Töss cancel
A scarce and early telegraph form used 21 May, 1868 in Niederurnen, courtesy of briefmarkenauktion.de
It has disclaimers in German and French., and is franked with two 50c stamps.


A Receipt used at Lenzburg, dated 16 June 1915, marked "No. 14. / VI. 14. 50,000." at bottom-left.
This is in German, French and Italian.
1915 receipt
Image courtesy of AsianStamp - (click for listing).


A 1918 telegram and envelope.

1918 telegram and envelope
1918 telegram and envelope - backs These were used in Glarus, capital of Glarus canton, eastern Switzerland.
They were printed in German, French and Italian.
The telegram is marked "No. 2" at top-right.
The envelope is marked "No. 3. " at top-right.
They both have an octagonal date-stamp of 13 December 1918,
which is repeated on the back of the envelope.

Images courtesy of AsianStamp - (click for listing).


A similar Telegram envelope used at Geneva, dated 25 October 1940, marked "No. 3." on central-right and stamped "Telephone". This probably contained a telephone bill.
This is in German, French and Italian, with a plain back.
1940 envelope
Image courtesy of AsianStamp - (click for listing).



If anyone can provide scans to help with this, I am happy to give appropriate credit.


Comments, criticisms, information or suggestions are always welcome.


Please include the word 'Telegraphs' in the subject.


Last updated 1st. April 2024

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Permission is hereby granted to copy material for which the copyright is owned by myself, on condition that any data is not altered and this website is given credit.


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