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German Empire

Germania Wartime Issues

The German Empire Germania issues, printed between 1914 and the beginning of 1919, are referred to as the "Wartime Printings".

In the Wartime Printings, the paper is of poorer quality, sometimes with a grayish or yellowish tint, the colors are duller and darker, and the fine details of the vignette are course and a little smudgy.

This is especially evident in the bi-colored stamps, where the vignette is printed in black. The fine detail in the crown, in Germania's hair, and in the leaves on the sprig Germania is holding, is almost gone and is now coarse and smudgy.

Peacetime / Wartime Printing Comparison

Peacetime / Wartime Printing Comparison

Super-sized images of the Wartime printings of the Mark denominations are shown above.  Determining the printing characteristics for these can sometimes be a bit problematic.

The Mark denominations of the Wartime printings are duller looking, sometimes have darker colors, and the fine lines in the vignettes are not as discernable as on the earlier printings. The watermarks are also less distinct on these issues, than on those of the Peacetime Printings.

Here is what the Michel catalog says about these.

  • Verschwommenes, aufgelöstes Druckbild; Porös wirkendes, mitunter gelbliches Papier; Wasserzeichen undeutlich; Gummierung weiß, stark glänzend oder gelblich und stumpf mit bräunlichen Narben

Here is the literal English Translation.

  • Blurred print resolution; Porous quality, sometimes yellowish paper; Watermark indistinct; White gum, strong shiny and dull or yellowish with brownish breaks.

I find the translation of the Michel definition of the Wartime printings somewhat confusing.  I have made some personal observations, which might be of additional help here.

On the Mark denominations, the outer frame lines almost always show weakness.  This can appear as bleeding, chipping, or flaking along the edges edges of the frame lines.  In some cases, as with the 5 Mark above, the color impression is missing, showing what appears to be frame-breaks.

The engraved fine detail of the designs is often dark and smudgy.  On solid color areas, the ink impression can look uneven.

Some of the Wartime printings of the Mark denominations have 26x17 perforation holes, identical to those used for the Peacetime printings.  These are all very scarce.

The most common of the Wartime printings have 25x17 perforation holes.  These perforation hole varieties were ONLY utilized for the Wartime printings.

All of the Mark denomination stamps shown on this page are of the 25 x 17 perforation hole variety.

In 1915, there were two spectacular production errors that accidentally occurred.

Through the use of the wrong type of watermarked paper, a number of the 5 Pf. postage stamps, were printed on paper with the Cross and Circles watermark. This watermark was commonly used by the Kingdom of Württemberg on their official stamp issues, but it was NEVER used for German Empire postage stamps. The Cross and Circles watermark (on a Württemberg stamp) is shown above.

Likewise, a few of the 3 Mk. denomination stamps were printed on paper that was watermarked circles. This type of paper was used for revenue stamps but never for postage stamp printing. Both of these production errors are VERY RARE.

Between 1916 and the beginning of 1919, seven new postage stamps of the Germania series were issued, as shown above. All but the 75 Pf. denomination now have a white field behind Germania.

In 1919, following the end of World War I and the Versailles Treaty, the Weimar Republic was declared, and the German Empire came to an end.

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Germania Wartime Issues - 1914-1918