Postmark Catalogue - Introduction
(17. completely revised Edition, issued October 2009)

Weitere Infos...

der ehemaligen Deutschen Kolonien
und Auslandspostämter

€ 35,--  (+ Postage & Packing)

This revised 17th edition of the Postmark Catalogue which lists the official postmarks used in the former German colonies and post offices abroad for the first time shows prices in Euros and is intended to serve as a reference point for currently prevailing net prices. However, in some cases prices are given for non-postal cancellations and particular entires, if they are very popular. May we stress that this catalogue of cancellations is no substitute for a handbook, even though quite a few aspects of postal history are dealt with.

Prices apply to pieces and entires. Where a price for a piece is not applicable, e. g. in the case of cash paid or prefranked envelopes, censor or supplementory markings, or seapost covers, only one price is given, that for an entire. Prices apply only to items which definitely come up to the quality criteria given below!

Some cancels are the subject of contoversy and are rejected by purists. However where there is evidence of postal usage they have been included in this Catalogue, where appropriate with relevant comments.

Prices for items on piece ():
These prices apply exclusively to clear, legible and complete cancellations on pieces bearing the most common stamps. If there is an expensive stamp on the piece, its value has to be added. Prices for stamps on piece in this Catalogue start at a minimum of € 5.

Pieces with only partly printed or with blurred or barely legible cancellations are to be priced only, if the cancellation is a more valuable one, and then only with a fraction of the price quoted for the postmark on piece. Otherwise only the price for the stamp applies without any premium for the cancellation.

Clippings from field telegrams, postal money orders and parcel address forms are valueed at least 25 % higher than normal pieces.

Prices for postmarks on loose stamps:
Prices for cancellations on loose stamps depend largely on the incidence of pieces with the particular postmark. Clear, almost complete strikes of all the letters of the name of the place and complete dates are rated at 40 to 60 %. In exceptional cases, if pieces as such as hardly ever seen, a loose stamp could command even up to 80 % of the price for the postmark on piece. The remarks made previously, concerning partial prints and blurred cancellations on piece, apply here also.

Prices for entires ():
These prices apply to properly franked items which have gone correctly through postal channels, i. e. postal stationary, postcards, printed matter and ordinary letters, if their general condition is clean and without faults and if they bear clear and complete postmarks. Prices for postal stationery, postcards and covers in this Catalogue start at a minimum of € 20. Items with blurred cancellations or items which, although having clear postmarks, are nevertheless in poor or faulty condition, are rated much lower.

Exceptionally, in the case of Fieldpost cancels two -prices are given. The reason for this special treatment is that fieldpost cancellations are much rarer on correctly franked mail and are therefore rated more highly than when on much commoner postage-free items. In particular, registered mail is much sought after and this justifies higher prices according to rarity.

As regards material which can be seen to be of philatelic origin, it is, of course, up to any collector whether he fully accepts it – provided the postage is correct and it has gone properly through the mail; or whether he regards it to be of lower value or even rejects it completely. However, it should be noted that without the creators (be they known or unknown) of these philatelic items, a number of postmarks of our collecting field would not, or hardly ever, be found nowadays. Besides, the comment made by Konrad Starkes still applies: "Where would it all end if we paid out good money for every incidental postmark and every intentionally created curiousity...".

Parcel cards, money orders, field telegrams, receipts, internal P. O. forms and all items having undergone a special handling, such as C.O.D.s, insured items, special deliveries or acknowledgements of receipt, are much sought after and realize high prices irrespective of the postmark valuation.

LP“ means „Liebhaber-Preis“ (i. e. collector’s price or connoisseur’s price, where price is sometimes not deterrent) and applies only to extremely rare postmarks valued higher than € 5.000,- because here, due to the rarity and price fluctuation, no definite value can be indicated.

Prices in brackets ( ) apply to cancellations to order which are not known on commercial mail.

Forerunners and concurrent use items (Vorläufer and Mitläufer):
A in front of the price indicates that the particular postmark is possible only on forerunners. The price applies to a piece or to an entire bearing the stamp most frequently seen, the Michel-number of which is given in brackets.

Postmarks which can be found both on forerunners and concurrent use items, as well as on colonial stamps, are marked with an . The valuation here applies to the cancellation on colonial stamps.

Prices for and cancellations on other than the most common stamps can be looked up in Dr. STEUER’s „Handbuch und Katalog der deutschen Kolonial-Vorläufer“.

The text under this heading has been reworked and much extended with regard to the postal history particularly of the German Post Offices in China and that of Kiautschou and German Southwest Africa. Except for mail relating to the Pacific colonies which continues to be separately priced, the prices shown for Seapost cancellations apply to mail franked with normal German stamps ordinarily available on board. Use of colonial stamps generally justifies an uplift of around 50%.

In earlier editions of this Catalogue the validity of the prices indicatedfor an item depended on evidence of its provenance from a Colony or Post Office Abroad. Such a requirement can no longer be sustained. What must be taken into account is the fact that cancels were usually applied just a short timebefore the ship's arrival in port. Moreover it was noted fromobserving the market over many years that there were hardly ever any offersof items which fulfilled the previous conditions. Accordingly, unless statedotherwise, the prices now shown - taken across the board - are intended to apply to the whole of any particular ship's journey. Items actuallyemanating from German Colonies or Post Offices Abroad, or those withcancels in different colours often achieve distinctly higher prices.

NAVAL MAIL (Marineschiffspost = MSP)
This area has been completely reworked. The details are now based mainly on records assembled over many years of such mail found in the most important existing collections. A quite reliable figure has thereby emerged of the total number of items of mail carried to the Colonies or Post Offices Abroad on any given ship and cancelled while en route or in port.Such mail is therefore separately listed under each of the territories concerned and it is only to such items that the prices shown there apply.During the compilation of these records it was noticed that in many cases noappropriately dated mail could be found from some ships even though proofexisted of their presence in the area at the time. This applied especiallyin the case of the Pacific colonies and of Togo. All other items are listed and priced separately with dates of outward bound and homebound sailings or of presence elsewhere in their area of operations (e.g. Japan or Korea for the East Asiatic 'Station' or Australia for the Australian 'Station'). This information is to be found in its own section which follows the Sudsee-Seepost (South-Sea Seapost) listings. Naturally the same higher valuation (circa 50%) applies to Naval Mail franked with colonial stamps or showing different colour cancels. Detailed information regarding the sailings or whereabouts of individual ships would have greatly overextended the capacity of this Catalogue. In this respect readers are urged to refer to the recently published and comprehensive book by Lutz Pohlmann and Jürgen Kessing entitled 'Handbuch und Katalog der deutschen Marine-Schiffspost und Marinepost von 1895 - 1914'.

Postmarks illustrations:
In this edition of the catalogue almost all postmarks and fieldpost cancellations are illustrated as well as many supplementary markings so that the user is helped to differentiate between the various postmarks. The illustrations correspond to originals neither in size nor in other finer points. They are therefore suitable for the identification of a postmark but not for detailed examination. Postmarks with dates prior to indicated period of usage may originate from manufacturers’ proof strikes before given cancellers were actually brought into use.

Postmark colour:
The officially prescribed colour of a postmark was black. As far as postmarks with other colours exist, they have been mentioned and are valued separately.

Cancellation errors:
Wrong date settings occur again and again and are not given any special valuation.

Previously undiscovered items:
This edition of the catalogue includes some items which actually could or should exist, yet which are hitherto not known, because probably too few collectors have looked for them. These items, as well as postmarks hitherto unknown on entire, are marked with an „n. b.“ (= nicht bekannt, not known) in the price column. However, this does not mean that „n. b.“ should necessarily be changed to „LP“, if, by virtue of intensified delving, some or other entire should come to light. Here one should keep a sense of proportion.

„Not known in ARGE’s postmark catalogue“:
This or a similar phrase can often be read in auction catalogues, selections or price lists. Nevertheless, this applies extremely rarely to sensational new discoveries, previously unknown to the specialists, which should be then included in a new edition of the catalogue. Quite frequently the wording relates to date errors which, as has been mentioned above, are not given any special valuation; or it relates to private creations which are quite properly not included in this catalogue.

Additional literature:

CRÜSEMANN, Friedrich: Deutsche Marine-Schiffspost. Handbuch und Stempel-katalog. Teil I: Bis zum Ausbruch des Weltkrieges. Hrsg. von der Poststempelgilde „Rhein-Donau“ e.V., 12 Lieferungen 1959 – 1962. Ergänzungsheft 1971.

CZIMMEK, Ulrich: Deutsche Seepost Hamburg – Westafrika. Fahrpläne und Reisedaten der Woermann-Dampfer 1890 – 1914 mit einer Bewertung ihrer Seepostbelege. 1994 (Schriften zur deutschen Kolonialphilatelie u. Kolonialgeschichte Bd. 2)**.

EINFELDT, Ernst Th.: Die Einschreibzettel der deutschen Kolonien und Auslands-postanstalten. 2. Aufl. 2003 (Schriften zur deutschen Kolonialphilatelie und Kolonialgeschichte Bd. 4)**

FRIEDEMANN/WITTMANN: Die Postwertzeichen und Entwertungen der deutschen Postanstalten in den Schutzgebieten und im Ausland. Handbuch und Spezialkatalog. 4., verbesserte Aufl. von Dr. Heinrich Wittmann. 2 Bde. München 1988.

JÄSCHKE-LANTELME, Michael: Deutsche Kolonien und Auslandspostämter. Dienstzweige und Portotarife Briefpost. Dessau 1994.

JÄSCHKE-LANTELME, Michael: Deutsche Kolonien und Auslandspostämter. Dienstzweige und Portotarife Paketpost. Berlin 2001.

JÄSCHKE-LANTELME, Michael: Die Handstempelaufdrucke von Tientsin, Deutsche Post in China, Michel-Nr. 8-14 und I-IV. Berlin 2004.

POHLMANN, Lutz / KESSING, Jürgen: - Handbook and Catalogue of German “Naval Ship”' and “Naval Mail” 1895 - 1914, with detailed listing of periods of usage for Naval Mail (MSP) Cancels Nos 1 - 86. Published by the “German Colonies” and “Seapost” Study Groups, members of the Association of German Philatelists (BDPh). This work can be obtained from Friedrich Steinmeyer, Grosse Fuhren 35, D-27308 Kirchlinteln. E-mail:

SANDNER, Herbert und DETERING, Dr. Klaus: „Die Schantungbahn und ihre Poststempel. 2003 (Schriften zur deutschen Kolonialphilatelie und Kolonialgeschichte Bd.5)**

SEITZ, Ludwig: Die Post der Tsingtauer in japanischer Gefangenschaft 1914 – 1920. 1999 (Schriften zur deutschen Kolonialphilatelie und Kolonialgeschichte Bd. 3)**

STEUER, Dr. Friedrich F. und Ronald F.: Handbuch und Katalog der deutschen Kolonial-Vorläufer. 3. Aufl. München, Schwaneberger Verlag 2003.

VOGENBECK, Peter: Nebenstempel und Dienstsiegel von Deutsch-Südwestafrika mit einer Abhandlung über Feldpostkarten und die Stempel der Eisenbahn. Kalenborn-Scheuern 1999

Sonderdruck der Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Sammler deutscher Kolonialpost-wertzeichen und der Arbeitsgemeinschaft Schiffspost im Bund Deutscher Philatelisten e.V. über „Die deutschen Reichspostdampfer im Ostasien-Verkehr mit ihrer Vorgeschichte und ihren Seepostdampfern“, 4 Hefte, Hamburg, Februar 1971 – Oktober 1972

Sonderdruck der Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Sammler deutscher Kolonialpost-wertzeichen und der Arbeitsgemeinschaft Schiffspost im Bund Deutscher Philatelisten e.V. „Deutsche Ost-Afrika-Linie – Vorgeschichte, Postgeschichte und Seepoststempel“, 2 Hefte, Hamburg, Dezember 1976

** The titels, along with this catalogue, can be obtained from the ARGE’s general secretary, Tilmann Nössig, Koppenstraße 16, 10243 Berlin