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Bavarian Stamps

Embossed Arms Issues - 1867-1875



Bavarian stamps, from their inception, were denominated in Bavaria's own currency, the Gulden, which was equal to 60 Kreuzer.

In 1867 other German states, with the exception of W├╝rttemberg, were joining the North German Confederation and abandoning their postal systems for that of the North German Postal Union. Bavaria, however, DID NOT join the North German Confederation, and they retained their own currency and postal system.

At this time, Bavaria issued a brand new series of definitive postage stamps, featuring the embossed royal Bavarian coat of arms, with a colored frame around it. The Bavarian stamps, denominated in Kreuzer, continued in use until 1875.


The first set of embossed arms stamps, shown above, was issued on January 1, 1867. They were imperforate, and, like the numeral series, they were printed on unwatermarked paper with silk security threads. This makes closely trimmed copies easy to attribute, as the subsequent perforated issues were printed on watermarked paper without security threads.

Reprints exist of the 1 Kr., 3 Kr., and 6 Kr. denominations, and they were printed on paper without security threads. They are much more expensive that the mint original stamp issues.


In October 1868, two new denominations of the embossed arms Bavarian stamps were issued. The 6 Kr., with the color changed to ocher brown, and the 7 Kr. in ultramarine. The two stamps are shown in the scan above.

Reprints also exist of these two postage stamp issues. Their characteristics are the same as those noted for the 1867 issue.


In July of 1870, Bavarian stamps of the embossed arms design were issued perforated. The stamps were of the same designs and colors as the imperforate issues, but otherwise they were very different.

The new stamps, which were perforated 11 1/2, did not have the silk security threads, and they were printed on paper with a narrow lozenge watermark. An example of the watermark is shown above, at the top.

The new issue included the 1 Kr., 3 Kr., 6 Kr., 7 Kr., 12 Kr., and the 18 Kr. The 1 Kr. through the 7 Kr. are shown in the scan above. The 12 Kr. denomination is very rare and is seldom obtainable.

The 9 Kr. and 10 Kr. denominations, on narrow logenze watermarked paper, were added to the issue in January of 1873. The 9Kr. is included in the scan above.


Paper containing a wide lozenge watermark was also used for the July 1870 issue. An example of the watermark is shown above, at the top.

The wide lozenge watermarked issue also included the 1 Kr., 3 Kr., 6 Kr., 7 Kr., 12 Kr., and the 18 Kr. The 1 Kr. through the 7 Kr. and the 18 Kr. denominations are shown in the scan above. The 12 Kr. denomination in this group is also very rare and is seldom obtainable.

The 9 Kr. and 10 Kr. denominations, on wide lozenge watermarked paper, were also added to this issue in January of 1873. The 9Kr. and 10 Kr. are included in the scan above.

In respect to interstate trade, with the Bavarian Gulden currency, it was difficult to do business with some of the other German states, as many of them used the Prussian Thaler as their currency. The Bavarian Gulden was equivalent to 4/7 of a Thaler. A Bavarian 1/2 Gulden coin is shown at the top of the page.


In 1873, in order to have a uniform currency for all the German states, the German Empire established the Goldmark, or just Mark, as the official currency. The Bavarians kept their Kreuzer units of change, instead of adopting the German Pfennig, but they did adopt the German Mark as their unit of currency. Between 1874 and 1875, the Bavarian stamps were denominated in Kreuzer, with 35 Kreuzer now equal to one German Imperial Goldmark. A Bavarian 5 Mark coin of 1876 is shown in the scan above.


In August 1874, the first Bavarian stamps of the embossed arms design in the One Mark denomination were issued. This first issue was imperforate and was printed on paper with a new watermark, consisting of horizontal wavy lines far apart. The wavy lines close together watermark is illustrated above.

In June 1875, the One Mark stamps were again issued, but now they were perforated 11 1/2.

Both of the One Mark issues are shown in the scan above.


In July of 1875, the 1 Kr., 3 Kr., 7 Kr., 10 Kr., and 18 Kr. denominations, from the 1870-73 embossed arms issue, were printed on paper with the horizontal wavy lines far apart watermark. The 1 kr. through the 7 Kr. denominations are shown in the scan above.

These were the last Bavarian stamps issued that were denominated in Kreuzer, and they were only in use for about six months. With the exception of the 3 Kr. denomination, used examples are very scarce.

After January 1876, all Bavarian stamps would be denominated in the currency of the German Empire, that being Pfennig and Marks.



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Bavarian Stamps - Embossed Arms Issues - 1867-1875






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