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Arms & Numeral Issues

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
Original - Mint
Auth. - Richter

1876 - 3 Pfennig - Mi. #17
Berlin Reprint

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:

  • Jun. 1876 (Mi. #17a, Sc. #20) - Dark Green, Brownish Yellow, & Vermilion Red.
  • Jun. 1877 (Mi. #17b, Sc. #20a) - Green, Dark Orange, & Vermilion Red.

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!

  • On the originals, under UV light, the red bar on the shield looks "dark purple" or "blackish purple".  
  • On the Berlin private reprints, under UV light, the red bar of the shield appears "red" or "reddish brown"(WARNING:  On one of the two Berlin reprints, the red bar of the shield can appear as "dark purple"!  In this case, further expert analysis is required.)

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!

1876 - 3 Pfennig - Mi. #17P
Scan from - L. Mead

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
Auth. - Lemberger

1876 - 20 Pfennig - Mi. #18g
Auth. - L. Mead

1876 - 20 Pfennig - Mi. #18h
Auth. - L. Mead

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:

  • Jun. 1876 (Mi. #18a, Sc. #21d) - Lilac Carmine, Yellow, & Blue Green.
  • Apr. 1880 (Mi. #18b, Sc. #21b) - Rose Carmine, Dark Brownish Yellow, & Dark Green.
  • Jul. 1882 (Mi. #18c, Sc. N/L) - Light Rose Lilac, Grayish Yellow, & Gray Green.
  • May 1884 (Mi. #18d, Sc. #21e) - Dull Red, Grayish Yellow, & Gray Green.
  • Jul. 1885 (Mi. #18e, Sc. #21c) - Dull Rose, Light Reddish Yellow, & Gray Green.
  • Jan. 1887 (Mi. #18f, Sc. #21a) - Red Orange, Yellow, & Gray Green.
  • Jul. 1888 (Mi. #18g, Sc. #21) - Reddish Orange, Light Yellow, & Light Gray Green.
  • Jun. 1890 (Mi. #18h, Sc. N/L) - Gray Red, Light Yellow, & Light Gray Green.

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

1879 - Mark Denominations - Mi. #19A-20A

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:

  • Aug. 1879 (Mi. #19Aa, Sc. #22a) - Blue Green, Gray Black, & Dull Rose.
  • May. 1889 (Mi. #19Ab, Sc. #22) - Dark Green, Black, & Carmine.

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.

1890 - 1 Mark - Mi. #19Ac
Auth. - L. Mead

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.

Links to Other Helgoland Sites

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.

eBay Auction and Store Links
German States

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The affiliated eBay seller auction lots provided by eBay, Inc. are not the responsibility of the management of this website.  On high priced material, make sure the lots you are buying are properly authenticated.

Remember that the lots on European eBay sites are priced in EUROS.  Shipping charges may be more, and the lots may take longer to arrive.  Also, make sure the foreign seller ships to your country, before bidding on or buying his lot.

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Helgoland - Arms & Numeral Issues