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GERMANY Colonies

Return To Catalogue - Germany

Note: on my website many of the pictures can not be seen! They are of course present in the cd's;
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The following german colonies issued stamps:

Cameroons (Kamerun)
Caroline Islands (Karolinen)
German East Africa
German New Guinea
German South West Africa
Mariana Islands (Marianen)
Marshall Islands

Furthermore German post offices in China, Morocco and Turkey existed. A very nice website can be found on http://marshall.csu.edu.au/html/Stamps/Stamps.html, made by Dirk H.R. Spennemann. I would like to thank him here for letting me use some of his images. The German postage stamps of the eagle/value design as well as the Germania series were valid for postage in the German colonies. Stamps used before overprinted stamps were introduced are generally referred to as 'Vorlaufer' or forerunners. Example:

I have also seen some stamps of Germany posted at sea, they have a square box cancel 'AUS WESTAFRIKA'.

Some of the Hohenzollern Ship issues were issued with watermark 'Lozenges', example:

Watermark 'Lozenges'
(Watermark 'Lozenges' on a 3 p brown Marshall Islands stamp, seen from the backside)


Eagle and number (Adler und Krone) forgeries

Forged overprints on genuine stamps

Forged overprints of the colony issues exist on genuine German stamps.

The above two stamps are genuine German stamps used in Berlin. The overprint 'China' is forged afterwards.

I think the following stamp is a genuine German stamp, with a forged overprint 'Deutsch-Ostafrika 3 Pesa':

(Forged 'Karolinen' overprint on genuine German stamp)

(Forged overprint on genuine German stamp cancelled 'KESKASTEL', nowadays situated in Alsace, France)

(Another forgery of Mariana Islands, probably the overprint and cancel are forged, the basic German stamp is probably genuine)

(Forged 'China' overprint on genuine 10 p German Eagle stamp)

(The 'T' and 'G' on this forged 'TOGO' overprint on a genuine stamp do not resemble at all the genuine overprint, next to a forged 'Samoa' overprint, probably made by the same forger)

Fournier forgeries

Fournier has made forgeries of stamps of the German colonies, examples:

Forgeries of the 'REICHPOST' issues:

Fournier forgery!

The above stamp is a Fournier forgery. The stamp, the overprint and the cancel are forged. The perforation is not the same as in the genuine stamps (look at the upper right and lower left corner) and this is an easy way to detect it. I don't know if this is always the case with these Fournier forgeries. Fournier offered this serie of the Mariana Islands (3 p, 5 p, 10 p, 20 p, 25 p and 50 p) for 3 swiss franks in his 1914 price list.

Image obtained thanks to Dirk Spennemann
Genuine stampForged stamp with forged 'Marshall Inseln overprint

Genuine stampForged stamp with forged 'TOGO' overprint

Other Fournier forgeries:

(Forgery from Samoa and Togo)

(Forgeries of German New Guinea)

The above overprints are taken from a Fournier album of philatelic forgeries (image obtained thanks to Dirk Spennemann). Besides the above overprints of the German New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Marianas, Togo, Samoa, Cameroons and Carolines, Fournier also made overprints for South West Africa (both the 'Deutsch- Sudwest-Afrika' and 'Deutsch- Sudwestafrika' overprint, sorry, no picture available) and the German post offices in China.

The following cancels can be found in 'The Fournier Album of Philatelic Forgeries':
'KAMERUN 3 2 98 *'
'STEPHANSORT 16 5 99 *': (German New Guinea)
'APIA 1-2 00 10-11V (SAMOA)'
'* YAP * 7/1 99 KAROLINEN'
'SAIPAN 18/11 99 * MARIANEN *'
'KLEIN-POPO 5 11 98 *' (Togo)

'*TSCHINWANGTAU* DEUTSCHE POST 16/2 97' (German post in China)

Brussels forgeries

In 1903 forged overprints of German colonial stamps were reported in the philatelic press. They are commonly known as 'Brussels forgeries'. One of the distinguishing marks is that the capital letters of the overprint are thinner and proportionately longer than those of the originals. Also, the angle of the overprint is a bit lower than in the original (information Dirk Spennemann).

Peter Winter forgeries

As was the case in the Fournier forgeries, in the forgeries made by Peter Winter, the horizontal perforation in the corners does not 'match' the vertical perforation. I've even seen this forgery with 'China' inverted.


Small ship forgeries

Fournier forgeries

The following forgeries are of the small ship design, I never saw Fournier forgeries of the larger sized stamps (1 M to 5 M).

Fournier forgeries

A genuine stamp for comparison

The perforation doesn't 'match' in the corners.


The above stamps are Fournier forgeries, however, they are not listed in the Fournier pricelist of 1914. These imperforated stamps are probably taken from a 'Fournier Album'. After Fournier died, albums with his forgeries were sold to warn collectors against these forgeries. These stamps were of course sold by Fournier with perforation and without the 'FAUX' (=forgery in french) overprint. Note that the 'S' of 'KIAUTSCHOU' is strange in the above two stamps and that the word 'KIAUTSCHOU' is too curved too fit exactly in the label.

Fournier seems to have printed these forgeries in sheets containing one value of each colony, examples of (unfinished) sheets:

In the top row were printed: 'Deutsch Südwestafrika, Kiautschou, (pfennig value), Deutsch-Neu-Guinea and Kiautschou (cents value). In the middle row Kamerun, Marianen, Samoa and Deutsch-Ostafika (value in pesa). Finally in the bottom row Karolinen, Marshall-Inseln, Togo and Deutsch-Ostafrika (value in heller). I have also seen similar sheets for the values: 3 p (or the corresponding value in cents of Kiautschau, in pesa or heller for German East Africa), 10 p, 20 p, 25 p (with blanks for the unissued cents value of Kiautschau and the pesa value of German East Africa), 40 p, 50 p (with blanks for cents value of Kiautschau and the heller value of German East Africa) and 80 p.
I have also seen a similar sheet with 12 stamps of the 45 h value of German East Africa. I presume this sheet was also produced by Fournier.


USA forgeries:

In the 1970 photo-lithographed stamps appeared in the USA, purporting to be stamps of the German colonies. The stamps can be easily recognised by their general dull and flat appearance. The colours are weak and the shading is often solid colour. The paper is unwatermarked and somewhat coarse. It is less stiff than that of original stamps. The forged stamps are perforated 13 (genuine stamps have perforation 14). Most of these forgeries are uncancelled, but some bear falsified postmarks as well (information Dirk Spennemann). Probably all small ship stamps of all colonies were forged. Examples of these forgeries:

(Images obtained thanks to Dirk Spennemann)

I think the above forgeries are also USA forgeries, they have a very strange cancel: 'KETE KRATS.....'. I have also seen the values 10 p red and 20 p blue of Togo with exactly the same cancel.

Image obtained thanks to Dirk Spennemann
(Forged bisected stamp)

Forged British overprints (Hialeah forgeries):

The provisional overprints of the German Colonies by Great Britain have been extensively forged.

(Forged overprint)

From late 1999 onwards genuine stamps and forged overprints imposed on genuine stamps were offered on the on-line auction-house e-bay by the Florida-based seller cclan. Since then large numbers of additional overprints covering wide aspects of philatelic collection fields have been offered by 'cclan' and later by sellers calling themselves 'adtinvest,' 'futete,' and 'unlimitedstamps'. All are/were based in Hialeah in Florida (USA). By late 2000 these sellers also offered stamps on Yahoo Auctions. Beginning in May 2000 a large number of forged G.R.I. overprints of German colonial stamps from Samoa, the Marshall Islands and German New Guinea were offered for sale on the on-line auction house e-bay (information Dirk Spennemann). I've seen inverted and double overprints. The forgers also invented fake forger names to sell there merchandise. I have the impression that the seller atdinvest is printing its own stamps recently (normally in imperforate sheets with fancy overprints of too many countries to name here). For more information on Hialeah forgeries click here. Much more on these forgeries can be found on http://marshall.csu.edu.au/html/Stamps/Stamps.html, made by Dirk H.R. Spennemann. Some examples:

Genuine stamp, reproduced with permission from Sandafayre auctions Halileah forgery! Obtained thanks to Dirk Spennemann
(Genuine and forgery of a Samoa overprint)

The ink seems to leak through the paper in these forgeries, modern ink is used:

According to Dirk Spennemann: "Because hand-held rubber stamps were used to produce these forgeries, the overprint is fuzzy, and broad, as opposed to crisp and clear. On the original genuine overprints the letters were set in formes, with both rows of characters set parallel. As the production of the Hialeah overprints was done manually, most lcertainly using seperate rubber stamps for the 'G.R.I.' and the value, this parallel alignment is not maintained." The cancelling dates should also be checked as sometimes impossible dates are used on these forgeries.

All overprinted Samoa stamps with watermark are forgeries!

Other 'Hialeah products'

(Some Hialeah forgeries, reduced sizes)

I have recently (August 2003) seen some large ship stamps of the German colonies (with and without 'GRI' overprint) made by the Hialeah forger. I have also seen some of the smaller ship values forged by the Hialeah forger. The perforation is very bad and the printing not very clear.

Forgeries of the Germania type:

The above imperforate stamp is a forgery, the stamp as well as the overprint 'Marocco 5 Centimos' are forged. Note, for example, that the ornaments in the lower left corner are much larger than in a genuine stamp.

The above stamp is a bogus issue, a genuine 10 p stamp of Germany, overprinted with 'KAMERUN' and 'PIASTER', such a stamp was never issued.

Fournier also made forgeries of the stamps of the German post offices in China (Germania type); I have never seen such a forgery myself, but pictures can be found in the Fournier Album of Philatelic Forgeries.

Forged postal stationery

I have seen large numbers of forged postcards (Postkarte) from many German colonies in the eagle and the ship design, also with 'GRI' overprints etc. I do not know anything about their origin.

Mourning labels for the German colonies

Labels commemorating the loss of the German colonies exist. They have the size of the large 'Hohenzollern' yacht issue. The stamps have a coloured center surrounded by a black design.

(Reduced sizes)

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(Inscription 'Luder & Bianchi')


Literature on fiscals etc of the German Colonies:

Copyright by Evert Klaseboer

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