Sweden Collectors' Stamps
One of the world's most stable, prosperous countries, Sweden needs no introduction, particularly to philatelists. Both historical and contemporary collectors’ Swedish stamps are highly sought after. A long postal history means there are many options for sub-specialization, and many points of entry requiring different financial commitments.
Sweden itself has existed roughly since the 12th century. It has undergone several periods of empire and expansion, acquiring its present form in 1905 following the dissolution of the Sweden-Norway union. Today, Sweden is a constitutional monarchy with strong democratic institutions, unique musical, cinematic and literary cultures, and a progressive approach to government and economic management.
Sweden's Postal History
Sweden's national mail system, known as Posten, traces its existence as far back as 1636. As its population began to increase in the 18th century, service was extended throughout the country. In 1855, Posten began issuing its first stamps, consisting of five issues in different denominations of the skilling banco, which was Sweden's currency at the time. The stamps themselves featured the national coat of arms and began the tradition of each issue bearing the inscription SVERIGE, the country's Swedish name. In 1878, the currency switched to the riksdaler, though the design changed little otherwise.
Interestingly, it was not until 1885 that the Swedish monarch was depicted on a stamp. In 1903, the country issued its first commemorative, a five-kroner issue marking the opening of the Stockholm post office. Since then, Sweden has continued to produce attractive issues. A 1936 commemorative celebrated Posten's tercentennial, and a set of 1967 definitives was well-regarded for its stylized depictions of Swedish landscapes, wildlife, history, myth and other subjects.
Treskilling Yellow: The Rarest Swedish Stamp
Without a doubt, the most famous rare Sweden stamp is the Treskilling Yellow, which is widely thought to be the most expensive stamp ever sold. Printed in 1855, the stamp is the result of a rare color error in which the stereotype for the three skilling issue was mistakenly used in place of the eight skilling plate. It is unknown if more than one stamp was produced, though to date no other examples have surfaced.
The lone Treskilling Yellow extant today was cancelled at Nya Kopparberget and entered into the collection of Georg Wilhelm Backman in 1886, who discovered it in his grandmother's attic and quickly recognized its rarity. Since then, the stamp has fetched record prices each time it has come up for auction. It was last sold in 2013 to Count Gustav Douglas of Sweden for an undisclosed amount.
Beginning a Swedish Collection
For obvious reasons, the Treskilling Yellow presents a serious obstacle for anyone trying to complete a collection of Sweden stamps. Despite that, there are many reasons for beginning a Sweden collection — because of its wealth of unique and interesting issues, the more collectible Sweden stamps are consistently strong performers at auction. Sweden is also a great country to specialize in if you are interested in Scandinavian history or simply appreciate the beauty of good design.
Did you inherit a collection of rare Swedish stamps and wonder what they are worth? Are you looking to sell your collection or need a professional appraisal for insurance purposes? Apfelbaum, Inc. can help. Our appraisers are available to come to your location and provide expert advice for your collection. We can also provide assistance with shipping, storing, selling or any other logistical consideration.
If you're trying to build your collection, Apfelbaum, Inc. can help. We offer serious collectors the opportunity to buy rare Sweden stamps in our online store and buy-it-now sales. Let us help you find the issue you are looking for. Contact our office today for assistance.