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ZURICH Cantonal issues (Switzerland)

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Note that all these stamps have been forged in large quantities and that genuine copies are very rare!

Zurich decided to follow the English experiment with the prepayment of postage at the 21st of January 1843. On the 1st of March 1843 stamps were printed in the values 4 and 6 rappen (=cents in german, Zurich is situated in the german speaking part of Switzerland). The 4 r stamps were intended to be used locally and the 6 r could be used in the whole canton.There are 5 different types. Some printing defaults appeared during reproduction. After, the copies were partially corrected. White paper was used for the printing, with red lines in the background (either horizontal or vertical, these red lines were applied just before use). The gum has brown colour. A reprint (1862) on paper without red lines was made before the lithographic stones were destroyed.

1843 Number, inscription 'Zurich', underprint of red lines

Image reproduced with permission from: http://www.sandafayre.com Image reproduced with permission from: http://www.sandafayre.com

  4 r black (Local-Taxe)
  6 r black (Cantonal-Taxe)

There are 5 types of each stamp. Furthermore the underprint of red lines can be horizontal or vertical.

Value of the stamps

vc = very common
c  = common
*  = not so common
** = uncommon
*** = very uncommon
R   = rare
RR  = very rare
RRR = extremely rare

4 rp stamps, distinghuishing characteristics:

In the background, there are diagonal black lines, they are found in groups of four. No more than 8 of such groups should be present at any of the sides. If there are, the stamp must be a forgery. The inscription of the 4 r should be 'Local-Taxe'. There must always be a '-' between 'Local' and 'Taxe' in the 4 r stamp. There are NO numbers in any of the four corners. The 5 types of this value (note the position of the background with the oblique lines and the position of the lettering):

Type 1Type 2Type 3, Image reproduced with permission from: http://www.sandafayre.comType 4 and 5, image reproduced with permission from: http://www.sandafayre.com

6 rp stamps, distinghuishing characteristics:

In the 6 r the end of the tail of the '6' should not join the left hand side of the '6' in the center of the stamp. There are NO numbers in any of the four corners. The inscription of the 6 r should be 'Cantonal-Taxe'. The 5 types of the 6 rp value:

Type 1Type 2Type 3Type 4



Image reproduced with permission from: http://www.sandafayre.com Genuine
(Genuine, typical cancels)

The cancels of the original stamps is as shown above (a rosette) in black, red, blue or green colour. Local letters for the town of Zurich received a red cancel, others received a black cancel. Blue cancels are rare and used after January 1849 (federal cancels). I don't know where the green cancels were used for. I have never seen any blue or green cancel used on a Zurich stamp. Also the cancel 'AUSLAG VON ZURICH' in an oval can be found (according to Album Weeds, but I've never seen it).

(Some cancels on letters, images obtained from a Honegger auction)

(The cancel 'AUSLAG VON ZURICH' on a stampless letter)

I have seen a genuine stamp with a forged cancel, example:

(Genuine stamp with forged blue cancel)

The Rosette cancel of Zurich can also be found used on the federal stamps of Switzerland, example:

(Black Zurich Rosette cancel on a federal 5 rp stamp and blue Rosette on 2 1/2 rp)

The Zurich Rosette cancel was not used any more during a short period from the 1st of October 1850 to 17nd of January 1851, when it was replaced with a 'PP' cancel. For unknown reasons the Rosette was reused after this latter date and the 'PP' withdrawn. In August 1851 the Rosette cancel was withdrawn definitively (some exceptional cases are known with use after this date, source: http://www.ghonegger.ch/deutsch/artikelsammlung/d_zhrosetten.asp ).


Forgeries exist with '1 8 4 3' in the corners (see images below) or '18' and '43' in the lower corners.

Forgery! 1843 in corners! Forgery! 1843 in corners! Image obtained thanks to Bill Claghorn's forgery site Forgery! 1843 in the corners Forgery 1843 in corners!

('18' and '43' in the lower corners, reduced size)

The above forgeries have 1843 in the corners and can therefore be recognized at once (there should be black lines with dots). Note that they are all different. These forgeries are described in Album Weeds (first four forgeries).


In the above forgery the tail of the '6' joins the central part of the '6'.

Note the bogus cancel!

The cancel in the above forgery betrays it right away: such a cancel was never used in Zurich.

Other, more deceptive forgeries:


Fournier forgeries, examples:

Some other forgeries that do not correspond to any of the 5 types:

(images obtained thanks to Bill Claghorn's forgeries site: http://members.tripod.com/claghorn1p/Switzerland/index.htm)

Some forgeries with a violet 'FACSIMILE' or 'Facsimile' overprint:

Some dangerous forgeries:

(Forgery of the 4 r type 1

(Forgeries of the 6 r type 1, type 2 and type 3)


Very dangerous Sperati forgeries:

Sperati forgery, obtained thanks to Richard Frajola's website
(Sperati forgeries)

I know that Sperati made forgeries of at least all the 5 types of the 6 rp (produced somewhere between 1930 and 1939).

(Some modern Peter Winter forgery)

Peter Winter made forgeries in the late 20th century. I posess a 4 r Winter forgery with the '18' in the left lower corner and '43' in the right lower corner (it resembles a proof, apparantly). I also posess a forgery of the 6 r value made by Winter, the white margins are very large (too large I think). These two forgeries do not look very convincing (they look too modern).

(Other Winter forgeries)

I have my doubts about the following stamps:

4 black and 6 black, with typical cancel, forgeries?

Copyright by Evert Klaseboer

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