The noble art of steel engraving

If you like Swiss stamps, then I can surely recommend this booklet:


It is Die edle Kunst des Stahlstechens, written by Swiss PTT top man Hans E. Gaudard in 1965. It deals with the various definitive sets issued in the 1940s and 1960s. Naturally, I got it because Karl Bickel Sr features quite heavily in it. The booklet (44 pages) is illustrated with loads of essays, and since there has been a flurry of Bickel essays in various auctions lately, I wanted to get some more information about those.


The great thing is that Bickel engraved all his essays, so they make a wonderful collection, even though most are highly priced.

Besides the expected info on the 1949 definitive essays, I was surprised to find out about Bickel's work for the 1961 high value definitives, which I didn't know about.

Image courtesy of Corinphila Auktionen
His work was not accepted though, and it was the set of four evangelists which was issued, engraved by Heinrich Heusser.

Something else I didn't know about yet was that both Karl Bickel Jr and Karin Lieven got the job of engraving the essays for the 1960 Architectural Monuments series, which would eventually be engraved by Albert Yersin.

Essay engraved by Karl Bickel Jr. Image courtesy of Corinphila Auktionen
And there is more to say about Karl Bickel Jr. Remember I showed his PTT labels the other day?
 

Well, when I was scanning the bit about the test stamp featured on the front for a friend, I looked the stamp up in Derrick M Slate's Swiss Trial Prints, which by the way is freely available on the internet. and another must have. These were engraved by Albert Yersin. But while looking for them I bumped into those PTT labels by Bickel Jr. Turns out they were made in 1958 for the World's Fair in Brussels! So there was another piece of the puzzle found.

All in all the booklet is a great success and even though I've had it for days and have already read it several times, I just can't seem to put it aside!

:-)
Adrian

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