Baden #4 (1851)

Baden #4 (1851)

Baden #4 (1851)

The Grand Duchy of Baden (Großherzogtum Baden) was a state in the southwest of Germany on the east bank of the Rhine that came into existence in the 12th century as the Margraviate of Baden and subsequently split into different lines, which were unified in 1771. It then became the much-enlarged Grand Duchy of Baden through the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1803–06 and was a sovereign country until it joined the German Empire in 1871, remaining a Grand Duchy until 1918 when it became part of the Weimar Republic as the Republic of Baden. Baden was bordered to the north by the Kingdom of Bavaria and the Grand Duchy of Hessen-Darmstadt; to the west, along most of its length, by the River Rhine, which separated Baden from the Bavarian Rhenish Palatinate and Alsace in modern France; to the south by Switzerland; and to the east by the Kingdom of Württemberg, the Principality of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen and Bavaria.

The dukes of Thurn und Taxis had great influence on the postal development of Baden.  Around 1290, after Milan had conquered Bergamo, Omodeo Tasso had organized 32 of his relatives into the Company of Couriers (Compagnia dei Corrieri) and linked Milan with Venice and Rome. The recipient of royal and papal patronage, his post riders were so comparatively efficient that they became known as bergamaschi throughout Italy. Ruggiero de Tassis was named to the court of the emperor Frederick the Peaceful in 1443. He organized a post system between Bergamo and Vienna by 1450; from Innsbruck to Italy and Styria around 1460; and Vienna with Brussels around 1480. Upon his success, Ruggiero was knighted and made a gentleman of the Chamber. Jannetto de Tassis was appointed Chief Master of Postal Services at Innsbruck in 1489. Philip of Burgundy elevated Janetto’s brother Francisco to captain of his post in 1502. Owing to a payment dispute with Philip, Francisco opened his post to public use in 1506.

The name Thurn und Taxis arose from the translation into German of the family’s French title (de La Tour et Tassis or de Tour et Taxis). Charles V named Giovanni Battista de Tassis as master of his post in 1520; Maximilian I expanded their network throughout the Holy Roman Empire. In 1624, the family were elevated to grafen (“counts”) and they formally adopted the German form of their name in 1650. They were named “princely” in 1695 at the behest of the emperor Leopold I.

From 1718 to 1811, The Princely House of Thurn and Taxis (das Fürstenhaus Thurn und Taxis) established their own postal system and took over the postal organization of Baden. It was 1811 before the postal administration changed hands to Baden’s authority with the Zessionsvertrag (Assignment Treaty) of Thurn und Taxis. The postal system continued to develop and on 1 May 1851, Baden joined the German-Austrian Postal Union. This was an association of the postal systems of the Austrian Empire and the pre-Empire German states that was established on 6 April 1850 and began operation on 1 July. Besides the two founding states pf Prussia and Austria, the Royal Bavarian Government, the Royal Saxon Government, the Grand Ducal Government of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, the Grand Ducal Government of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and the Chief Postal Administration of Schleswig-Holstein had already joined.

In 1851 following authorities joined the association:

  • on May 1 the Princely Thurn und Taxis Postal Administration and the Grand Ducal Government of Baden,
  • on June 1 the Royal Government of Hannover,
  • on September 1 the Royal Government of Württemberg,
  • on October 1 the Electorate of Hesse, the Duchy of Nassau, and
  • on December 1 the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen.

On January 1, 1852 the Grand Ducal Government of Luxembourg, the Duchy of Braunschweig, the Free Hanseatic City of Lübeck, and the Grand Ducal Government of Oldenburg further joined the postal association.

On 1 May 1851, the Grand Duchy of Baden issued its first definitive stamps, the 1, 3, 6, and 9 kreuzer, With these denominations, all important postage tariffs were covered in both distance and weight. Baden’s first four stamps were designed on the model of Bavaria’s stamps. They are cipher designs highlighting the postage denomination, typographed on unwatermarked paper and issued imperforate. They have the additional inscription Baden and Freimarke (definitive stamp) as well as “Deutsch-Österreichischer-Postverein / Vertrag 6. April 1850” (German-Austrian Postal Union / Treaty April 6, 1850) to emphasize joining the postal union.  They were  printed in black on pale buff, orange, blue green, and deep rose papers.  The stamps were again printed in August of 1851 on dark buff, yellow, yellow green, and lilac rose papers, continuing through the middle of 1852.

In 1853, the 1 kreuzer was printed in black on white paper, the 3 kreuzer value was printed in black on green paper, and the 6 kreuzer was printed in black on yellow paper. In 1858, the 3 kreuzer was printed in black on blue paper. In 1865, all the first issues were reprinted on thick paper, except for the 6 kreuzer black on yellow, which was printed on thin paper. The reprints are worth far less than the originals.

From 1860 to 1862, new designs with the Baden coat of arms were issued. They were all printed on white paper, with a lined background behind the arms. In 1860, they were all perforated 13 1/2, and in 1862 they were perforated 10. In 1862, a new design with a white background was issued. The 3 kreuzer in rose on white paper, was initially issued with gauge 13 1/2 perforations.  From 1862 to 1865 the new white background definitives were issued in six denominations, from 1 kreuzer through 30 kreuzer and were all perforated 10. There are many different shades of color on these issues. In 1868, the 1 kreuzer in green, 3 kreuzer in rose, and 7  kreuzer in blue of the last design were issued. They featured the denomination in the tablet at the bottom abbreviated, instead of spelled out, as on prior issues.

On 1 October 1862, a special set of stamps was issued to pay rural postage due (Landpost). They were all printed in black on yellow paper in values of 1, 3 and 12 kreuzer.  These stamps were not given to postal customers during their valid period and could not be used as definitive stamps. These stamps paid additional delivery charges to addresses in rural villages that weren’t served by a local post office. The sender could choose to pre-pay the charge. The Landpost stamps were not regular postage due stamps, although their use as such, and for other charges, is also known. They should have been stuck on the reverse, but are often seen on the front. Used copies are rare, and fake cancellations abound.

On 31 December 1871, the entire postal system of Baden changed hands to the German Reichspost and since then the postal history of Baden is part of the German Reich. Baden’s stamps could only be used until the end of 1871, but Baden stamps could be exchanged for stamps of the German Reich until 25 February 1872.  However, official stamps were used as late as 1906.  Baden released a total of 28 general issue and three rural postage due stamps between 1851 and 1868.  These are listed under German States in the Scott catalogue, preceding the stamps of Germany.  The five official stamps (#OL16-21) are listed in Germany.  Stamps of the Baden sector of the French Occupation Zone of Germany, released from 1947 until 1949, are listed in the catalogue under the Occupation Issues of Germany.  These will be discussed tomorrow.

Today’s stamp, Scott #4, was part of the initial 1 May 1851 release by the Grand Duchy of Baden.  It’s a rather rough copy of the 9 kreuzer black on lilac rose paper with an blurred concentric rings cancellation.  I’m happy to have it in my collection, however, as it’s currently the oldest stamp I have from any of the German states (although I do have an 1849 issue from Bavaria “on the way” which should arrive before it’s scheduled 3 September inclusion in ‘A Stamp A Day’).

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