A new kind of definitive stampThe Posthorn issue was unique in two ways; it was the first Swedish two-coloured steel engraved stamp and, more importantly, it was a new kind of definitive stamp, a single series stamp with a more contemporary look. This was the first of a long line of single series definitive stamps and was an answer to the critics that Swedish definitive stamps were boring and old fashion looking. So far the definitive series had traditional motifs like the king, the denomination value itself or Swedish symbols. Before the Posthorn the definitive series consisted of G VI A type III, Three Crowns, Rock Carvings and New Numeral Type. They were stretched over decades and consisted of many stamps and of course of many different denominations.
New times where coming for sure . . .
1965, 17 May, 20 öre green-blue/orange Posthorn. Qty: 28,200,000
No single use
Another unique thing is that the Posthorn has the year of issue printed between the initials of the artist and the engraver. Why is that unique? Beginning in 1963 the year-of-issue was printed on non-definitive stamps, i.e. commemorative stamps. At least that was the idea, the Swedish Post apparently forgot that principle this time since this is a definitive stamp and "1965" was printed. That was a mistake and from 3.50 kr Ale’s Stone and on the definitive stamps did not get the year-of-issue printed during the sixties and seventies.
However, there were no longer any single use for 20 öre since July 1964 when the lowest rate for printed matter was raised to 25 öre. Thus the Posthorn replaced 20 öre grey Gustaf VI Adolf type III. But the Posthorn stamp can also be considered as the direct successor to New Numeral Type series that did not reach a higher denomination than 15 öre.
Philip von Schantz was the artist and it was engraved by Czelaw Slania. It was considered to be a beautiful stamp, and it is in its way. Still, it would have been nice to have a longer series than just one stamp using that nice sixties design. It was a pity that Swedish Post didn't continue. I think the design was great and it was much of a pretty advanced engraving too (using two colours for the first time). What a waste by just issuing just one stamp. Ironically the actual motif was not new. A posthorn were used previously on the Posthorn and Crown series from the beginning of the twenties.
Most likely the Posthorn had a five year run since the next 20 öre stamp was the St. Stephan, the stable-boy, black, issued in February 1970.