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Freistadt Danzig

Issues of 1920


The first postage stamps of the Freistadt Danzig (Free City of Danzig) were issued in 1920.

The year 1920 was a banner-year for the new City / State of Danzig, with nearly every conceivable denomination of Weimar Republic postage stamps being overprinted and / or surcharged in varying styles. With all the major issues, types, and varieties, the issues of 1920, in themselves, could make a lifetime philatelic specialty!


Beginning in June 1920, the fifteen contemporary Germany definitive postage stamps of 1906-20 shown above (Mi. #1-15, Sc. #1-15) were overprinted "Danzig" for use in the Freistadt Danzig.  Unlike the contemporary Weimar Republic stamps though, these definitive stamps were not issued in coils rolls or in booklets.

Most of the major issues in this group are relatively common, except for the 5 Mk. denomination stamp with 26 x 17 perforation holes (Mi. #15A). It is very rare.

The 5 Pf. in brown, 10 Pf. in orange, and 40 Pf. in lake and black were also overprinted, but they were not regularly issued. Mint hinged examples are available for about $150 each.

There are many shades, plate faults, and overprint faults on almost all the denominations of this set, many of which are not expensive.



Between August and November of 1920, the Freistadt Danzig experimented, overprinting sheets of previously overprinted and / or re-valued stamps, with a greenish or violet burelage, presumably to prevent the erasure and reuse of canceled postage stamps.  The stamps shown in the image above have the greenish burelage pointed upwards (Mi. #26I-31I, Sc. #25-30).

The burelage comes in two styles, with the burelage pointing up and with the burelage pointing down. This experiment was brief, but it created some very scarce varieties. There are dangerous fakes of some of them.

The catalog attributes, for stamps with greenish burelage that is pointed upwards, are as follows.

  • 01 M. on 30 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #26I, Sc. #25) - Orange & Black on Buff.
  • 01 1/4 M. on 03 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #27I, Sc. #26) - Brown.
  • 02 M. on 35 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #28I, Sc. #27) - Red Brown.
  • 03 M. on 07 1/2 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #29I, Sc. #28) - Orange.
  • 05 M. on 02 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #30I, Sc. #29) - Gray.
  • 10 M. on 07 1/2 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #31I. Sc. #30) - Orange.

The catalog attributes, for stamps with greenish burelage that is pointed downwards, are as follows.

  • 01 1/4 M. on 03 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #27II, Sc. #26a) - Brown.
  • 02 M. on 35 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #28II, Sc. #27a) - Red Brown.
  • 03 M. on 07 1/2 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #29II, Sc. #28a) - Orange.
  • 05 M. on 02 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #30II, Sc. #29a) - Gray.
  • 10 M. on 07 1/2 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #31II. Sc. #30a) - Orange.

The catalog attributes, for stamps with violet burelage that is pointed upwards, are as follows.

  • 01 M. on 30 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #41I, Sc. #25b) - Orange & Black on Buff.
  • 01 1/4 M. on 03 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #42I, Sc. #26b) - Brown.
  • 02 M. on 35 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #43I, Sc. #27b) - Red Brown.
  • 03 M. on 07 1/2 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #44I, Sc. #28b) - Orange.
  • 05 M. on 02 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #45I, Sc. #29b) - Gray.
  • 10 M. on 07 1/2 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #46I. Sc. #30b) - Orange.

The catalog attributes, for stamps with violet burelage that is pointed downwards, are as follows.

  • 01 M. on 30 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #41II, Sc. #25c) - Orange & Black on Buff.
  • 01 1/4 M. on 03 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #42II, Sc. #26c) - Brown.
  • 02 M. on 35 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #43II, Sc. #27c) - Red Brown.
  • 03 M. on 07 1/2 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #44II, Sc. #28c) - Orange.
  • 05 M. on 02 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #45II, Sc. #29c) - Gray.
  • 10 M. on 07 1/2 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #46II. Sc. #30c) - Orange.


In August 1920, a new style overprint was introduced by the Freistadt Danzig. This very attractive overprint, in carmine or blue, featured the word "Danzig", diagonally oriented in script lettering, with a colored bar below, obscuring the inscription "Deutsches Reich".  They are all shown in the images below.

The Michel catalog presents these new overprints in three groups, and they will be presented in that manor below.



The catalog attributes, for the stamps in this first group, are as follows.

  • 05 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #21, Sc. #34) - Green.
  • 15 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #22, Sc. #37) - Dark Violet.
  • 20 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #23, Sc. #38) - Blue Violet.
  • 25 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #24, Sc. #39) - Orange & Black on Yellow.
  • 75 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #25, Sc. #45) - Green & Black.


The catalog attributes, for the stamps in this second group, are as follows.

  • 02 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #32, Sc. #31) - Gray.
  • 02 1/2 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #33, Sc. #32) - Gray.
  • 03 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #34, Sc. #33) - Brown.
  • 07 1/2 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #35, Sc. #35) - Orange.
  • 10 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #36, Sc. #36) - Carmine.
  • 30 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #37, Sc. #40) - Orange & Black on Buff.
  • 40 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #38, Sc. #42) - Lake & Black.
  • 50 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #39, Sc. #43) - Purple & Black on Buff.
  • 80 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #40, Sc. #46) - Lake & Black on Rose.


For the dedicated Danzig collector, these are the three Freistadt Danzig stamps that hurt-the-most!  These stamps were printed in very small quantities (less than 2,400 for each denomination), and they were not sold over-the-counter to postal customers.  When they were required, the postal clerk would charge the patron for the stamp, and then he would affix it to the letter or the parcel himself.

The catalog attributes, for the stamps in this third group, are as follows.

  • 60 Pf.  (1920 - Mi. #47, Sc. #44) - Magenta.
  • 01 M.  (1920 - Mi. #48, Sc. #47) - Carmine.
  • 02 M.  (1920 - Mi. #49, Sc. #48) - Gray Blue.


On September 29, 1920, the Freistadt Danzig issued their first airmail stamps. The three stamps are shown in the scan above (Mi. #50-52, Sc. #C1-C3).

In mint condition they are relatively common, but postally used examples and covers are very scarce.





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Freistadt Danzig - Issues of 1920






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Beginning in August 1920, five of the Freistadt Danzig stamps of June 1920, were overprinted and re-valued as shown above (Mi. #16-20, Sc. #19-23).

As with the previous issues, these stamps also come in many varieties, including double and inverted overprints. See the Michel Deutschland-Spezial-Katalog for details.