World Stamps

Tip of the week: Switzerland 1961 Four Evangelists set

Jan 13, 2016, 10 AM
Switzerland’s Four Evangelists set (Scott 406-409) in mint never-hinged condition is worth its 2016 Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue value of $38.75 in postage. The set was issued in 1961.

By Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

On Sept. 18, 1961, Switzerland issued a set of four stamps (Scott 406-409) commemorating the authors of the four Gospels in the Christian New Testament.

The designs featuring St. Matthew and an angel, St. Mark and a winged lion, St. Luke and a winged ox, and St. John and an eagle were based on 15th-century wood carvings from St. Oswald’s Church in Zug.

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Switzerland is one of the most conservative and stable countries in Europe. Postal rates have remained about the same for 55 years. Virtually every Swiss stamp issued since 1964 is still valid for postage. Some older stamps going all the way back to 1938 are still postally valid as well.

The face value of the Four Evangelists set is 38 francs. The 2016 Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue values the set in mint never-hinged condition at $38.75. Because the current exchange rate is about $1 to 1fr, this set is worth its catalog value in postage.

Knowledgeable dealers will happily pay 50 percent of Scott catalog value for this set. It is a good buy at full Scott catalog value, but an even better buy if you find it offered at a discount from Scott.

Avoid hinged sets, unless you are going to Switzerland and plan to use them for postage. Used examples are very common.