Rare German stamps have a long and incredible history. Several periods in Germany’s history produced a few of the most valuable rare stamps in the world.
Today, Germany is home to the ten largest stamp auction houses, producing over $300 million in revenue annually.
A few of the most expensive stamps are valuable because they were printed in the wrong color. A mistake that would be worth a massive amount of money later on.
Know Your Rare German Stamps
Some of these stamps have lasted through World War II, making them incredibly rare and of high value. But knowing which stamps are of collector status and worth more than face value can be challenging.
Out of the top four most valuable European stamps in the world, the German Baden 9 Kreuzer makes the cut. It’s no British Guiana 1-cent Magenta but still worth a fortune.
But not all valuable rare stamps come from a pre-war error. They can be divided into sections with stamps as recent as 2016 holding tremendous value.
Rare German Stamps of the Late 1800s
It would help if you went back to the 1800s to find the rarest stamps of German philately. 1849 and 1850 are the start of our quest for valuable German stamps.
One of the first German stamps coveted by devoted stamp collectors is the 1849 One Kreuzer Black, valued at $45,000. It’s also commonly referred to as the Schwarzer Einser.
Originally 832,000 stamps were printed, but almost all were taken out of circulation by 1851, leaving only a few rarities for collectors and Philatelists to scavenge.
1849 One Kreuzer – $45,000
Just a year before, in 1850, the Sachsen 3 Pfennige was released. With up to 4,000 copies existing today, one stamp is worth $38,000. These would be most comparable to the Great Britain Penny Reds.
Sachsen 3 Pfennige – $38,000
But 1851 is a special year. This is the year the first stamp of a particular type would be produced and later worth an insane amount of money.
Baden 9 Kreuzer Error – $1,545,000
This is the famous Baden 9 Kreuzer error. Because only an estimated four copies of this stamp are left worldwide, it has been valued at $1,545,000.
The error that made them so valuable was a mixup during stamp printing, where the sixth and ninth plate numbers were. These stamps were printed green instead of pink.
So how could a simple error make it so valuable?
Only a few stamps were printed before the error was resolved. But the Baden 9 Kreuzer wasn’t the only interesting stamp from this period. Several other valuable stamps of Germany are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Oldenburg ⅓ GR Black – $395,000
Eight years later, in 1859 came the Oldenburg ⅓ GR Black also was issued green. What makes this stamp so attractive is its design.
The Oldenburg issue stamps feature a crown on the top of The Arms of Oldenburg symbol. Ribbons spiral underneath with denominations and the name of the duchy.
While there is predicted to be a block of unused stamps out there, the best philatelic knows there are also the 12 vintage stamps at Heinrich Koehler’s auction as a part of the Erivian Collection in June 2019.
Today, these collectible stamps in good condition are valued at $390,000.
Old Stamps of the 1900s and 2000s
The 1800s offered a lot for German stamp collectors, and the 1900s to 2000s saw no difference.
In 1947 the Deutsche Bundespost became the second-largest federal employee of its time. It was a state-run post service selling many of the stamps we will come to know.
However, a few essential stamps still occurred before that inception.
Valuable German Stamps of the Germania Series
The Germania Series takes place between 1905 and 1922. They are attractive because they were the longest-kept series to date.
They also remained stable during the German Empire and the Weimar Republic political periods.
Three Stages of The German Empire Stamps
The first design was the Reichspost, but it would soon change to Deutsches Reich in 1902. Aside from the obvious lettering on the bottom, the stamp would change from red to yellowish-brown. The numerals also featured a three instead of a ten.
The Deutsches Reich in 1920 had a 2-mark stamp featuring a quatrefoil watermark, making it an incredibly rare stamp. It’s now valued at $65,500.
The Third Reich or German Reich stamps would keep the last name but change to an orange print with numerals seven. These would be the three stages of the Germania stamps.
A brief introduction to the world’s most rare German stamps.
Revenue Stamps Value
Governments issue revenue stamps to collect taxes and fees. Sometimes called a tax stamp, fiscal stamp, or duty stamp, revenue stamps look similar to postage stamps, and in some countries, they can be used interchangeably.
Revenue stamps were used for tobacco, hunting licenses, and even playing cards in the United States.
Germany also used revenue stamps to pay dues to the political party in power. The Third Reich period saw hundreds of uses for revenue stamps, including stamping.
Interesting Audrey Hepburn Edition
Only two sheets survived out of the 14 million Audrey Hepburn commemorative postage stamps issued in 2001. Almost all copies of the stamp were purposefully destroyed because of wrongful publishing.
Now, a single mint example of the stamp is worth $176,000.
The 2016 Kerstfest Stamp
The 2016 Kerstfest error stamp is a highly valuable stamp worth $112,000. One of the most obvious printing errors in all of stamp collecting.
Kerstfest was meant to be spelled Kestfeest. The entire stamp was spelled entirely wrong. Purposefully or accidentally, the misspelling of the Kerstfest created a six-figure collectible.
The 50,000,000 Mark
Thanks to the Weimer Republic, Germany experienced a terrible inflation issue from 1915 to 1924. So, in turn, they began issuing German stamps at the highest denominations they ever had before.
The highest denomination to ever be issued was the 50 million mark stamp. This stamp today is valued very low but holds incredibly historic value.
It was valued relatively high and was bought by Ross Baker to signify the importance of the time.
The Reunification of 1990
After World War I, Germany was divided into West Germany and East Germany. Until the reunification in 1990, different stamps were used for each side. In 1990, a single postage stamp was made to celebrate the reunification.
The words Deutsche Einheit, meaning German Unification, appeared on the stamp, along with the German flag.
The newly joined German states continued to be inscribed with the words Deutsche Bundespost from 1990 onward.
Frequently Asked Questions
While these are a few of the most talked-about German postage stamps, there are still quite a few more that have a significant face value and are desirable for private collections.
It’s easy to get mixed up knowing whether a stamp has collector’s value.
Are All Stamps From Germany During World War II Valuable?
Not all stamps from this period have value. Many stamps were issued during WWII, and most stamps with significant financial value were well before the war or long after.
Online auction sites like eBay feature hundreds of German stamps, some for just a couple of dollars each.
If you’re looking to get started in German stamp collecting, this might be your first place to look.
The more valuable stamps are the German Inflation stamps. As mentioned above, the 50 Million Mark stamp is one of the rarest stamps in the world but has historical value rather than face value.
Other Rare and Valuable German Stamps
1901 Violet Surcharge “Vineta” Provisional – $17,000
1900 Allemagne Deutsches Reich – $13,500
1930 ‘Burg Rheinstein’ German Stamp – $13,000
1875 Deutsche Reichs German Stamp – Post Office Fresh Condition – $4,300
MNH Germany Semi-Postal Overprint Stamp 1935 – $600
Vintage Bavaria Stamps From the 1800s – $450
Berlin Stamp Booklet – $300
Other Stamps Around the World Worth Money
The most expensive stamps in the world are worth millions.
British Guiana 1c Magenta
The British Guiana 1c Magenta is the most expensive stamp in the world. No other stamps come close to it. There was a 1-cent and a 4-cent denomination, both set on magenta paper and imperforate for later cutting.
Don’t postmark your mail with this stamp!
This stamp comes from Sweden, where the error is referred to as the three-schilling banco error of color.
The Sicilian Error of Color
This Italian stamp had many errors, but along with the Treskilling Yellow, it had a color error resulting in a blue stamp rather than yellow. Even with the errors, collectors and philatelia will still pay a huge price for the stamp.
How can I Tell If I Have a Valuable Stamp?
A good start is to check the date and what material was used. Next, find out when the stamp was printed. Whether it is U.S. Stamps, German stamps, or rare old stamps from France, you’ll need to know the issue date first.
Identifying the stamp’s gum and the condition of the perforations will be an essential part of valuing a rare stamp. There is also an app that can help identify valuable stamps called The Stamp Manager.
Tell Us What You Think –
What are your favorite rare German stamps?
Attic Capital – Writer, Editor, and Lifelong Collector
I would love to connect with you, so don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know more about your passion for collecting.