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West Berlin Stamps

Allied Overprints - 1948-1949



Following the Soviet blockade of West Berlin in 1948, the Western sectors of the city, under control of the American, British, and French occupation forces, were completely cut off from the rest of Europe.

As a result, the Allied Occupation - General Issue postage stamps, which had been for use by all four of the Allied powers, became invalid. Beginning in September 1948, the general issue stamps of the former Allied Occupation of Europe were overprinted with a diagonal "BERLIN" to pay postage on articles mailed within the Western sectors of Berlin and to the rest of Europe.

Western Berlin, at this time, became closely associated with West Germany, and in a few more years, it would become a physical part of the Federal Republic of Germany.


At the beginning of September 1948, the 20 Allied Occupation - General Issue stamps shown above were overprinted "BERLIN" diagonally in black, for use by the people of Western Berlin.They have the same depictions and attributes as the original stamps described in the Germany - A. Occ. - General Issues - 1947-1948 section.


Between January and March of 1949, 14 denominations of the Allied Occupation - General Issue stamps of 1948 were again overprinted with a diagonal "BERLIN". This time though, the overprinting was in red.

These red overprint stamps were replaced by the first official definitive postage stamp issues of West Berlin in March, thus not very many of them were printed or used. As a result, these red overprint stamps are much scarcer, especially in used condition, than those with the black overprint that were issued in 1948.

Both of these overprint sets exist with many plate and overprinting errors. For details, please see the
Michel Deutschland Special Katalog volume II. The One Mark denomination with the red overprint exists both imperforate and part perforated. Examples are very rare!

Due to the very high prices of some of the stamps in these two sets, especially the used high denomination ones, forged overprints do exist. When buying the higher priced stamps, it is recommended that the buyer purchase only authenticated or certified examples.




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