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The economics of the time, the politics and the social conditions permeate the fabric of these stamps. At the time of the plebiscites, the initial issues were made as overprinted German stamps, because stock of German stamps were already in place in these territories. The Plebiscite administrators needed a quick fix to show a new postal authority and to keep services running. But when the plebiscite date approached, the build-up to elections became heavily politicised. In Silesia, official issues remained solidly German in Upper Silesia, although the Polish supporters created their own short-lived postal issues as "Gorny Slask". The former Austrian territories in East Silesia had already begun using Czech or Polish stamps from 1919 thanks to looser Austrian control, and it was these which received the S.O. overprints.

In the Saargebiet, occupying forces remained there until c1935 but the population was overwhelmingly German. Nationalism affected voting and the influence of the NSDAP (Nazi Party) was considerable. The 1934 VOLKSABSTIMMUNG issue had become a tool of Nazi propaganda.

German history was dominated by the inflation of 1923. By August 1923 all rates were in the thousands of Marks, by October in Millions, still increasing roughly weekly. A paradise for the modern postal history collector specialising in rates, but a nightmare for stamp production, which could not keep pace. All available printing presses were used, flatbed and rotary, and to save recalling stamps, surcharges were made in regional locations (in slightly different styles). Rouletted stamps, not seen since the 19th century, made a new appearance. So for the technical collector with an eye for detail, the inflation period offers a lot of detail beyond the basic SG catalogue - here, the Specialised Michel is necessary and provides all the technical information.

A quick comment about the rouletted stamps from the collecting point of view : these do not separate easily and were often badly torn on use. For regular collections of individual stamps, it is possible to sort through stock and extract a small proportion that are in reasonable condition. The ones we offer in our retail listing are in this category. On postal history, the story is different : they paid an increasingly enormous amount of postage and roughly torn examples were never wasted by the sender. So, these are generally tolerated by collectors of inflation rate covers, although fine examples are always in demand for exhibition purposes and will command a major premium.

Germany's first commemorative set came out in 1919 (the pair of surcharges for war wounded, SG 105/06) and continued roughly on an annual basis right up to modern times. During the Weimar Republic funds thus raised mainly did reach the needy - of whom there were plenty in the immediate aftermath of war and the financial chaos of 1923. Under the Third Reich these funds were mainly retained for more political purposes.

Despite this doom and gloom, the later 1920s saw a return to economic stability and growth of business and the arts. The Bauhaus combined these in production of domestic fabrics, furniture and artefacts. Art, music, film and drama flourished. Stamps and postal history lend themselves to a semi-thematic collection along one of these lines. Our Collection lot 7262 offers a big archive of documents and postal history from the Oberammergau Passion Plays (ask for details).

For a lucky few, it really was the Roaring Twenties. Life in the fast lane included travel by the pioneering Zeppelins, especially the LZ 127 on stately voyages to the Pyramids, South America, the North Pole or shorter "heimat" voyages around Germany. Well documented philatelically, Zeppelin covers have always been loved by collectors. Armchair travel with these flight covers can recall the adventures of that age. It can be a life-time study when taking into account acceptances of mail from different countries for Zeppelin flights, and different stages of the Zeppelin flights marked by special cachets. Sieger used to be the standard guide but now a new Michel "Zeppelin-Spezial 2017/2018" takes its place with even more detail.

Please enjoy browsing this web site for German stamps, and I am always happy to help with any queries or advice.

08/09/21 10:16:00 AM