Liechtenstein’s contribution to this year’s SEPAC stamps is the “Map of
the Upper Rhine Valley” special stamp (face value: CHF 1.50). Every
year, the association, which comprises thirteen small European postal
operators, issues a stamp on a common theme. In 2021 the theme is
The selected motif represents one of the oldest known maps of the Upper Rhine Valley. It was probably drawn around 1620 by Swiss cartographer and engineer Hans Conrad Gyger (1599-1674). The watercolour pen and ink drawing shows the catchment area of the Rhine between the Swiss districts of Altstätten and Bad Ragaz with the castles and palaces existing at that time. A big thank you goes to the public records office of the Canton of St. Gallen that provided the map to us.
The history of cartography extends across all ages, cultural spheres and reproduction and printing methods. Today it is thought that maps first started to appear at an early period in human history. With growing geographical knowledge of ever larger parts of the world, the spread of printing and the emergence of an educated middle class, the need arose in the early part of the modern era to produce maps of all regions of the earth in a standardised format.