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Freistadt Danzig

Issues of 1920


The first postage stamps of the Freistadt Danzig (Free City of Danzig) were issued in 1920.

The year 1920 was a banner-year for the new City / State of Danzig, with nearly every conceivable denomination of Weimar Republic postage stamps being overprinted and / or surcharged in varying styles. With all the major issues, types, and varieties, the issues of 1920, in themselves, could make a lifetime philatelic specialty!


Beginning in June 1920, the contemporary 5 Pf., 10 Pf., 15 Pf., 20 Pf., 30 Pf., 40 Pf., 50 Pf., 1 Mk., 1.25 Mk., 1.50 Mk., 2 Mk., 2.50 Mk., 3 Mk., 4 Mk., and 5 Mk. definitive postage were all overprinted horizontally with the word "Danzig", usually covering the part of the stamp that was inscribed "Deutsches Reich". They are all shown above. They have the same attributes as the issues of Weimar Germany, but unlike their German counterparts, these definitive stamps WERE NOT ISSUED in coils or in booklets.

Most of the major issues in this group are relatively common, except for the 5 Mk. denomination with 26 x 17 perforation holes. It is very rare.

The 5 Pf. in brown, 10 Pf. in orange, and 40 Pf. in lake / black were also overprinted, but they were not regularly issued. Mint hinged examples are available for about $150 each.

The Michel catalog cites the following special varieties:

  • 5 Pf. - Pair, with and without overprint.
  • 5 Pf. - Double overprint.
  • 30 Pf. - Pair, with and without overprint.
  • 50 Pf. - Pair, with and without overprint.
  • 1 Mk. - Pair, with and without overprint.
  • 2 Mk. - Double overprint.
  • 5 Mk. - Double overprint.
  • 5 Mk. - Inverted frame and overprint (VERY RARE).


There are also many shades, plate faults, and overprint faults on almost all the denominations of this set, many of which are not expensive.


During August 1920, the Freistadt Danzig surcharged the five stamps shown above in varying colors and formats.

As with the previous issue, these stamps also come in many varieties, including double and inverted overprints / surcharges. See the Michel Deutschland Spezial Katalog for details.


Between August and November of 1920, the Freistadt Danzig experimented, overprinting sheets of previously overprinted / surcharged stamps, with a green or violet burleage, presumably to prevent the erasure and reuse of canceled postage stamps. Four examples are shown in the image above.

The burleage comes in two styles, with the burleage pointing up and with the burleage pointing down. Fortunately, this experiment was brief, and it created some very scarce varieties. There are dangerous fakes of some of them.

For details on this series, please see the Michel Deutschland Spezial Katalog.


Also in August 1920, a new style overprint was introduced by the Freistadt Danzig. This very attractive overprint, in carmine or blue, featured the word "Danzig", diagonally oriented in script lettering, with a colored bar below, obscuring the inscription "Deutsches Reich". Six of the more common ones are shown in the image above.

Some of the denominations in this set were issued in very limited quantities, and as a result, fakes do exist. The buyer should be very careful, when buying the more expensive denominations of this set.


Every serious Freistadt Danzig collector knows about the two stamps shown above, but few will ever own one of them (I don't).

Along with a 60 Pf. Magenta denomination (NOT SHOWN ABOVE), the 1 Mk. and 2 Mk. denominations were issued in very small quantities, AND they were NOT MADE AVAILABLE FOR OVER-THE-COUNTER SALE TO THE PUBLIC. When required, the postal clerk would charge the patron for the stamp and then affix it to the letter or parcel himself.

As a result, these three stamps are VERY SCARCE, though mint AND used examples are available. That is, if one doesn't mind paying about a thousand Euros for a certified, mint hinged example of each of them.


On September 29, 1920, the Freistadt Danzig issued their first airmail stamps. The three stamps are shown in the scan above.

The 40 Pf. carmine overprinted stamp of June 1920 was utilized for this issue. Each of the three airmail stamps was surcharged with a new denomination value and overprinted with a device emblematic of airmail service. In mint condition they are relatively common, but postally used examples are very scarce.




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