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first issues > countries > geneva

Canton Geneva, Switzerland

Saturday, September 30, 1843

Swiss Canton 2


Imperforate, no watermark, lithography.
Printed by M. Schmid in Geneva.

Double de Genève.
Description # printed Scott SG Mi Y&T
10 centimes black on green paper
60,000 pairs 2L1      

All issue quantities are approximate.

The people of Geneve were reluctant to use these new stamps, so from March 1, 1844 they were sold for 8 centimes even though the face value is 10 centimes. A half stamp, face value 5 centimes, was sold for 4 centimes. The half stamp was only valid within a locality, the whole stamp was valid for mail between localities in the whole canton.

In 1844 only about one of every 15 letters were franked with these new stamps. Even with the reduction in price, the stamps were only used on about one of every five pieces of mail in 1845.

The stamps were printed on green paper in sheets of 50 double-stamps. The total quantity delivered from the printer was 1,200 sheets, yielding 60,000 double-stamps or 120,000 singles. I have chosen to believe these numbers, though Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries have 600 sheets and many other sources, who seem to have copied each other, have only 60.


These stamps are known used from the following dates:
Stamp Earliest know use Last known use
Single stamps October 14, 1843 September 9, 1854
Double stamps November 3, 1843 January 8, 1850

Only 6 double-stamps are known today where the left stamp is the right half, and therefore the right stamp is to the left. Double-stamps in the "correct" order are much more common, though still very rare.

The stamps were most often cancelled with a red "Rosette" cancel, but a black grid was also used.

Covers, especially with double-stamps, are exceedingly rare.

A few sites are well worth a visit:

Image from James Mackay, The World of Classic Stamps, 1972.

FI ref: 5 Page credit: JA

Page created 19 Feb 2014 Page updated 25-May-2017