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Bavarian Stamps

Republic - 1919-1920


Later in 1919, German stamps of the Weimar Republic and Bavarian stamps of King Ludwig III were overprinted for the new Republic of Bavaria.

In May 1919, after the fall of the short-lived Bavarian Socialist Republic, Bavaria declared itself a "free state" in association with the Weimar Republic.


Between May and September of 1919, the Germania and Representative Subject issues of the Weimar Republic were overprinted "Freistaat Bayern" or "Free State of Bavaria".

The set is shown in the images above.


Between August 1919 and March 1920, the well over-used Bavarian stamps of the former King Ludwig III were also overprinted "Freistaat Bayern" or "Free State of Bavaria". The overprinted set is shown in the scans above.

The perforation gauges and watermark attributes are the same as those for the 1914 King Ludwig III issues. All of the stamps used for this issue, except for the 75 Pf., are from the Wartime Printings.

As with previous issues of this long definitive set, imperforate stamps were made available for sale to collectors. The mint condition imperforate stamps are about the same price as the perforated stamps. Used examples are much scarcer, and most of the ones on the market are favor-canceled (CTO) stamps.


During the second half of 1919, the Republic of Bavaria issued three new charity stamps. The new issue, as shown above, utilized the 10 Pf., 15 Pf., and 20 Pf. denominations of the King Ludwig III definitive series. The three stamps were surcharged "5 Pf." and overprinted "für Kriegs- / beschädigte / Freistaat / Bayern" or "for War-wounded / Free State / Bavaria". The surtax went to a fund for wounded World War I veterans.

These three Bavarian stamps exist imperforate, but they were only issued in small quantities. One of them is shown above. As a result, the imperforate examples of these stamps are expensive.


At the end of 1919, there was a need for three new denominations to be added to the existing definitive postage stamps. The plates of the 1 Mark denomination of the King Ludwig III definitive series were used to create three new definitive stamps in new colors, which would then be re-valued with new denominations.

The new stamps were all overprinted with "Freistaat / Bayern". The yellow green stamp was re-valued to 1.25 Mk., the orange stamp was re-valued to 1,50 Mk., and the blue stamp was re-valued to 2.50 Mk. The three re-valued stamps are shown in the scan above.

They were also issued imperforate during 1920, for sale to stamp collectors. The mint imperforate stamps are about the same price as the perforated stamps. Postally used imperforate stamps are very scarce, and the prices reflect that.


In January 1920, the 1890 3 Pf. Bavarian stamps of the embossed arms design were used to create re-valued 20 Pf. stamps. The 3 Pf. was overprinted with a "20" over the original denomination in each of the corners of the stamp.

There are actually five varieties of this re-valued stamp, as shown above, from top left to bottom right. The varieties represented here are:

  1. Grayish white paper - Narrow spacing - 3-4 mm
  2. White paper - Narrow spacing - 3-4 mm
  3. Yellowish paper - Narrow spacing - 3-4 mm
  4. White paper - Wide spacing - 6 mm
  5. Yellowish paper - Wide spacing - 6 mm


FINALLY, in February of 1920, the Republic of Bavaria began to issue their very own, unique, postage stamps. The new Bavarian stamps were inscribed merely "BAYERN"! They are all shown in the images above.

The low values of this new series featured a plowman, a sower, and an allegory of "electricity" - harnessing light to a water wheel. The lower Mark values featured a Madonna and Child. The high Mark values featured von Kaulbach's "Genius", which was the symbol of the Bavarian "Free State". The stamps were printed on papers with both the vertical and horizontal wavy lines close together watermarks.

The 20 Pf. exists in two types (foot of 2 downward and foot of 2 upward). A lithographed version of the 2.50 Mark was also issued in 1920. The later, lithographed 2.50 Mk. has small, irregular background dots. The earlier, typographed 2.50 Mk. has clear, round background dots, evenly spaced in rows.

Many denominations of this set also exist imperforate, though they were not officially issued that way.

These new Bavarian stamps were relatively short-lived though. In April 1920, Bavaria became a member state within the Weimar Republic. At that time, the current Bavarian definitive and official stamps were overprinted "Deutsches Reich", for use throughout Germany, though most of the issues were used only inside of Bavaria. Since then, regular German postage stamps have been used in Bavaria.

The "Deutsches Reich" overprint set, mentioned above, contained a new high-value denomination, the 4 Mk., printed in dull red. This denomination was never issued with the original definitive set, but examples without the overprint do exist, and they aren't terribly expensive.




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