EXTREMELY FINE AND SUPERB IN EVERY RESPECT. LIKELY NOT ONLY THE FINEST EXAMPLE OF THE "INVERTED DOUBLE GENEVA" IN EXISTENCE, BUT ALSO THE FINEST COVER BEARING THIS WORLD-CLASS RARITY. ONE OF THE GREATEST CLASSIC COVERS OF SWITZERLAND.
The Double Geneva was the first stamp issued by the Canton of Geneva, on October 1, 1843. The stamps were lithographed on green paper by M. Schmidt, a local printer, in sheets consisting of 50 double-stamps. The total printing was 600 sheets. As noted in Stamps of Fame by L. N. & M. Williams, a contemporary observation before the issue of the Double Geneva reads "Such labels are sold at post offices at 10 centimes each; and when required to do so stationers fasten them beforehand on envelopes, which they sell plus the cost of the ticket. People keep them ready to hand, just as they do their pens and wafers. Many are lost, but this is so much profit to the Post Office. Moreover one uses them more readily than money... it would be a savings to allow two labels to serve for a double letter, or one for every ounce."
The vast majority of Double Geneva stamps were cut from the sheets in the normal left-right configuration. There are very few "Inverted Double Geneva" pairs extant in either horizontal or vertical format. We know of no other that compares in quality to the pair on this cover. Adding to this item’s remarkable character is the fact it was mailed from a village outside Geneva and given to a postman on the city outskirts, to be put into the mail for Bourg de Four in the Old City of Geneva.
Ex Collection Kottelat (Giorgino sale, September 1998) and Investphila sale (October 2007) where William H. Gross acquired it. Displayed and discussed in the Schafer handbook, Schweiz Kantonalmarken Frankaturen (page 126). These provenance notes have been generously provided by Mr. Karl Louis of Corinphila Auctions, and we are grateful for his assistance.
With 1988 Hertsch, 1998 von der Weid, 1998 Rellstab and 2007 Marchand certificates.