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HAMBURG, 'Boten' issues, part 1; C.Hamer, W.Krantz

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Hamburg is a Free City of the Hansa in the north of Germany. Besides the official issues for Hamburg there also exists numerous local issues.

The so called 'Hamburger Boten' institute issues:

C.Hamer, H. Scheerenbeck, W. Krantz, Th. Lafrentz and Ch. van Diemen. Most of these stamps were only issued for stamp collectors. Forgeries have been made in large quantities of these stamps, I am not sure if the stamps shown here are genuine. Probably most of them are forgeries!

C. Hamer

1861 Inscription "INSTITUT HAMBURG BOTEN C.Hamer"

(Genuine stamps, reduced sizes)

Some of these stamps exist with the word "INSTITUT" removed:

(Genuine stamps, with the word "INSTITUT" removed at the top, reduced sizes)

(First stamp is a forgery, the other are probably genuine)


(Probably genuine)

  1/2 black on coloured paper

One reprint and nine kinds of forgeries are known.

Distinghuishing characteristics of the genuine stamps:
1) There are 35 pearls around the central circle.
2) There is a stop after the word "BOTEN".
3) There is a stop between "&" and "Co".
4) the "C" of "Hamer" doesn't have a top serif
5) the "&" is very close to the pearls above it.

If my information is correct, the reprints show a line connecting the "&" to the circle with pearls.


First forgery made by Spiro:

(Spiro forgeries)

This forgery has only 30 quite large pearls around the central circle (should be 35) and no stop behind the word "BOTEN". The dividing line of the 1/2 is more horizontal than in the genuine stamps. I have seen this forgery in the colours: black on grey, black on yellow (shades), black on lilac (shades), black on violet, black on green (shades) and black on blue (shades).

Second forgery (could also have been made by Spiro):

This forgery has 33 uneven pearls. There is a vertical line through the "A" of "HAMBURG". The "C" of "C.Hamer" has an upper serif as well as the "C" of "Co". The dot between the "&" and "Co" from the genuine stamps is missing. The "H" of "Hamer" is very narrow. Misprints seem to exist of this forgery with a missing central stroke of the "E" of "BOTEN". I have seen this forgery in the colours: black on grey, black on yellow (shades), black on green, black on blue (shades) and black on lilac.

Third forgery made by Scott (the same one from the catalogue!)

(Reduced sizes)

In this forgery the '2' is slanting backwards. There are only 33 pearls in the central circle. I have seen this forgery in the colours: black on lilac, black on orange, black on blue (shades), black on violet (shades), black on grey and the bogus colour red (see picture above).

Scott made album pages of Hamburg, it has eight empty spaces for this issue. The first space has the above forgery printed in black (with the above distinguishing characteristics). The other empty spaces indicate the colors 'orange', 'violet', 'green', 'mauve', 'blue', 'flesh' and 'buff'. Such a page was send to me by Peter Brinkman (Australia).

Fourth forgery

(Reduced size)

In this forgery the "&" is placed quite far from the pearls above it. There are 35 pearls as in the genuine stamps. The dot which should be below the "Co" is placed between the "C" and "o". The word "INSTITUT" is placed too far to the left. I have seen this forgery in the colours black on grey, black on yellow, black on brown and black on green.

Fifth forgery

(Reduced size)

There are 33 pearls in this forgery. The "C" in front of "Hamer" is very broad.

Sixth forgery

(Reduced sizes)

This forgery has 34 pearls. The "C" in front of "Hamer" has a long curved top. There is a white outline around the "&" which touches the dot behind it.

Seventh forgery

(Sorry, no pictures available yet)

There are 35 pearls in this forgery. The "&" has a dot in its lower half. There is no dot behind "C". The "Ha" of "Hamer" is placed slightly higher than 'mer' of this same word. The bottom of the letters "amer" are joined by a continuous line.

Eight forgery

(Reduced sizes)

This forgery has 32 (uneven) pearls. The word "INSTITUT" is placed slightly to the right hand side when compared to a genuine stamp. There are no dots behind "C" (before "Hamer") and "&". I have seen this forgery in the colours black on lilac, black on blue, black on grey, black on green and black on yellow. The "2" is slanting very much backwards (more than in the Scott forgeries).

Ninth forgery, bogus issue

A bogus issue exists in black on various colours, the inscription reads (in English!) "POST PAID 1/2 C. HARMER HAMBURG BOTEN INSTITUTE":

(Bogus issue, reduced size)

The stamp forger S.Allan Taylor made this forgery. "HAMER" is spelt "HARMER" as well.


Examples (cut from envelope):

(Genuine envelope cuts)

I have seen these cuts in various colours such as blue, red and red on yellow. I presume the only genuine ones are issued in red colour. Genuine envelopes have a thick "." behind "HAMB". At least 5 different kind of forgeries exist (some also with embossing and on complete envelopes), examples of forgeries:

(Forgery 1 in green, red and brown)

(4 other kind of forgeries)

Possibly forgery made by Scott; I've also seen this forgery in the color blue.

Forgery: "C" in front of "HAMER" slanting too much. Belt different etc.

A bogus value 1 Sch also exists:



(Genuine stamps, reduced sizes)

  1/2 black on coloured paper
  1 black on coloured paper

One reprint and four forgeries are known. All stamps printed in colour on white paper are forgeries.

In many of the genuine stamps, there is a line just below the "H" of "HAMBURGER" towards the central oval (this characteristic is not always present though....). The "G" of "HAMBURG" and the "Z" of "KRANTZ" have shading behind them. The bar in "1/2" should be horizontal (and not slanting). In most genuine 1/2 Sch stamps, there is a stop behind the word "HAMBURGER" (however sometimes this stop is missing).

First forgery (made by Spiro):

Both values seem to have been printed on the same sheet by Spiro, 5 columns of 5 stamps with 1 Sch stamps seperated by a 15 mm gutter followed by 5 columns of 5 stamps of the 1/2 Sch value.

1/2 Sch

The "1/2" has a slanting bar (it should be horizontal).

1 Sch:

The letters "BU" of "HAMBURG" are too small.

Spiro also made forgeries of non-existing colours (coloured stamps on thick white paper). I have seen the following colours: 1/2 Sch yellow (shades), 1/2 Sch green (shades), 1/2 Sch grey, 1/2 Sch brown, 1/2 Sch red, 1/2 Sch orange, 1/2 Sch blue (shades), 1/2 Sch violet, 1 Sch yellow (shades), 1 Sch green (shades), 1 Sch grey, 1 Sch brown, 1 Sch red (shades), 1 Sch blue and 1 Sch violet.

Second forgery

The "H" of "HAMBURGER" is placed nearer to the inner ellipse than in the genuine stamps. There is less shading behind the "G" of "HAMBURG" and the "Z" of "KRANTZ". This forgery was also printed in bogus colours: yellow, orange, brown, violet, green, red and blue (all in several shades).

I have seen a souvenir sheet with many forgeries printed by Goyen Pass, Dauphine 7, Paris with an explanation on the backside. I presume the forgeries (20 stamps) are the above described forgeries. I do not know if the printer of this souvenir sheet was also the producer of the forgeries.

Third forgery:

(Reduced sizes)

The "G" in "HAMBURG" is very thin in this forgery.

Fourth forgery, made by Scott (the same one from the catalogue!)

(Reduced sizes)

There is a rose-pattern under the Krantz label at the bottom in these Scott forgeries. In the 1/2 Sch value there is no bar in the "1/2". The 1 Sch has an extra rose pattern under the "A" of "KRANTZ". These forgeries also exist in colour on white or coloured paper.

Scott made album pages of Hamburg, it has twenty (11 for the 1/2 sch and 9 for the 1 sch) empty spaces for this issue. Two of the empty spaces has the above forgeries printed in black (with the above distinguishing characteristics). Such a page was send to me by Peter Brinkman (Australia).

Unlisted fifth(?) forgery with the label "W.KRANTZ" different at the bottom, the lettering poorly done (compare 'INSTITUT' with a genuine stamp). The general style resembles the Scott forgeries, however, the 'flower' designs at the bottom have been replaced.


1863 Sitting woman, inscription "HAMONIA W.KRANTZ"

(Genuine stamps, reduced sizes)

  1 Sch metallic on coloured paper
  1 Sch metallic on white paper
  2 Sch metallic on coloured paper
  2 Sch metallic on white paper

There seem to be two types of these stamps. Furthermore four(?) kinds of forgeries exist.

The genuine stamps are printed in metallic ink (gold, silver or copper) on coloured paper or white paper. They have two rozettes in the side borders which have a squarish shape. The Queen's head does not touch the upper border. The head and neck are thin. The face cannot be recognized. The foot enters the left bottom value box. In the 2 Sch value the "2" in the top left corner is smaller.

First forgery (made by Spiro)

The 1 Sch and 2 Sch forgeries made by Spiro are different from each other in several aspects. In both values the Queen's head almost touches the label above it. In most cases of the 2 Sch, the second "A" of "HAMONIA" has a downwards line at the left hand side.

1 Sch:

The "H" of "HAMONIA" almost touches the frame left to it. The Queen has a thick head and neck.

2 Sch:

The inscriptions are smaller in the 2 Sch Spiro forgery, especially the word "HAMONIA" is much smaller than in the genuine stamps. The neck, head and arms are very thick.

Spiro printed these stamps in sheets consisting of a block of 5x5 1 Sch stamp at the left hand side and another block of 5x5 2 Sch values at the right hand side. In the middle there is a 14 mm wide gap between the two blocks.

Second forgery

(Reduced sizes)

The foot of the Queen does not enter the value label. The figures of value are quite thin. I do not know who produced this forgery.

Third forgery 'reprint'

(Reprint of 1978 for the Nordposta exhibition, reduced sizes)

Zoom-in on the 1978 reprint

This 'reprint' was made for the Nordposta exhibition in 1978, it shows a minisheet with a 2 p gold on blue stamp together with two stamps of the 'Stadtbriefbeforderung Hamburg'. The text reads "EUROPA IM RATHAUS".

Fourth forgery

The right hand top side of the "W" of "W.KRANTZ" has an upwards extension. In this forgery type I've seen:
1 Sch: red on blue, green, blue, orange, brown on yellow, light brown, lilac, red on grey, grey on lilac.
2 Sch: red on blue, green, blue, grey on lilac, red.


Bogus issues of Krantz

Unlisted design of W.Krantz (bogus issue by Taylor of Boston USA)

(Bogus issue of Krantz, note that the 'N' in 'KRANTZ' is inverted in the2 Sch value)

Many colours exist, I have seen (partly with inverted "N" in "KRANTZ"): 1 Sch black on blue, 1 Sch black on grey, 1 Sch black on lilac, 1 Sch black on violet, 1 Sch blue, 1 Sch green on blue 1 Sch brown, 2 Sch black on yellow, 2 Sch black on blue, 2 Sch black on red, 2 Sch black on violet, 2 Sch black on orange, 2 Sch blue and 2 Sch green on blue. This design is rather similar to a Russian Zemstvo stamp of Korcheva.

(Other fantasy design made by Taylor, sitting woman in the harbour, inscription "Hamonia von W. Krantz Hamburg FRANCO", reduced sizes)

I have also seen the colour black on lilac in the above bogus design.

Other bogus issue, resembling stamps of Switzerland (sitting Helvetia). Apparently, these forgeries were also made by S.Allan Taylor.

Copyright by Evert Klaseboer