|This is the short story of
beautiful, but quite strange joint issues of two countries, separated not only by
thousands of miles, but especially by their social and political choices. The date
of issue was the 25th of November 1998, with a foreseen early sales from 11th of November
1998. In reality, the stamps were delivered with a delay of about three weeks, something
unheard in the last decades in Switzerland (see below for a possible explanation).
The Swiss stamps have the values of 20c and 70c (1 Swiss Franc = 100c)
and they were issues in minisheets of 4 pairs, with nice inscribed and decorative margins
(see below the image of a half of a minisheet). The 20 c value represents the Bridge 24,
that is situated at the West of the Five Pagodas Bridge, in the city of
Yangzhou, of the Jiang Su Province. This stamps was designed by Mr. Xu Yan Bo of
Jixian County, Hebei Province. On the 70 c stamp there is represented the Chillon Castle, situated near the
Lake of Leman (known also as the Lake of Geneva). It was build between the XI and the XIII
centuries. This stamp was designed by the Swiss designer, Mrs. Bernadette Baltis and
printed by the printing office of the
Swiss Postal Services in Bern.
The Swiss sheet, with a value of only 90c (only a Swiss sheet was
issued and its face value is unusual low - a quite positive thing) displays a very nice
combination of the precedent two stamps. It was designed by Mr. Hansjoerg Anderegg and it
was printed in Switzerland by the renown printing office Helio Courvoisier SA, La
Please note that these stamps, denominated as a Joint Issue, have as Chinese only the
designer of one of the stamps. China issued other two stamps with the same design, but
with values in Chinese currency. Even if the decision of the Swiss Postal Authorities is a
wise one and prevents possible speculations (due to the different weights of Swiss and
Chinese currencies), it shows the limits in the policy of issuing such a philatelic material.
For more information about these limits and about the implied problems
see below and on the next two pages.
|The First Day Cover,
on Silk Paper
||A Half of the
Fly Geneva - Beijing, 11/25/1998
West Lake with the Bridge 24
Why were these
stamps delivered with such a delay? A good question. The first indication
could be already seen in the
Magazine "La Loupe", issued by Swiss Postal Services in October 1998. On the
image of the silk cover, with all four stamps (two Swiss and two Chinese)
on it, the places of
the Chinese stamps were empty, with a Chinese cancel over two gray
gives an early indication of some problems with or at the Chinese Postal Authorities.
the stamps (together with other issues, foreseen to be delivered together) were finally
delivered, the Swiss Post presented its excuses, speaking about unusual circumstances, a
high demand and the decision to deliver all issues at once.
I suppose (and it
should be taken as a supposition, but one that it is based on a long
life experience of the
author) that the Chinese authorities which deliver the approval for
all printed matters (e.g. the censor of the press authority) for reasons known only by themselves
(probably an unusual situation, eventually perceived as dangerous) delayed
An embarrassing coincidence is that these stamps appeared at the same
time as the Swiss stamp dedicated to the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, Declaration that, among others, explicitly prohibits the censorship. For
more information on this subject, please click here.
Are you interested to know more about the value of
this material? Then you are invited to read the critical column
pointed by this link.