When in april 1912 the first stamps with the portrait of the new king Albert 1 where sold, it was not a great success, everybody complained about the mediocrity of the quality and the bad portrait of the king. It was stamp nr 111 of 10 c who came out first, and departing september stamp nr 123 of 25 c with an adapted portrait, but this was not much better. The complete ''Pellens" set consists of twelve stamps of which nine with the portrait of king Albert 1.
Therefore work was started immediately on the preparation of a new set of thirteen stamps, of which also nine with the portrait of the king; This would be the most used stamps namely from 1 cent until 40 cents. The other stamps of the set would become much greater, like the ''Vloors'' type,who where still in use.
-The highest value , the 5 fr, would remember the Belgian dynasty,namely the portrait of king Albert 1, in medaillon, framed by the portraits of king Leopold 1 and 2.
-With the 2 fr one would commemorate a great economical fact of the century; The occupation of Congo: an officer repells an Arabic slave driver for the Belgian flag, while a slave shows his ruptured chains and a negro woman shows her liberated child.
-The 1 fr would commemorate the opening of the river Scheldt.On the forplan one sees the port of Antwerp, while on the horizon a ship sails by with the inscription in two languages: ' the Scheldt liberated '.
-The stamp of 50 c would commemorate our nationale independence: a volunteer of the war against The Netherlands of 1830, dressed in a blouse, falls wounded while he passes the tricoulored flag to another combattant.This was an evocation of the death of count Fr‚deric de M‚rode,deathly wounded in Berchem in 1830.
During the preparations for these set of stamps, war broke out and the work was interrupted. The Red Cross of Belgium was mobilised and prepared itself to do its duty. To meet the financial needs of this organisation, the government decided to the publication of a set of stamps with an additional charge to support its humanitary works.
An ministerial arrest was published on 30/9/1914 and allowed the making of stamps of a type that was already in preparation and the manufacturing was granted to a private printing-office in Antwerp,while the production factory of stamps in Maligne was not available.
Because the purpose of the 50 c stamp was to commemorate the patriotism of the nation, it was entirely fit for the purpose,and the dicision was taken to make a new set consisting of three stamps. And this was the start of the set " Red Cross de Mérode."