tradition and experience in classic philately since 1925

The History of the ‚Renan cover‘

1851 Entire bearing 1845 Cantonal stamp issue Basle Dove 2 ½ rappen in an horizontal pair, used in combination with 1850 Federal issue 10 Rappen RAYON II on cover to Renan, Bernese Jura.

The 1851 combination franking falls into the transitional period when the various local ‘Cantonal postal administrations’ were merged to the ‘Swiss Federal Post’ after the formation of Switzerland in 1849.

The ‘Renan cover’ is generally regarded as the most important cover of the Basle Dove in private hands, only rivalled by the Basle Dove cover bearing six adhesives to Kreuzlingen, housed in ‘ever lasting prisonship’ in the Berne Museum of Communication.

The ‘Renan cover’ bears two different stamp issues: The Basle Dove issued as a local stamp, the Rayon II was issued for nationwide usage. Nevertheless the cover tells the story of three steps in the history of adhesive stamps used for letter communication:

The 1845 Basle Dove was originally valid only for local use in the canton of Basle

The yellow 1850 Rayon II 10 rappen was issued for letter postage beyond the cantonal borders and for nationwide use. Although the former local Basle Dove stamps were not sold by the new Federal post, they became also valid beyond the borders of Basle

The yellow 1850 Rayon II 10 rappen later became valid for letter communication beyond Switzerland when the new Swiss Federal post signed postal agreements with foreign postal authorities, especially the German-Austrian-Postal-Union (GAPU).

A History of over 100 years

1894, The Schweizer Briefmarken Zeitung (SBZ, 25 Oct.1896) reported in detail about various collections exhibited on the International Stamp Exhibition in Geneva. This included a detailed description of the ‘F.Schöllhorn collection from Winterthur including: A beautifull item was a cover bearing two Basle Doves used in combination with a yellow RAYON which were use in 1851 as swiss postage stamps (Translation)

1920, the catalogue of the ‘VSPV-Zentrale’ für Briefmarkenprojektionsbilder, published by the St. Gallen Philatelic Stamp Club, issued Oktober 1, 1920, listed and described the ‚Renan-Brief‘, revised again in the 1938 edition of the VSPV catalogue.

1954, The Swiss Rarities stamp dealer Ernst Müller offered in his philatelic magazine ‚Die Basler Taube Nr. 12/1954‘ (December 1954) the ‚Renan cover‘ with the following description (Translation): Basle Dove, vivid blue, a pair used with RAYON II on cover from Basle to Renan (Jura bernois between St-Imier and La-Chaud-de –Fonds) dated 6 November 1851. This cover has silently rested for decades in a collection, is not recorded in any catalogue but is now available. Certificate). A photocopy of the certificate issued on 20 November 1954 by the Swiss Expert W.Cueni, Basel, confirmed as:"One of the most important rarities of Switzerland".

1959, the ‘Renan cover’ is illustrated and described in detail by Anton Abele in his well known series of articles titled ‘A propos Altschweiz’, SBZ no. 8/1959

1966, Swiss expert André Nussbaum certificates and confirmed: "….a cover of greatest rarity….the embossing of the Doves is unusually clear and precise while the colours are of seldom seen brightness…." (Translation)

1967, the Frankfurt Stamp auction house Arnold Ebel offered the ‘Renan cover’ on the front cover of his auction catalogue and described it as:“...Without doubt one of the finest and most interesting items in classic philately of the world..." (Translation) Estimate DM 275,000.

1970’s, the ‘Renan cover’ being the highlight of the Hans Leemann collection of Arlesheim, Switzerland. The Leemann collection was later bought by Ernst Müller, Basel.

1991, the ‘Renan cover’ was offered on Corinphila auction Sept. 1991, lot 1903. Estimate CHF 150.000 with a hammer price of CHF 340’000. The cover was bought by Silvain Wyler, Rapperswil.

1999, the ‘Seebub collection’ (Silvain Wyler) was awarded Grand-Prix International at IBRA 1999 international Stamp exhibition in Nürnberg. The ‘Renan cover’ was the ‘key item’ of the collection.

2006, The ‘Seebub collection’ (Silvain Wyler) was published in EDITION D’OR Vol. IX, the ‘Renan cover’being shown on the front page. Silvain Wyler valued the ‘Renan cover’ as the most important item inhis collection of Classic Switzerland.