For the German states to be governed separately made no sense. That does not mean it will be easy to convince their rulers to put Deutschland uber alles. So slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take your first sip of your adult beverage, and sit back in your most comfortable chair. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelist.
This Saxon stamp shows the genius of the only slightly older originating Victoria stamps of Great Britain. Notice on this stamp how the leader is shown in profile as in a bust on a medal or coin . Notice the style of gummed paper that would be difficult to counterfeit. These are all directly copied from Great Britain and the fact that it became universal almost immediately shows it’s rightness.
Todays stamp is issue A3, a 3 Neu-Grochen stamp issued by the Empire of Saxony in 1851. It is part of a five stamp issue in various denominations displaying then Saxon King Fredrick Augustus II. According to the Scott catalog, the stamp is worth $25 used. This stamp had resided for years in an old album owned by my father. He looked it up in his catalog from circa 1980 that then listed the value again as $25. This stamp does seem to stagnate. Saxony being in the East, more copies may have arrived on the market when Germany reunited in 1990. There is a version of the one half Neu-Grochen stamp where they printed it on paper meant for a different value altering the color. It is worth $20,000 mint.
Saxony lies in Eastern Germany bordering Prussia. It experienced a great deal of growth during the period as this area became heavily industrialized. The King Fredrick Augustus II tried to act as a counterbalance for Prussia by often allying itself with Austria and even Napoleon’s France. Thus over time it’s territory shrunk by picking the loosing side of the many wars trying to bring Germany together under Prussia’s leadership.
At first Fredrick Augustus was a fairly liberal leader giving more self rule to Saxon cities and ending serfdom in the Empire. The uprising of 1848 still targeted the King. After making early concessions, Fredrick Augustus changed tact and came down hard. He dissolved Parliament and hid in a rural fortress while his soldiers put down the rebellion. This allowed Fredrick Augustus to survive. What he could not do was produce an heir, at least a legitimate one. His first marriage to Austrian Arch Duchess Maria Caroline was unhappy and childless due to his infidelity and her frequent bouts of epilepsy that killed her in 1832 at age 31. His second marriage to Princess Maria Anna of Bavaria was happier but also childless. He did father a prominent musician of the time illegitimately.
This lack of a heir proved disastrous. While traveling by horse in Tyrol, he fell off and was killed when the horse stepped on his head. The throne passed to his more militaristic younger brother John who shortly got entwined in a final war with Prussia that ended with Saxony forced to join the North German confederation dominated by Prussia. This ended Saxony’s stamp issuance. Now Dowager Queen Maria Anna had a chapel built at the site of Fredrick Augustus’ accident. The graveyard became the preferred resting place for later members of Saxony’s Royal House of Wettin. The House of Wettin is no longer ruling but is closely related to the current English and Belgian Royal lines.
Well my drink is empty and so I will open the discussion in the below comment section. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.