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Upper Silesia Plebiscite

Official Stamps

The Upper Silesia plebiscite territory began issuing official stamps in 1920.

In April 1920 the German Local Official Stamps for the State of Prussia were overprinted "C.G.H.S." for government use in the plebiscite territory.  C.G.H.S. stands for the French: Commission de Gouvernement Haute Silesie. All of them, except for the 1 Mk. denomination stamp, are shown in the image above (Mi. Dienstmarken #1-7, Sc. #O32-38).

The standard orientation of these overprints is either horizontal or vertical ... Michel Types I-IV shown below.  These overprint varieties all sell for the normal catalog values.

Beginning in July 1920 and continuing through February 1922, the government of the Upper Silesia plebiscite territory overprinted the contemporary Weimar German Official stamps with the same "C.G.H.S." overprints (Mi. Dienstmarken #8-20, Sc. #O39-51).

The 2 Mk. denomination comes in two different varieties, the first being watermarked lozenges (1920) and the second being watermarked network (1922) The lozenge watermark is the higher priced of the two.  The rest of the stamps in the series are watermarked lozenges.

For the more budget-minded collector / specialist, who would like to specialize in overprint varieties, this is THE STAMP ISSUE TO COLLECT!

The Michel Deutschland-Spezial-Katalog lists 20 different orientation types for these overprints!  They are all illustrated below, with headings describing each type.

Types V-XX DO HAVE a premium (German: aufschlag) associated with them, and it is shown in each of the headings.  Even with the premiums added to the regular catalog prices though, they are quite inexpensive.

Michel Type I

Overprint Upright, from the top.
Aufschlag: 0%

Michel Type II

Overprint Upright, from the bottom.
Aufschlag: 0%

Michel Type III

Overprint Horizontal, normal orientation.
Aufschlag: 0%

Michel Type IV

Overprint Horizontal, inverted.
Aufschlag: 0%

Michel Type V

Overprint Double Upright, from the top.
Aufschlag: 50%

Michel Type VI

Overprint Double Upright, from the bottom.
Aufschlag: 50%

Michel Type VII

Overprint Double Upright, Types I & II.
Aufschlag: 50%

Michel Type VIII

Overprint Double Upright, Types II & I.
Aufschlag: 50%

Michel Type IX

Overprint Double Horizontal, normal orientation.
Aufschlag: 25%

Michel Type X

Overprint Double Horizontal, both inverted.
Aufschlag: 25%

Michel Type XI

Overprint Double Horizontal, Types III & IV.
Aufschlag: 50%

Michel Type XII

Overprint Double Horizontal, Types IV & III.
Aufschlag: 50%

Michel Type XIII

Overprint Crossed, Types I & III.
Aufschlag: 75%

Michel Type XIV

Overprint Crossed, Types I & IV.
Aufschlag: 75%

Michel Type XV

Overprint Crossed, Types II & III.
Aufschlag: 75%

Michel Type XVI

Overprint Crossed, Types II & IV.
Aufschlag: 75%

Michel Type XVII

Overprint Diagonal, upper left to lower right.
Aufschlag: 100%

Michel Type XVIII

Overprint Diagonal, lower right to upper left.
Aufschlag: 100%

Michel Type XIX

Overprint Diagonal, lower left to upper right.
Aufschlag: 100%

Michel Type XX

Overprint Diagonal, upper right to lower left.
Aufschlag: 100%

The Michel catalog indicates that these Upper Silesia Plebiscite stamps are "speculative" .... meaning that they were probably intentional printer's creations of the period and NOT actual printing errors.  Nevertheless, they are interesting, inexpensive, and they do make an impressive display.

When shopping the internet though, shop around and do not pay high prices for them.  I have noticed some sellers that charge exorbitant prices for these, as errors, taking advantage of novice specialists.  A little comparison shopping will serve the specialist well and will save a lot of money.

eBay Auction and Store Links

Germany Plebiscites

The following links feature category-focused affiliated seller listings on various eBay sites worldwide. They may enable visitors to shop for and to buy specific items for the particular collecting subject they've just read about. 

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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Upper Silesia Plebiscite - Official Stamps


The overprint shown above was hand-stamped during 1920 on the contemporary issues of Germany for use as official stamps by the French Occupation forces in Upper Silesia.  The German stamps utilized were the 1906-1919 Germania definitive stamp series from the 2 Pf. through the 2 Mk., the 1919-1920 National Assembly commemoratives, and the two charity stamps issued in 1919.

One should be very wary of any stamps with this overprint that are offered for sale, especially if they are not authenticated.

According to the Scott Catalog, there are two classes of these overprinted stamps ... Originals and Reprints, with there being minor differences in the overprint between the two.

The Scott Catalog lists only the reprints (Sc. #O1-31, #05a // 26a), with the following footnote: "Values are for reprints made with a second type of handstamp differing in minor details from the original (example: period after "S" is round instead of the earlier triangle form).  Originals are scarce. Counterfeits exist."

The Michel Deutschland-Spezial-Katalog lists only the originals (Mi. French Occupation #1-34) with a footnote that "forgeries exist".

The reprints, priced in Scott, only have nominal value.  The originals, priced in Michel, are all RARE and extremely expensive.

I searched both the U.S. and Germany eBay sites for these.  I found one lot of the Germania set, with a certificate of authenticity, on the German eBay site, priced at €10,000, and, based on the prices in the current Michel Catalog, that would be a huge bargain!  Other than that, I could not locate even a single stamp, either original or reprint, on the two eBay sites.  I found the scan above in an old online auction catalog.  Its current Michel catalog value is €2,200.