The Basel Dove Stamp

06 Apr 2018  Fri

The Basel Dove Stamp is a notable stamp issued by the Swiss canton of Basel. This tricolour embossed stamp is the most beautiful and unique of all the classic stamps.

Basel is the third largest city in Switzerland, after Zurich and Geneva. Before Switzerland became a federal state in 1848, it was a loose confederation of independent cantons, each having their own postal arrangements. On 1 July 1845, the city of Basel issued its one and only stamp, the famous ‘Basel Dove’, designed by architect Melchior Berri.

The design is dominated by the coat of arms of Basel Canton. In the centre is a crosier. Below the crosier is a red background, and embossed within it a white dove in flight, carrying a letter in its beak. From there comes the stamp’s nickname: “The Basil Dove.” And in the lower corners is the denomination “2 ½ Rp. [rappen]. The motifs are mounted on a calming pale blue background.

The Basel Dove stamp was a first in multiple ways. It was the first stamp to be printed in three colours. It was the first stamp to combine engraving and embossing, and it was the first stamp to depict a bird.

In short, it was a wonderful achievement for Berri – the designer.

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