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 by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Monday, March 26, 2012

German New Guinea

1919 Scott 20 3pf brown "Kaiser's Yacht" wmk "Lonzenges"
This stamp was never placed in use because of WWI
Quick History
German New Guinea (Deutsch Neu-Guinea) was a German colonial protectorate from 1894-1914. German New Guinea consisted mainly of the area called Kaiser-Wilhelmsland in north-east New Guinea, and the nearby Bismarck Archipelago.  The Capital was Herbertshohe (Kokopo), and the population was 600,000 in 1913.

In 1884, Chancellor Bismarck and the German Empire decided to embark on a colonial policy, but annexations would occur through grants of charters to private companies. On November 3, 1884, under the New Guinea Company, the German Flag was raised over the territory. German New Guinea eventually also served as the administrative center for the Caroline and Mariana islands ( bought from Spain 1899), and the Marshall Islands (1906).

After the outbreak of WWI, part of the territory of German New Guinea ( Neu-Pommern Island ) was occupied by Australian troops in 1914, and called "New Britain". Overprinted ( G.R.I.) German New Guinea stamps were used. (Stamps of New Britain are rather expensive ( minimum $25), so will say no more  about them here.) The Capital of New Britain was Rabaul.

Also, during WWI,  "North West Pacific Islands" stamps were produced by overprinting Australian stamps ( N.W. Pacific Islands)  for German New Guinea territories occupied by Australian troops. Again, I will say no more about this, as we are discussing German New Guinea.

After the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, German New Guinea (and all of the German colonies) ceased to exist. It then became the Territory of New Guinea under Australian administration until 1949. (The Japanese  occupied the territory during WWII.)

After 1949, the Territory of New Guinea was combined with the Australian territory of Papua to form the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Finally, in 1975, Papua New Guinea gained independence from Australia, but remained a commonwealth country.

German New Guinea 1884-1919
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has, from 1897-1919, 23 major numbers for stamps of German New Guinea. Sixteen are $6+ or less ( eleven are <$2+). A representative collection should not cost much.

A closer look at the stamps and issues

1897-99 Scott 2 5pf green 
Overprinted "Deutsch/Neu-Guinea"
The 1897-99 issue, six German stamps overprinted "Deutsch-/Neu-Guinea", range in CV from $4 to $30+. Four are less than $10 CV. Of interest, Big Blue provides four spaces, just scraping the underside of the CV $10 mark. The postmark on the 5 Pfenning above is from Friedrich-Wilhelmshafen.

1901 Scott 9 10pf carmine "Hohenzollern"
"Simsonhafen" postmark; existed 1906-1910
After 1910- known as Rabaul
The 1901 issue, with the well known "Hohenzollern" design, consists of thirteen stamps, ten of which are CV $4 or less. Big Blue provides a nice 10 spaces for these stamps.

Finally, the 1914-19 "Hohenzollern" issue, four stamps, have the Lozenges watermark. The Scott 20 3pf brown ( illustrated at the blog header) is similar to the 1901 Scott 7 variety. But the rest, Scott 21-23, have "NEUGUINEA" rather than "NEU-GUINEA" as a label. 

These stamps, no doubt because of WWI and the Australian occupation, were never placed in use. Naturally, they are only catalogued mint in Scott. Three stamps are $1+ or less.

Big Blue does not really provide a space for the 1914-19 issues unless one wants to admit them into the spaces intended for the 1900 (actually 1901) issue.

Deep Blue
The Steiner has one page for the issues of German New Guinea, and naturally provides a space for all.

1901 Scott 10 20pf ultramarine "Hohenzollern"
Part of a thirteen stamp issue
Big Blue
Big Blue,'69, on two lines of one page, provides four spaces for the 1897 issue, and ten spaces for the 1900 (actually 1901) issue. Coverage is 61%. A nice representative selection, marred only by no room for the 1914-19 issue. (One could stuff them into the spaces reserved for the "1900" issue, but that is a stretch.)

There are no "expensive" stamps, although the 1897 issue has three stamps in the $8-$9+ range.

BTW, the German New Guinea section is found just before French New Guinea in the '47/'41 editions.

Simple Checklist


1900 (actually 1901)

A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold) : None
B) No (realistic) room for the 1914-19 issue

Map of Papua New Guinea today
Out of the Blue
Many of the stamps are easier found in mint condition, as evidenced by the perusal of feeder albums and the Scott prices. And the 1914-19 issue stamps can only be found in mint, as they were never placed in use.

Maps appear to be in the public domain.

German New Guinea - Bud's Big Blue

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  1. German colonies are bizarrely fascinating to me for some reason. Maybe because Germany held them so briefly (until 1918 or so) and treated them so badly and they were in such "leftover" places like Namibia and New Guinea that no one else had wanted to colonize that much. Great stuff in the write-ups which add more depth to the stamps and the pictures are always particularly excellent, I think. Thanks again.

  2. By the way, this reminds me that there are a number of schools of thought about stamp "placement," meaning where a group of stamps really belongs.

    If German New Guinea is defined as a colony of Germany, they belong with (right after) Germany which is the normal way to do it.

    But if you choose to see them as the early stamps of New Guinea which they also were, couldn't they go just as logically (more logically some might say) at the beginning of a New Guinea collection? In fact, if you were putting together a South Pacific Area collection, they'd belong there, too.

    It's not so much a question of how Eurocentric you are as it is how you view your collection. If it's traditional, German New Guinea is a Scott-style colony; if you prefer to view the world regionally, it's the early period of New Guinea. As collectors, we adopt the Scott-style of colonialism because it's in the catalogue, but I wonder if Scott really shouldn't rethink this for the 21st century?

  3. And while I'm at it . . . the Kaiser's yacht has got to be a particularly strange image for New Guinea. Did German stamp advisors even know the first thing about what New Guinea looked like? I imagine they didn't so settled on a known image. Animals, plants, scenery, anything would be preferable, although it is a very nice yacht.

  4. Thanks Drew for your insightful comments.

    Germany was late for the "Scramble for Africa" - and the rest of the world - as Chancellor Bismarck was not initially interested. And Germany only came together as a nation in 1872. They did end up with the leftovers. ;-)

    The design - the "Hohenzollern" - was a symbol of the Kaiser and Germany's industrial ability. At the same time (1900+), France had their "Navigation and Commerce" colonial keyplates, while Great Britain had the Monarch's.

    None of the colonial powers bothered with portraying Native Flora/Fauna/Peoples at that time. The stamp images reflect the one way street.

    Interesting comments Drew about placement of different (colonial) countries, and how one views one's collection.

    Since I am for the most part following the alphabetical placement found in the Scott Classic catalogue, it is almost "random" which country/culture/geographical place is featured next.

    As you can probably tell, the blog is "alphabetical" in time sequence. The reader should be able to locate a country.

    But the sequence makes it arbitrary - in terms of geography. I literally do not know which stamp issuing "country" will be there until I turn the Scott catalogue page.

    I actually like it. ;-)