Prior to the North German Confederation, German States stamps, were issued by most of the separate Germanic kingdoms, duchies, free-cities, etc. of Northern Europe.
Prussia, or Preußen, in German, was a German Kingdom from
1701 to 1918 and a Constitutional Monarchy from 1848 to 1918. Though
there were independent kingdoms and duchies within its borders, Prussia
comprised almost all of the North German Confederation and about 2/3 of
the total area of the German Empire in 1871. Being the largest and most
dominant of the German kingdoms, the King of Prussia became the German
Emperor, when the German Empire was formed in 1871.
The first German states stamps for the Kingdom of Prussia were issued between 1850 and 1856. There were five denominations - four of them are shown above and at the top of this page. The postage stamps featured a right-facing portrait of King Frederick William IV and were printed on paper watermarked with an oak wreath.
In 1859, a 6 Pf. denomination, in orange, with a background of crossed lines, was engraved on unwatermarked paper (shown above).
In 1857, the 1 Sg., 2 Sg., and 3 Sg. denominations were typographed on unwatermarked paper, with the stamps having a SOLID background.
Reprints exist of the 1850 - 1856 and the 1857 issues, both on watermarked and unwatermarked paper.
From 1858 to 1860, the 4 Pf., 1 Sg., 2 Sg., and 3 Sg., were again typographed on unwatermarked paper, but this time, with a background of crossed lines.
From 1861 to 1865, a new set of definitive postage stamps was issued that was embossed and rough-rouletted 11 1/2. There are many shades and varieties on this issue. The rouletting however, was very poorly done, and stamps, that have full rouletting all the way around, demand substantial premiums.
In 1866, two high value
definitives, a 10 Sg. and a 30 Sg., were issued. To prevent re-use,
they were typographed in reverse on paper resembling goldbeater's skin
and rouletted 10. Most copies, whether mint or used, have a very bad
appearance and are in very poor condition.
In 1867, a new set of embossed definitive postage stamps were issued, with modified designs. These were rouletted 16. They are usually very poorly rouletted, as is the case with the 1861 - 1865 embossed postage stamp issues.
In 1868, the stamps of the Kingdom of Prussia were replaced by those of the North German Confederation.
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