Casey Jones Rail Road Unit of the ATA

>  Back to main RAILWAY STAMPS page  <          
          >  Forward to next page of this exhibit  <

TRAINS on Railway Parcel Stamps and Railway Letter Stamps of the World

Page 4 - Germany


Germany achieved unification late (1871) relative to other major countries in Europe, and relative to the development of railroads. Consequently, there was no national railroad until 1920. Many of the individual states of the German Empire had State railroads (Staatseisenbahnen), but there were also many private railroads, and many of both types had parcel services, and issued parcel stamps, making Germany the second most prolific issuers of railway parcel stamps (Great Britain is the first).

I own a catalogue of these stamps by W. Barr (based on the earlier works of Düsterbehn), with color illustrations, from which I deduce that the earliest were issued in 1876, and the latest around 1942, though most stopped being issued in the late 1920's. The catalogue lists aprox. 140 different stamp-issuing entities, with about 600 different designs, most issued in multiple denominations. A complete collection would run to at least 3,000 items. Unfortunately, only four issues show a train, of which I have two examples - (1) Filderbahn, middle of second row below; (2) Lübeck-Büchener Eisenbahn, last two items in row 3. The ones not shown are (3) Verein der Privatbahnen and (4) Königsberger Kleinbahn und Wehlau-Friedländer Kresibahn. (Nos. 2 & 3 have the same design.) Most other German parcel stamps were generic designs showing the winged wheel of railway parcel service against some ornate background.

1/22/2005 - Horst Brix has informed me that is a more recent (1998), more complete and accurate catalogue of these stamps ( image of cover), by Martin Erler and Fritz Jünke, Katalog der Stempelmarken von Deutschland / Catalogue of the adhesive Revenue Stamps of Germany XVII; subtitle Frachtmarken, Zeitungspaketmarken, Platzkartenmarken, Steuerausgleichsmarken / Freight Stamps, Newspaper Parcel Stamps, Seat Reservation Stamps, Tax Substitute Stamps. The catalogue has 626 pages, is written in German and English and pictures every stamp in black & white. For each of the 134 railroads there is a detailed route description, the length of the specific line, the owner of the railway and the management of the railway, which were often different. There are a lot of additional stamps, which have been found since 1916 (for example, Düsterbehn and Barr show no varieties, while Erler and Jünke show many). This new catalogue is still available from some philatelic literature dealers.

Images, commentary and history below courtesy of Paul Luchter

Alsener Kreisbahn

Badische Staatseisenbahnen

Bayerische Staatseisenbahnen

Bromberger Kreisbahnen

Coln-Bonner Kreisbahnen Rheinuferbahn (Cologne-Bonn District Railway)

• Alsener Kreisbahner. This means Alsen District Railway; a 20 mile long island off Schleswig, ceded to Denmark by pleibiscite 1920. Also included Als Island. Became the German run Amtsbanerne-Påals 1920-1933. The stamp is 1903.

• Baden State Railway to at least 1920 - Express stamp, 1894

• Bayerische Staatseisenbahnen (Royal Bavarian/Bavarian State Railway) - stamp from 1920 ...these must be the most plentiful railway stamps in America, next to Belgium, I bet they were remainders after the fact.

• Bromberg District Railway, stamp from 1910. Bromberg was part of Prussia 1813-1918. Today: Bydgoszcz in Poland

• Coln-Bonner Kreisbahnen Rheinuferbahn (Cologne-Bonn District Railway), stamp #2 for them from 1905.
1/26/2014 - Collector Keith Scholey wrote:

The Cologne-Bonn District Railways, essentially operated a pair of lines between the two cities, one electric (interurban type) - the Rheinuferbahn, and one narrow gauge - the Vorgebirgsbahn (later widened and electrified), and was private enterprise (though the railway companies in Germany almost always had a greater or lesser state contribution). So the CBK wasn't the same as the Rheinuferbahn. It later became the Coln-Bonner Eisenbahn (Cologne-Bonn Railway).

Demmin Narrow Gauge Railway Freight stamp

Eulengebirgsbahn (Owl Mountains Railway)



Halberstadt-Blankenburg Railway

• Demmin Narrow Gauge (West) Railway Freight stamp, 1930

• Eulengebirgsbahn (Owl Mountains Railway) Express stamp, 1909. This was in Germany until 1945, today the mountains are called the Oorysiwie Mountains in Poland

• Filderbahn. This was narrow gauge 3 feet, rails 3 and a third inches wide. 17 miles long south out of Stuttgart to Dederloch and Mohringen, also 6.6 miles standard gauge. Stamp was issued 1898, there was a 10 value in red also 1898, later small generic stamps with the basic design for small railways in Germany, the particular railroad name printed at top.

• Filderbahn, generic design, from 1904.

• Halberstadt-Blankenburg Railway, stamp from 1905. One of the relatively few with the railroad name printed with the stamp (i.e. not an overprint).


Kolberger Kleinbahn

Liegnitz-Rawitscher Railway

Lübeck-Büchener Railway

Lübeck-Büchener Railway

• Jagsttalbahn, (Mockmuhl-Dörzbach, 39 km), from 1904.

• Kolberg Narrow Gauge Railway, 106 kilometer long. Stamp 1929. This one is interesting for two reasons. The Reichsmark value is unusual relative to those I have, i.e. I have none that late.

• Liegnitz-Rawitscher Railway, 1914 stamp. In Prussian Silisia until 1946. Today Legnica & Rawicz in Poland.]

• Lubeck-Buchen Railway, 161 km long, 1905.   (Steam engine in background, behind numerals of denomination)

Mecklenburg Friedrich-Wilhelm Railway

Munich Local Railway Company

K.B. Pfälz. eisenbahnen

Preussisch-Hessische Staatseisenbahnen
Freight stamp

Royal Prussian State Railway

• Mecklenburg Friedrich-Wilhelm Railway, 103 km.   Stamp from 1919.

• Munich Local Railway Company. Stamp from 1904. 108 km long line.

• K.B. Pfälz. Eisenbahnen is the Pfälzische Railway, a 920 km line taken over and merged into the Bavarian State Railway in 1909. Stamp from 1907.

• Royal Prussian State Railway, issued 1906.  The Royal Prussian State Railroad had their own style stamps. After 1903 this railroad was called the Prussian-Hesse (or Hessian?) State Railroad. The latter railway also had some stamps overprinted in black diagonally EXPRESSGUT for Express Goods in the direction between districts Frankfurt and Mainz.

• "Private Railway", underlying stamp issued 1906, overprint from 1912. Royal Prussian State Railway and the later Prussian-Hessian State Railway (post-1903) which is what this stamp was overprinted on.

Prignitz Railway

Rügens Narrow Gauge Railway
Schleswig-Angler Eisenbahn

Trossing Local Railway

• Prignitz Railway, 63 km, earlier 1905 stamps have thinner letters overprint and larger numbers, this one is 1907.

• Rügens Narrow Gauge Railway, 97 km....Note 100 Mark value and 40 Mark Freight surcharge (vertical overprint in violet) Stamp from 1923 (hyper-inflation period)

• Schleswig-Angler Railway, it is from 1877. In 1892 they still had distinctive if smaller stamps.

• Trossing Local Railway, just 5 kilometers long, from 1906

Wurttembergische Nebenbahnen (insc. Wurttembergischen Lokal-Eisenbahnen)

Wurttembergische Nebenbahnen

Wurttemberg Staatsbahnen - Wurttemberg State Railway

• Wurttemberg Local Railway from 1901.

• Wurttemberg Local Railway from 1906/20.

• Wurttemberg State Railway - Stamp from 1917-20

According to Barr,

These stamps were used for two different purposes. The first was to pay the freight on small packages carried by the various lines; the other was for express charges for delivery from the train station to the addressee. Some of the lines issued special stamps for the express service, or overprinted others - with the word "EXPRESS" or "EXPRESSGUT". The requirement for freight stamps was generally dropped in 1921, and for express purposes about 1940.

That reminded me of an exchange I had with Tony Goodbody (Look HERE)

TG: I think it would be perfectly valid to separate the ... German railway stamps into two categories, (i.e. those inscribed "Express" and the others)

WS: So did an express package need two stamps, one for the freight, the other for the delivery?

TG: Surely not - if only because some little railways (the kleinbahner) only used express stamps. Indeed I have a waybill where a 1kg package went for just 10 pfennig paid for by an express stamp. I don't see how Barr can be completely accurate here but he may have had sources of information unknown to me.

WS: I see many stamps are inscribed or overprinted "Express" or "Expressgut". Do those two mean the same?

TG: Yes: in Switzerland they call it "Eilgut."

For a good concise history of German railways GO HERE.


IMPORTANT NOTE: This page is a work-in-progress, subject to revision as I learn more.
If you find errors, please let me know, so I can correct them. Send to .

>  Back to main RAILWAY STAMPS page  <          
          >  Forward to next page of this exhibit  <

All text Copyright © 2004, William M. Senkus

Send feedback to the author: CLICK HERE

Created -- 12/08/2004
Revised -- 01/22/2005