Saturday, March 28, 2009

Liechtenstein Postal History

John Wray, writing in the New York Times, reports on his vacation in the principality of Liechtenstein.

John writes, "Sandwiched between Switzerland and Austria, it is one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world, meaning that all of its direct neighbors are landlocked as well. (The other is Uzbekistan.) It is the sixth-smallest nation in area, the seventh-smallest in population and the smallest in which German is spoken."

He goes on to say, "Nowhere is Liechtenstein’s talent for capitalizing on its own obscurity more perfectly displayed than at the Postmuseum in Vaduz, the principality’s modest shrine to its best-known commodity, the postage stamp."

According to John, "The first Liechtensteinian stamp was a humble, monochrome affair, but within a few decades, incredible as it may seem, the sale of postage stamps was the country’s single greatest source of revenue."

He quotes, Erika Barbaré, the Postmuseum’s curator, commenting on how that happened: "It was a for-profit undertaking from the start, she said, lowering her voice conspiratorially. Certain persons involved in the printing of the original stamps — we may never find out who — intentionally introduced errors into the first few print runs, making them even more valuable to collectors."

Shown above, the first stamps issued by Liechtenstein in 1912.

To read the entire article, click here.

For more on the postal history of Liechtenstein, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM