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Republic of Germany
Stamps

Definitives of 1954-1961

New definitive Republic of Germany stamps began appearing at the beginning of 1954, and through various design and printing permeations, they would continue in use as the standard definitive postage stamps of Germany until after 1960.  All of these postage stamps, with the exception of the 1 Pf. denomination, issued in 1955, bore the left-facing profile of German President Theodor Heuss.

Theodor Heuss (1884-1963), shown in the photograph at the left, was a political journalist, a German Democratic Party politician, and the first president of the Federal Republic of Germany. 

Being a native of Stuttgart, Theodor Heuss was a member of the parliament of the post-war State of Baden-W├╝rttemberg from 1946 to 1949.  He was elected President of the new Federal Republic of Germany by the Federal Convention in 1949, and he was re-elected in 1954.  He was actually offered a third term, but he declined, as that would have required changing the constitution.

Heuss enhanced the office of the German president through his friendly demeanor and his non-partisan governing style.  As a champion of the democratic and cultural traditions of Germany, he became a symbol of stability for the German post-war republic, in the eyes of the international community.

Michel Wz. 4W
BP Between
Zigzag Lines

(Upright)

Michel Wz. 4Y
BP Between
Zigzag Lines

(Sideways)

Michel Wz. 5
Muptile DBP &
Rosette

The three paper watermarks used for Republic of Germany stamps from 1954 to 1961, along with their English language descriptions, are shown above.  In the following description text, these watermarks will be referred to by their Michel catalog "Wasserzeichen" or "Wz." numbers.


The twenty President Heuss definitive Germany stamps shown above were issued beginning in January 1954.  All of the denominations from the 2 Pf. through the 25 Pf. are typographed, and all the denominations from the 30 Pf. through the 3 Mk. are engraved.  All of these denominations were issued in sheet-format (panes of 100 or panes of 50), they are all perforated 14, and they have the Michel "Wz. 4W" watermark.

The 2 Pf., 5 Pf., 8 Pf., 10 Pf., and 20 Pf. denominations were also issued in booklets.  The booklet panes (10 subjects) either have the Michel "Wz. 4W" or "Wz. 4Y" watermark.  Some of the panes also come with advertising labels.  There are also differing se-tenant combinations on panes containing more than one denomination. 

The 5 Pf., 7 Pf., 10 Pf., 15 Pf., and 25 Pf. denominations were also issued in vertical coil rolls.  The coil stamps all have the Michel "Wz. 4W" watermark.  All of these coil stamps have a black control number printed on the back of every fifth stamp in the roll.  Many collectors prefer the control number stamps as definitive proof that they came from coils, however examples with the control numbers on the back are much more expensive than those without the numbers.

The 4 Pf., 40 Pf., and 70 Pf. denominations were also issued in coils, but the stamps did not have control numbers printed on the back of them.  Therefore, the only way these are collectible as coils is to have them in vertical strips that are longer than the number of vertical positions in the panes that these same denominations were also printed in.

Beginning in August 1960, some of the 5 Pf., 7 Pf., 10 Pf., 15 Pf., 20 Pf., and 25 Pf. denomination sheet-format definitive Germany stamps were printed on Michel "Wz. 4W" watermarked fluorescent paper, to be used by automated mail sorting machineryImages of them are not shown, as the fluorescence is only visible with an ultraviolet lamp.

The 15 Pf., 20 Pf., and 25 Pf. denominations on fluorescent paper were also issued in vertical coils, with a red control number printed on the back of every fifth stamp in the roll.

For detailed information on all the varieties described above, please see the Michel Deutschland-Katalog.

Control Numbers
on Heuss Coil Stamps


The 30 Pf. through the 90 Pf. denomination President Heuss sheet-format definitive Germany stamps shown above were re-issued beginning in November 1956.  These re-issued higher-denomination definitive stamps are smaller in size, and they are printed in different colors than the original issues.  These stamps are engraved, perforated 14, and they have the Michel "Wz. 5" watermark.

The 40 Pf., and 70 Pf. denominations were also issued in vertical coil rolls.  All of these coil stamps have a black control number printed on the back of every fifth stamp in the roll.

Beginning in 1960, some of the 30 Pf. and 40 Pf. denomination sheet-format definitive stamps were printed on Michel "Wz. 5" watermarked fluorescent paper, to be used by automated mail sorting machineryImages of them are not shown, as the fluorescence is only visible with an ultraviolet lamp.

The 40 Pf. denomination on fluorescent paper was also issued in vertical coils, with a red control number printed on the back of every fifth stamp in the roll.


The five new President Heuss sheet-format definitive Germany stamps shown above were issued in early 1959.  The 7 Pf., 10 Pf., and 20 Pf. denominations are typographed, and the 40 Pf. and 70 Pf. denominations are engraved.  All of these stamps are perforated 14 and they have the Michel "Wz. 5" watermark.

The 7 Pf., 10 Pf., and 20 Pf. denominations were also issued in vertical coil rolls.  All of these coil stamps have a red control number printed on the back of every fifth stamp in the roll.

A very small printing of the 10 Pf. denomination was issued in booklets, containing one pane of 10 stamps.  These booklet panes are identical to a margin block of 10 stamps issued in sheet-format, thus the only way these are collectible are in complete booklets.  As such, they are exceedingly rare and seldom encountered.


Waagerechte Paare

A very important note needs to be made here.  During the period from 1954 to 1960, as the use of vending machine coil stamps increased, the sheet-format definitive stamps, especially in used condition, are much scarcer than the coil-format definitive stamps.  This is especially true of more recent definitive stamps that have been issued both in sheet and coil format.

These sheet-format stamps are usually collected in "Waagerechte Paare" or "horizontal pairs", indicating that they are from sheets and not from coil rolls.  These definitive sheet-format stamps are priced in horizontal pairs in the Michel catalog, and collected in this format, some of them can be very expensive, especially in used condition.





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Germany - BRD

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Germany Stamps - Definitives of 1954-1961





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The sheet-format 1 Pf. denomination definitive stamp shown above was originally issued on December 1, 1955.  This stamp is printed on regular paper with the Michel "Wz. 5" watermark.

Beginning in March 1958, the 1 Pf. denomination stamp was issued in booklets.  Each of the booklet panes contained two 1 Pf. denomination stamps, along with other denominations of the President Heuss definitive postage stamps (Mi. HBL #8).  These 1 Pf. denomination stamps are printed on regular paper with the Michel "Wz. 4W" or "Wz. 4Y" watermarks, and they are quite scarce.

At the beginning of 1960, the 1 Pf. denomination sheet-format stamp was printed on  Michel "Wz. 5" watermarked fluorescent paper, to be used by automated mail sorting machinery.