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'Europe's third oldest stamp' the Double Geneva could bring $185,700

Affixed to one of Switzerland’s most important-ever letters, this is the finest example in the world

One of the best preserved examples of a Double Geneva cover will auction at Rapp from its "Special Catalogues" during a two day sale on June 1-2.

By far the best example of just five known double-combination pairs in the world, the cover is rightly billed as one of Switzerland's most important-ever letters.

The Double Geneva cover will appear in the first day of Rapp's sale which is, according to organisers, "what, for about half a century, classic Swiss philately has been waiting for.

Special Catalogue #1 features Classic Switzerland Issues dated 1843-1854. Parts of the sale will be devoted to different Swiss regions, including Zurich, Geneva, Basle and elsewhere.

The Double Geneva was issued by the City of Geneva, Switzerland in 1843, and is the oldest stamp of the European continent after the Zurich Fours and Sixes (in turn preceded by the New York Dispatch in 1842, and Britain's Penny Black and Twopence Blue in 1840).

The Double Geneva cover from 1944, priced $139,275-185,700

This cover was formerly in the collection of Alfred F Lichtenstein, one of the most famous American philatelists.

Bearing two left-half stamps, cut vertically and cancelled with a rosette hand-stamp, the folded letter is marked GENEVE 12 SEPT 44 and addressed to "Task Temple... Eaux-Vives."

According to Rapp, each stamp is "exceptionally fresh, wide-cut on all sides and of exquisite quality."

This exceptional, historic cover will be sold with stamp inspection certificates and is estimated at $139,275-185,700 (150,000-200,000 CHF).


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Images: Rapp auctions

Last updated: 23 April 2010