1939 - Gustaf V, right profile, type I

A bad start

In 1938 the planning started to replace the Gustaf V, left profile, from the early twenties. The old Gustaf V series had been issued in eleven denominations spanning from 15 öre to 145 öre and in different colours, totaling 21 different stamps. Those stamps were printed on different types of paper and with quite a number of varieties as well. The printing quality was sometimes a little bit questionable which since then kept many philatelists busy . . .

In the late twenties the Swedish Post decided that the highest denomination of the Gustaf V series would be 50 öre so that set the number of denominations for the new series. One could then expect 5 - 10 - 15 - 20 - 25 - 30 - 40 - 45 - 50 öre. The first stamp issued was the 20 öre red which single use was international postcards. Oddly enough not the 15 öre that was the most common rate (domestic - 20 g letter). The 20 öre had the correct red UPU-colour indicating international postcard.

1939, February 22, 20 öre red Gustaf V, right profile. Qty: 8,000,000
International postcard

The 20 öre red was soon followed by the 10 öre violet just over a month later. The most important single use for that stamp was domestic postcards. A difference was that the 20 öre was only issued as coils, 100 or 500 stamp coils. The 10 öre violet was also printed on panes (sheets) with 120 stamps. The sheets were cut vertically in a way that the outer stamps was perforated only on 3-sides. Those three sided perforated stamps are of course less common and are worth more that the 2-sided or 4-sided perforated stamps. Another side effect is the rare combination of pairs with 4-sided and 3-sided perforated stamps. They are even harder to find and can be quite expansive.

Booklets were in those days still made by hand and in this case they were made of the 120 stamp panes (sheets) which created the really rare booklets with pairs of 4-sided and 3-sided perforated stamps - those booklets are really costly.

Left: 1939, 22 March, 10 öre violet Gustaf V, right profile. Qty: 11,600,000. 2-sided perf.
Right: 1939, 22 March, 10 öre violet Gustaf V, right profile. Qty: 2,300,000. 4-sided perf.
Domestic postcard

Type I was almost immediately believed not to be a satisfactory design and one must agree up on that. The numerals looks particular funny and the portrait is quite light and shallow. A new version (type II) was engraved during fall 1939. The numerals and the background was changed as well as the design of the word ”Sverige”. Both type I and II were designed by Torsten Schonberg and engraved by Sven Ewert.

That was a pretty bad start - but the type II became more of a success, it was of a better design and more contemporary looking than type I and the old Gustaf V series (Gustaf V, left profile).

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