Postal History of Sweden
Postage stamps and brief postal history of Sweden
The Swedist Mail Service was established in 1636 by Axel Oxenstierna that became widespred by the 18th century. It’s noticeable that during that period, correspondence needed to be delivered faster was identified by attaching a feather to the wax seal, a unique practice to Sweden.
By the the mid-1800s and with the successful operation of the first postage stamp in Great Britain, Sweden issued its first postage stamps on 1 July 1855 with a set of five perforated stamps with denominated values in skilling banco. They depicted the coat of arms and inscribed “SVERIGE”.
The currency change to ore and riksdaler on July 1858 forced the issuance of new postage stamps by adopting previous designs but reducing the size of the stamps.
In 1862, the reclining lion design was out but in three values only. These were superceded ten years later with another issue featuring large numerals in round frames. These included the first bi-coloured stamp of 1 riksdaler featuring the three crowns of the royal arms, and were used for nearly 20 years.
The profile of the monarch of the country appeared in 1885 on the 10 ore value. The following year, the authorities introduced the posthorn design on the back of each stamp.
In 1891, a new definitive issue featured bi-coloured numerals and the profile of the king.
Sweden released its first commemorative stamp of 5 krona in 1903 depicting the Stockholm Post Office
The new issue of 1910 adopted the design of the arms and a full-face portrait of King Gustav V. Shortage of some denominations necessitated surcharges to be applied during 1918 until the printing of the new stamps.
In 1920, coil stamps were introduced with the lion and anew portrait of the king, with a crown and a posthorn design for the larger denominations.
Since then, a new series of stamps with a ¾ profile of King Gustav were supplementing the existing stamps.
The Stockholm Congress of the UPU in 1924 (50th anniversary) saw the release of stamps: a view of the Stockholm skyline, the postrider watching an airplane and a sarrier pigeon over the globe.
The 300th anniversary of the postal service allowed the release of 12 stamps that individually depict many aspects of its history.
The profile of king Gustav and the three crowns continued to appear as well as commemorative stamps too. The profile of king Gustav VI Adolf appeared from 1951.
The postal authorities changed from the king-depicted designs and introduced design elements from wildlife, scenery and history and it’s noticeable that the quality of the designs improved too.