Standing Helvetia Issue of Switzerland

11 Sep 2018  Tue

Standing Helvetia stamps are among the most beautiful of any 19th Century definitive issues, and they are one of the most popular collecting specialities with Swiss philatelists. Swiss stamps of the Standing Helvetia design were first issued in 1882, replacing the perforated Sitting Helvetia Issues.

The fashion of depicting the Swiss Confederacy in terms of female allegories arises in the 17th century, which has been followed through so many years by the Swiss post as well. The Swiss post issued a series of stamps depicting the Helvetia- female national personification of the country.

The stamp features the allegory pictured in a flowing gown, with a spear in right hand and a shield emblazoned with the Swiss flag in left hand. She is commonly shown with braided hair and wearing a wreath as a symbol of Confederation.

She is standing in a starred vignette inscribed with Helvetia on top. The value in numerals can be seen on the top as well as at the bottom flanked by the denomination (Franco in this case). The stamps with the depiction of Helvetia were issued between the years 1882 and 1891 with the denominations ranging from 2 Cents to 3 Francs.

Helvetia is the female national personification of Switzerland, officially Confœderatio Helvetica: the Swiss Confederation. The name is a derivation of the ethnonym Helvetii, the name of the Gaulish tribe inhabiting the Swiss Plateau prior to the Roman conquest. This is why the Swiss stamps bear the indication "Helvetia" which indicates Switzerland.

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