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Basic Guide to Collecting Germany

Germany is one of the most interesting and challenging countries to collect even in its basic form without specific specialisation. If you were to just collect Germany it would keep you interested and busy for many years. Below is a high-level breakdown of the basic areas of German philately. Each area in its own right could be a specialisation if you so wish.

Classic Period 1849 to 1945

1849 – 1920 German States

  • Baden 1851 – 1868
  • Bergedorf 1861 – 1867
  • Bremen 1855 – 1867
  • Hannover 1850 – 1864
  • Lubeck 1859 – 1865
  • Mecklenburg-Strelitz 1864
  • Prussia 1850 – 1867
  • Schleswig-Holstein 1850 – 1865
  • Wurttemberg 1851 – 1923
  • Bavaria 1849 – 1920
  • Brunswick 1852 – 1865
  • Hamburg 1859 – 1867
  • Helgoland 1867 – 1879
  • Mecklenburg-Schwerin 1856 – 1864
  • Oldenburg 1852 – 1862
  • Saxony 1850 – 1863
  • Thurn and Taxis 1852 – 1866

1868 – 1870 North German Federation

1872 – 1888 German Reich Kaiser Wilhelm I

1889 – 1918 German Reich Kaiser Wilhelm II

1919 – 1923 Weimar Republic

1923 Hyper-Inflation Period (24.8.23 – 30.11.23)

1923 – 1932 German Reich New Currency

1933 – 1945 Third Reich

1912 – 1930  Semi-Official Private Airmail Issues

1922 – 1923 German Locals

1886 – 1917 Foreign Post Offices Abroad

  • China 1886 – 1917
  • Morocco 1899 – 1914
  • Turkey 1870 – 1908

1888 – 1919 Colonies

  • German New Guinea 1888 – 1919
  • German East Africa 1885 – 1919
  • German South West Africa 1884 – 1919
  • Cameroon 1884 – 1919
  • Caroline Islands 1899 – 1923
  • Kiautschou (Jiaozhau Bay) 1898 – 1919
  • Marian Islands 1899 – 1919
  • Marshall Islands 1885 – 1919
  • German Samoa 1886 – 1919
  • Togo 1884 – 1919

1914 – 1920 German Occupations

  • Belgium National Post 1914 – 1918
  • Belgium Western Front 1916
  • Eastern Command 1916 – 1918
  • Poland 1915 – 1916
  • Romania 1917 – 1918
  • Belgium Military in Rhineland 1919
  • Eupen and Malmedy 1920

1920 – 1934 German Plebiscites

  • Allenstein 1920
  • Marienwerder 1920
  • Upper Silesia 1920 – 1922
  • Eastern Upper Silesia 1921 – 1922
  • Saar 1920 – 1934
  • Schleswig 1920

1920 – 1939 Danzig

  • Free State Danzig 1920 – 1939
  • Port Gdansk 1925 – 1938

1920 – 1939 Memel

  • French Mandate Administration 1920 – 1922
  • Lithuania Occupation 1923
  • Memelland Local Issues 1939

1939 – 1945 Bohemia and Moravia

1939 – 1944 General Government Issues

1938 Sudetenland

1939 – 1945 German Occupations

  • Albania 1943 – 1944
  • Elsas 1940 – 1944
  • Estonia 1941
  • France 1940 – 1945
  • Channel Islands 1940 – 1943
  • Montenegro (Kotor) 1944
  • Latvia 1941 – 1945
  • Slovenia (Ljubljana) 1944 – 1945
  • Lithuania 1941
  • Lorraine 1940
  • Luxemburg 1940 – 1041
  • Macedonia 1944
  • Montenegro 1943 – 1944
  • Serbia 1941 – 1943
  • Ukraine 1941 – 1942
  • Greek Islands (Zante, Zara) 1943

1939 – 1945 Private Military, Legion and Air Issues

1942 – 1945 Field Post and Military Service Issues

Transitional Period 1946 to 1949

1945 – 1946 German Local Posts

1945 – 1946 Unofficial Private Post Issues

1945 – 1950 Allied Occupations

  • American, British and Soviet Zone 1946 – 1948
  • Berlin and Brandenburg 1945
  • Soviet Zone Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 1945 – 1946
  • Soviet Zone Saxony (State, East, West, Province) 1945 – 1946
  • Soviet Zone Thuringen 1945 – 1946
  • Soviet Zone General Issue s 1948 – 1949
  • French Zone General 1945
  • French Zone Baden 1947 – 1949
  • French Zone Rheinland-Pfalz 1947 – 1949
  • French Zone Wurttemberg 1947 – 1949
  • American and British Zone 1945 – 1950

1947 – 1949 Saarland

Pre-Unification 1948 to 1990

1957 – 1959 Saarland Return to Germany

1949 – 1990 German Democratic Republic (DDR)

1948 – 1990 Berlin (West)

1949 – 1990 Federal Republic

Unification 1990 to Date

1990 – Date The Unified Federal Republic of Germany

Reference Material

The following catalogues provide a good reference source on German issues. We recommend the Michel publications. They are written in the German language are very easy to follow:

  • Stanley Gibbons Stamps of the World Volume 3 (Simplified)
  • Stanley Gibbons Part 7 Germany (Specialised)
  • Michel Deutschland-Spezial Band 1 1849 to 1945 (Specialised and Comprehensive)
  • Michel Deutschland-Spezial Band 2 from 1945 (Specialised and Comprehensive)
  • Michel Ganzsachen-Katalog Deutschland (Specialised Postal Stationery)
  • Michel Briefe-Katalog Deutschland (Specialised Postal History)

Specialised UK Society

We also recommend joining The Germany and Colonies Philatelic Society in the UK. Membership includes a subscription to their award-winning magazine “Germania”, access to a huge library, exchange and sales packet and postal auction.

They can be found at: http://www.germanphilately.org

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