Thurn & Taxis

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Thurn & Taxis is not the name of a country but of a Princely House, Thurn and Taxis won world fame by the privilege of operating a monopoly for postal services in a part of Germany and neighboring countries.
Due to fine and minute drawings, very few of its stamps ever were forged, and even those forgeries are poor. What could not be achieved by forging the stamp itself was made up for by changing and faking cancellations. In the various issues the same design was always used, but paper or colors or methods of separation were changed.
The field of its operations extended to states in both Northern and Southern Germany.
In the Northern States the currency was in silbergroschen while in South Germany it was in kreuzer, thus necessitating two series of stamps.

For more information a postal history is available here (no copyright)

So five different issues are to be found :
1852. First issue: Imperforate. Black print on colored paper.
1859. Second issue: Imperforate . Colored print on white paper.
1862. Third issue : Imperforate. Colored print on white paper.
1865. Fourth issue: Imperforate. Rouletted. Colored print on white paper.
1867. Fifth issue: Imperforate. Rouletted in colored lines. Colored print on white paper

 It is estimated that 1.1 million sheets of 150 each were printed for a total value of 165 Million Marks.

This chart in 000’s give the suggested dates & values

Important forgery note;
All these issues are Typographed; the last two are rouletted. In the fourth issue the rouletting was done later on ; in the fifth issue this process was done along with the impression. As the rouletting lines were included with the plates, the cylinders had to be tightened in order to work out the rouletting.
The consequence was that the stamps were embossed. It is important to know this, for forgers have often tried to fake imperforated copies from the rouletted stamps. The first issues are not embossed , however, and the printing is smooth. If should one come upon an imperforated embossed specimen then it is a trimmed stamp of the final issue.

The 1852-58 Northern District Series

Mi 1 & 2 & 3

Mi 4, 5a & 5b

Mi 6b, 11a & 11b

The 1859-61 Northern District Series

Mi. 13, 14 & 15

Mi 16, 17 & 18

Mi 19

 The 1862-64 Northern District Series

Mi 26, 27 & 28

Mi 29, 30 & 31

The 1865 Northern District Series (rouletted)

35, 36 & 37

Mi 38, 39 & 40

The 1866 Northern District Series

Mi 45, 46 & 47

Mi 48, 49 & 50

 Distinguishing Characteristics of the Genuine Northern Stamps
1852 1/4 Silbergroschen black / red.
1859 1/4 Silbergroschen red-orange/white.
1862 1/4 Silbergroschen black/white.
1865 1/4 Silbergroschen rouletted.

. Between the ornament of the upper left corner and the inscription band a diamond shaped dot is visible.
2. The “F” of “Freimarke” is not in contact with any part of the design.
3. In the upper right and lower left corners there is a small circle.
3a. Between the upper right end of the frame around the inscription and the right frame line, there is a wedge which terminates in two lines.
4. The shading line next to the vertical limb of the “4” forms a sharp angle at the horizontal limb of the “4.”
5. From the. shading at the horizontal limb of the “4,” three background lines are curved away from the “4”
6. In the lower right and upper left corners are lines or semicircles, instead of small circles.
7. The lower spur of the “G” in “Grosch.” is split & the top opening of the “G” is wider at the top.

1852. 1/3 Silbergroschen black/gray-brown.
1862. 1/3 Silbergroschen green/white.
1865, 1867. 1/3 Silbergroschen rouletted.

1. Between the corner ornament and the upper inscription band on the left, there is a diamond-shaped dot.
2. On the right of the upper left shield bearing the value, a dot appears near the frame line of the inscription band.
3. The “h” in “Grosch.” is narrower than the other letters.
4. The end stroke of the “G” in “Grosch.” is split.
5. The fraction line of the declaration of value in the lower inscription is curved.
6. The fraction line in the bottom right & top left are vertical, the other 2 are horizontal.

1852. 1/2 Silbergroschen black / gray.
1859. 1/2 Silbergroschen green/white.
1862. 1/2 Silbergroschen orange/white.
1865, 1867. 1/2 Silbergroschen rouletted.

1. In the posthorn of the upper left corner there is a dot .
2. A curved semi circle line with a shaped large dot to the bottom right.
3. The inner line on the right of the frame of the centerpiece is interrupted .
4. In the upper right corner of the bottom right shield bearing the value, a light dot appears in the upper continuation of the fraction line.
5. A break or breaks are typical in this area

1852. 1 Silbergroschen light blue, dark blue .
1859. 1 Silbergroschen blue/white.
1862. 1 Silbergroschen carmine-red.
1865, 1867 1 Silbergroschen rouletted.

1. A prominent line instead of a dot
2. The tassel under the posthorn in the right upper corner is shaded.
3. In the lower right corner , in the shield bearing the value, the serif of the small “1” touches the frame line.
4. In the tassel of the posthorn, in the lower right corner, there is a dash.
5. In front of the mouth of the posthorn in the lower right corner there is a dot.
6. In the corners are small complete circles.
7. There is a line inside the tassel of the posthorn in the lower left corner.
8. Between the corner ornament and the inscription band at the top left there is a diamond-shaped dot.

1852. 2 Silbergroschen black/rose.
1859. 2 Silbergroschen carmine-red/white.
1862. 2 Silbergroschen blue/white.
1865, 1867. 2 Silbergroschen rouletted.

1. There is a prominent dot at the bottom right of the small “2”
2. Instead of a dot, we have a cross here.
3. This space is blank, no dot or shape.

1852. 3 Silbergroschen black/yellow.
1859. 3 Silbergroschen brown-red/white.
1862. 3 Silbergroschen reddish-bister/white.
1865, 1867. 3 Silbergroschen Rouletted olive bister.

1. There is a large prominent dot in the top of the top left posthorn.
2. There is no shape or dot in this space.
3. The top of the crest has a partial outer frame.
4. There is a prominent dash right of the posthorn opening.

1859. 10 Silbergroschen orange/white.

1. There are two horizontal lines at the first vertical limb of the “F” in “Freimarke.”
2. The “k” in “Freimarke” touches the wavy lines above it with one or two spurs.
3. The right ornament line of the inscription band has two spurs one left horizontal and a vertical bottom one.
4. In the coil of the posthorns there are three or four dots.

5 . The “G” in “Grosch.” is flattened at the bottom on its left side.

The 1852-58 Southern District Series

Mi 7a, 7b & 8

Mi 9a, 10a Type II & 10b Type II

Mi 9 Type IA and IB. The “s” of “Deutsch” is taller in the 1B

Mi 10 Type I & II. The “s” of “Deutsch” is taller in the Type II and the letters below are joined at the top.

Mi 12a & 12b

The 1859-61 Southern District Series

Mi 20, 21 & 22 Type Ia

Mi 23 Type I, 23 Type II & 24

Mi 25

The 1862-64 Southern District Series

Mi 32 & 33

Mi 34 Type I & Type II

The 1865 Southern District Series

Mi 41 & 42

Mi 43 Type I & 44 Type I

The 1866 Southern District Series

Mi 51, 52 & 53

Mi 54 Type I 7 54 type II

Distinguishing Characteristics of the Genuine Southern District Stamps
1852. 1 Kreuzer black /green.

1859. 1 Kreuzer green/white.
1865. 1 Kreuzer yellow-green, rouletted.

1. The serif is separated from the main body of the “1”
2. The hook ornament is generally broken
3. There are 5 turns in the top right posthorn.
4. This posthorn has a blank space in the turnings with a small partial turn showing.
5. There is a thick vertical line terminating in three points at the top. The points may be obscured on some with heavy inking.

1852. 3 Kreuzer black/light or dark blue .
1859. 3 Kreuzer blue/white.
1862. 3 Kreuzer carmine-red.
1865, 67. 3 Kreuzer carmine, rouletted.

1. The bottom loop of the “3” is much wider than the top. On the left “3” they are fairly even. The object below the right 3 is composed of 3 horizontal lines.
2. There is only 2 turns on this posthorn with a partial one in between.
3. The “3” has a prominent colored dot in the right side of the bottom curve. The top left of the “3” has a bulge in the top.

4. The same bulge applies to the larger “3”

1852. 6 Kreuzer black /rose.
1859. 6 Kreuzer carmine-red.
1862. 6 Kreuzer blue.
1865, 67. 6 Kreuzer blue, rouletted.

1. The 2 curved objects have no shading lines
2. The “k” has no top left spur as with other values.
3. This curve has no shading lines.
4. The first “e” is much narrower than the second one.
5. All the curves on the left side have no shading lines.
6. There is a prominent white dot here.

1852. 9 Kreuzer black/ yellow.
1859. 9 Kreuzer yellow / white.
1862. 9 Kreuzer bister.
1865, 67. 9 Kreuzer bister, rouletted.

1. The top left “9” is much narrower in the bottom curve than the top right one.
1a. There is a prominent dash here.
2. There are 2 partial turns in this posthorn.
3. There are 2 dots here.
4. The 2 curves have no shading lines

30 Kreuzer orange.

1. The “s” in “Deutsch” is much longer than the one in “Postverein”
2. The tip of the ’3” is rounded
3. Between the “3” and “0” there is a white spot.
4. The “K” is inclined to the right and joined at the bottom with the “r”


Given the intricate designs, forgeries are not common and most are easily spotted. The forgers had easier options as we will see.

It should also be noted that the genuine characteristics do not always apply to all specimens.  Wear on the plates, inking and other issues can all contribute to making inspection difficult.

This is a decent forgery (right) with many of the original traits. However, the background lines do not match the original (left). The main features are the very small, indistinct 1/4 numerals

A very crude forgery with all the genuine features missing.

Fournier made a complete set but they are crude and lack the genuine traits

Left, a genuine perfed by the Senf Bros. Creating a bogus stamp
Right a crude forgery, note that the curl in the foot of the “1” is more pronounced than the genuine.


The second troublesome issue for collectors are the reprints apparently produced in 1909.
As complete sheets of a number of values were no longer to be found in the archives of the Princely Domain of Thurn and Taxis, it was decided to produce the missing values anew from the original plates. On the whole, some 7500 sets of reprints were produced, namely, values necessary to fill up the need for complete sheets. These included;

1852., 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 , 1 , 2, 3 Silbergroschen. 1, 3, 6, 9 Kreuzer.
1853. 1 Silbergroschen. 3 Kreuzer.
1859. 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2, 3 Silbergroschen. 1, 3, 6, 9 Kreuzer.
1862. 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 1, 2, 3 Silbergroschen. 3, 6, 9 Kreuzer.
1865. 1/2, 1 Silbergroschen. 1 Kreuzer.

In all 33 values.
At the same time 25 sheets of each of the 10sgr, 15kr and 30kr were printed in black on blue paper.
The colors of the reprints differ greatly from those of the originals. They are stronger and fuller. Also the paper is of a more modern kind, stronger, shiny or glazed. There are small differences in the elements when compared to the originals. Each reprint, furthermore, has the letters “ND” (Neudruck) in violet color on the back, and are not gummed. I have heard (unconfirmed) that the ND may not be on all sheets and it may be chemically removed on individual stamps.
Cost about $100-$150 if bought as a complete set. Individuals are $5-$7.

“ND” on reverse of reprints

Above, originals left, reprints right.

A set of reprints

Forged Cancels (Fakes)

This is the biggest problem facing collectors.
As many of these stamps are worth far more used, the forgers took the readily available remainders and produced fake cancels.
Not only are the cancels more valuable but many collectors specialized in acquiring the cities represented by the numeral cancels. Some of these can be quite rare and bring even more value.
Of course, the clarity, centering and location of the cancels adds even more value.

Although not conclusive, some features of genuine cancels include;
1. The numerals are well formed and consistent
2. The numerals do not touch the ring and are centered
3. The numerals are often curved with long serifs
4. The end balls on numerals such as 5, 6, 9 tend to be large
5. Serifs on the stem of 1, 7 tend to be long on both sides
6. The rings tend to be even, not blotchy and evenly spaced

A few examples – forgeries on the right

Genuine Cancels