5 November 2015

The launch of something new

First batch of the new Gustaf VI Adolf definitive series

The old king Gustaf V died on October 29, 1950 and his son Oscar Fredrik Wilhelm Olaf Gustaf Adolf, a prince sure could have many names in those days, became Gustaf VI Adolf. The existing definitive series of the king from 1939 had of course to be replace immediately. When it comes to stamps immediately can be quite a long time since the new stamps was emitted in June 1951. Apparently the Swedish Post had not planned for a succession. Which is a little bit surprisingly since the old king was 92 years old.

The new series began to be designed in February 1951. The artist David Tägtström painted the new king’s head in a relief profile. The purpose was to make a more timeless portrait, almost coin like, that would last for more than a decade. Given the portrait a contest was arranged for the detailed design. Mark Sylwan won the contest and hemade the final design of the stamp and it was engraved by Sven Ewert.

The Swedish Post decided to emit the new series with the denominations 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 öre only. 5 öre was still needed but only as a compliment and therefore the new 5 öre stamp was issued in a new series of it owns, the New Numeral Type (read more - here). From now on the lowest denomination for the definitive stamps of the king would be the rate for printed matters, in June 1951 that was 10 öre.

First Day Cover Gustaf VI Adolf type I, issued 6 June 1951.
10 öre green Gustaf VI Adolf type I. Qty: 284,000,000 (2-sided perforation)
10 öre green Gustaf VI Adolf type I. Qty: 24,700,000 (3-sided perforation, pairs)
15 öre brown Gustaf VI Adolf type I. Qty: 66,300,000
20 öre red Gustaf VI Adolf, type I. Qty: 70,100,000
25 öre grey Gustaf VI Adolf type I. Qty: 161,000,000 (2-sided perforation)
25 öre grey Gustaf VI Adolf type I. Qty: 22,500,000 (3-sided perforation, pairs)
30 öre blue Gustaf VI Adolf type I. Qty: 21,800,000

The definitive stamp of the old king Gustaf V covered all lower denominations from 5 öre up to 50 öre in intervals of 5 öre. The new series had no 35 or 40 or 45 or 50 öre stamps were issued in 1951, as they had done with the old Gustaf V series. Probably those denominations were not in demand anymore. Eventually a 40 öre stamp came 1952 but that was due to changes of the postage rates. For this series a new policy came into effect which meant that the raises only of the postage rates for printed matters, post cards and letters would spawn new stamps, not  any longer could single stamps of the series cover the rates for registered mail, express fees, C.O.D, parcels, e.t.c. as before with the old Gustaf V series and the lower rates in the 40s. Those rates were now taken care of by the Three Crowns (read more - here) and later on also the Rock Carving series (read more - here).

1951 was regarded as a low water mark by the Swedish stamp collectors at the time. Besides the New Numeral Type and the new definitive stamp series of Gustaf VI Adolf there were only two more new stamps issued in one single commemorative series - Christopher Polhem. 1952 was not a great year either, only two commemorative series with five new stamps. The reason is that Swedish Post had only one engraver employed, Sven Ewert, and there were no more capacity. The critics from the stamp collectors was taken seriously since the collectors was good business for the Swedish Post. The Rock Carving Series was an answer to that and also the various combinations of the new slot machine booklets in the beginning of the 50s. Later in the decade it started to pick-up and more engravers were engaged by Swedish Post.

Five new stamps, how could you have used them in the summer of 1951?

10 öre green single use: international printed matter

15 öre brown single use: domestic postcard

20 öre grey single use: domestic letter  - 20 g

25 öre red single use: international post card

30 öre blue single use: international letter  - 20 g

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