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GERMANY 1900-1920 Germania issues

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Germany 1889-1899 issues

1900 so-called 'Germania' issue

Inscription 'REICHSPOST'

40 p red and black "Reichspost"

  2 p grey
  3 p brown
  5 p green
  10 p red
  20 p blue
  25 p orange and black on yellow
  30 p orange and black
  40 p red and black
  50 p violet and black
  80 p red and black on red

Surcharged and bisected

(Image obtained from a Hans Grobe auction: http://www.hans-grobe.de/katalog/00001-00130.html)

  '3 PF' (violet) on half of 5 c green (1901)

This surcharged and bisected stamp was only used on the warship 'Vineta', it is commonly known as 'Vineta-provisorium'. They were produced because of the need of 3 p stamps. The status of this stamp is doubtful, only 600 stamps were overprinted. It seems that the man responsable for making these provisional stamps, made later forgeries using the handstamp and the original backdated shipcancels.

This surcharge has been forged, example:

(Overprint in wrong colour; black)

(Other forgery)

Inscription 'DEUTSCHES REICH' (with lines behind Germania) (1902)

2 p with Zeppelin cancel 10 p red 80 p red and black on red "Deutsches Reich"

  2 p grey
  3 p brown
  5 p green
  5 p brown (1920)
  10 p red
  10 p orange (1920)
  20 p blue
  20 p green (1920)
  25 p orange and black on yellow
  30 p orange and black
  30 p blue (1920)
  40 p red and black
  40 p red (1920)
  50 p violet and black
  50 p lilac (1920)
  60 p lilac (1905)
  60 p olive (1920)
  75 p green and black (1919)
  75 p lilac (1920)
  80 p red and black on red
  80 p blue
  1 M violet and green (1920)
  1 1/4 M red and lilac (1920)
  2 M red and blue (1920)
  4 M black and red (1920)

Surcharged (1921)

  '* 1,60 M *' on 5 p brown
  '3 M 3' on 1 1/4 M red and lilac
  '* 5 Mark *' (green) on 75 p lilac
  '10 M 10' on 75 p lilac

Overprinted 'Fur Kriegs beschadigte' in fancy letters and surcharged (1919)

  10 + 5 p red
  15 + 5 p violet

A misprint exists of the 3 pf brown, the so-called 'F-variety': 'DFUTSCHES' instead of 'DEUTSCHES' (one error can be found on every sheet of stamps):

'DF' instead of 'DE' in 'deutsches' error

('DE' and 'DF', zoom-in)

I've seen a forged 'F' variety, in which the bottom part of the 'E' was scratched away.

Inscription 'DEUTSCHES REICH', Germania on white background

  2 p olive (1918)
  2 1/2 p grey (1916)
  7 1/2 p orange (1916)
  15 p brown (1916)
  15 p violet (1917)
  15 p lilac (1920)
  35 p brown (1919)

These stamps with overprint in 'PARA', 'PIASTER', or 'CENTIMES' were used in the German post offices in Turkey.

These stamps surcharged with '5' or '10' were used in Poland:

These overprints are rare and have been forged, examples:

(Forged inverted overprints)


For the specialist: the 'REICHSPOST' issues are all without watermark. The 'DEUTSCHES REICH' issues were first issued without watermark, but later reissued in 1905 with watermark lozenges, example:

(Lozenges watermark)

The 75 p lilac and 1 1/4 M also exist with watermark 'Wafles' (issued 1921).

A distinction can be made between the first printings of the 30 c blue, 75 c lilac and 80 c blue and the later printings of these stamps. The first printings of these stamps were done in two seperate parts, the frame seperately and the center, name and value seperately. A small shift can be seen between those two parts. Later, the frame and the rest was printed in only one operation (these are the ones commonly encountered).

(Example of a stamp printed in two seperate parts, not that 'DEUTSCHES REICH' is not placed symmetrically in the containing label)

Value of the stamps

vc = very common
c  = common
*  = not so common
** = uncommon
*** = very uncommon
R   = rare
RR  = very rare
RRR = extremely rare
Value Unused Used Remarks

'Reichspost', no Watermark (1900)

2 p c c  
3 p c vc  
5 p c vc  
'3 pf' on half of 5 p RRR RRR Vineta provisional issue; dubious issue
10 p c vc  
20 p * vc  
25 p * c  
30 p * c  
40 p * c  
50 p ** c  
80 p *** c  
'Deutsches Reich', no Watermark (1902)
2 p grey c vc  
3 p c vc variety 'DFUTSCHES': **
5 p green c vc  
10 p red c vc  
20 p blue * vc  
25 p * c  
30 p orange and black ** c  
40 p red and black ** c  
50 p violet and black *** c  
80 p black and red on red *** c  
'Deutsches Reich', Watermark 'Lozenges (Rauten)', (1905)
2 p * c lined background
2 p olive c c white background
2 1/2 p c c white background
3 p c vc  
5 p green c vc  
5 p brown vc vc  
7 1/2 p c vc white background
10 p red c vc  
10 p orange vc vc  
15 p brown * vc white background
15 p violet c vc white background
15 p lilac vc vc white background
20 p blue c vc  
20 p green vc vc  
25 p c vc  
30 p orange and black c vc  
30 p blue vc vc  
35 p vc vc white background
40 p red and black c c  
40 p red c vc  
50 p violet and black * vc  
50 p lilac c c  
60 p lilac * vc  
60 p olive vc vc  
75 p green and black c vc  
75 p lilac c c  
80 p red and black on red c c  
80 p blue vc vc  
1 M vc vc  
1 1/4 M vc vc  
2 M c vc  
4 M c c Exists with fiscal 'Flower' watermark: R
'Deutsches Reich', watermark 'Wafles (Waffeln)', (1922)
75 p lilac c c  
1 1/4 M c c  
'Deutsches Reich', watermark 'Quatrefoils (Vierpass)', (1920)
1 1/4 M RR R Printed erroneously on paper with
fiscal watermark 'Quatrefoils'
Surcharged (1921)
1.60 M on 5 p brown vc vc Watermark 'Lozenges'
3 M on 1 1/4 M vc c Watermark 'Lozenges'
5 M on 75 p lilac vc c Watermark 'Lozenges'
10 M on 75 p lilac c c Watermark 'Lozenges'
Overprinted 'fur Kriegs = beschadigte' (war charity, 1919)
10 p + 5 p c c  
15 p + 5 p c c  

Se-tenant values

I have seen parts of booklets with two Germania stamps or more of different value printed together. I have seen 7 1/2 p and 15 p violet. I have also seen a block of six stamps, four 7 1/2 p stamps and the bottom center and bottom right stamp 5 p green. Also a block of 6 stamps, two 10 c red stamps at the left top and four 5 c green stamps. Also a block of 6 stamps consisiting of four 15 c violet stamps and two 10 c red stamps (the two 10 c red stamps at the left bottom part). From the same source tete-beche pairs can be found, for example the 10 c orange or the 40 c red. I've also seen a 40 c red Germania stamp with a 30 c green 1921 stamp attached to the bottom (also from booklets). Also three stamps, a 7 1/2 p with a 2 1/2 p below it and another 7 1/2 p below the 2 1/2 p.

Postal forgeries

Forgery (to deceive the postal authorities); so-called Cologne forgery, the perforation is wrong (13 instead of 14 x 14 1/2)and there are some differences is the design (for example the '6' at the right hand side):

(Postal forgery known as Cologne forgery or 'Kölner Postfälschung')

A second Cologne forgery exists of the 5 p; According to http://www.jaeschke-lantelme.com/Veroffentlichungen/Postfalschungen/Colner_PFa/colner_pfa.html these forgeries were made from a 5 p postcard by the forger Andreas Thomas. He carefully cut out the outer ornaments as well as the inner image. He then passed both cuts to two different plate manufacturers, not telling them his true intensions. From these plates he printed his forgeries. The stamps were put in circulation by two accomplices: the sisters Anna and Sibilla Uhlenbroch. The scheme was discovered very soon and only a few of these postal forgeries can have passed through the post. The design is very bad (see picture):

Second Cologne forgery of the 5 p of early 1916; black and white picture obtained from http://www.jaeschke-lantelme.com/Veroffentlichungen/Postfalschungen/Colner_PFa/colner_pfa.html

This postal forgery of the 10 p 'Reichpost' stamp is slightly smaller than the genuine stamps, the woman has a 'smile', the second 'S' of 'REICHPOST' is different and the top of the '1' has a larger serif.

So-called Hellerie forgeries (made by the forger Hellerie). The following information was obtained from this website: http://www.museumsstiftung.de/stiftung/d1xx_sammlungen.asp?dbid=10&kattype=B&kat=100&page=11. These forgeries exist of the values 25 p, 40 p and 50 p of the 'Deutsches Reich' type and were discovered in 1903. The forger used uncancelled official stamps from which he removed the center piece. He then pasted the central part from previously used stamps. These forgeries were mainly used on parcels.

Hellerie forgery, image obtained from the above mentioned website

Another postal forgery is known as the Chemnitz forgery (10 p red, 'Deutsches Reich', no watermark):

Certified genuine Chemnitz postal forgeries or 'Chemnitzer Postfälschung'

Usually these Chemnitz postal forgeries are perforated. The above imperforate forgery probably originated from the confiscated unfinished sheets. These forgeries were made by Shulz and Meerstein in 1902. The hair curls at the back of the head all have white centers. The lettering of 'DEUTSCHES REICH' is quite poorly done. This forgery is described in 'The Postal Forgeries of the World' by H.G.L.Fletcher.

Postal forgeries of the surcharged stamps:

Postal forgery
Left: Postal forgeries of the 10 M on 75 p, stamp and cancel genuine, overprint forged. The forged overprint is slightly different from the genuine overprint and is slanting. I've seen other postal forgeries of this type, all used in Frankfurt am Main in August 1922. Right a genuine stamp with genuine overprint.

Postal forgery of the 1.60 M on 5 p

Postal forgeries exist of the 1.60 M on 5 p and 10 M on 75 p, the basic stamp is genuine, the overprints are forged.

Bogus issue:

(A bogus overprint)

The above overprint (of a man with a sword and flag?) on Germania stamps is bogus. This overprint exists in black, red, silver or gold. It seems to have been made in Aachen. Furthermore, stamps with overprint 'Freistaat Sachsen' are also bogus (sorry, no picture available yet).

"Spy fakes":

So-called 'spy-fakes', made by the British during World War I:

(These forgeries even have watermark!)

The 'Spy-fakes' are printed on paper whiter than the genuine paper (according to 'Fakes & Forgeries of Germany & Colonies' by the Germany Philatelic Society Inc.). The watermark is also imitated, but is slightly smaller and differently spaced (according to the same source). The design is copied very accurately. These forgeries are not very well centered (compared to genuine German stamps). The easiest way to recognize them is the perforation: the number of holes in the horizontal perforation should be 14, in the spy-fakes it is 15! There are very microscopic differences in the design as well, for example, the 'H' of 'DEUTSCHES' is slightly different. These forgeries have probably never been used.

Sheet from Walter Behrens showing these forgeries and the real stamps. Also explaining the distinguishing characteristics.

Advertisement labels and forgeries:

These stamps exist with advertisement labels attached.

(A genuine advertisement label 'Apfelwein Heinr. Besser St.Johann')

However, these have also been forged. Next a total forgery (stamp, label, cancel) made by Peter Winter in the 1980's:

(Forgery of a 'Photo-Papiere Satrap' label)

Peter Winter also made forgeries of other labels, I have seen: 'Aquadent Ferd. Jacob', 'Appetitanregend Lecin' and 'Gewerktschaft Quint' (all attached to a 10 p stamp). Note, that the perforation does not 'match' in the corners in these forgeries. I've even seen them on postcards with forged oval cancel 'CASSEL - BEBRA BAHNPOST ZUG 242 31 1 17' or 'KIEL 19 8 13 10-11 V. 1' often adressed to 'Gebr. Röchling Kohlengrosshandlung München 2 Brieffach':

Forged postcard, reduced size

10 p orange with private advertisement overprint 'Der Kurort Bad Elster ist auch im Winter geoffnet': 'the resort Bad Elster is also opened during the winter'.

Stamps overprinted with 'CIHS' in a small circle were issued for Upper Silesia.

Postal stationary in a similar design as the stamps shown above exists. I have seen:
with 'REICHSPOST' inscription: 2 p grey, 5 p green, 30 p blue
with 'DEUTSCHES REICH' inscription with lined background: 2 p grey, 5 p green, 10 p red and 30 p blue, 35 p blue (non-existing as stamp); also a 2 p grey and 3 p brown printed together on one document;
with 'DEUTSCHES REICH' inscription and white background: 7 1/2 p orange,

Toy stamp, inscription 'KINDERPOST' 2 p grey, I have also seen 20 p blue in the Germania design and 3 p, 5 p and 10 p of the 1889 issue of this Kinderpost.

Two stamps overprinted 'Rep. Baden', both cancelled in Karlsruhe. Probably a privately produced overprint

Essays in similar design, but with inscription 'REICHSDRUCKEREI'

Copyright by Evert Klaseboer