Special postmark

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Excerpts from stamp standards for special stamps

Special postmarks are all officially recognized postmarks for the cancellation of postage stamps that are only used for a specific occasion. A special postmark is issued at a post office set up for the occasion , on mail that is sent through a letter boxwas delivered at the event or otherwise (e.g. by post) stamped on the stamps presented to the office responsible for the cancellation. The stamp can be used for one day, for the duration of the event or for a longer period of time. Several stamps can also be used during an event, even on different days. For collectors, the head post office usually keeps the special postmark ready for a few days for re-stamping.

Norms for special postage stamps until 1978


The first known special cancellation was issued in Great Britain on the occasion of the International Exhibition in 1862. In Germany, the first special postmark is the one that was used on the occasion of the Cologne exhibition in 1875.

Since 1935 there has been a stamp standard in Germany, also for special postmarks, of the Reichspostzentralamt der Reichspost, similar to that of the Institute for Post and Telecommunications of the Deutsche Post of the GDR (1955) and the Posttechnisches Zentralamt in Darmstadt (1957). Changes in the following period included the introduction of postcodes (1962 in the FRG) or the design of special stamps, also in oval form from 1971.

In the Federal Republic of Germany, special postmarks have mostly been oval in shape since 1971 , and round shapes have been in use since then, especially for first day cancellations . Free forms were rarer, but since the beginning of the 2000s, stamps in the shape of a coat of arms have been more common in Germany and, with the relaxation of the regulations since 2005, more and more rectangular or hexagonal forms.


A distinction is made in Germany between “general special stamps” and “special special stamps”.

Strict rules apply to the design with regard to grid, font and font size, in particular a standardized font must be used for the postal information (place name, zip code and date).


Philatelic value

Special postmarks were an exception until the first half of the 20th century, so stamps that were canceled with these were valued higher. From the second half of the 20th century the number of postmarks and cancellations increased sharply, as did the number of "philatelic documents" such as first day sheets and first day covers. The decline in the number of stamp collectors led to a glut of corresponding receipts on the market, so that receipts and postage stamps with special postmarks are on the market in greater numbers, sometimes more than neatly canceled ones from genuine mail. The popularity as collector's items for philatelists is therefore likely to have fallen sharply.

Web links

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


  • Deutsche Reichspost: Annex to Official Gazette Order 155/1931


  1. ^ Deutsche Reichspost (1935), Reichspostzentralamt, stamp classification, inscription, section RPZ 427481/1
  2. Harry Boog: "The stamps from the post office Blankenburg / Harz", 1808–2002. ISBN 3-927828-61-0 . therein: 1955 Deutsche Post der GDR, Institute for Post and Telecommunications, day stamp, IPF 427482/1, p. 14, 51 and 55, replacement for RPZ standard sheet 427482/1
  3. 1957 Deutsche Bundespost (1957), Posttechnisches Zentralamt Ref. 1 B, day stamp PTZ 1341.03, replacement for RPZ standard sheet 427482/1
  4. Deutsche Bundespost (1962), Posttechnisches Zentralamt Ref. IH, provisional determination of day stamps of 28.5 mm diameter with new post code, stamp images, inscription, cut
  5. Deutsche Bundespost (1971), Posttechnisches Zentralamt Ref. A 16, special and advertising postmarks, provisions, successor from 1962, complete revised, special oval shaped postmark added
  6. Deutsche Bundespost (1978), Posttechnisches Zentralamt Ref. A 16, special and advertising stamps, provisions, successor from 1971, change: advertising stamps in oval form now conditionally permitted