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Third Reich

Commemorative Issues - 1939

The Third Reich issued the three stamps shown above, at the top (Mi. #686-88, Sc. #B134-36), on February 17, 1939 for the Berlin Automobile and Motorcycle Exhibition, held February 17 through March 5, 1939.

The stamps depict the first Benz and Daimler motorcars of 1885-86, Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz race cars of 1938, and a contemporary "modern automobile".

Does the "modern automobile" on the 25 Pf. denomination look familiar to anyone? Here's the story:

In the early 1930's, the German auto industry was largely composed of luxury models, and the average German family could not afford anything more than a motorcycle. Adolph Hitler and others had envisioned a mass-production, inexpensive automobile that the average German family could afford to buy and drive. Hitler wanted a vehicle capable of carrying two adults and three children that a family could buy through a savings plan for about 990 Marks, about the price of a new motorcycle. The average income for a German family at that time was about 35 Marks per month. This affordable vehicle concept was called the "People's Car" or in German, the "Volkswagen".

On June 22, 1934, Ferdinand Porsche agreed to create the "People's Car" for Hitler. Construction of the new factory, in Wolfsburg, Germany, began in May 1938, and a prototype was presented to Hitler for his 49th birthday. Mass production was scheduled to begin in 1939, but the beginning of World War II required that the factory be utilized for the production of military vehicles. Unfortunately, it wasn't until after the war and the Allied occupation, in 1948, when the first Volkswagens were manufactured for sale to the public. They were first imported to the United States in 1949.

The three stamps shown above, at the bottom (Mi. #695-97, Sc. #B141-43), which are the February issue with the overprint "NURBURGRING RENNEN", were issued on May 18, 1939 to publicize the Nurburgring Auto Races, which were held on May 21 and July 23, 1939. The surtaxes went to Hitler's National Culture Fund.

The two stamps shown above, at the left (Mi. #689-90, Sc. #490-91), depict the Third Reich national emblem, and they were issued on April 4, 1939 to publicize the Young Workers' Professional Competitions.

The two stamps shown above, at the right (Mi. #692-93, Sc. #B138-39), were issued on April 22, 1939 to publicize the Horticultural Exhibition held at Stuttgart. The two stamps depict the exhibition building.

The stamp shown above, in the middle (Mi. #691, Sc. #B137), was issued on April 13, 1939 to celebrate Hitler's 50th Birthday.

The stamp shown above, on the left (Mi. #694, Sc. #B140), was issued on April 28, 1939 to promote National Labor Day.

The stamp shown above, on the right (Mi. #701, Sc. #B147), utilized the April 28, 1939 issue, but it was overprinted "REICHS- / PARTEITAG / 1939". It was issued on August 25, 1939 to publicize the Nazi Congress at Nürnberg.

The surcharges on all of these issues went to Hitler's National Culture Fund.

The two stamps shown above (Mi. #698-99, Sc. #B144-45) were issued in the Third Reich during June and July of 1939 for the 70th Anniversary of the German Derby or Blue Ribbon Race and to publicize the running of the Brown Ribbon Race.

The stamp shown above, at the left (Mi. #700, Sc. #B146), was issued on July 12, 1939 for the Day of German Art.

The design is from the painting of "A Young Venetian Woman" (1505) by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528).

Albrecht Dürer was a German painter and printmaker from Nürnberg. Dürer's introduction of classical motifs into Northern art, through his knowledge of Italian artists and German humanists, gained through his travels, have secured his reputation as one of the most important figures of the Northern Renaissance. His woodcut prints established his reputation across Europe, when he was still in his twenties. In making prints from his intricate wood cuts, for which he is best known, he was actually what would be called a modern "commercial" artist, and his prints are in galleries across the globe today.

Here is a link to an excellent page at featuring the life and works of Albrecht Dürer.

Dürer Page

The two stamps shown above, at the right (Mi. #714-715, Sc. #492-93), were issued on September 18, 1939 to publicize the Unification of Danzig with the Third Reich. The stamps depict St. Mary's Church and the Krantor (City Gate) in Danzig.

The twelve semi-postal stamps shown above (Mi. 702-13, Sc. #B148 / 59) were issued on September 15, 1939 to publicize the Comradery of Third Reich Postal Workers. There were six additional denominations issued for this set in 1941, and they will be presented in the Commemorative Issues 1941 page.

From the lowest to the highest denomination, as pictured, they depict Meeting in German Hall in Berlin, Meeting of postal and telegraph employees, Professional competitions, Professional camp, Gold Flag competitions, Awarding prizes, Automobile race, Sports, Postal police, Glider workshops, Mail coach, and a Convalescent home in Konigstein.

The surtaxes went to Hitler's National Culture Fund and to the Postal Employees' Fund.

Following the union of the Free City of Danzig with the Third Reich, the current definitive postage stamps of Danzig were overprinted "Deutsches / Reich".

The fourteen stamps shown above (Mi. #716-29, Sc. (Danzig) #241-54) were valid for postage throughout the Reich, but they were mainly used in Danzig. After the supplies of these overprinted stamps were exhausted, Danzig began using the regular postal stamps of Germany.

The nine semi-postal stamps shown above (Mi. #730-38, Sc. #B160-68) were issued between October 27 and November 9, 1939, with then theme of Buildings of the Third Reich. The surtax was for Winter Relief charities.

By denomination, from lowest to highest, they depict Elbogen Castle, Drachenfels on the Rhine, Kaiserplatz at Goslar, Clock Tower at Graz, Town Hall at Frankfurt, Guild House at Klagenfurt, Ruins of Schreckenstein Castle, Fortress of Salzburg, and Castle of Hohentwiel.

The 3 Pf., 5 Pf., 6 Pf., and 12 Pf. denominations were also issued in booklets.

The two Overseas Newspaper stamps shown above (Mi. #Z738-39, Sc. #P1-2) were issued on November 1, 1939. The designs feature a newspaper boy running across the globe.

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