Casey Jones Rail Road Unit of the ATA

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TRAINS on Railway Parcel Stamps and Railway Letter Stamps of the World

Page 8 - New Zealand through Switzerland


New Zealand

RAILWAY NEWSPAPER STAMPS
From 1890 to 1925, New Zealand Rail issued special stamps for transport of newspapers by rail. They do not show a train, so are of little interest to me, but do have their place in a rail philately collection. There were six values - d, 1d, 2d, 3d, 4d and 6d - all with the same design. Below is an image of the d stamp.

Here's an informative page about the series.

There were additional issues of a similar design in 1894 for Parcels and Freight. These were issued in three denominations - 3d, 6d and 1/ - and are quite scarce today. The 3d and 6d sell in the $100/200 range, while of the 1/ there are only 2 copies known, neither of which has sold recently. Below are scans (from a recent auction) of the 3 and 6.

RAILWAY PARCEL STAMPS - ESSAYS

In 1904 New Zealand Railway authorities proposed a new set of railway parcel stamps. A full set of six values (½d, 1d, 2d, 3d, 6d, and 1/), each with a different design, was commissioned, and essays were printed in various colors. All six values and at least ten colors are shown below. (Naming stamp colors is always a chancy proposition, especially on older items, which may have faded or changed in some way, but I would call these lavender, slate, blue, rose, carmine, pink, orange, light brown, dark brown, green.)
 
These essays are usually found on thin paper with small margins, but occur as well on glazed card stock, on unglazed card stock, and on ordinary paper with wide margins (plate proofs). None of these is common.

RAILWAY CHARGES STAMPS

The designs above were never issued, and it was 1925 before the concept was pursued further. This time a new common design was created, with a border of four locomotives seen head-on, and a large denomination in the center, each denomination in a different color. A complete set is shown below. Note the use of the term "Railway Charges," making these general purpose stamps, i.e. valid for parcels, freight, newspapers, etc.

The bulk of the set was printed in 1920 but not released until 1925. The 1d exists (as shown) both with and without "stop" ( period) under the "d". The ½d was issued in 1927, the 8d and 10/ in 1926. The reason for the 8d is interesting - to ship a bushel of fruit cost that amount and to spare the clerks having to use a 6d and a 2d they issued the 8d! The ½d was for newspapers only.

If you are familiar with these stamps, the set above should strike you as unusual in several respects -
First, they are all mint. These stamps were not sold to the general public, so are quite scarce mint.
(Most mint stamps sell for between $40 and $100 with town names, and significantly more without -
on the rare occasions when they show up in auctions.)

Second, the set is complete, including the 8d, 5/, and 10/, all three of which are scarce in any form, and possibly unique as shown here.
Third, the stamps have no overprints. All of these stamps were overprinted with the station of origin before shipment to individual stations, so ones with no overprints are extremely rare - several of the ones shown above may be unique.

The set below is far more representative of the usual condition of the issue, with station overprints and heavy cancels.

HOW MANY DIFFERENT "RAILWAY CHARGES" STAMPS EXIST?

There are 335 recorded stations, with overprints of five main types - Small Horizontal Stencil, Large Stencil Up, Large Stencil Down, Letterpress Up and Letterpress Down. Most denominations exist with three different perforations. Some were even printed on watermarked paper. If all combinations of those variations existed, there would be over 70,000 collectible varieties, but 1) not all denominations were issued to all stations; 2) only a very few stamps have ever been seen with watermark; 3) the 1/2d does not exist in one the of overprints; 4) 3 of the stamps exist only in 2 perfs; AND the type of overprint is closely related to the perforation. For example, of stamps with perf 14-1/2x14, 99% are with a small "typewriter" horizontal overprint, while the large up and down overprints are 99% the other perfs. SO, the actual number of stamps is probably no more than 10,000. AND many of those were issued in such small numbers that it is unlikely they survive. THEREFORE, Any collection numbering over 500 different stamps is world-class.

More about the parcel stamps.

There is an excellent publication about these stamps, out of print, but available from your favorite philatelic literature dealer: New Zealand Railway Charges Stamps: Design and Printing, by J.W. Brodie; pub. Royal Philatelic Society of NZ, 1983.

NEW ZEALAND EXPRESS

Finally, the set of stamps below, while not issued by a railroad, do have a legitimate place here.
(Note the tiny train below the globe, directly above the word "PROMPTITUDE.")

New Zealand Express was renamed in 1895 from Campbell and Crust (founded 1877). It operated an independent parcel delivery service, but apparently had a close working agreement with the state-owned railway, including special drop boxes on trains, and parcel transfer arrangements.

All but the high value of the set shown above were issued around the turn of the century. Almost all that have been seen with clear cancels were used in 1900. The 1/ has to be a much later issue - perhaps 1930 - and extremely rare!

Little is know about their production, but it seems likely that the denominations were removable slugs, as the position of the numeral and "d" shift about significantly on examples with the same denomination. Note as well the different size and shape of the 1's on the two examples shown.

Scarcity - within this set the 1/2d and 1d are most often seen, the 2d and 3d less frequently, and the 6d is rare. Of the 1 Shilling only one copy is known. There are many known varieties of the more common denominations.

PRIVATE RAILWAYS

As in Great Britain and Australia, some small private railways in New Zealand have issued adhesives. Some of the older ones are legitimate. The modern ones all fall in the category of souvenirs.


Norway






 


 

Norway produced a fair number of railway parcel stamps, but they were not popular with collectors there, hence were not saved, and are scarce today. There is an excellent catalogue in English (Norwegian Railway and Steamship Parcel Stamps, by Frederick A. Brofos; pub. The Scandinavian Collectors Club, 1964). Most have simple, utilitarian designs, like the ones above, with no rail images, but there are seven designs that do, including three from streetcar services.

1/22/2005 - Bill Weinberger contributed the scans below, five of the seven Norwegian parcel or letter stamps with a rail image.

       

Missing are the Dramen Electric Trolley Co, and the Drammen Streetcar Co in the same design.

Bill added these notes:

The Smallens 1881 is a rarity-- but yet is known in 15(!) perfs.

None of the stamps are common except the Trondheim Storen. The 4Sk denomination was made from the 2Sk cliche, and there are 4 different distinct settings. The 2 exists imperf between.

By my count, including the Smallens perf varieties there are 51 varieties with train.


South Africa






South Africa has a rich railroad history, and produced a fair number of railway parcel stamps, though none I have seen shows a rail vehicle. The ones above are the more elaborate of the lot. There is an excellent catalogue, published in 1985.


Sweden





"Like Denmark, Sweden issued a very large number of railway parcel stamps. The difference is that the Swedish stamps are almost impossible to get hold of. Many of the Danish stamps (but not all) were actually affixed to the parcels and could therefore be retained by the recipients. In Sweden and in most other countries the stamps were fixed to bills of lading and could therefore be retained by the Railway Companies and subsequently destroyed. I suspect in Sweden this is what happened and that only relatively few escaped." TG, 2003

There must be a catalogue for Sweden, but I have not seen it. Of the stamps I know, none has a rail vehicle.


Sweden - Railwaymens Temperance Union / Employees Welfare
(charity stamp)

I thought the one directly above belonged here, but found it does not - just a charity seal, but with a nice train.


Switzerland


Switzerland - state railroad

Switzerland had a fair number of railways, but most used the same parcel stamp design as the state railroad, shown above.

JURA INDUSTRIAL RAILROAD
(ticket and baggage stamps)

Switzerland
Jura Industrial Railroad
type a1

Switzerland
Jura Industrial Railroad
type a2

Switzerland
Jura Industrial Railroad
type a3

Switzerland
Jura Industrial Railroad
type r1

Switzerland
Jura Industrial Railroad
type r2

The Jura Industrial Railroad issued these wonderful adhesives, but not as parcel or letter stamps.
They were used on tickets and baggage. All five distinct types are shown.
The colors may have related to the class of service. The ones marked "Enregistrement" were for baggage.
The issue date on all was 1874.

THE BIRSIGTAL-BAHN
(ticket stamps)

Switzerland
Birsigtal-Bahn
1948

Switzerland
Birsigtal-Bahn
1948

Switzerland
Birsigtal-Bahn
1949

Switzerland
Birsigtal-Bahn
1949

Switzerland
Birsigtal-Bahn
1949

This electric long distance Tram Railway used to run from Basel  (terminal at the Heuwaage) to Rodersdorf (Solothurn) south west of Basel, a distance of some 20 odd kilometres. From 1946 through 1953 it issued stamps as receipts for payment of monthly tickets and transportation costs generally. Some of these are very scarce as they are provisionals which had a very short life.   Among the stations the railway served (and still does) are Binningen, Bottmingen, 0berwi1, Therwil, Ettingen and Fluh.

Since the 1950's the line was sold by the Birsigtal owners to a company called Basel-Land Transport (BLT) with head- quarters in Oberwil.   The new owners extended the line to start in Dornach, south of Basel, from where it now runs northward into Basel via Munchenstein and then out again on the original route, now making a total distance of 45 to 50 kilometres. (As far as we could ascertain no stamps have been issued since the change of owners).

NOTES: It could be that the higher denominations were seasonal rather than monthly. There were several stations, and rates varied, and there were annual increases in tariffs, so some basic stamps were revalued in manuscript- the original stamps do not exist just the revalued-- I guess rates went up after stamps were printed, but before they  were used.

TRAMELAN-TAVANNES


Switzerland
Tramelan-Tavannes
1884

Switzerland
Tramelan-Tavannes
1884

Listed in the Amateur collector - Tramelan Tavannes - 1884
"Abonnement" means "Subscription", implying that these were validation stamps for passes.

__________________________________________________

IMPORTANT NOTE: This page is a work-in-progress, subject to revision as I learn more.
If you find errors, please let me know, so I can correct them. Send to .


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All text Copyright © 2004, William M. Senkus

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Created -- 12/08/2004
Revised -- 04/28/2006