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Germany before and after unification

A region of northern central Europe which has been one of the battlefields of Europe. The German tribes resisted the attempts of Rome to subdue the area and although some parts were administered, the Romans were expelled in the third century. Charlemagne subdued the Saxons and other tribes, and was crowned emperor at Rome in 800. After the collapse of his dynasty control was vested in successive elected rulers until it became hereditary again under the Habsburgs from 1437 to 1804.

By the 18th century, there were hundreds of petty German states paying nominal allegiance to the Holy Roman Empire, but still trying to retain a measure of independence. The Thirty Years War (1618-1648), which was one of the great religious conflicts between protestants and catholics, led to some depopulation of the area and laid waste enormous territory. This in turn severely affected the development of the social structure of the region.

Although some postal services had been established by the Italian merchants and the Counts of Thurn and Taxis in the 16th century, these were massively disrupted by the successive wars of the following centuries and remained essentially transit posts without handstamps until late in the 18th century.

In the early part of the French Revolutionary Wars, the Emperor quickly lost the Netherlands and all his territories west of the Rhine. In 1806, after having created the Kingdoms of Bavaria, Wurttemberg and Westphalia, (1807), Napoleon dissolved the German Empire and formed the Confederation of the Rhine on 12 July. Northern Germany fell in 1810-11 and was incorporated into the French postal service using many handstamps which included departmental numbers.

The ports on the North coast including Bremen, Hamburg and Lfibeck had formed a League in the 12th century and became the Hanseatic League in 1241. These were essentially trading ports and were also centres of mail transmission in receipt from Scandinavia and Britain. The League lost much of its importance in the 17th and 18th century, but Hamburg remained a free port until 1888.

The Prussian influence to unite Germany into a single empire began in the 18th century under the leadership of Frederick the Great (1749-1786). In 1818, Prussia was the originator of the Zoliverein or Customs Union which, by 1844, included all of northern Germany. This led initially to the ease of transfer of goods but inevitably towards postal union which was finally agreed with Austria and most German states in 1850.



100 pfennigs = 1 Mark..

FIRST STAMPS ISSUED Overprinted Germany 3 April 1920.

Area of East Prussia which used Prussian, North German Confederation and German stamps to the end of World War I. There followed a dispute over the administration of the land and, under the Treaty of Versailles, a plebiscite was held on 11 July 1920. In the plebiscite, 98 per cent of the votes were in favour of remaining part of Germany. International use of the overprinted stamps ceased from 20 August 1920 and German stamps were used thereafter.

The district was occupied by Soviet troops in 1945 and was then transferred to Poland, which has administered the area ever since under the name of Olsztyn.




1851, 60 kreuzer = 1 gulden

Grand duchy in south-west Germany created by Napoleon in 1806. Survived the Napoleonic wars and became part of the German Empire, by treaty in 1870.

Earliest postal markings appeared during the Confederation of the Rhine in 1806. After Napoleon's defeat in Russia, Baden joined the allies against France and hence was not reduced in size at the Congress of Vienna.

In May 1848 there was a major uprising against the Grand Duke and he was forced to flee the country. He was restored by Prussian intervention in August 1849. In April 1850 a postal union was formed between Prussia and Austria in which Baden was included. Separate issues for Baden ceased in 1871 when the Baden postal administration was incorporated into the German Empire and new stamps were issued in January 1872. (For issues during the French occupation after World War II see Germany 1945 to date)

Bavaria (Bayern)

Before 1850

FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1 November 1849.


1849, 60 kreuzer = 1 guilden.

1874, 100 pfennig = 1 mark.

Kingdom in southern Germany established in 1804. Became part of Confederation of the Rhine in support of Napoleon to avoid continuous attacks by Austria and France while it tried to remain neutral. In 1813, after the French retreat from Russia, Bavaria changed sides and, like Baden, emerged from the Napoleonic wars in a comparatively strong position. New constitution was granted in 1818 by forward-thinking Maximilian I, which reconciled monarchic authority with demands for reform.

Earliest postal markings were namestamps of towns to indicate the route or town from which the letters had come, either in French or German: thus 'de Munique' indicated that the letters had come from Munich.

During the French occupation the departement number was included in the postal marking. Most places used the number 100 but Landau was placed in departement 67. After 1815 other pre-adhesive markings were used for each town until adhesives were issued. Bavaria issued stamps before either Prussia or Austria.


First adhesives were usually cancelled with identifying numerals and these were allocated to individual towns. In June 1866 Bavaria, like Hanover, sided with Austria against Prussia, but made peace on 22 August 1866. The country was forced to pay a large indemnity and changed allegiance. Sided with Prussia against France in 1870. In December 1871 King of Bavaria proposed that King of Prussia should become Emperor of Germany. The kingdom became part of the German Empire but continued to issue its own stamps.


Kingdom continued within the German Empire throughout this period, but with its own stamps. A new issue was released in March 1914 and these were the first stamps in the world to he printed by the photogravure process.


Bavaria entered the war in August 1914. However, during the strains of the later war years the monarchy collapsed. Revolution broke out on 7 November 1918 and a republic was proclaimed the following day.


Stamps of Bavaria overprinted 'Volksstaat' were issued in 1919 but the leader of the new government, Kurt Eisner, was assassinated on 1 February 1919. There followed a Communist uprising and this was only quelled after fierce fighting. On 5 May 1919 Bavaria became a 'Freistaat' and new overprinted stamps appeared on 17 May. A new, unoverprinted issue appeared on 14 February 1920 and the P0 was incorporated into that of the Weimar Republic on 29 April 1920.

Bavarian stamps ceased to be valid on 30 June 1920. However, official stamps for Bavaria had been issued on 1 April by overprinting Bavarian officials 'Deutsches Reich' and a similar overprint for use in the whole of Germany was applied to remaining stocks of Bavarian stamps on 6 April 1920.


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1 November 1861.


1861, 16 schilling = 1 Hamburg mark.

Small town south-east of Hamburg which was jointly owned by the Free Cities of Hamburg and Lubeck from 1420. It followed the rise and fall of the power of the Hanseatic League and was part of one of the occupied departements of France during the Napoleonic wars.

Stamps were issued while Bergedorf was still under the joint control of Hamburg and Lubeck. The design showed the arms of the two cities. On 8 August 1867 Hamburg bought Bergedorf outright from Lubeck and from that date stamps of Hamburg were used.




1855, 22 grote = 10 silbergroschen.

72 grote = 1 thaler.

City and port in Germany which from the 13th century gained increasing importance. Joined the Hanseatic League in 1276 and became a Free City of the Holy Roman Empire in 1646.

Post operated by the Counts of Thurn and Taxis had an office in Bremen from 1784. In 1802 the postal convention with the French government allowed the Thurn and Taxis service to continue. Bremen was annexed to the French Empire in 1810, but it became a Free City again in 1813. By 1814 Bremen was operating a service to North America.

There were several POs in operation in Bremen in the 19th century and these included the Duchy of Berg, Hanover and Prussia. These offices used their own postmarks and were responsible for handling the foreign mail of the relevant territories.

Bremen joined the North German Confederation (q.v.) on 31 December 1867 following the Austro-Prussian war of 1866, and used the Confederation's stamps until incorporated into the German Empire in 1871; German stamps were issued in January 1872

Brunswick (Braunschweig)



30 silbergroschen = 1 thaler.

Duchy in Lower Saxony which was included in the kingdom of Westphalia by Napoleon in 1806. The then Duke of Brunswick had been mortally wounded at the battle of Auerstadt in October 1806. He was succeeded by his fourth son (the older sons being blind), who assumed the dukedom after the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in 1813. He, in turn, was killed during the Waterloo campaign in 1815.

Brunswick joined the North German Confederation and used stamps of the Confederation after 31 December 1867 until incorporated in the German Empire in 1871; German stamps were issued in January 1872.



1859, 16 schilling = 1 mark.

Berofe 1850

Important city and port on the River Elbe which, with Lubeck, formed the nucleus of the Hanseatic League in 1241. It became a Free City in 1510 and was a flourishing commercial city. With Bremen, it was the centre of trade for Scandinavia and America. It was occupied by the French in 1806 following the defeat of Prussia at the Battle of Jena, and was incorporated into France in 1810. After the Congress of Vienna in 1815, its freedom was confirmed, though the French had ceased to control the city from 1813.

The city was incorporated into the postal system run by the Counts of Thurn and Taxis in 1615, but, later, Hamburg allowed the following states to open POs:

Denmark in 1651 (including Sweden). Brandenberg in 1654 (later became the Prussian office). Mecklenberg-Schwerin in 1674. Hanover in 1684 (also used as the link with Britain until 1798). Sweden in its own right in 1685. Schleswig-Holstein in 1695. Brunswick in 1706. Britain from 1798 to 1806.

All the foreign POs were closed during the French occupation in 1806. Postal affairs were transferred to. the Duchy of Berg, which was under Joachim Murat who became King of Naples in 1808. France annexed Hamburg in 1810 and gave it a departement number (128), which was incorporated into the postmark.



As a free city, Hamburg did not join the Prussian-Austrian Postal Union in 1850 and continued to allow the foreign offices to handle mail which was funnelled through the city to and from Scandinavia.

Stamps of the city were used until Hamburg joined the North German Confederation in 1867 and were withdrawn and replaced by those of the Confederation in 1868. Stamps of Hamburg were also used in Bergedorf (q.v.) from 8 August 1867.

Stamps of the Confederation were withdrawn in 1871 when the Confederation joined the German Empire, and German issues were used thereafter. However, Hamburg remained a Free City until 1888, the last of the German Free Cities to be incorporated fully into the German Customs Union (Zollverein).

Before Hamburg issued its own stamps in 1859, six territories used their own stamps in Hamburg which can be recognized by datestamps or numeral obliterators. These were: Schleswig-Holstein, Hanover, Prussia, Denmark, Mecklenburg and Thurn and Taxis.



1850, 12 pfennig = gutengroschen.

20 gutengroschen = 1 thaler.

1858, 10 (new) pfennig = 1 (new) grosohen.

30 (new) groschen = 1 thaler.


After the problems of the Napoleonic wars, Hanover became a kingdom in 1814, the King of England being also King of Hanover. During the regency of the Prince of Wales in England (1810-20), the Duke of Cambridge was appointed regent for Hanover. The Royal Great Britain Hanoverian Post Office was independent of any British involvement. The servants of the P0 in Hanover wore distinctive red uniforms and the design of handstamps was of a British rather than Germany type. Hanover had a P0 in Hamburg, and the British Army had a pension office in Hanover for payment to the survivors of the King's German Legion. This remained open until 1862.

In 1837 Queen Victoria was unable to accept the Hanoverian Crown because there was no descent through the female line. Ernest, Duke of Cumberland became King of Hanover on 20 June 1837.


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1 December 1850.

In 1866 Hanover took the side of the Austrians in the war against Prussia. Prussian troops entered Hanover on 13 June, but the Hanoverian army defeated a Prussian force on 27 June. Defeat of the Austrians at Koniggratz (Sadowa) on 3 July caused the alliance to collapse, and the Hanoverians were forced to surrender. Hanover was annexed by Prussian law on 20 September 1866. Prussian stamps were placed on sale on 1 October 1866; Hanoverian stamps remained valid until the end of that month. Covers with mixed franking of Prussian and Hanoverian stamps can be found. Hanover has remained part of Germany ever since.

Heligoland (Helgoland)


1867, 16 schilling = 1 mark.

1875, 100 pfennig = 1 mark.


Island in the North Sea near the mouth of the River Elbe. Danish until 1807 as part of the Duchy of Holstein, but was then captured by the British and retained by them after the Napoleonic Wars. Their annexation was confirmed by the Treaty of Kiel (14 January 1814). Population was largely German-speaking and from 1796 the postal service had been operated by the administration of the Free City of Hamburg.


By 1826 the island had become a fashionable bathing resort, and regular steamers made the run from Hamburg to the island. Up to 1830 mails were carried weekly to and from Cuxhaven for transmission to Hamburg or the island. After that date more numerous sailings were made by steam vessels.


FIRST STAMPS Hamburg 1859.


When the Hanseatic cities joined the North German Confederation on 1 January 1868, the Hamburg - Heligoland conventions were transferred to them, as they were to the German Empire in 1871.

The currency was changed from Hamburg to German currency on 1 January 1876 and Heligoland became a member of the UPU in 1879. It was ceded to Germany on 18 June 1890 in return for giving up interests in Zanzibar, and has used German stamps ever since.


Before 1871



1859, 16 schillings = 1 mark.

Important port on the Baltic between Mecklenburg and Hamburg. A free port in the Middle Ages, Lubeck became the chief city of the Hanseatic League as the League became less important. Occupied by the Danes in 1801, it was captured by the French in 1803 and became part of French Empire in 1810. Between 1806 and 1810 administered as part of the Duchy of Berg and a postal service with the postmark BGD [Bureau Grand Ducal] was in use until August 1808. Later the mark was altered to BJ de F [Bureau Imperial de France]. The city became independent again in 1815 and the importance of the area grew.

Lubeck joined the North German Confederation at the end of 1867. Following the incorporation of the Confederation into the German Empire in 1871, stamps of Germany were used throughout the region.




1920, as Germany.

District of West Prussia which had used the stamps of Prussia, North German Confederation and Germany up to 1920. By the Treaty of Versailles, a plebiscite was to be held to determine whether it should be in Germany or Poland. The Inter-Allied Commission which was appointed to supervise this arranged for stamps to be issued.

Plebiscite was held on 11 July 1920 and 92 per cent of the votes were in favour of remaining in Germany. Marienwerder was returned to Germany on 16 August 1920 and special issues were withdrawn. German stamps were re-introduced and used until 1945, when the area was occupied by Soviet forces. It was handed to Poland and has been administered as Kwidzya since that date.



Mecklenburg-Schwerin 1 July 1856.

Mecklenburg-Strelitz 1864.


1856, 48 schillings = 1 thaler.

1864, 30 silbergroschen = 1 thaler.

Area of eastern Germany on the south coast of the Baltic. In the 19th century extended from Lubeck to Stettin with two separate grand duchies inland - Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Postal services in the area operated from 1810 and town postmarks were issued soon after this date. Mecklenburg-Schwerin maintained a P0 in Hamburg and another at the railway station in Berlin.

Before the release of the Strelitz issues, the stamps of Schwerin were also used in part of this grand duchy. Both issues were withdrawn when both dukedoms joined the North German Confederation at the end of 1867. Following the incorporation of the Confederation into the German Empire in 1871, stamps of Germany were used throughout the region until 1945. (For later issues of Mecklenburg under Russian Occupation, see Germany 1945 to date).



1852, 72 grote = 1 thaler.

Before 1850

Area of North Germany which was annexed to Denmark in the 15th century. Ceded to Russia by Christian VII in 1773, and a duchy was established soon afterwards. Ruled by the Bishops of Lubeck until overrun by the French and Dutch in 1806. However, the Bishop was reinstated the following year and joined the Confederation of the Rhine in support of Napoleon. In 1810 Oldenburg changed its allegiance and was made a grand duchy in 1815 at the Congress of Vienna.

First postmarks were used in 1811 and showed the name of the duchy and the date in two lines. It was included among the occupied departements by France and given the numbers 124, 129 and 130, which were included in the markings until 1815.



Oldenburg joined the Austro-Prussian Postal Union on 1 January 1852 and issued stamps almost immediately.

Currency was the North German thaler divided into 72 grote. The initial stamps showed more than one currency so that they could be understood by the other members of the Union.

Oldenburg came increasingly under the control of Prussia, especially after the wars of 1864 and 1866. It joined the North German Confederation in 1867 and its issues were withdrawn. It became part of the German Empire from 1871 and issued no further stamps in its own name.



1850, 12 pfennig = 1 silbergroschen.

30 silbergroschen = 1 thaler.

1867, 60 kreuzer = 1 gulden (in addition).


Following the defeat of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Prussia spent the next 30 years rebuilding its shattered economy. It made great material progress and began work to unify Germany into a single empire. In 1818 Prussia formed the 'Zollverein', a customs union of the North German states which foreshadowed an economic union.

In 1848 Berlin rioted and rose against the king. Martial law was declared and the rising was suppressed. In 1849 Prussia supported the German elements in Schleswig-Holstein.


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 15 November 1850

In April 1850 Prussia and Austria formed a postal union. This was joined by most of the independent German states, which then issued stamps. Prussia began to work more seriously towards unification in the late 1 850s and the three wars with Denmark in 1864, Austria in 1866 and France in 1870-1 led to the achievement of this aim.

Following the Austrian war of 1866, the Prussians, who had acquired the postal interests of the Count of Thurn and Taxis in July 1867, formed the North German Confederation, which issued its own stamps in 1868. This provided a postal union of all the states north of the River Main.

However, although Prussia had a currency of silver groschen and thaler from 1857, with the acquisition of the POs of Thurn and Taxis it was necessary to issue stamps in kreuzer and gulden, for use in the southern region. These were released in July 1867.

Prussian stamps were withdrawn after 1867. It became part of the German Empire from 1871 and issued no further stamps of its own.


Before 1939

FIRST STAMPS ISSUED Overprinted German issues 30 January 1920.


Small but strategically important district of Germany on the frontier with France between Luxembourg and Alsace-Lorraine. By the treaty of Versailles in June 1919 the district was placed under the control of a League of Nations Commission for 15 years, when a plebiscite was to be held. During this period, France was to have ownership of the mines in the Saar. Stamps inscribed 'Saargebiet' continued until 1935 when the plebiscite was due. A British peacekeeping force was sent to the Saar. About 1500 men in all were involved and Field P0 10 was used from 4 January to 21 February 1935. The result of the vote was to return the district to Germany from 1 March 1935 and German stamps were used until 1945 when the area was captured by the Allies.

1945 to date

Saar was part of the French Zone of Germany and the general issue for the French Zone was used from 17 December 1945 until the issue of special stamps for Saar in January 1947. These were used until 1956. In 1955 a referendum of the population decided on a return to Germany, and from 1 January 1957 stamps were issued by the German Federal Republic inscribed 'Saarland' and valued in French currency. On 6 July 1959 stamps and currency of West Germany came into use in the district and have been used ever since.

Saxony (Sachsen)


1850, 10 pfennig = 1 neugroschen.

30 neugroschen = 1 thaler.

Before 1850

Kingdom in eastern Germany created in 1806 and including the cities of Leipzig and Dresden. An important and influential region in the 18th and 19th centuries. Leipzig was mentioned in the 1657 Act of Parliament for the British Post Office to which the rate was then 12d per single letter.

The King of Saxony supported Napoleon, and Saxony was the scene of the war of 1813, which led to the defeat of the French at the Battle of Leipzig in October that year. At the Congress of Vienna, Saxony lost territory to Prussia but the kingdom gradually regained its position and became one of the most highly industrialized areas of the German Empire.

The first postal markings were introduced at Dresden and Leipzig in 1817 and these were followed by marks at other towns from April 1818 onwards.



Saxony joined the Austro-German Postal Union in July 1850. The first stamps issued were for the newspaper rate of 3 pfcnnig. Handstruck markings continued to be used for the other values until a more extensive range was issued in August 1851.

Saxony sided with Austria during the war of 1866 and the army was present at the Battle of Koniggratz (Sadowa) on 3 July. The Prussians had entered Saxony on 18 June and peace was signed on 21 October. As a result, the army of Saxony was subjected to Prussia and the kingdom became part of the North German Confederation. Saxony ceased to have its own issues from 31 December 1867 when the stamps of the Confederation were introduced.

In 1871 Saxony became part of the German Empire and stamps of Germany were used from 1871 onwards. (For stamps of East and West Saxony issued under Russian control see Germany from 1945.)



1850, 16 schilling = 1 mark.

Before 1850

Two duchies on the Elbe peninsula south of Denmark and north of the River Elbe. The King of Denmark was also Duke of the territory. In 1839 Frederick VI died and under the Salic Law the inheritance should have passed to the Duke of Augustenburg as the nearest male heir. As the Salic Law did not apply in Denmark, when Frederick VII, the son of the previous king, inherited from his uncle, Christian VIII in 1848, he insisted that the duchies should remain as Danish provinces. The German population revolted, which led to the establishment of a provisional government on 24 March 1848.

During the period up to the issue of stamps in 1850, the duchies had used handstruck markings and most of the international mail was sent out through Hamburg.


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 15 November 1850

Stamps were issued by the provisional government to try to make sure that the western powers realized that they were independent from Denmark. Fighting between Denmark and Prussia was in danger of breaking out in the 1850s even though the Treaty of Berlin in 1850 had sided in favour of Denmark. The stamps of the provisional government were replaced by Danish stamps on 1 May 1851 in Schleswig and on 1 July 1853 in Holstein.

With Austria as ally, Prussia invaded Denmark in February 1864. This was followed by a truce in April, but a renewed invasion began on 26 June and Denmark sued for peace on 1 August. Denmark renounced its claim to the provinces and they were. awarded to Prussia and Austria.

Danish stamps were withdrawn early in 1864 (Schleswig - 31 March, and Holstein -29 February). At first, stamps were issued for each of the duchies. A joint issue by Austria and Prussia for Schleswig was released in 1864, and for Holstein an issue was released by the German Federal Commissioners on 1 March 1864. An issue for the combined duchies appeared under Austria and Prussia in 1865, but the individual duchies still issued their own stamps, Schleswig under Prussia and Holstein under Austria, although Prussia maintained a garrison in this area. Stamps were issued under the different authorities on 1 November 1865 but were again withdrawn in 1867 when Prussia gained the two duchies from Austria and incorporated them in the North German Confederation. Stamps of the Confederation were used until 1871, when SchleswigHolstein became part of the German Empire.

1918 to date (Schleswig)

FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 25 January 1920.

Under the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 Schleswig was divided into two zones and a plebiscite was held in each zone.

In northern zone 1 the voters elected to be included in Denmark, but southern zone 2 wished to remain in Germany. Zone 1 was incorporated in Denmark from 9 July 1920 and stamps were withdrawn at the same time.

Thurn and Taxis


1852, N. District: 30 silbergroschen = 1 thaler.

S.District: 60 kreuzer = 1 gulden.

Before 1815

The Counts of Thurn and Taxis orginated in northern Italy, and operated a postal service throughout the Holy Roman Empire and its successor states from the 16th to the 19th century. The first service began operation in the Tyrol about 1460 and quickly spread to cover Vienna and Brussels. By the mid-15OOs the service of Thurn and Taxis covered Austria, Germany and the Low Countries. Later, the Counts became Princes of the Empire and were made Hereditary Postmasters of the Empire.

By the establishment of postal conventions with the independent states of Germany, the post operated by the Counts was maintained until the Napoleonic wars, but with the formation of the Kingdom of Italy and the Confederation of the Rhine, the French postal service gained the ascendancy; this was lost with the defeat of Napoleon in Russia and the re-alliance of the German states.


The Counts of Thurn and Taxis reestablished control of the German area after the Congress of Vienna. The first postal stationery was issued in Wurttemberg in 1846, and, although control was maintained in some of the northern states, the service which they had operated began to fall into disuse with the creation of the postal union of Prussia and Austria in 1850. At the same time, many of the independent states began to issue their own stamps.


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 29 January 1851.

Counts of Thurn and Taxis continued to operate the postal services of those parts of Germany which did not have a postal administration of their own or issued stamps.

Because of the variation of currency throughout Germany, two issues were released on the same day. The first for the southern states in kreuzer and guilden and the northern in silvergroschen and thaler.

In the north the stamps were used in Bremen (until 1855), Hamburg, Gotha, Hamburg (until 1859), HesseKassel, Lippe Detmold, Lubeck (until 1859), Reuss, Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Schaumburg-Lippe and Schwarzburg-Sonderhausen. In the south: Coburg, Frankfurt-am-Main, HesseDarmstadt, Hesse-Homburg, Hohenzollern-Hechingen, Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, Nassau, Saxe-Meiningen and Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt.

On 28 January 1867 the Count sold his postal service to the Prussian postal administration for three million rhaler. At this time the postal service had 302 POs and services - although these had been disrupted by the Austrian war of 1866. Prussia had not issued stamps in kreuzer currency, and these were prepared and released for use in southern Germany on 1 July 1867. The Counts retained a franking privilege under the German Empire until 1918 and a special handstamp FRANCO Taxis was applied to their letters until that date.

Upper Silesia

FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 14 February 1920.


1920, as Germany.

This province of West Prussia bordering on Poland had to hold a plebiscite in 1921 under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. First stamps were specially designed for the region and were inscribed in three languages, German, French and Polish. They were used concurrently with overprinted German stamps for the Inter-Allied Commission (C.G.H.S.). After the plebiscite on 20 March 1921, Upper Silesia was divided between Germany and Poland.



1851, 60 kreuzer = 1 gulden.

1875, 100 pfennig = 1 mark.

Before 1850

Kingdom in southern Germany established in 1804, originally part of Swabia. Earliest postal service was established about 1750 and straight-line mark in French or German was introduced at that time. In November 1775 the Duke (Charles Eugene) concluded an agreement with the Counts of Thurn and Taxis allowing a 30-year concession for control of the posts within the dukedom. Agreement expired in 1805 and was replaced by a local service run by the government assisted by the French. System used in Germany by the French which computed the distances from the Rhine crossing was introduced. In 1819 the treaty with the Counts of Thurn and Taxis was reintroduced and carried on until 1851. Pre-stamped envelopes were introduced in 1846 but were for local use only.


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 15 October 1851.

Kingdom assumed responsibility for its own postal affairs from Thurn and Taxis when it joined the AustroPrussian Postal Union in September 1851. Wurttemberg sided with Austria against Prussia in the war of 1866, but made peace on the 13 August. In October 1867 Wurttemberg joined the Zollverein - the Prussian-sponsored customs union. In 1870 a contingent was sent to support the Prussians during the war with France.


During World War I the forces of Wurttemberg played their part in the Germany army. As with other southern states of Germany, the collapse of the German government in 1918 was followed by abdication of the king. Provisional government was established on 30 November 1918 and a number of overprints on the official stamps were made


Provisional government of 30 November 1918 was replaced by a republic on 26 April 1919. In 1919 the earlier official issues were overprinted 'Volkstaat' (People's State). These municipal service stamps were used until 1924, the official stamps being replaced by overprints 'Deutsches Reich' on 1 April 1920.

Thereafter, stamps of Germany were used throughout the former kingdom. (For issues for the French zone of occupation after World War II see Germany 1945 to date.)

North German Confederation



1868, 30 groschen = 1 thaler = 60 kreuzer = 1 gulden.

Political confederation of North German states established by Prussia following the defeat of Austria in 1866.

At the end of 1867 individual stamps of the member states were withdrawn and the new issues were used in Bremen, Brunswick, Hamburg, Lubeck, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Oldenburg, Prussia and Saxony. By that date Prussia had also taken control of the postal services in Bergedorf, Hanover and Schleswig-Holstein and had acquired the postal interest of the Count of Thurn and Taxis. Thus the stamps of the Confederation were used universally in German territory north of the River Main. However, stamps were issued in the currency of the southern states for use in the region previously controlled by the Counts of Thurn and Taxis. Stamps of the Confederation were merged into the Imperial German service on 4 May 1871, and were withdrawn from 1 January 1872. Stamps of the Confederation were used. in Constantinople in 1870 and 1871.

German unification 1815-71
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