Most expensive Swiss stamps
that could be among your heritage
Switzerland stamps showcase one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. The most popular subjects of Swiss stamps are important historical events, the famous people, and the stunning Alpine scenery of this tiny European country. Switzerland is also notable for the fact that it didn`t took part in any military conflicts for about 500 years now! That is why there are no Swiss stamps devoted to the theme of war. Postage stamps in Switzerland have been issued at both the federal and Canton levels since as early as 1843. The country’s long history makes developing a Swiss stamp collection a thoroughly rewarding hobby for philatelists of all levels. Whether you want to begin collecting Swiss stamps, or are hunting for an elusive issue to take your collection to the next level, we invite you to take a look at this list of top 10 rarest Swiss stamps!
MOST VALUABLE SWISS STAMPS
5 Rp. Rayon I stamp, 1850$293,000
5 Rp. Rayon I stamp, 1850 is one of the first issues presented by Switzerland. This item features a horn above a red shield bearing the white Swiss cross. 5 Rp. Rayon I stamp was one of the first countrywide stamps to be put into circulation after cantons adopted the federal constitution in 1848. The stamps with completely framed cross are thought to be the rarest among these issues. One of the finest specimens of 5 Rp. Rayon I stamps, printed on blue (shades), wove paper, was auctioned for $293,000 by Rapp auction house in November, 2008. This extremely high price reflects both the rarity and the beauty of this rare philatelic item in particular.
Basel Dove stamp, 1845$109,878
Basel Dove stamp is the world's first tri-color stamp issued by Switzerland in 1845. During this period in Switzerland's history, each canton issued their stamps. This stamp is unique as it is the first in various ways: it is the only stamp issued by the Canton of Basel, the first stamp to combine engraving and embossing, and it was the first stamp to depict a bird.
This bright item was created by the architect Melchoir Berry and has the three colors blue, crimson, and black. However, such a design wasn`t appreciated by the local populace and was soon withdrawn. Nowadays, the Basel Dove is considered to be one of the most beautiful classical stamps in the world. A «dream pair» of these rare items was auctioned off by Rapp auction house at a price of $109,878 on Wednesday, 26th November 2014.
10-rappen Rayon II stamp, 1850$89,807
Winterthur stamp, 1850$75,984
A bright Swiss stamp known as “Winterthur” was issued in 1850 by Zürich postal administration. The item with a 2½ Rappen value was released to pay reduced postage for local mail in the important towns of the cantons Zürich, Zug, Schaffhausen and Thurgau. An unusual feature of this stamp is the ornamental design placed between the stamp subjects. The stamp also features the Swiss federal cross and a posthorn. Winterthur stamp was in use for a very short time, as the Federal local appeared generally throughout Switzerland on April 5, 1850. A set of two Winterthur stamps in a very fine condition was sold by Rapp auction house at a price of $75,984 in November, 2014.
Double Geneva stamp, 1843$34,500
A rare Double Geneva of 1843 is the third oldest European stamp issue after the Zurich 4 and 6 (1842), and the British Penny Black and Two penny blue, (1840). This is unusual early stamp from Geneva, Switzerland, that is really two stamps in one. The stamp is printed in black on yellow-green paper. The design of this great philatelic item comprises twin coats of arms, each surrounded by the words “Poste de Geneve/5 C/Port local” within a square. The interesting fact about this stamp is that its half was only used within the city, whereas the whole stamp paid the rate to other towns in the Geneva canton. One of the specimens of this very rare Swiss stamps brought $34,500 at Cherrystone sale that took place in March, 2015.
5-rappen blue stamp, 1854$16,000
Swiss 5-rappen blue stamp from 1854 is one of the most unusual stamps in Swiss postal history. The stamps of this series are also known as the Strubels. Such a nickname these philatelic items got from the olive wreath on the head of the allegorical Sitting Helvetia figure depicted on them. Her frizzy, unkempt appearance is reminiscent of the title character in Der Struwwelpeter (“Shockheaded Peter”), a somewhat horrific collection of 19th-century German stories about misbehaving children.
It is known in philatelic circle that the 5r value was not issued in blue, but in various shades of brown. However, there are 24 examples of Swiss 5-rappen stamps that were printed in blue. These stamps have an error of colour. Such a rarity was offered by Heinrich Koehler Auctions in September, 2016. The stamp fetched $16,000.
Vaud 4 stamp, 1849$14,000
Vaud 4 stamp is one of the key rarities of early Switzerland, with a few superb examples being incredibly challenging to locate. The 4-centime stamp labeled "Local Taxes" was intended for letters within a city, while the 6-centime stamp labeled "Cantonal Taxe" used for letters Abandoned and delivered in the Canton of Zurich. The reason why the stamp is called the “Vaud 4” is unknown. But some philatelists explained it by the fact that it was used in Geneva and the district of Nyon in Canton Vaud. It was printed in sheets of 100 but the total printed is also unknown. The stamp was made obsolete in a year due to the December 1849 currency law, thus making this stamp a great rarity. One of the finest examples of this great philatelic item was sold for $14,000 by Robert A. Siegel on 13 May, 2000.
Zurich 4r black stamp, 1846$12,650
In 1843 the Canton of Zurich decided to issue stamps to prepay postage. These were issued in two denominations: the 4-rappen for local letters, and a 6-rappen stamp for use on letters to other cantonal districts. With these issues the canton of Zurich became the pioneer in continental Europe, and the second government in the entire world, to issue postage stamps. If you take a look at the design of this stamp you may clearly see that the artist used the penny black of Great Britain as a model. There is a fundamental similarity in the side and top panels, the corner squares and in the background, while the large figure of value takes the place of the Queen’s head.
Zurich 1846 4r black, Red Horizontal Lines, black Rosette cancel of Winterthur was sold for $12,650 by Cherrystone auction in July, 2013.
Swiss Pro Aero stamp, 1938$9,000
Swiss Pro Aero stamp was issued in 1938 to promote the Pro Aero Campaign, held throughout Switzerland from May 21 through May 22, 1938. This day special Air Mail flights were made to thirteen Swiss cities, with the letters being franked by Swiss Pro Aero stamp. The interesting fact is that the unused stamps were not sold separately; they were affixed to Air Mail letters by the postal clerks. That is why the mint examples are tremendously rare. Such a scarce version of Swiss Pro Aero stamp in mint never hinged condition, with a good colour and strong centring, was sold for $9,000 by US philatelic auction house in December, 2012.
William Tell 20c pair, 1932$4,130
William Tell is a folk hero of Switzerland, whose legendary exploits were first recorded in a late 15th century Swiss chronicle. Many early Swiss stamps of the 20th Century picture William Tell or his son. Unperforated gutter pairs of the 20c carmine William Tell with grilled gum were unknown until 1989. The uncut booklet sheet was discovered by a Swedish technician when he was involved in studying the Swiss methods of coil and booklet production. Some 60 years later sheet became available for sale in Sweden. Unfortunately, it had been stored so carelessly that five of the ten gutter pairs were destroyed. The best of the remaining five examples was sold for $4,130 by Daniel F. Kelleher Auctions in February, 2016. The pair offered by auction was used to illustrate an article in the Swiss philatelic press at the time of the discovery.