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Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty
Thomas Jefferson

From the Modern History of Germany

I wrote, under the subject Non-Anniversary: Today the former German Democratic Republic should has celebrated  its 50th anniversary. Fortunately it doesn't exist anymore to do it with the usual pomp and a false enthusiasm. The first stamp of the GDR was issued 1949, Oct. 9 and was dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the UPU. The last stamps (the 41st Congress of the Intl. Astronautics Federation, Dresden, Scott No. 2849-2852) were issued 1990, Oct. 2 and remained valid until Dec. 31, 1991. Amen.
Posted the 10/9/99 on RCSD
Charlie Jensen answered: Victor writes; :Today the former German Democratic Republic......doesn't exist anymore...." A fact that we should all be grateful for, and deserving some sort of commemoration in itself. Perhaps a moment of silence to all the brave men and women who gave their lives to make it so.

My comment: And a good wish to those who live today and who (satiated for being oppressed in their own name and subjugated for their "happiness") demonstrated 10 years ago on the streets of GDR with slogans like: "_We_ are the people - Wir sind das Volk!" (emphasis added).
I think to have seen this great slogan on a German stamp, but I could not find it in the catalogue. Maybe I have read it on a cancel. A stamp dedicated to the victims of a Divided Germany 1945-1989) was issued by German Post on Nov. 9, 1995, Scott No. 1913.

Dave Joll wrote: The "Wir Sind Das Volk" stamp was issued on 28 February 1990 by the postal service of the former DDR, denominated at 35 + 15 pfennig and catalogued by Stanley Gibbons as E3011.

I answered: Thanks, Dave, now I could find it: Scott No. B203, Leipzig Church, Municipal Arms, "We are the people".

Jan-Martin from Germany wrote by e-mail: I wish people would remember that slogan.

    Tony Clayton wrote: This is a postal Tax stamp originally issued in December 1948. It was an obligatory tax for all mail posted in the Western zones except in and to Berlin itself, to help defray the cost of the Berlin Airlift. It remained in use until March 1956. The SG number(s) are AT102 to AT105g.  There are two watermarks and many perforation combinations, including imperf.  Gibbons lists it under British & American Zones. 

Germany. 1948, December.  Notopfer Steuermarke

    I commented: A very interesting postal tax stamp indeed, also historically.

About the Berlin Blockade. By 1948 the Soviet Union had ceased to cooperate with the other three occupying powers. On June 24 that year, in response to the introduction of a new currency, the Deutschmark, in West Berlin and the three zones of West Germany four days earlier, the Soviet authorities imposed a complete ban on road, rail, and canal traffic between the western zones and the capital. On June 26 the British and American air forces began flying supplies to the more than two million residents of West Berlin. Between that day and the lifting of the blockade on May 12, 1949, the Berlin Airlift (or "air bridge"), consisting of 277,728 flights over East Germany, carried 2,110,235.5 tonnes of supplies into the city. (After Microsoft Encarta 1996)
Posted the 10/11/99 on RCSD


Interesting Postings about German Stamps
(from The Yaxcorp Family of Philatelic Internet Mailing Lists)

Herb A. wrote: There was a whole series of articles in Linn's this past summer (1997 - V.M.) about the time of the "big" int'l stamp show in Moscow.  Even for the exhibits the individuals were required to submit an itemized list of material with affidavits that none of it would be sold.  This was carefully checked & rechecked by Customs upon leaving the country.

Bernard H. answered: This story reminded me of the system employed in the DDR whereby to be able to buy a COMPLETE set of new issues (of which we all know came out with sickening regularity), one had to be registered with the authorities who gave the thus registered collector the right to buy I believe it was only TWO complete sets over the post office counter - thus giving the state full knowledge of the geographical location of stamp collections.  For what reasons is left to the imagination.

Also the back-side of these restrictions was to destroy interest amongst collectors as they could not NORMALLY acquire a complete collection. For those who were not registered ALWAYS one value was denied them and this value became known in German as the Sperrwert ( the blocked value). The catalogue prices of these blocked values reflected their paucity. I refer to MICHEL catalogue here.

Further the blocked value was not always the highest face value, it was just any one of the set. Most annoying. As usual there were ways around this problem and I took them during my stay in both East and West Germany (six years in total). 

Private Postal Services in Germany

The postal service was some times ago privatized in Germany. There are several small postal services that compete with the privatized German Post (Deutsche Post AG), but in the last time two bigger competitors grown up.

One of them is PIN AG, that targets a market of 15% (today 7.5%) of all German users of postal services. At time it operates in Berlin, Potsdam and Dresden and plans to expand toward Leipzig, München, Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg. This company has already issued for Berlin a number of four privatepostal stamps, as follows:

- 1.00 DM for standard and compact letters till 50 grams
- 2.00 DM for big letters till the B5 format and 1000 grams
- 2.50 DM for Maxiletters till the format B4 and 1000 grams

Another company, Main-Post-Logistik, combines the delivery of newspapers with that of letters. All postal mail is franked by labels with barcodes, instead of postal stamps. The smallest letters cost 0.90 DM (instead of 1.10 DM at Deutsche Post), and the biggest ones 3.00 DM (4.40 DM at DeutschePost).

Sources: SBZ 10/2000 and SBZ 1/2001

Actually it's not such a new history, because many German stamps were issued a long time ago by private organizations. I'll take as example the postal empire of princes Thurn und Taxis, a private postal service that was active between 1852 and 1866 in several German states. Experts of classic German stamps, please correct a topical stamp collector if he's deadly wrong :-)
Posted the 1/8/2001 on RCSD.

On prices and monopolies

Revised: 01/08/01.
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