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Bavarian Stamps

Numeral Issues - 1849-1862

Mi. # 1a


Bavarian stamps were first issued in November 1849, giving Bavaria the distinction of being one of the first adhesive postage stamp issuing countries in the world.

The 1 Kr. black was imperforate, as were all the numeral issues through 1862, and it was printed on regular paper without security threads. Two plates were used for the 1 Kr. denomination. Plate 1 was put into use on November 1, and Plate 2 was put into use in May 1850. The stamps from Plate 1 are the commonest of the two plates.

A "neudruck" or "reprint" of the 1 Kr. is shown at above-right. Due to the rarity of this issue, forgeries are frequently encountered, so examples should be purchased that have either certificates or expert certification markings on them.

Two additional denominations of Bavarian stamps, the 3 Kr. (Plate 1) and the 6 Kr (Plate 1), were also issued in November 1849.

These two stamps are imperforate and are printed on paper with silk security threads, as were all the remaining numeral issues through 1862. They have the distinct characteristic of having a "broken circle" around the numeral in the center of each stamp. On these, the lattice work pattern along the inner frame ends in a sharp angle to the inner frame lines. On subsequent issues, the lattice work flows into the inner frame line, having the effect of being a "complete circle" around the numeral.

The 3 Kr. denomination was printed from five plates. Their periods of use are as follows:

Plate 1: 1849-1850
Plate 2: 1850-1854
Plate 3: 1854-1858
Plate 4: 1856-1862
Plate 5: 1858-1862

The colors of the Plate 1 printings of the 3 Kr. range from dark blue to Prussian blue. The printings from Plates 2-5 come in many shades, with the colors ranging from grayish blue to greenish blue.

The 6 Kr. denomination, with the broken circle, was printed from one plate, from 1849 to 1850.

Both of the 1849 printings of these two stamps are very scarce. The later printings of the 3 Kr., from Plates 2-5, are common.

The two denominations, with the broken circle variety, are shown in the scan above. The 3 Kr. stamp shown is actually from Plate 3 (1854), though this issue still has the broken circle characteristic.

Beginning in July 1850, a new series of Bavarian stamps of the numeral design was released. These stamps were all printed on paper containing silk security threads, they all have a "complete circle" around the numeral.

The 3 Kr. variety with the "broken circle" was continued through this period, and the 6 Kr. issue of 1849 was now printed from a new plate having the "complete circle" variety.

The color of the 1 Kr. stamp was changed to pink, and three new denominations were added, the 9 Kr. in green, the 12 Kr. in red, and the 18 Kr. in yellowish orange.

In October 1862, yet another (and final) set of the numeral issue was released, all with color changes.

The use of the plates of the 3 Kr. variety with the "broken circle" was continued, but the color was now changed to rose red, with shades ranging from rose to carmine.

The color of the 1 Kr. was changed to yellow, the 6 Kr. was changed to blue, the 9 Kr. was changed to ocher brown, the 12 Kr. was changed to yellow green, and the 18 Kr. was changed to vermilion. These stamps continued in use, until the numeral definitives were replaced in 1867.

On a comical note ... all the Bavarian stamps of the numeral design were printed in sheets with colored separator lines between each of the stamps. This was a great idea, in that it would allow the stamps to be evenly trimmed, when cut apart for sale at the post office. But, either the postal clerks or their patrons didn't know what the colored lines were for or didn't pay any attention to them, as you can see from the many examples shown on this web page.

The Bavarian stamps of the Numeral issues offer a wonderful opportunity for the philatelist, wishing to make a specialized study of this issue. There are a multitude of shades, plate varieties, plate faults, and cancellation varieties on all of the different stamps of this issue. They are all described in detail in the Michel Deutschland Spezial Katalog - Volume I.

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Bavarian Stamps - Numeral Issues - 1849-1862