A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar


A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. Interested? So into the Blues...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Poland

1919 Scott 71 1k olive gray & carmine "Polish Eagle"
Quick History
No country has been ripped apart, and put back together as many times as Poland.

The development of the Polish state, and the conversion to Christianity occurred in 966.

The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025.

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was formed in 1569.


The Commonwealth was partitioned by Prussia, Russia, and Austria-Hungary in 1792-95
Then the Commonwealth was dismembered by Prussia, Russia, and Austria-Hungary between 1792-95, each taking a piece.

Poland, except for a brief Napoleonic renaissance, ceased to exist for 123 years.

Poland 1922-1938
After WW I, Poland was reconstituted as the Second Polish Republic.

Independence was achieved on November 9, 1918.

The stamps reflected this euphoria, with themes such as "Sower and Rainbow of Hope", and "Sun breaking out of Darkness". 

The Capital was Warsaw, and the population was 34,700,000 in 1939.

Germany and the Soviet Union divided and annexed all of Poland 1939-41
But with a secret agreement in hand, Nazi Germany invaded and occupied the western portion of Poland on September 1, 1939, while the Soviet Union occupied the rest.

Poland lost 20% of it's population, with 3 million Jews and 3 million Poles killed or murdered.

Poland 1945
Red- annexed from Germany; Gray-Blue-annexed by Soviet Union
Poland was reconstituted after WW II with the western section (red) added from Germany, but the eastern section (gray-blue) was removed by the Soviet Union.

Poland then fell under the sphere of the Soviet bloc, as the Yalta Conference permitted the formation of a pro-communist Polish government.

Yet the Solidarity party won the elections in 1989, which initiated the democracy movement in eastern Europe.

Incredible history. Let's look at the stamps.

1919 Scott 132 5k slate blue "Polish Cavalryman"
For Southern Poland
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Poland (besides one stamp for 1860) 1915-1941, 683 major descriptive numbers. Of those, 476 are CV <$1-$1+, or 70%- a remarkably high number. Clearly, for the WW classical collector, Poland is a bargain.

Because there will be only one blog post for Poland, I have elected to concentrate on the earlier issues.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Kopecks = 1 Ruble
100 Fenigi = 1 Marka (1918)
100 Halerzy = 1 Korona (1918)
100 Groszy = 1 Zloty (1924)
1918 Scott 13 25f on 10gr rose & buff "Polish Eagle"
Just eight days after Independence, on November 17, 1918, these surcharged Warsaw Local Post stamps were released. There are four stamps in the issue, and CV is <$1-$4+.

"Counterfeits exist"

In fact, other surcharged/overprinted stamps from Lublin (1918 Austrian Military Semi-Postal stamps), and Cracow (1916-18 Austrian stamps) have been "extensively counterfeited". Caveat Emptor.

1918-19 Scott 25 40pf lake & black
On 1916-17 German Occupation Stamp N15
An eleven stamp set was produced on December 5, 1918 (first printing) and January 15,1919 (second printing) by overprinting/ surcharging German occupation stamps. The two printings can be distinguished by the middle two bars being 3 1/2 mm and 4 mm apart respectively.

Although the CV for eight stamps is <$1, "counterfeits exist".

1919 Scott 65 10h lake "Polish Eagle"
On February 25, 1919, an imperforate eleven stamp set featuring the Polish Eagle was lithographed in Cracow.

CV is very inexpensive (<$1), except for the 6h orange (>$20).

Crudely printed forgeries exist, but some of the genuines were also badly printed. But the issue has some vertical and horizontal rows of dots outside the margins, probably serving as a cutting guide for these imperforate stamps. Fortunately, according to Varro Tyler (Focus on Forgeries-2000), the dots are about 0.2 mm in diameter in the genuines, while 0.5 mm in diameter in the forgeries.

1919 Scott 78 10pf on 7 1/2pf, Green Surcharge
On September 15, 1919, two German stamps were surcharged in red or green, and used as a provisional issue for use in Gniezno. "Counterfeit Surcharges Abound". If real, this stamp has a CV way north of $100.

The stamp is signed on the back (in pencil) as authentic by a known expert of these stamps. This is fairly commonly seen for stamps from Europe that have passed through an "expert's hands" in past times. Unfortunately, "expert" marks or signatures are forged too. Therefore, I would need to send this specimen for a certificate these days.

1919 Scott 81 3f bister brown "Polish Eagle"
For Northern Poland
An imperforate and perforate issue ( each given a major number) for Northern Poland and Southern Poland was released January 27, 1919. The Northern Poland issue is characterized by "F" and "M" denominations (Fenigi, Marka). The imperforate issue for Northern Poland (shown here) had 12 stamps.

1919-20 Scott 105 1.50m deep green "Peace"
For Northern Poland
The perforate issue for Northern Poland (example shown here) had 15 stamps.

I believe this is the "peace" stamp, rather than the "agriculture" stamp, as labeled in my Scott catalogue.

1919 Scott 114 24h light blue "Eagle and Fasces"
For Southern Poland
The Southern Poland issue (Denominations-  Halerzy, Korona) was likewise issued imperforate and perforate. The Imperforate issue has 12 stamps.

1919 Scott 131 2.50k dark violet ""Agriculture"
For Southern Poland
The perforate issue for Southern Poland also had 12 stamps.

I think this is the "agriculture" rather than the "peace" design, as Scott has in the catalogue.

1919 Scott 134 15f brown red "Paderewski"
For the First National Assembly of Poland, a seven stamp issue was released between 1919-20.

Ignacy Jan Paderewski was a Polish concert pianist, patriot, and advocate for Polish independence.

I can't help but think how times have changed. Can you imagine a classical music concert pianist having a large voice in the independence movement today, to say nothing about being a sex symbol?

1960 United States "Champions of Liberty" stamp
Paderewski also appeared on a U.S. stamp in 1960 at the height of the cold war.

1919 Scott 147 10m brown red "Polish Cavalryman"
General Issue
Finally, a general issue for all of Poland was released - nine stamps- in 1919.

Torun is a city in northern Poland on the Visula River.

1920 Scott 149 1m red "Polish Eagle"
Type of 1919 Redrawn
A redrawn design from the 1919 issue- six stamps- was released between 1920-22. The "Poczta" script is smaller, while the denomination letters are larger.

1921 Scott 155 15m light brown 
"Sower and Rainbow of Hope"
A three stamp set with the above allegorical design was issued in 1921. This was for the occasion of signing a peace treaty with Russia. Poignant, knowing what would lay ahead in 18 years.

1921 Scott 157 3m blue 
"Sun (Peace) Breaking into Darkness (Despair)
A seven stamp issue was released in 1921 to commemorate the Constitution. A lovely three design allegorical set, reflecting the hopes of the Polish people. It is hard to view this stamp set without thinking of the dark future for millions of Poles and Polish Jews that would occur during WW II.

Deep Blue
1919-20 National Assembly Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 57 pages for Poland, and covers the German occupation through 1941, as does the 1840-1940 Scott classic catalogue.  At least my pages do. It is possible- (I don't remember)- that I may have used some pages from Steiner's "world" pages, rather than just the "classic" page bundle.


1921 Scott 153 3m on 40f bright violet
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on 13 pages, has 355 spaces.  Coverage is 52%.

I should mention that the 1919 Posen issue, (Scott 72-76-five spaces), and are overprinted German stamps, are given spaces in the Germany section of Big Blue, but are found in the Scott catalogue under "Poland".

There are eight stamps on the "Most Expensive" list:
Offices in the Turkish Empire 1919 Scott 2K1....(2K7) - seven stamps, each ( $70) !
1921 Scott B14 20m + 30m gray green ($37+)

There are three additional stamps @ $10+. See the "comments" section after the checklist for details.

Germany bookends Poland in Big Blue, with 1916-17 occupation stamps, and then 1939 occupation stamps. So was the fate of Poland mirrored in these issues.

Checklist

1918
11,12,13,14,
18,19,20,21,24,25,26,
16,23,

1919*
61,62,63,64,65,66,
67,68,69,70,71,
81 or 93*,82 or 94,83 or 95,84 or 97,85 or 99,86 or 100,87 or 102,

Next Page

1919*
88 or 103,89 or 105,90 or 106,91 or 107,92 or 108,
109 or 121,110 or 122,111 or 123,112 or 124,113 or 125,114 or 126,115 or 127,
116 or 128,117 or 129,118 or 130,119 or 131,120 or 132,

1919
134,133,135,137,

1919
138,139,

1920
96,98,101,

1920
142,144,146,147,148,

1920-22
149,150,151,152,152A,152C,

Next Page

1921
153,

1920-22
154,155,155A,
156,157,158,159,160,161,162,

1921-28
163,164,165,166,167,
168,169,169A,169B,

1922-23
176,177,178,179,180,
181,182,183,184,185,
187,188,189,190,

Next Page

1923
192,193,194,195,198,

1923
196,197,199,200,

1924
205,206,

1924
207,208,209,210,211,
215,216,217,218,219,220,
221,222,223,224,225,

1925-26
227,230,231,232,235,237,

Next Page

1927
242,243,245,246,247,248,

1927
249,

1928
253,255,256,257,

1928-29
258,259,260,261,262,

1930
263,264,265,266,

1932
267,

1932
268,271,272,273,274,

1933
275,

Next Page

1933-34
277,282,283,279,

1935
287,288,289,290,291,

1935-36
294,295,296,297,298,
299,300,301,302,303,

1937-38
312,313,317,318,319,
308,309,310,311,

Next Page

1938
320,321,322*,
323,324,325,326,327,
328,329,330,331,

1938
334,

1939
335,336,337,338,

1939
340,

Next Page

Official Stamps
1920
O1,O2,O3,O4,O5,
O6,O7,O8,O9,O10,

1933
O17,O18,

1935
O19,O20,

Offices in the Turkish Empire*
1919
2K1,2K2,2K3,2K4,(2K5),(2K6),(2K7),

Offices in Danzig
1K33,1K34,1K35,1K36,

Next Page

Semi-Postal
1919*
B1 or B6,B2 or B7,B3 or B8,B4 or B9,B5 or B10,

1921
B11,B12,B13,B14,

1924
B15,B16,B17,B18,B19,

1927
B26,B27,

1939
B32,B33,B34,

Next Page

Postage Due
1919-21
J13,J14,J15,J16,J17,J18,J19,
J20,J21,J22,J23,J24,J25,J26 or J31,
J27,J28,J35,J36,(J37),J29 or J32,J30 or J34,

1921-22
J40,J41,J42,J43,J44,J45,J46,J47,

1923
J48,J49,J50,

1923
J51,J52,J53,

1923
J54,J55,J56,J57,J58,J59,

Next Page

(Postage Due)
1923
J60,J61,

1924
J68,J69,J70,J71,

1924
J72,J73,J74,J75,J76,

1930
J83,

1939
J95,J96,J97,J98,J99,J100,J101,

Air Post
1925
C1,C2,C3,C4,
C5,C6,C7,C8,C9,

1933
C10,

1934
C11,C12,

Next Page

Occupation Stamps (German)
1915
N1,N2,N3,N4,N5,

1916-17
N7,N8,N10,N13,N14,N15,N16,
N6,N9,N11,N12,

1939
N17,N18,N19,N20,N21,N21,N22,
N23,N24,N25,N26,N27,N28,N29,

Next Page

Official Stamps
Issued during German occupation
1940
NO1,NO2,NO3,NO4,
NO5,NO6,NO7,NO8,
NO9,NO10,NO11,NO12,

1940
NO16,NO17,NO18,NO19,NO20,
NO21,NO22,NO23,NO24,

End

Comments
A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
Offices in the Turkish Empire
1919 Scott 2K1....(2K7) - seven stamps, each ( $70) !
1921 Scott B13 ($10+)
1921 Scott B14 20m + 30m gray green ($37+)
1927 Scott B26 ($10)
1927 Scott B27 ($10)
B) *1919- these 1919 choices are Imperf or Perf
C) *332 is put here, not 339, which is re-drawn
D) *1919-Offices Turkish Emp -2K1 etc (7 stamps)- each CV $70!
E) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
F) *1919 Semi-Postal- Perf or Imperf


1921 Scott 159 6m carmine rose 
"Peace" and Agriculture
Out of the Blue
I am drawn to Polish stamps of this era, as they exist, while the murderous intent of Poland's powerful neighbors was gathering. Brave and hopeful in theme, these stamps are tangible pieces of light amid the coming darkness.

Note: Maps appear to be in the public domain, and the U.S. Paderewski stamp image is from Wikipedia.

Have a comment?

2 comments:

  1. I think you mean that Germans occupied western, not eastern, Poland in the 2nd world war, while the Russians took the rest.

    The Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth was a major geopolitical player from the 1400s to the 1600s. Most western people don't realize that because Prussia and Russia rose in power from smaller beginnings in the 1500s. By the 1700s they were dominant, together with the Austro-Hungarian empire, a century later they dismembered Poland. And that's all we seem to be able to grasp. We see things through hindsight of post 1700.. But in 1600, Poland was The Big Player in Central Europe. It was the Poles who turned back the last push by the Ottomans to conquer Vienna. and who knows how far beyond.

    Dennis

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ha-Ha- and so it is. I changed it Dennis.

    And thanks for the pre-1700 history lesson with the Poles as major players.

    ReplyDelete