1939 - Three Crowns

The longest running series of Swedish stamps 

34 stamps in almost 30 years

The Three Crowns replaced the Crown and Posthorn series from the twenties. It inherited at the beginning most of the denominations and the colours from the former series. Both series were aimed for higher denominations dealing  particularly with parcels, insured items, Collect On Delivery (C.O.D.), etc. . . .

In the late twenties the Swedish Post decided that the definitive series with the king should have 50 öre as the highest denomination and the Crown and Posthorn started at 60 öre and the highest denomination for that series was 145 öre (by the time the rate for C. O. D. parcel  address card  3 – 5 kg).  The first stamp of the new Three Crown series was the 60 öre and it was released together with first stamp of the new Gustaf V, right profile series, the series that became type I. The first series of Gustaf V was not successful, only two stamps were emitted. In contrast to the Three Crown series that became the longest running series of Swedish stamps, 30 years and 34 stamps. Compared with both their predecessors the new series felt modern and the Three Crown turned in to be a time less design.

The design was made by Arthur Johansson and the stamps were engraved first by Sven Ewert, later on by Heinz Gutschmidt, Mayvor Frantzén and of course Czelav Slania. A peculiar thing is that this series never got the initials of the designer and the engraver at the very bottom of the stamp, a feature introduced in 1956 for all other stamps. The other definitive series Rock Carvings that came in 1954 and in many ways reminds of the Three Crown series got the initials in 1957 as well as the King Gustaf VI Adolf series.

The Three Crown series was one of the last long definitive series. The policy for stamp issues was changed during the mid-sixties and from hence on those kind of series came in much shorter numbers, very often just as a single stamp.

Since the Three Crown was a series with higher denominations they did not reach huge number in quantity as with the king Gustaf V and king Gustaf VI Adolf series. They were many denominations, but only one was made in over a hundred million stamps, the 1 kr orange (Qty: 141,000,000). On the other hand they were used for many purposes.

They were often designated for specific parcel rates and their individual lifespan could some times be pretty short. The longest life-span had the ones with even denominations like the aforementioned 1 kr, the 1.50 kr, the 2 kr or the 3 kr. The reason? well, they were easy to use to add up different postal rates. To sum up, it was a very successful definitive series and typical for its time, many other countries' postal administrations had similar long running ones. It is still interesting to study how they were used.

First Issue 10 February 1939

1939, February 10, 60 öre red-carmine Three Crowns. Qty: 77,900,000

The single use for the first stamp in the series was domestic parcels  - 1 kg and did good use on those parcel address cards until 1948 when the parcel rate was raised to 80 öre. The 60 öre is believed to be in use at least until 1962. The colour was inherited by the stamp it replaced the 60 öre Crown and Posthorn.

Second Issue 22 September 1939

1939, September 22
90 öre light blue Three Crowns. Qty: 29,700,000
1 kr orange Three Crowns. Qty: 141,000,000
1 kr 20 öre rose-lilac Three Crowns. Qty: 9,200,000

The 90 öre covered parcels 1 - 3 kg until 1948, but were also used during the fifties and early sixties.

In order to find a single use for the 1 kr in 1939 you have to dive deep into the postal rates - one single use was international air mail letter to some countries in Europe  40 - 60 gr . . . But as stated above it was easy to use to sum up higher rates. For the decades to come there were many single uses and it was still used in the beginning of seventies. Which makes it to the longest lasting stamp in the Three Crown series.

The 1 kr 20 öre covered parcels 3 - 5 kg. There were single uses for this stamp through the next decades, maybe not the most common ones, but still. However a new 1 kr 20 öre stamp with a light blue colour were issued in 1964 and replace the rose-lilac 1 kr 20 öre.

The colours of all stamps were inherited by the stamps of the Crown and Posthorn that they replaced.

Third Issue 20 November 1939

1939, November 20
85 öre dull green Three Crowns. Qty: 9,700,000
1 kr 45 öre yellow-green Three Crowns. Qty: 2,800,000
1 kr 15 öre reddish brown Three Crowns. Qty: 17,600,000

If you wanted to send a Cash On Delivery (C.O.D) parcel   - 1 kg in 1939 it would cost you 85 öre and the dull green 85 öre ThreeCrowns could be used as a single stamp. The 85 öre was of a slightly different colour compared with the blue-green Crown and Posthorn stamp it replaced. The lifespan became short because in 1951 it was replaced by the 85 öre brown Three Crowns. Maybe the colour was to close to the 80 öre olive-green issued in 1948?

The 1 kr 15 öre could be used as a single stamp for C.O.D. parcels weighing 1 - 3 kg. It was used until the mid sixties. The stamp inherited the colours from the Crown and Posthorn stamp that it replaced.

The 1 kr 45 became the highest denomination for the time being and it was used for C.O.D parcels 3  - 5 kg. It single use was quite limited besides C.O.D parcels and it is unknown to me how long it was used, I think at least until 1948. But of course it had the same colour as the Crown and Posthorn stamp it replaced.

Fourth Issue 10 April 1948

The postage rate for domestic and local letters  were adjusted a few times during the early forties, but did not affect the Three Crown series. In 1948 it was time for some other rates to be raised, especially for domestic parcels and a new set of Three Crown stamps were required. This was the first time since 1925 that the postal rates for parcels were touched, today an incredible long time frame. There were new stamps to cover the lower rates for parcels; -1 kg (80 öre olive-green), 1 -3 kg (1 kr 10 öre violet) and 3 - 5 kg  (1 kr 40 öre dark green). That explains three of the new stamps. But how about the 55 öre brown and the 1 kr 75 öre blue?

1948, April 10
80 öre olive-green Three Crowns. Qty: 23,200,000
55 öre brown Three Crowns. Qty: 8,800,000
1 kr 10 öre violet Three Crown. Qty: 29,400,000
1 kr 40 öre dark green Three Crowns. Qty: 72,900,000
1 kr 75 öre blue Three Crowns. Qty: 1,400,000

International registered letter  - 20 g was one single use of the 55 öre brown, another possibility in 1948 was local registered letter  - 125 g or local - 20 g express delivery. The 55 öre meant a step into the lower denominations, actually the lowest denomination there could be in 1948 for the Three Crowns series. The Swedish Post had a policy since the late twenties where the highest denomination of king Gustaf V series could be 50 öre and first the predecessor the Crown and Posthorn series and later the Three Crowns series continued from there. The 55 öre brown was used until the beginning of the sixties.

The 1 kr 75 öre was a little bit of an odd bird. It is the stamp in the series that was printed in the smallest quantity, 1.4 million only. There were not many rates either where this stamp could be used as a single stamp, one rate was Cash On Delivery (C.O.D.) parcel 3 - 5 kg with an amount to be paid of less than 10 kr. The splendid website of the Swedish Postal History Society which have researched all kind of single uses of the Three Crowns series found only one more example. In addition, both postal rates found were used until 1951. That implies that the life span of this stamp probably was short, just a few years.

Fifth Issue 11 November 1949

The next two stamps showed up less then a year from the previous release and filled in some gaps in the lower denomination range.

1949, November 11
65 öre yellow-green Three Crowns. Qty: 19,300,000
70 öre blue Three Crowns. Qty: 4,000,000

Domestic registered  letter  - 125 g was one possible single use in 1949 for the 65 öre yellow-green.

The 70 öre blue could for example be used a single stamp for international letter  - 60 gr. There were probably good use for both these stamps trough out the fifties.

Sixth Issue 1 June 1951

In the summer of 1951 it was time to raise the postal rates again and that required a new Three Crown stamp to cover the rate for 3 - 5 kg parcels which now was hiked up to 1 kr 70 öre. The 1.10 kr violet and the 1.40 kr dark green issued in 1948 was now covering the lower weight classes. The surprise was a new 85 öre stamp replacing the 85 öre dull green issued in 1939.

1951, June 1
85 öre brown Three Crowns. Qty:4,200,000
1 kr 70 öre red Three Crowns. Qty: 56,300,000

The new 85 öre brown could be used as a single stamp to cover the postal rate for domestic registered letters  - 125 g or for domestic registered express letters  - 20 g. The 85 öre brown stayed around through out the fifties.

The new parcels rates 1 June 1951:
- 1 kg 1 - 3 kg 3 - 5 kg*

1.10 kr 1.40 kr 1.70 kr

* Over 5 kg 60 öre was added per kilo.

Seventh Issue 2 November 1951

1951, November 2, 1 kr 50 öre red-violet Three Crowns. Qty: 2,300,000

Here is another stamp in the series that had few single uses. However 1.50 kr is a number that is easy to use in combination with other denominations. It also filled in a gap between 1.40 kr dark green and the 1.70 kr red. The 1.45 kr yellow-green was most likely being phased out at this time. One single use was international express letter  - 60 g. The 1.50 kr red-violet was replaced by a the 1.50 kr brown in 1962.

Eight Issue 1 July 1952

The postage rates were changed in June 1951 and then again in June 1952, a really short interval. Just as in 1951 a new Three Crown stamp was needed to cover the  new rate for 3 - 5 kg. That stamp was the 2 kr red-violet. But why was the colour of the 2 kr so similar to the just issued 1.50 kr? Both the 2 kr and the 1.50 kr was later replaced by new stamps in other colours. The 1.40 kr dark green issued in 1948 now covered - 1 kg and the 1.70 kr red issued the year before covered 1 - 3 kg.

1952, July 1
50 öre grey Three Crowns. Qty: 23,700,00
75 öre brown Three Crowns. Qty: 5,900,000
2 kr red-violet Three Crowns. Qty: 84,800,000

The 50 öre grey became the lowest denomination in this series and it replaced the 50 öre grey Gustaf V, right profile, type II. It would take another ten years before a definitive series of the new king Gustaf VI Adolf would have a 50 öre stamp. An obvious single use for this stamp in 1952 was domestic  - 125 g letter. This grey stamp was used well into the sixties.

The 75 öre brown filled in the last gap in the lower denominations. A single use for that stamp was domestic letter  - 500 gr. However there were not that many other rates where this stamp could be used as a single stamp and it was probably around just during the rest of the fifties

The new parcels rates 1 June 1952:
  - 1 kg 1 - 3 kg 3 - 5 kg*

1.40 kr 1.70 kr 2.00 kr    

* Over 5 kg 50 öre was added per kilo.

Ninth Issue 10 December 1954

1954, December 10, 2 kr 10 öre blue Three Crowns. Qty: 15,600,000

The last Three Crown stamp of the fifties was the 2.10 kr blue. There were not that many single uses of this stamp when it arrived either. One single use in 1954 was the domestic Cash On Delivery (C.O.D.) parcel  1 - 3 kg. Only if the C.O.D. amount was paid directly into an account at the Swedish Post money transfer system, a so called giro account at the Postgiro service. 2 kr 10 öre was by this time a high denomination and that made the stamp last well into the mid sixties.

The Three Crown series so far had the denominations:
50 - 55 - 60 - 65 - 70 - 75 - 80 - 85 - 90 öre;
1  - 1.10  - 1.15  - 1.20  - 1.40  - 1.45  - 1.50  - 1.70  - 1.75 - 2 - 2.10 kr.

All denominations mentioned above were probably in use at this time, except for the 1.45 kr maybe. (Notice that oddly enough there was never a 75 or 95 öre stamp released.)

The Three Crowns definitive series in the fifties.

The postage rates for parcels underwent a change from 1 July 1957. So far additional kilos over 5 kg had cost 60 öre and from 1952 on 50 öre per kilo. Which meant that  up to 6 kg cost 2.50 kr and up to 7 kg 3.00 kr. From now on new weight classes was introduced, 5 - 7 kg, 7 - 10 kg, 10 - 15 kg and 15 - 20 kg.

Parcels rates and additional weight classes* from 1 July 1957:
- 1 kg 1 - 3 kg 3 - 5 kg 5 - 7 kg* 7 - 10 kg* 10 - 15 kg* 15 - 20 kg*
1.40 kr 1.70 kr 2.00 kr  3.50 kr   5.00 kr    7.50 kr   10.00 kr

Since 1947 a 20 kg parcel was the heaviest parcel weight allowed by the Swedish Post, before that the Swedish Post took on up to 50 kg parcels.

Tenth Issue 21 August 1961

In July 1961 it was time to raise the parcel rates for the most common weight classes again. The - 1 kg  parcels now cost 1 kr 70 öre and was covered by the 1.70 kr red, 1 - 3 kg parcels cost 2 kr and the 2.00 kr red-violet took care of that and finally 3 - 5 kg parcels cost 2 kr 50  öre, but that required a new Three Crown stamp, the 2.50 kr green.

1961, August 21. 2 kr 50 öre green Three Crowns. Qty: 19,600,000

The new parcels rates  from 1 July 1961 (the rates for all weight classes were raised):
- 1 kg 1 - 3 kg 3 - 5 kg 5 - 7 kg 7 - 10 kg 10 - 15 kg 15 - 20 kg
1.70 kr 2.00 kr 2.50 kr 4.50 kr     6.00 kr   8.50 kr  11.00 kr

For the first three weight classes single stamps of the series could be used as mentioned above. 5 to 7 kg would require for example 3 x 1.50 red-violet and 7 to 10 kg 3 x 2 kr red-violet but after that it would be a little bit impractical to cover the parcel address card with Three Crown stamps. Instead the 5 kr blue Royal Palace, Stockholm II might be used plus maybe the 2 kr red-violet and the 1.50 kr red-violet. For the heaviest parcel the 10 kr Picture on stone and the 1 kr orange would be two obvious candidates.

Eleventh Issue 2 July 1962

The next issue of the Three Crown definitive series was not triggered by any raises of the parcel rates. Instead the new stamps were  aimed to cover the new postal rates for domestic letters of the heavier weight classes.

1962, July 2.
1 kr 05 öre blue-green Three Crowns. Qty: 9,300,000
1 kr 50 öre brown Three Crowns. Qty: 10,700,000

The 1.05 kr blue covered domestic letter  - 500 g or even better, domestic registered letter  - 20 g, or domestic express letter  - 20 g. All that worked well until 1964 when the rates were raised again and suddenly there were hardly any single uses of the stamp anymore. The life span of the 1.05 kr blue was probably pretty short since it the denomination was a little odd, 1 kr and 5 öre.

The 1.50 kr brown replaced the 1.50 kr red-violet from 1951, maybe it was to easy to mix it up with the 2 kr red-violet? I think so. 1.50 kr was the postal rate for domestic letter  - 1,000 g from July 1962. Another obvious single use was international registered letter  - 40 g. It was used well into the beginning of the seventies.

Twelfth Issue 15 October 1962

1962, October 15. 2 kr 15 öre olive-green Three Crowns. Qty: 4,700,000

This is another really odd denomination. As odd as the 1.75 kr blue from 1948. The website of the Swedish Postal History Society which have researched all kind of single uses of the Three Crowns series has registered only two single uses. A record low for this series. They are both varieties of cash on demand rates and they were both only valid until June 1964. However two stamps could actually be used for domestic parcel 5 - 7 kg until June 1964 and for parcels 3 - 5 kg from January 1967 (if the stamp was still around) until January 1969, maybe that explains its existence?

Thirteenth Issue 25 June 1964

The letter rates were changed once more in July 1964  and the rate for domestic letter  -500 g was hiked up to 1.20 kr, if that triggered the Swedish Post to issue a new 1.20 kr stamp that I do not know. The first 1.20 kr stamp was pink and issued already in 1939 and could be used as a single stamp during the forties and fifties and for international air mail the first years of the sixties.

1964, June 25. 1 kr 20 öre light blue Three Crown. Qty: 7,700,000
The new 1.20 kr light-blue might have been used as a single stamp covering the domestic letter  - 500 g for one year. After that the single use was for less common postal rates like international air mail or money orders.

Fourteenth Issue 24 August 1964

1964, June 25.
2 kr 55 öre red Three Crowns. Qty: 3,900,000
3 kr blue Three Crowns. Qty: 21,000,000

The 3 kr blue covered the new parcel rate for 3 - 5 kg. The red-violet 2 kr and the 2.50 kr green slided down to the next weight classes whereas the 1.70 kr red most likely was phased out. The 3 kr blue on the other hand was one of the last stamps to be used in the series. That stamp also became the highest denomination of the series.

New parcel rates from July 1964:
- 1 kg 1 - 3 kg 3 - 5 kg 5 - 7 kg 7 - 10 kg 10 - 15 kg 15 - 20 kg
2.00 kr 2.50 kr 3.00 kr 5.00 kr 7.00 kr 10.00 kr 13.00 kr

The 2.55 kr red was another stamp which single use covered Cash On Delivery (C.O.D.) rates, like domestic C.O.D. parcel  - 1 kg when the amount was paid to an account in the Swedish Post money transaction system called Postgiro. In the later sixties it would cover different rates for domestic registered letters.

Fifteenth Issue  24 September 1965

The postal rates for parcels were changed in July 1965, the first weight classes was raised in the following way: -1 kg now cost 2.30 kr, 1 -3 kg cost 3 kr which was covered by the 3 kr blue from 1964 and 3 - 5 kg  cost 3.50 kr.

1965, September 24.
2 kr 30 öre dark brown Three Crowns. Qty: 9,600,000
2 kr 85 öre orange-red Three Crowns. Qty: 4,100,000
One should except that the stamps issued in September 1965 would consist of  a 2.30 kr and a 3.50 kr
stamp, but for the first time the Three Crown series stamps did not cover the three most frequent parcels rates. This was a paradigm shift indeed. Instead the 3.50 kr Ale’s Stones grey/olive-green filled the gap. That stamp was a new kind of definitive stamp. Just a single stamp, no more long series spanning over decades as the Three Crown series.

The 2.30 kr dark brown was obviously used for the first weight class  - 1 kg.

Here are the new parcels rates effective by July 1965:
- 1 kg 1 - 3 kg 3 - 5 kg 5 - 7 kg 7 - 10 kg 10 - 15 kg 15 - 20 kg
2.30 kr 3.00 kr 3.50 kr 5.50 kr 8.00 kr 11.00 kr 14.00 kr

The 2.85 orange-red was one of these Three Crown stamps aimed for different cash on demand postal rates.

Sixteenth Issue 12 January 1967

When the parcel rates were changed once again in January 1967 the new Three Crown stamp covered the -1 kg rate which cost was 2.80 kr. However the new stamp was the only Three Crown stamp that could cover one of the three most common weight classes for domestic parcels. It was also the last Three Crown stamp to cover a parcel rate.

1967, January 12.
1 kr 80 öre dark blue Three Crowns. Qty: 7,600,000
2 kr 80 öre red Three Crowns. Qty: 15,000,000
1 kr 85 öre blue Three Crowns. Qty: 5,400,000

The new parcels rates  from 1 January 1967
- 1 kg 1 - 3 kg 3 - 5 kg 5 - 7 kg 7 - 10 kg 10 - 15 kg 15 - 20 kg
2.80 kr 3.70 kr 4.50 kr 7.00 kr 10.50 kr 14.00 kr 17.00 kr

At the same time the new letter rate for domestic letter  - 500 g was covered by the the new 1.80 kr dark blue, that lasted for about two years, besides that there were not that many single uses for this stamp.

The new 1.85 kr blue covered domestic registered letter  - 20 g, for two years, or domestic express letter  - 20 g, for about one year.

Seventeenth Issue 20 January 1969

The final stamp in Three Crown series the 2 kr wine-red was issued in a big number. In 1969 its single use was for domestic letter  -250 g, it could also be used for various money orders  until 1971 and later on  used for international letters  -50 g between 1975 and 1976. That ends the longest stamp series of Swedish Post. 

1969, January 20. 2 kr wine-red Three Crowns. Qty: 67,700,000


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