Michel catalog

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Michel stamp catalog Europe from 1955 bound in linen
Some Michel catalogs 2006–2011

The Michel catalogs are German-language stamp catalogs that are considered a standard work among philatelists and, due to the high level of detail, are also very widespread in foreign-language countries. In addition to postage stamp catalogs, Michel catalogs on postmarks, postal stationery , letters, coins and telephone cards were also published .


The Michel catalogs emerged from the extensive price lists and catalogs of the stamp dealer Hugo Michel in Apolda, which opened in 1906 (from 1909 Weimar ). Since the sale of the rights (1919) to the Schwaneberger Verlag in Leipzig (today in Unterschleißheim near Munich), the Michel has appeared as an independent catalog work, for the first time in 1920 in two volumes, "Europe" and "Übersee". Since then, the number of volumes has been growing steadily - in line with the growing global stamp production . Schwaneberger Verlag received one of the three undorted awards of the German Publishing Prize in 2019 .

Stamp catalogs

Advertisement from 1955 from a stamp booklet of the Deutsche Bundespost

Michel catalogs contain information on the officially issued postage stamps of all countries in the world, mostly by state postal administrations. This also includes postage stamps issued by countries or territories that were not recognized by the Universal Postal Union but operated or still operate a postal service. Postage stamps from private postal services are listed in separate catalogs.

To supplement the catalogs, Schwaneberger Verlag publishes the "Michel-Rundschau" monthly , which lists and evaluates new publications as well as informs about changes in the evaluation of older stamp issues and contains a detailed text section with current information and technical articles.

Evaluation (Michel value)

For each stamp two columns are provided, in mint and canceled condition, in the case of the GDR there is still a column for courtesy cancellation , in the case of the Federal Republic not (although these occur much more often there).

The price quotations in the Michel catalog, which collectors and dealers give as the so-called "Michel value" on the stamp market, are often criticized in collectors' circles , as they are often significantly higher than average market prices. The Michel quotations are said to result from the maximum price of a postage stamp in stores.

The catalog value is not suitable for evaluating special cancellations, such as requirement stamps from smaller Berlin post offices in the Berlin collection area , as the stamp is only evaluated once in the catalog as canceled without going into details.


Germany catalogs

In addition to the standard catalog for Germany, there is a special catalog that appears annually in two volumes, as well as a junior catalog specially designed for young philatelists.

Europe catalogs

The division of the countries into the volumes has changed several times, the designation of the regions follows its own rules and only partially corresponds to the terms: Serbia can be found under "Southern Europe", Greece under "Southeast Europe".

The European catalogs (EK) are divided into seven volumes in 2018:

Overseas catalogs

These catalogs appear approximately every three to five years, with individual volumes being revised and edited on an ongoing basis. Ten volumes are available in 2018, each of which will appear in two separate volumes.

There are some simplifications compared to the European catalogs. In principle, no circulation figures are given. In individual countries (especially those where the actual postal use is questionable for the majority of the issues), only one value is shown for stamp sets. In a few countries there is no illustration at all.

Special catalogs

In addition to these regularly published catalogs, there is also a large number of special catalogs in which individual collection areas are cataloged more precisely. More detailed information on varieties, different perforations and, for example, the cataloging of first day stamps are made here. Special catalogs for Austria as well as Switzerland and Liechtenstein appear annually, others are published at irregular intervals.

Motif catalogs

Special catalogs containing postage stamps on a specific subject are also issued. Motif themes can be birds, trains, ships and so on, for example. However, the quality of the selection is often heavily criticized.

Catalogs in foreign languages

Some catalogs are also offered in English, either in addition to the German version or in parallel in two languages.


Under the label "Michelsoft", the data of some collection areas are also available in the form of a software catalog on CD.

An “online stamp catalog”, which is subject to a fee, has been available since 2003 with almost all 750,000 stamps (as of February 2017) from around the world. There are also over 2 million price quotes and over 700,000 high-resolution postage stamp images. The online catalog is available in three different offers (Standard, Premium and Plus), each with an annual subscription. There is also an online catalog on the topic of coins with around 1500 entries of German coins from 1871 onwards. Basically only the data from the standard catalogs are included. The data is updated weekly.

Since October 12, 2009, the publisher has been running the MICHEL community with forums, blogs, a picture gallery and a swap forum. In addition to user content, editorial contributions with the latest from the world of philately are also offered.


  • Wolfgang Maassen : 100 years of MICHEL catalogs - a hundred-year success story (continuation article). In: philately , from issue no.385, July 2009.
  • Wolfgang Maassen: From first albums and catalogs to world-class publishers. Publishing house Phil Creativ, Schwalmtal 2010, ISBN 978-3-932198-87-8 .
  • Peter Fischer: Michel - the catalog that came from Apolda. In: Deutsche Briefmarken-Zeitung . Issue No. 13/2007, p. 52.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Complete program 2016/2017 of Schwaneberger Verlag. On Briefmarken.de, accessed on February 4, 2017.
  2. As of October 2014 there were around 669,000 stamps.
  3. MICHEL-Online. The great reference work for postage stamps and coins. On Briefmarken.de, accessed on February 3, 2017.
  4. As of October 2014 there were around 1200 coin entries with around 19,000 price quotations and around 2200 images.

Web links