Basel Dove is a Swiss postage stamp issued by the Swiss canton of Basel. It is also the world’s first tricolour postage stamp. History
Basel was the only Swiss canton to ever be issued its own postage stamps.
The idea of a postage stamp for Basel came from Johannes Bernoulli, the city’s Postmaster General, in 1843. Bernoulli proposed that the State Council increase their six letter boxes to sixteen and also that the opportunity to issue a stamp for Basel should be taken.
The council approved Bernoulli’s proposal in January 1844 but the stamp was not issued until July 1st 1845.
The stamp was designed by the architect Melchior Berri. It depicts a white dove embossed on a red background carrying a letter in its beak. A Bishop’s crosier (Basel Coat of Arms) is shown at the top centre.
The stamps were engraved and printed by H.B. Krebs on thick yellow/white paper in sheets of 40.
Basel Dove stamps were withdrawn from use in December 1848.
For a long time, it was unknown how many of the stamps had been printed. In the early 1930s, experts estimated that 20,880 stamps were produced in total. However, information provided by expert collectors researching the archives of the Basel Postal Administrations suggests that 41,480 of the stamps were printed.
In November 2010, Cherrystone Philatelic Auctioneers sold two Basel Dove stamps for $8,500 and $5750.