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When postage stamps were introduced in Mecklenburg-Schwerin on July I, 1856, there were 68 post offices. Three of them, Gustrow, Rostock and Schwerin, were main post offices (“Oberpostamter”), which supervised the other post offices. Only three new post offices were opened during the stamp period, so that there were 71 post offices on December 31, l867.
In addition to that there were eight post offices in railroad stations where post offices in the towns proper functioned; they were considered branch post offices.
There were traveling post offices on the main line from Hagenow to Rostock and on several supplementary lines.
The postal service was supervised by the Ministry of Finances and directed by a General Postal Directorate
In 1856, the number of pieces of mail was about 2.75 millions, therefore about 40,000 per post office and 4.5 per head of population.
Mecklenburg-Schwerin had several post offices on foreign. soil, namely at Hamburg, where the post office was opened in 1674 and closed on December 3l, 1867, with the only interruption during the French occupation, 1809 to 1814.
These postmarks are sought after.
The “ox-head” stamps of Mecklenburg-Schwerin are among the smallest in the world. The whole stamp is divided in four parts and could be used in the quarter form. Most of the forgeries of these stamps are produced by lithography, whereas the originals were typographed.
The valuable Mi 4 4/ 4 Schilling rouletted stamp was faked from the cheap values of the issue by means of faked rouletting, or the addition, by painting on, of the dots.
Common forged Fournier cancels include;
‘ROSTOCK 4/2 BAHNHOF’ in a double circle
‘DOMITZ 6 1’ in a double circle
‘BREITENSEE 17/12 52’ in a single circle
‘PETSCHAU 1/6 56’ in a single circle
‘WISMAR 13/11’ in a double circle
‘MALCHIN 3 6’ in a double circle
‘ROSTOCK15 6 3-4’ in a double
‘GUSTROW 22 10’ in a double circle
‘MIROW 17 8-67’ in a rectangle
‘NEUSTRELITZ 12 9’ in a single circle
‘WISMAR 13 11’ in a double circle (second ‘1’ in ’11’ slanting backwards)
‘SCHWERIN BAHNHOF 1 8’ in a double circle
L1 MARLOW 13-1
K2 ROSTOCK 17/6
K2 WISMAR 9/5
K2 WISMAR 2/12
Mi 1 – 1856. Ox-head surrounded by inscription. Dotted background.
4 / 4 Schilling red.
Paper: Thin to medium heavy.
dark gray red
Qty printed: 756,000 (Krotsch 1896)
1 . The end stroke of the first ” R” in “FREIMARKE” is prolonged and touches the frame line.
2. “MA” and “AR” in “FREIMARKE” are joined at the bottom.
3. The last row on the right consists of fourteen dots.
4. A dot touching the head to the right of the ox’s eye.
5. The dots are event spaced and in line
6. The ring beneath the ox’s mouth does not come into contact with the frame line; underneath the ring a horizontal line and a small vertical line touching the frame line.
7. There is a dot behind “MECKLENB.” in middle between the “B” and the inner frame line.
8. There are five dots between the tips of the two horns.
9. Before the “l” in “1/4” in the upper left corner, a little dash touching the frame line.
10. A circular dot at the junction of the horn
Four dots on the right, and four dots on the left side of the tips of the horns.
Mi 4 – 1864 June/July
dark gray red. Dotted background.
Paper: finely ribbed
Forgeries are generally the Mi 5b with painted on perfs & dots plus being chemically altered.
On June 12th, 1864, a supply of 500 sheets (60,000 stamps) of the 4/4sch stamp was ordered from Berlin and delivered early in July.
The printers took t upon themselves to roulette the stamps in this supply and as the innovation was approved by the Mecklenburg authorities.
This rouletting necessitated a new arrangement of the little electrotypes. The groups of four were arranged with a space of 3 mm. between them, which allowed of a rouletting in line between each group.
The small quantity printed makes this stamp one of the higher CV German States stamp.
Mi 5 – 1864 September
5a Finely ribbed paper 400,000
5b Ordinary paper 820,000
Date. Sheets. Value. Stamps
Aug. 10, 1864. 4,000 4/4sch 400,000
Jan. 9, 1866. 5,000 4/4sch 500,000
Feb. 23, 1867. 2,000 4/4sch 200,000
Aug. 24, 1867. 1,200 4/4sch 120,000
For a total of 1,220,000
Special features of the Mi 5 that can be seen if an Mi 5 was altered to fake an Mi 4. These features can vary.
1. Break in frame line
2. Prominent eyelashes
3. Bottom left “4” tends to be larger, fraction generally does not touch the frame. The break in the line
4. The bottom of the “E’s” are wider than the top
5. This end tends to be closed off or the vertical frame line joins the main frame line.
6. The left side is generally more shaded.
7. The “r” generally extends to the frame.
8. The Bottom of this “S” tends to be wider than the top
9. The left horn tends to not be open and not pointed.
The high CV Mi4 is often forged either from the 4/4 Schilling value of 1856, or the 4/4 Schilling value of 1864.
The effort to produce the valuable 4/ 4 Schilling value of 1864 was made by using faked rouletting on the 4/4 Schilling stamp of 1856.
However, the stamp grows smaller through this process.
The genuine stamp measures 241/2 mm. from roulette to roulette. Any specimen measuring otherwise must be regarded as a forgery.
Also the Mi4 4/ 4 Schilling, rouletted, is on laid paper
It is only necessary, therefore, to hold the stamp against the light to see whether or not the paper is laid. If not, it is generally a forgery.
And if the dots of the center piece cannot stand up to an immersion in warm water, one can be convinced that they are painted on.
Fournier also sold forgeries of these stamps (first and second choice forgeries are offered in his 1914 price list)
Although the above was listed by Fournier it was probably produced by the Spiro Bros.
The cancel with no date shows up on others German state forgeries as shown below.
Mi 2a & 2b
Coat of arms and crown surrounded by inscription.
3 Schilling brown-yellow, orange.
Imperforate. Rouletted 12 ( Mi 7 – 1864). Typographed.
Between June 9, 1856 and Dec. 16, 1856, 438,000 stamps were delivered
In September, 1865, the 3 schillinge appeared rouletted 111/2 like the other values.
The original plate of 1856 was used so that the stamps have smaller margins than those of the 5sch of the last issue which were printed in sheets of 100.
A supply consisting of 800 sheets, or 96,000 stamps was delivered on August 16th.
There was little room for the roulette lines, the size of the completed stamps being 23mm. square.
When a new supply was required in 1867 the plate was reconstructed so that it contained 100 stamps like that of the 4/4sch and 5sch.
These were so spaced that the stamps now measure a trifle more than 24 mm. square.
Two printings, each of 20,000 stamps, were made and these were delivered on July 11th and August 24th, 1867, respectively.
1. Numerals are well formed and do not touch the frame. The upper right “3” is slightly thinner than the lower left one.
2. The arches of the crown consist of from left to right, 8, 10, 6, 10, 8 pearls. The crown is uniformly balanced.
3. There are 3 full diamonds, 2 half diamonds at the end and one small pearl between each diamond.
4. The right shield corner is rounded, the left is pointed.
5. Tip of left horn open, right one slightly
6. Small ring at crest – important trait
7. Pointed left side.
8. “R & E” generally joined at bottom.
9. Left eye is more detailed than the right one.
10. Small opening here
11. Serif of “E” point down to the right.
12. Bridge on both sides of venter.
Left probable Spiro
1. Shape wrong, touching frame, lack of center bar
2. Small serifs on letters
3. Crown poorly defined
4. No ring
5. Very wide “3”
1. “3” touching frame
2. “B” very close to dot
3. No opening
4. Poorly shaped cross
5. Several breaks in frame
Fournier 1st class left, genuine right. This would fool most collectors
The forgery faults are primarily in the size of the serifs
Some lack of detail in the crown. Pointed ends on both sides of the shield
Mi 3 & Mi 8
Same design as before.
5 Schilling blue. Imperforate. Typographed.
5 Schilling brown. Rouletted 12. Typographed.
The color scheme for the Mecklenburg-Schwerin stamps was an unusual one, being based on the national colors, red, yellow and blue. The idea to use these three colors was the reason that the first issue was restricted to three denominations, namely 1s (4/4s) red, 3s yellow and 5s blue.
In 1864, to conform with the regulations of the German-Austrian Postal Union, which prescribed brown for the equivalent of the 3s denomination, the 5s stamps changed their color to brown.
Note that the left “5” is not as curved as the right one & the others. The bottom of the curve stays relatively flat before arching upwards.
1. The dot is prominent and well centered between the “B” and the frame.
2. The top serif points down to the right.
3. 5 well rounded pearls. The bottom one shows a break in the two dozen or so samples I have seen so this may be a constant flaw?
4. Small opening here.
5. Well defined bridge.
6. Shadow only on the left side of the features.
The Mi 8 can be found in 3 paper formats
approx. 24.7 x 24.6 mm, plain paper
approx. 24.7 x 24.6 mm, very thick paper
approx. 23,5 x 23 mm. ribbed paper
Left, Sperati very well done
1. Dent in frame line
2. Break in frame
3. Bottom frame line not in line with middle one.
4. Break in “5”
1.”5” too much curvature
2. Several minor faults, shadows too light.
3. 4. “H” and “N” too inclined.
Mi 6a & b
Coat of arms with crown.
2 Schilling lilac-carmine ( 1866) , lilac-gray ( 1867) .
Rouletted 12 Typographed.
When the new denomination, 2s, was introduced,the stamps were printed in violet.
The inks used were fairly uniform, and not many varieties are recorded, except for the 2s. This stamp was printed in violet, but due to deterioration of this ink, the last printing of this stamp, issued only in the last quarter of 1867, had a gray violet color which is very different from the first printing. This variety has a CV of 10 x the earlier version. Chemical alteration is the word of caution for this variety.
This issue has all the same traits as the 3s with a few added features.
1. The bottom tail points to the right, the right “2” point down (see below)
2. The top left serif of the “K” generally shows a break.
3. The 3rd pearl from the bottom has a dot in the center.
This specimen from an auction is noted as a 6b with trimmed perfs.
Postmasters and the public were so used to cutting the stamps with scissors that they continued to do so when rouletted stamps were introduced. This is the reason that rouletted stamps are often found with the roulette clipped on one or more sides – excerpt from old stamp journal
Left, forgery – right, genuine
An excellent forgery, probably by Sperati
1. The lower tip does not point right and the frame line above it is disturbed.
2. Very thin serif.
3. Dot missing
4. Very inclined letters.
A few last crude examples from one seller that were priced as genuine specimens.
Mecklenburg-Schwerin having joined the North German Confederation, its special stamps were superseded on January 1st, 1868, by the general issue for the Confederation.
Late in the same year or early in 1869 the remainders were purchased from the Post Office by Mr. G. Schnelle, of Schwerin for the apparent sum of $75.00.
These consisted of the following:
2sch lilac, 15,000 stamps
3sch yellow, 18,800 stamps
5sch bistre, 3,000 stamps
4/4sch red, 36,500 stamps
1sch red, 26,400
2sch lilac, 25,000
5sch bistre, 2,400
He apparently resold them to collectors for $2.40/100. A good time to buy some considering this lot would now easily fetch $1,500,000
I do not believe that there are known reprints of any of the Mecklenburg-Schwerin stamps.