Switzerland - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Switzerland, a landlocked country in Western Europe bordered by Germany, France, Italy, Austria, and Liechtenstein has a total land area of 15,940 square miles and a population of around 7.8 million. Switzerland is among the richest countries of the world with the highest wealth per adult of any country and high quality of life. It lends itself to the cause of forging peace across countries. With its established private sector and low overall taxation, Switzerland has the reputation of being a business-friendly place – many large MNC’s call it home. Many notable Nobel laureates, including Albert Einstein hailed from Sweden. The major sectors of this powerful economy are banking and insurance, tourism, measuring instruments, musical instruments, chemicals, health and pharmaceutical, and international organizations. Its environmental records among the developed nations is another feather in its cap.

Travel Resources: 

While anytime is considered a good time to visit Switzerland, spring and autumn are generally considered the quieter months. The Swiss Alps is undoubtedly the crown jewel of this postcard perfect country. Its famous cities are Berne, Zurich, Geneva, Lucerne, and Azores, the major mountain resorts are Arosa, Davos, Grindelwald, Laax, and Wengen, and the popular lake resorts are Ascona and Locarno, Murten, and Thun - each beautiful and serene in its own way. The mountains, water-bodies, forests, and pastures, are material for bliss and hence it is no wonder that the country is famous not only for its corporations but also for its art and music. Fine cheese, chocolate, dairy products, and wines are Swiss hallmarks of perfection.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Switzerland Eyewitness Travel Guides978-0756661458$17A traveler’s introduction and history covering the first 45 pages followed by region-wise coverage on Bern, Mittelland Bernese Oberland and Valais, Geneva, Western Switzerland, Northern Switzerland, Zurich, Eastern Switzerland and Graubunden, and Central Switzerland and Ticino. There is also a Travelers Needs section that has excellent recommendations on where to stay and eat and a Survival Guide with practical information.
Michelin Map Switzerland978-2067123052$101:400,000 Scale. City maps of Bern, Zurich, Geneva, Lausanne.
International Travel Grounded Adapter PlugB001ISSFIW$7
Other Travel ResourcesNAVaries

Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Switzerland were a set of two stamps released in 1843 showing Numerals. The stamps (Scott #1L1 to #1L2) are very rare and catalog for around $27K mint and around $20K used. They were issued under Cantonal Administration in Zurich. A variety of the same theme was issued in 1846 and that set also enjoys similarly high valuation. The first stamps under Federal Administration were issued in 1850. A few stamps in the Coat of Arms theme were issued in the interim and they are all valued well into the 10,000s. The most valuable among them is the Geneva Coat of Arms stamp (Scott #2L1) issued in 1843 which catalogs for around $60K mint and around two-thirds that for used. The most famous is the first tri-color stamp ever released nicknamed the Basel Dove. The stamp catalogs for around $14K mint and around $12.5K used. The first set under Federal Administration is a set of four stamps released in 1850 in the Coat of Arms theme and that set (Scott #1 to #4) catalogs for around $52K mint and around $30K used. A number of varieties on the same theme formed the primary stamp issues of Switzerland during the period till 1854. Switzerland released a set of six stamps in 1854 in the Helvetia theme. The set (Scott #14 to #19) is sought after and catalogs for around $25K mint and around $3.5K for used. A variety of the same set issued between 1854 and 1855 catalogs for around $4.5K mint and around $500 used. Several varieties on the first sets formed the primary stamp issues of Switzerland until the turn of the century.

Switzerland released a long set of twenty stamps between 1907 and 1925 showing Helvetia and William Tell’s Son. The set (Scott #126 to #145) catalogs for around $440 mint and around $60 used. Helvetia and William Tell issues continued until 1914 when a set of five stamps showing local scenes appeared. That set (Scott #181 to #185) is valuable and sought after cataloging for around $1100 mint and around $50 used. The designs show The Mythen, The Rutli, and The Jungfrau. Helvetia is the female national personification of Switzerland. William Tell is a folk hero of Switzerland whose legend is recorded in a late 15th century chronicle – an expert marksman; he assassinated Gessler, a tyrannical reeve of Habsburg Austria.

Other issues of Switzerland enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A set of fourteen stamps issued in 1945 to mark the End of War in Europe. The set (Scott #293 to #305 and #B145) catalogs for around $525 MNH and around $900 used. The designs show Numerals, olive branch, keys of peace, horn of plenty, dove of peace, plowing, field of crocus, clasped hands, and aged couple. Switzerland was neutral in both World Wars and was not invaded during World War II.
  2. A long set of twenty two stamps released between 1973 and 1980 showing village scenes and architecture. The set (Scott #558 to #579) catalogs for around $35 MNH and around $10 for used. The designs show Sottoceneri, Graubunden, Central Switzerland, Jura, Simme Valley, Two Buildings in Central Switzerland, Vaud, Valais, Engadine, Sopraceneri, Eastern Switzerland, Rose Window at Lausanne Cathedral, Gallus Portal at Basel Cathedral, Romanesque Capital at St. Jean Baptiste Church of Grandson, Sign of Inn ‘Zur Sonne’ of Toggenburg, Ceiling Medallion at Stein Rhein Convent, Gragoyle at Bern Cathedral, Bay Window at Schaffhausen, Cock Weather Vane at St. Ursus Cathedral in Solothurn, Font at St. Maurice Church at Saanen, and Astronomical Clock at Bern Clock Tower.
  3. A set of fourteen stamps released between 1984 and 1986 showing Signs of Zodiac and City Views. The set (Scott #717 to #728A) catalogs for around $40 MNH and around $13 used. The designs show Aquarius and Old Bern, Pisces and Naxnear Sion, Aries and Graustock, Gemini and Bischofszell, Taurus and Basel Cathedral, Gemini and Schonengrund, Cancer and Wetterhorn  at Grindelwald, Leo and Areuse Gorge at Neuchatel, Virgo and Jung-frau Monch Eiger Mountains, Virgo and Schwarzee above Zermatt, Libra and Fechy, Scorpio and Corippo, Sagittarius and Glarus, and Capricorn and Schuls.
  4. A set of eight stamps released between 1989 and 1995 showing Industry. The set (Scott #842 to #849) catalogs for around $40 MNH and around $25 used. The designs show bricklayer, cook, cabinet maker, pharmacist, fisherman, wine grower, cheesemaker, and dressmaker. Swizz economy is one of the most capitalist economies of the world with the world’s sixth largest per capita GDP. The World Economic Forum ranks the country as the most competitive in the world.
  5. A set of five stamps released on September 9, 2003 showing UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The set (Scott #1158 to #1162) catalogs for around $7 MNH and around $3 used. The designs show Jungfrau-Alestsch-Bietschhorn, Three Castles of Bellinzona, Old City of Bern, Convent of St. Gall, and Benedictine Convent of St. John at Mustair.
Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of Switzerland were Canton Standard Coinage (10 Rappen = 4 Kreuzer = 1 Batzen, 10 Batzen = 1 Frank) Billon Batzens issued in the early 19th century by the Aargau Canton. Canton Coinage continued till the mid-nineteenth century. Most of the Canton Coinage in high grades is valuable fetching upwards of $100. Confederation Decimal Coinage (100 Rappen – Centimes = 1 Franc) debut around 1850 with the introduction of Bronze Rappens with the ubiquitous Cross in Shield Design in Obverse and Denomination and Wreath in Reverse. The first coins have high mintage into the millions but still catalogs for upwards of $100 in UNC. The first gold coin is the extremely popular 20 Francs 0.1867 troy ounce issue of 1883 that trades for a slight premium over bullion value. Since then, Switzerland has issued a number of gold coins.

Numismatic items of Switzerland include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$1 and upCommon UNC Rappens from the 1960s onward starts around $1. Silver Coins from the early 20th century in VF+, Coins from the early 20th century and late 19th century in XF+, Recent Bi-Metallic UNCs, etc start around $10. Early Silver Coins in BU, Silver Coin Sets, etc start around $30. Rare Silver Coins and Gold Coins go well into the 100s.
Paper Money$5 and upBanknotes from the 1960s onward in VF+ starts around $5. UNCs from the 1960s starts around $20. Specimens, Large Notes from the 1940s, etc start around $50. Scarce banknotes from the 1920s, Rare Early Specimens, Bundles, etc go well into the 100s and 1000s depending on rarity.

Collectible Memorabilia:

Watches, swiss army knives, chocolate, cheese, wine, cowbells, cuckoo clocks etc., are typical tourist buys from Switzerland.


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Antiques$5 and up19th century maps start around $5. Rolex Silver Spoons, Lador Holzhackermarsch Tole Wood Music Boxes, etc start around $20. 18th century maps, Ziegler Schaffhausen vintage vases etc go well into the 100s.
Art$5 and upVintage Travel Posters start around $5. 19th century color costume prints start around $30. Original works by Charles Gilbert Heathcote, Sir Ernest Albert Waterlow, Jan Kelderman etc go well into the 100s.
Miscellaneous Collectibles$2 and upScenic postcards start around $2. 1940s tourist pamphlets and other original vintage scenic scenes start around $20. Schmid Linder Figurines, Compass Stopwatches, etc start around $50. Dunhill Gold Cigarette Lighters, Thorens Music Box Beer Steins etc start around $100.

Last Updated: 12/2015.

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