In June 1876, Helgoland (in German) or Heligoland (in English) issued two new definitive stamps that featured the arms of the island state.
The two stamps, like the 1875 issues, were dual denominated in both British and Imperial German currency. For the sake of brevity, they will be referred to by the German currency denominations in the following descriptions.
As with all of the stamps of Helgoland, canceled examples should be considered suspect, unless the stamp is certified or authenticated.
Berlin and Hamburg private reprints exist for the 3 Pf. denomination. The characteristics will be described under its description below.
NO PRIVATE REPRINTS WERE MADE of the 20 Pf. Arms design stamp or the 1 Mk. and 5 Mk. Numeral design stamps.
1876 - 3 Pfennig - Mi. #17b
1876 - 3 Pfennig - Mi. #17
The 3 Pf. denomination was issued June 1, 1876. The original stamps are perforated 13-1/2 x 14-1/4 with large perforation holes.
Between 1876 and 1877, there were two different printings, as follows:
Total quantity printed (for all printings): 80,000
The Berlin private reprints were also perforated 13-1/2 x 14-1/4 with large perforation holes, and the colors are very similar to those of the originals. The secret to identifying them is a ultraviolet light!
The Hamburg private reprints are perforated 14 x 14.
The SOLUTION to the reprint issues with this stamp? BUY ONLY AUTHENTICATED EXAMPLES of Michel #17!
Helgoland also produced proofs of the new 3 Pf. and 20 Pf. denomination arms designs. The proofs were printed on thick paper, without gum, and they were perforated 12-1/2.
The 3 Pf. denomination proof is shown above.
1876 - 20 Pfennig - Mi. #18d
1876 - 20 Pfennig - Mi. #18g
The 20 Pf. denomination of the new arms design was first issued on June 1, 1876. Between 1876 and 1890, there were eight different printings. Three of them are shown in the scans directly above.
The eight printings were as follows:
Michel #18g and #18h are very common and inexpensive. The others are scarcer and much higher priced.
Total quantity printed (for all printings): 440,000
In 1879, the two high denomination definitive stamps shown above (Mi. #19A-20A, Sc. #22-23) were issued. The designs feature large, ornately decorated numerals of value, with the British and Imperial German denomination names shown at each side.
The 1 Mark denomination, shown above left, was issued in August 1879. There were two different printings of this stamp, as follows:
Total quantity printed of the 1 Mark (for all printings): 15,000
The 5 Mark denomination, shown above right (Mi. #20A, Sc. #23), was issued in September 1879. It is noted in Michel as being "multicolored".
Total quantity printed of the 5 Mark: 10,000
Private reprints of these Mark denomination stamps WERE NEVER PRINTED. Nevertheless, there are many forgeries on the market. This is especially true for used examples.
As with the Arms stamps, proofs were made of these two Mark denomination numeral design stamps. The proofs are perforated 11-1/2. Very few of each of these proofs were printed (Mi. #19B-20B, Sc. #24-25), and today, they are very rare.
The 1 Mark denomination stamp shown above (Michel #19Ac, Sc. #22b) was printed in July 1890, but they were never placed on sale.
These un-issued stamps were printed on satin paper, with the colors being quite a bit paler than on the two earlier printings. Though only 5,000 of them were printed, they are not very expensive.
Heligoland Stamps by Fritz Wagner
The Robert Pollard Study
The authoritative work on Helgoland postage stamps is the German language book, "Helgoland Philatelie" by Hellmuth Lemberger, published in 1970. If copies can be located, they are usually very expensive. The APRL has a couple copies that can be checked-out by APS members.
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Helgoland - Arms & Numeral Issues