Why did they have to be blue?When you look at the Gustaf VI Adolf type I, II and III series an observation is that some denominations change in colours. The colour changes for type I is mostly connected to the UPU-colouring rules but another reason was that the Swedish Post thought that the colours were too light. They definitely abandon the UPU-colouring in spring 1953. After the UPU-colouring rules blue was the colour that became established for the stamps in the series that covered the postal rate for domestic letter - 20 g, the most common postal rate. The first one to become blue was the 25 öre blue Gustaf VI Adolf type I from February 1954.
In April 1954 the first booklet for slot machines was issued. One batch of slot machines were configured for two 1 kr coins and hence the booklet contained eight 25 öre blue Gustaf VI Adolf stamps. The other and bigger batch of slot machines were configured for one 1 kr coin and a booklet consisting of ten 10 öre green Gustaf VI Adolf was released for those machines. In addition a 1 kr booklet of the 25 öre Gustaf VI Adolf was released as well. As long as 1 kr could evenly be divided by the stamp denomination life was easy.
That changed from 1 July 1957 when the postal rate for domestic letter first weight class was raised to 30 öre. Three 30 öre stamps makes 90 öre - 10 öre is missing. The way the Swedish Post solved that was to add a 10 öre stamp to the new booklet. That 10 öre stamp had to be of the same colour as the 30 öre stamp. The reason is that the Swedish Post's printers at the time had no multi colour capability, but they could print different stamps at the same time. That is why the 10 öre blue New Numeral Type type II was created. They also made a booklet with five 15 öre red Gustav VI Adolf and five 5 öre carmine-red New Numeral Type type II, also a new stamp. The 15 and 25 öre Gustaf VI Adolf were new too since the Gustaf VI Adolf type II was launched at the same time. This was the first time the Swedish Post issued se-tenant stamps, which was regraded as pretty exciting by the stamp collecting community. Read more about slot machine booklets and the different varieties that occurred here.
The cause of the changes of colours for the Gustaf VI Adolf type III series is the mono colour printing capability and the slot machine booklets which value had to sum up to 1 kr. In 1961 the Gustaf VI Adolf series got a face-lift and the type III replaced the type II. The change was not caused by raised postal rates, Swedish Post just wanted a more modern design for the sixties. The blue colour of the old 30 öre Gustaf VI Adolf type II was passed down to the new 30 öre blue. Later in the year the 35 öre violet and the 40 öre green was issued. The green colour had became the colour for International letters - 20 g (first weight class), but there were no booklets issued with that stamp.
That is basically the line-up in the beginning of the sixties. Now, lets have a closer look at the effects of the forced colour changes.
Overview of changes in colours
July 1962The postal rate for domestic letters - 20 g was raised in July 1962 to 35 öre. Then the blue 30 öre was replaced by the 30 öre violet. The colour violet was taken over from the old 35 öre violet which now was replaced by the new 35 öre blue.
July 1964Two years later it was time to raise the postal rates again. The same procedure as in 1962: the 35 öre blue was replaced by the 35 öre grey and the existing green 40 öre (which earlier was primarily used for international letters - 20 g) was replaced by the new 40 öre blue. The 45 öre orange was issued in the fall 1964 and the purpose was to cover the Collect On Delivey fee so the relase of that stamp had nothing to do with mono colour printing or booklets, but it would be affected later on.
1966 and 1967The Swedish Post invested in a new printer in 1965, a printer with multi colour capability and now the restrictions of mono colours was gone. They issued the first multi colour slot machine booklet in April 1966 with two colours, red and green. Two stamps was of red colour the 5 öre red New Numeral Type type II and the completely new 30 öre red Gustaf VI Adolf. That stamp is unique in the sense that it was never issued as a coil stamp which was the standard option for Swedish definitive stamps so far. The green colour was used for the 15 öre green New Numeral Type type II.
The postal rates were raised again in 1967 but unlike before the 40 öre blue was not replaced by a new non-blue 40 öre. A new ultramarine 45 öre stamp was issued though and replaced the 45 öre orange. This time the new stamp could be of a different blue colour as you can see. Keeping the 45 orange stamp was maybe to much of a change as the customers was used to the blue colour as the right colour for domestic letters. The next change in postal rates would introduce completely new colours, but that might be a topic for a future blog post.
New stamps in 1966 and 1967:
1966, 18 April. 30 öre red Gustaf VI Adolf type III. Qty: 2,750,000 (vertically cut pairs)
1967, 16 June. 45 öre ultramarine Gustaf VI Adolf type III. Qty: 364,000,000
As we have seen the new postal rates introduced new stamps of the blue colour and in that meaning replaced the old non-blue ones. However, they were still used here and there by the Post Offices as long as their stock of the old stamps lasted, an exampel of that can be found in the previous post before this one, look at the second address parcel card.
By the end of the sixties the rates were raised more often and the actual raise was relatively higher than in the beginning of the decade. Another substantial change was the new stamp issuing policy of Swedish Post that came in effect in 1967. More stamps were issued, often as single stamps or short series. The stamps were simply more short liven because of the frequent rate raises. That reduced the Gustaf VI Adolf type III series in to be only a provider of stamps for either domestic letter or international letter of the first weight class. Stamps of all other denominations faded away . . .
Some domestic postal rates [in öre]:
|Postcard||- 20 g||- 125 g||- 500 g||- 1000 g||Printed