Postage stamps

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Postage stamps are official stamps that are used to collect or offset postal charges (or fees). There are usually four types of postage stamps:

With the internet stamp it is possible to print out postage indicia (virtual stamps) yourself on the computer and thus do without conventional stamps.

German Empire and Federal Republic of Germany


The early and fundamental essay by Josef Kohler on the law of postage stamps from 1892 consistently uses the word “postage stamp” in terms of legal history and legal doctrine . Only on page 19 of his essay does he speak for the first time unsystematically and as a synonym of “postage marks” (p. 334), “postage marks” and “postage marks” (p. 335 f.). The German language dictionaries and encyclopedias took up the term “postage stamps” only later and only occasionally. From this it can be concluded that “postage stamp” was a technical language and rarely used in everyday life in 1892. In colloquial language it does not seem to have gained a firm foothold even later; only a few postal users apparently asked for “postage stamps” at the post office counter.

However, the expression “postage stamps” came about earlier. The book “The customer of postage stamps” already existed in 1888 and in 1892, in which Kohler presented his article, the “Handbook for Postage Stamp Collectors” was already in its 7th edition. The term "postage stamp", therefore, seems to have formed because letter marks were later used to identify the paid fee for other postal services, so that the word 'letter' de facto no longer fully reflect reality: "Since the B [called brand] is also used to frank other mail items as well as telegrams, the designation postage stamps has been officially adopted. ”This established“ postage stamps ”as an umbrella term for“ postage stamps ”.

German Federal Post 1950–1994

The German Federal Post Office was as the authority of the Federal Republic from 1950 to 1994 "official stamps" out; “Postage stamps” was also the official legal term.

“Postage stamp”, “postage stamp” and other names were expressions of everyday and colloquial language or technical jargon at this time.

The sovereign "postage stamps" belonged as money-like to the "official stamps" within the meaning of the Criminal Code (StGB). Their forgery was punished as "counterfeiting of stamps" according to § 148 , § 149 StGB.

German Post AG

As a result of changes to the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany and other regulations, the Deutsche Bundespost, organized under public law, was converted into the private-law " Deutsche Post Aktiengesellschaft " (so-called post-privatization) in 1994 .

As a commercial enterprise under private law, Deutsche Post AG has been selling the postage stamps since 1995, which were issued by the Federal Ministry of Post and Telecommunications from 1995 to 1997 and by the Federal Ministry of Finance since 1998 in accordance with Section 43 of the Postal Act . Today these are “small bearer papers” under civil law according to § 807 BGB . Since then, your forgery is no longer a forgery of stamps, but a forgery of documents according to § 267 StGB.

Deutsche Post AG also offers the opportunity to purchase individually designed postage stamps.


  • Josef Kohler: On the right of the postage stamp. in: Archive for Civil Law Vol. 6, 1892, p. 316 ff.
  • Gerold Schmidt: Postage stamps. in: Concise Dictionary of German Legal History (HRG), III. Volume, Berlin 1984, Sp. 1844 - 1846.

Web links

Wiktionary: Postage stamps  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Kohler 1892; s. Reading list.
  2. a b Meyers Großes Konversationslexikon 1905, Volume 3, pp. 414f., Keyword “ Postage stamp ”.
  3. Judgment of October 11, 2005, Az.XI ZR 395/04. Federal Court of Justice, October 11, 2005, accessed on May 1, 2019 .
  4. Individual stamps