Brevportot i Sverige 1786-1830 (Letter Rates in Sweden 1786-1830), Lennart Ivarsson, 8-1/2 by 11-3/4 inches, hardbound, 508 pages, in Swedish. Postmuseum, Stockholm, 2000, ISBN 91-973472-1-3, approx. $45.


This is a gorgeous book, well researched, printed, and bound. The author is a member of the SSPD (Swedish Postal History Society). Although the text is in Swedish, there is a one-page summary in English. A major portion of the book consists of rate tables so that the language is not a handicap. There are quite a few color illustrations of documents and covers in the introductory material.

The rate that domestic letters paid in the prestamp period of Sweden is usually not apparent from examining the front of the cover. With the tables in this book one can use the date of the letter or cancel, the destination, and any indication of weight as a means to determining the actual rate. The tables cover three time periods, due to changes in the postal rates: 1786-1807, 1807-1818, 1819-1830. The introductory section provides background for the prestamp period with discussions on charter numbers, official mail, postage due, registered mail, and other aspects of handling letters.

Each point of origin is listed alphabetically, but using the old spelling of the period. For example Avesta was known at the time as Awestad. Under each town entry are the destination cities and their corresponding rates. Although the rates are mostly domestic, some rates are also shown to Bergen, Greifswald, Hamburg, Stalsund and other major nearby cities.

The book concludes with a list of information sources. However, much of the content of this extraordinary book was obtained by Ivarsson from various archives and original documents. Students of early Swedish postal history are indebted to the author for his research. The Stockholm Postmuseum has kindly donated a copy of this book to the SCC Library.


Alan Warren