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Polish Stamps


Definitives of 1918-1919


Polish stamps began appearing in November 1918, just a few days after the end of World War I.

Map of Poland (in beige) 1921-1939
From: Wikipedia -- By: "RzeczpospolitaII"


With the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917, and the dismantling of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the German Empire, and the Ottoman Empire after World War I, new nations began appearing all over the map of Europe.  The ethnic Polish territories confiscated during the partition of the Kingdom of Poland in the late 18th Century were used to create the new Republic of Poland.

The Republic of Poland's new neighbors were Germany, Czechoslovakia, the Free City of Danzig, Latvia, Lithuania, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and Romania.  By 1938,  the Republic of Poland was Europe's 6th largest country, and it was one of Europe's major economic powers.

In 1918, two currencies were in simultaneous use in the Republic of Poland.  The Northern areas used the Marka (100 Fenigi = 1 Marka), originally based on the German Mark.  The Southern areas used the Korona (100 Halerzy = 1 Korona), originally based on the Austrian Krone (Crown).  In 1924, a single currency, the Zloty (100 Groszy = 1 Zloty), was introduced, and it is still in use today.

Many of the overprinted Polish stamps shown on this page exist with inverted overprints and surcharges.  They can be a bit pricey, but they are all readily available in the philatelic marketplace.

Most of these overprinted Polish stamps have been extensively counterfeited, including the very inexpensive denominations.  This is ESPECIALLY TRUE with the CRACOW ISSUES.  The purchase of authenticated or certified examples of all of these issues is strongly encouraged.  The suggested prices in most of the catalogs are for authenticated stamps!  Any unauthenticated examples of these Polish stamps offered for sale should be treated with a high degree of suspicion.


Warsaw Issues


The four pictorial local stamps of Warsaw, shown above, were overprinted and revalued, as regular definitive Polish stamps, on November 17, 1918, six days after the armistice, ending World War I.  The overprint reads Poczta Polska (Polish Postal Service), and the revaluation amounts are denominated in Polish FENIG.

Their catalog attributes and designs are as follows:


  • 05 F. on 02 Gr.  (1918 - Sc. #11) - Statue of Sigismund III (1566-1632) in Warsaw.  He was the King of Poland (1587-1632), and the King of Sweden (1592-1599).
  • 10 F. on 06 Gr.  (1918 - Sc. #12) - Coat of Arms of Warsaw.
  • 25 F. on 10 Gr.  (1918 - Sc. #13) - Polish heraldic eagle.
  • 50 F. on 20 Gr.  (1918 - Sc. #14) - Sobieski Monument in Warsaw.  John III Sobieski (1629-1696) was the King of Poland (1674-1696).


The eleven German occupation of Warsaw stamps, shown above, were overprinted Poczta Polska  and / or revalued in 1918 and 1919These stamps are denominated in German Pfennig.

Their catalog attributes are as follows:


  • 03 Pf.  (1919 - Sc. #15) - Brown.
  • 05 Pf. on 02 1/2 Pf.  (1918 - Sc. #16) - Gray.
  • 05 Pf. on 03 Pf.  (1919 - Sc. #17) - Brown.
  • 05 Pf.  (1918 - Sc. #18) - Green.
  • 10 Pf.  (1918 - Sc. #19) - Carmine.
  • 15 Pf.  (1918 - Sc. #20) - Dark Violet.
  • 20 Pf.  (1918 - Sc. #21) - Blue (shades), Ultramarine (rare)
  • 25 Pf. on 7 1/2 Pf.  (1918 - Sc. #22) - Orange.
  • 30 Pf.  (1918 - Sc. #23) - Orange and Black on Buff.
  • 40 Pf.  (1918 - Sc. #24) - Lake and Black.
  • 60 Pf.  (1918 - Sc. #25) - Magenta (shades).

There are two different settings of the overprint, and varieties of the overprint and surcharges are numerous.


Lublin Issues


The three Austrian Empire military charity stamps of 1918, shown above, were overprinted, as regular definitive Polish stamps for Lublin, on December 5, 1918.  The overprint contains POLSKA POCZTA and a black obliterator with the Polish coat of armsThese stamps are denominated in Austrian Heller.

Their catalog attributes are as follows:


  • 10 H.  (1918 - Sc. #27) - Gray Green.
  • 20 H.  (1918 - Sc. #28) - Magenta.
  • 45 H.  (1918 - Sc. #29) - Blue.


The ten Austrian Empire military stamps of 1918, shown above, were overprinted and revalued, as regular definitive stamps for Lublin, during 1918 and 1919.  The overprint contains POLSKA POCZTA and a black obliterator with the Polish coat of arms. On these stamps, the revaluation amounts are denominated in Polish Halerzy.

Their catalog attributes are as follows:


  • 03 Hal. on 03 H.  (1918 - Sc. #30) - Olive Gray (Perf. 12 1/2, Perf. 11 1/2, Perf 11 1/2 x 12 1/2).
  • 03 Hal. on 15 H.  (1918 - Sc. #31) - Bright Rose.
  • 10 Hal. on 30 H.  (1918 - Sc. #32) - Slate Green (black surcharge, brown surcharge error).
  • 25 Hal. on 40 H.  (1918 - Sc. #34) - Olive Bister (Perf. 12 1/2, Perf. 11 1/2).
  • 45 Hal. on 60 H.  (1918 - Sc. #35) - Rose.
  • 45 Hal. on 80 H.  (1918 - Sc. #36) - Dull Blue.
  • 50 Hal. on 60 H.  (1918 - Sc. #37) - Rose.

  • 45 Hal. on 80 H.  (1918 - Sc. #38) - Dull Blue.
  • 50 H.  (1918 - Sc. #39) - Deep Green.
  • 90 H.  (1918 - Sc. #40) - Dark Violet.


Cracow Issues


The nineteen Austrian Empire definitive stamps of 1916 to 1919, shown above, were overprinted, as regular definitive stamps for Cracow, on January 17, 1919.  The overprint contains POLSKA / POCZTA, with a small ornament in the middleThese stamps are denominated in Austrian Heller and Kronen.

This is a very high priced set, with a number of the denominations ranging from scarce to very rare.  Extreme caution should be exercised, when buying these Cracow stamps.

The catalog attributes are as follows:


  • 03 H.  (1919 - Sc. #41) - Bright Violet.
  • 05 H.  (1919 - Sc. #42) - Light Green.
  • 06 H.  (1919 - Sc. #43) - Deep Orange.
  • 10 H.  (1919 - Sc. #44) - Magenta.
  • 12 H.  (1919 - Sc. #45) - Light Blue.
  • 40 H.  (1919 - Sc. #46) - Olive Green.
  • 50 H.  (1919 - Sc. #47) - Blue Green.
  • 60 H.  (1919 - Sc. #48) - Deep Blue.
  • 80 H.  (1919 - Sc. #49) - Orange Brown.
  • 90 H.  (1919 - Sc. #50) - Red Violet.
  • 01 K.  (1919 - Sc. #51) - Carmine on Yellow.
  • 02 K.  (1919 - Sc. #52) - Blue.
  • 03 K.  (1919 - Sc. #53) - Carmine Rose.
  • 04 K.  (1919 - Sc. #54) - Yellow Green.
  • 10 K.  (1919 - Sc. #55) - Deep Violet.

  • 15 H.  (1919 - Sc. #56) - Dull Red.
  • 20 H.  (1919 - Sc. #57) - Dark Green.
  • 25 H.  (1919 - Sc. #58) - Blue.
  • 30 H.  (1919 - Sc. #59) - Dull Violet.


The first printed defintitive Polish stamps, shown above, were issued in Cracow on February 25, 1919.  These stamps are all denominated in Polish Halerzy or Korona.  They were issued imperforate, and they were printed on yellowish or bluish paper without gum.

The designs of these stamps feature the Polish coat of arms.

Their catalog attributes are as follows:


  • 02 Hal.  (1919 - Sc. #61) - Gray.
  • 03 Hal.  (1919 - Sc. #62) - Dull Violet.
  • 05 Hal.  (1919 - Sc. #63) - Green.
  • 06 Hal.  (1919 - Sc. #64) - Orange.
  • 10 Hal.  (1919 - Sc. #65) - Lake.
  • 15 Hal.  (1919 - Sc. #66) - Brown.
  • 20 Hal.  (1919 - Sc. #67) - Olive Green.
  • 25 Hal.  (1919 - Sc. #68) - Carmine.
  • 50 Hal.  (1919 - Sc. #69) - Indigo.
  • 70 Hal.  (1919 - Sc. #70) - Deep Blue.
  • 01 Kor.  (1919 - Sc. #71) - Olive Gray and Carmine.

Many of these Polish stamps are frequently seen with privately applied perforations.


Poznan Issues


The five German definitive stamps, shown above, were overprinted and revalued, as regular definitive Polish stamps for Poznan, on August 5, 1919On these stamps, the revaluation amounts are denominated in German Pfennig.

The catalog details are as follows:


  • 05 Pf. on 02 Pf.  (1919 - Sc. #72) - Gray.
  • 05 Pf. on 07 1/2 Pf.  (1919 - Sc. #73) - Orange.
  • 05 Pf. on 20 Pf.  (1919 - Sc. #74) - Blue Violet.
  • 10 Pf. on 25 Pf.  (1919 - Sc. #75) - Orange and Black on Yellow.
  • 10 Pf. on 40 Pf.  (1919 - Sc. #76) - Lake and Black.







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Polish Stamps - Definitives of 1918-1919






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Cracow Issue


The 25 Heller denomination revalued Austrian Imperial definitive stamp, shown above, was issued in Cracow on January 24, 1919 (Sc. #60).


Gniezno Issue


The two German definitive stamps shown above were revalued on September 15, 1919 for provisional use in Gniezno (Sc. #77-78).  These stamps are denominated in German Pfennig.

Forgeries of these two surcharges are plentiful.  Only certified examples should be purchased!