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first issues > countries > germany


1st January 1872

Europe 21, a-b

  Germany Sc1  

13½x14½, no wmk, typographed, center embossed
Printed at the Prussian State Printing Office, renamed the Reichsdruckerie (Imperial Printing Office) in 1879.

Description   Scott# SG# Mi# Y&T#  
¼ groschen violet   1 1 1 1  
⅓gr green   2 2 2a, 2b 2  
½gr red orange   3 3 3 3  
½gr orange-yellow   3c 4 14 3a  
1gr rose   4 5 4 4  
2gr ultra   5 6 5 5  
5gr bister   6 7 6 6  
1 kreuzer green   7 8 7 7  
2kr orange   8 9 8 8  
2kr red-orange   8a 10 15    
3kr rose   9 11 9 9  
7kr ultra   10 12 10 10  
18kr bister   11 13 11 11  

small and large shields

The series was embossed with an eagle and small shield, the 1872 issues (Sc14-26) with an eagle and large shield.

Germany's first national definitive followed on from a complex of issues for individual states and combinations thereof. Although it was a single design for the whole of Germany, two currencies were in use and so the stamp denominated in groschen was for the north and kreuzer for the south.

Changes of Administration

Weimar Republic
Third Reich
West Germany
1919 Sc105 SG107 1933 Sc398 SG490 1949 Sc665 SG1033  
Opening of W. German Parliament
East Germany
Germany Reunified
1949 Sc48 SG-E1  
75th anniv. UPU
1948 Sc-9N1 SG-B1 1990 Sc1612 SG2326 Sc1612

At the end of WW1, the German Revolution caused the Emperor and German princes to abdicate. A republic was formed under the Weimar Constitution. The early 1920s were prosperous and occasionally decadent, but following the 1929 depression, conditions and stability deteriorated, allowing Hitler to take power. At the end of WW2, Germany was occupied by the victorious powers, the area controlled by Russia became East Germany and that of GB, France and the US became West Germany: Berlin remained divided and had its own stamps. There were many occupation issues (both by- and of-) and these will be covered separately. In 1990, as the Eastern Bloc crumbled, Germany was reunited: the stamp shown has a neat Berlin postmark from the first day of issue.