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Commemoratives of 1953

In the DDR, it was Karl Marx Year, the celebration of the life and works of the socialist pioneer Karl Marx.  Both commemorative stamps and souvenir sheets were issued to celebrate one of the most important founding fathers of the theory of Communism. 

Karl Heinrich Marx (1818-1883) was a German philosopher, economist, historian, political theorist, and revolutionary socialist, who developed the political theory of Marxism. His ideas played a significant role in the socialist political movement. He published several books during his lifetime, with the most notable being "The Communist Manifesto" (1848) and "Das Kapital" or "Capital" (1867). These two books were co-written with his friend and fellow German revolutionary socialist, Friedrich Engels (1820-1895).


Between March and May of 1953, the German Democratic Republic issued the 10 stamps shown above to celebrate Karl Marx Year 1953 and to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Death of Karl Marx.

The designs of these stamps are as follows:

  • 06 Pf - Industry and Communist banner.
  • 10 Pf - The Communist Manifesto, Marx, and Engels.
  • 12 Pf - Kremlin in Moscow and Communist banner.
  • 16 Pf - Marching workers and Communist banner.
  • 20 Pf - Karl Marx with Das Kapital.
  • 24 Pf - Karl Marx.
  • 35 Pf - Karl Marx addressing audience.
  • 48 Pf - Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
  • 60 Pf - Workers and Communist banner.
  • 84 Pf - Karl-Marx-Avenue in Berlin and medallion.


The two souvenir sheets shown above were issued on October 24, 1953 to celebrate Karl Marx Year 1953.   The two souvenir sheets are imperforate, and they contain examples of each of the Karl Marx commemorative stamps issued at the beginning of the year, along with either flags or medallions in the side margins.

These souvenir sheets were re-issued on December 10, 1953, with the stamps being perforated(not pictured above)

Only 300,000 of the four souvenir sheets were printed, and they were sold for 2.50 DM each, a considerable sum of money at the time.  These are very scarce and highly prized by German Democratic Republic collectors today.


The three DDR stamps shown above were issued on May 2, 1953 to publicize the Prague-Berlin-Warsaw 6th Annual International Bicycle Peace Race.

The designs feature different views of cyclists competing in a race.

The four stamps shown above were issued on July 6, 1953 to commemorate the 700th Anniversary of the Founding of Frankfurt-on-the-Oder.

The designs are as follows:

  • 16 Pf. - Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811), the German poet, dramatist, and writer from Frankfurt-on-the-Oder.
  • 20 Pf. - St. Mary's Church.
  • 24 Pf. - Sailboat on the Oder River.
  • 35 Pf. - City Hall (14th Century).


The two DDR pictorial stamps shown above were issued on August 29, 1953 to publicize the Leipzig Fair.

The two designs feature a power shovel and a road building machine.


The two stamps shown above were issued September 16, 1953 to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the Deaths of two Famous German Architects.

Their designs are as follows:

  • 24 Pf. - Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff (1699-1753) and the State Opera House in Berlin.
  • 35 Pf. - Balthasar Neumann (1687-1753) and Bishop's Palace in Würzburg.

The 24 Pf. denomination exists with horizontal and vertical watermarks.  The stamps with vertical watermarks are much scarcer.



The six DDR stamps shown above were issued during November 1953 to honor German Patriots.

Their designs are as follows:

  • 12 Pf. - Thomas Müntzer (1489-1525), an early Reformation-era German theologian, who became a rebel leader during the Peasants' War.
  • 16 Pf. - Baron Heinrich Friedrich Karl vom und zum Stein (1787-1831), a Prussian statesman and political reformer.
  • 20 Pf. - Major Ferdinand von Schill (1776-1809), a Prussian officer and freedom fighter during the Napoleonic Wars.
  • 24 Pf. - General Field Marshall Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Prince of Wahlstatt (1742-1819), the Prussian military commander, who was instrumental in the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo.
  • 35 Pf. - Students marching to Wartburg Castle in 1817.
  • 48 Pf. - Fighting during the Revolution of 1848.

The first four denominations in this set exist with both horizontal and vertical watermarks.  The stamps with vertical watermarks are a bit scarcer.




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The 35 Pf. denomination stamp shown above was issued on March 28, 1953 to commemorate the 85th Anniversary of the Birth of Maxim Gorky.

Maxim Gorky (1868-1936) was a famous Russian political activist and novelist.


The 24 Pf. denomination stamp shown above was issued on October 16, 1953 to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the Death of Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553), the famous German Renaissance painter and engraver.

This stamp exists with horizontal and vertical watermarks.  The stamp with vertical watermark is much scarcer.


The 24 Pf. denomination stamp shown above was issued on October 23, 1953 to celebrate the Red Cross in the German Democratic Republic.

The design depicts a nurse applying a bandage.

This stamp exists with horizontal and vertical watermarks.  The stamp with horizontal watermark is rare.


The 24 Pf. denomination stamp shown above was issued on October 25, 1953 for Stamp Day.


The design features a depiction of mail delivery.

This stamp exists with horizontal and vertical watermarks.  The stamp with horizontal watermark is rare.


The 24 Pf. denomination stamp shown above was issued on November 2, 1953 to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Leipzig Zoo.


The 48 Pf. denomination stamp shown above was issued on November 13, 1953 to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the Death of the German composer Franz Schubert (1797-1828)