Scandinavian Collectors Club


Svenska frimärket 150 år (The Swedish Stamp 150 Years), Postryttaren, ed. Jan Billgren. 6¾ by 9¾ inches, hardbound, 256 pages, in Swedish with English summaries, Postmuseum, Box 2002, 10311 Stockholm, Sweden 2005, ISSN 0586-6758.

This is the 55th edition of the yearbook of the Swedish Postal Museum. Beginning with this edition it will appear earlier in the year of issue and the Swedish language articles will have English summaries. Postryttaren is available to Friends of the Postmuseum for 200 SEK (approximately $30). This year marks the 150th anniversary of Sweden's first postage stamp. Most of the articles focus on the classic skilling banco issues.

Egon Jonsson describes the resistance encountered by Swedish authorities in accepting uniform postal rates, even though the concept of stamped paper had been introduced as early as 1823 by Curry Gabriel Treffenberg. Sweden's parliament finally agreed to uniform postage and the use of postage stamps, observing the success seen in England and Denmark.

Jan Billgren tells of the growth of the postal system in the 1850s with use of farmer postmen, the introduction of post boxes, and the development of mail coaches. Bertil Larsson summarizes the evolution of postal agreements between Sweden and nearby European countries during the skilling banco period. Erik Hamberg compares the design of Sweden's first issue with those of other countries.

Björn Sylwan recounts the story of the printer Pehr Ambjörn Sparre who negotiated a contract to print Sweden's stamps for the first 17 years. Sparre introduced a new perforating device of his own design that was used until 1920. Robert Mattson provides some details on the design of the skilling issues, denominations, paper, gum, perforation, and the various reprints that appeared later.

Mats Ingers furnishes printing details on the plates, printing press, plate flaws, and die proofs. Tomas Bjäringer and Gustaf Douglas briefly describe the gems of stamps and covers from the skilling banco period, including those cancelled on the day of issue and some of the rare letters to foreign destinations. Expert Helena Obermüller Wilén shows some forgeries of the skilling issues prepared by Jean de Sperati and others. Björn Sylwan reviews the treatment of the Swedish post office in the newspapers of 1855-1856 after the stamps were first released.

The book concludes with illustrations of highlights of Swedish stamps over the last 150 years. The illustrations, mostly in color, are first rate. This issue of Postryttaren is a lovely souvenir of a major Swedish philatelic anniversary.

Alan Warren