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...

Thursday, October 31, 2013


1920 Scott 11 1m brown & green
Allegorical Symbol of Allied Supervision of Plebiscite
Quick History
After the defeat of Germany in WW I, the Versailles Treaty specified that much of the Province of Posen and of West Prussia be ceded to Poland. Poland, then, would have a corridor to the Baltic Sea via access to the Free Port City of Danzig (Gdansk).

German Territorial Losses after WW I
Note Poland gained a large strip of land- and Baltic Sea access
This was decided without a plebiscite (vote). But some territories, namely Alleinstein in East Prussia, and Marienwerder in West Prussia, because of a vocal German population, and the sympathies of the British Prime Minister Lloyd George, were allowed  to vote whether to join Poland or East Prussia (Germany).

The Plebiscite Territories with German/Polish majorities indicated
West end of Map: Marienwerder (Kwidzyn) is located 50 miles south of Danzig
The Plebiscite was scheduled for July 11, 1920. It was sponsored by Inter-Allied Commissions for the League of Nations. British and Italian contingents were on the ground, but civil administration was handled by the Germans.

(Note: For a superb map of the German land losses 1919-21, and another view of the Allenstein/Marienwerder Plebiscite lands, see Michael's Dead Countries Stamps website for Allenstein. Thanks Michael!)

Naturally, the plebiscite was promoted and publicized through the use of stamp issues.

The result for Marienwerder (Kwidzyn) was a very lopsided 96,000 votes for East Prussia, and 8,000 votes for Poland. Consequently, Marienwerder joined East Prussia and the Weimar Republic.

Now, let's look at the stamp issues....

1920 Scott 1 5pf green
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 42 major stamp descriptions for Marienwerder. Of those, 19 are CV <$1-$1+. Clearly, a modest collection can be accumulated.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Pfennig = 1 Mark
1920 Scott 5 25pf deep blue
Allegorical Symbol of Allied Supervision of Plebiscite
The first 14 stamp issue was produced beginning in March, 1920, and had this striking allegorical design with  "Commission Interallièe" and "Marienwerder" scripted on the top and bottom of the stamp respectively. The CV is <$1-$2+ for 12 stamps, all less expensive for unused.

1920 Scott 29 75pf green & black
"Commission Interallièe Mareinwerder"
Stamps of Germany, 1905-19, were also overprinted with the same script. The 6 German stamps in the set have a CV of $4+-$10+ for 3 stamps.

There are two more four stamp overprinted German issues produced in 1920: but, alas, I do not have them.

1920 Scott 53 5m blue & rose
Second Plebiscite Issue of 1920 with Allegorical Symbolism
In July, 1920, another 14 stamp issue was released; this time with "Plebiscite" and "Marienwerder/Kwidzyn" script. CV ranges from <$1-$1+ for 9 stamps. The 5m blue & rose above has a town cancel I cannot find for the Marienwerder region, and it appears to have been cancelled in August, 1920, after the plebiscite. ;-)

1920 Scott 51 2m dark violet
Almost all of my collection is unused, but here is another used specimen. Marienburg is a real town in the Marienwerder region, but this stamp appears to have been cancelled in September, 1920. ;-)

Deep Blue
1920 First Plebiscite Issue in Deep Blue
The Deep Blue album (Steiner) has two pages for the Marienwerder plebiscite issues. The album follows the Scott sequence for major numbers exactly.

1920 Scott 10 75pf chocolate
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on two lines of one page, has six spaces for the first allegorical plebiscite issue, and six spaces then for the second issue.

Marienwerder in Big Blue
• The second allegorical plebiscite issue yields two CV $10+ stamps in BB.
• I found some nine stamps CV <$1-$1+ that are not in BB.
• Still, I'm appreciative that Marienwerder has spaces allocated, and was not among the countries purged by the '69 editors. ;-)



A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1920 Scott 42 15pf gray ($10+)
1920 Scott 44 25pf deep blue ($10+)

1920 Scott 13 3m red
Out of the Blue
Poland, of course, ultimately "won", as the lands became part of that country after WW II.

Note: Maps, "Kwidzyn" pic appear to be in the public domain.

Marienwerder - Bud's Big Blue

A Comment?
Kwidzyn (Marienwerder) Today


  1. The printing on the 75Pf chocolate is so much crisper than the others... you can really see the beauty of the woman's facial features and the artistry of the engraver. The others seem heavy on the ink. Your scans are incredible. I try to read all your posts...always educational.

  2. Thanks DW.

    I scan @ 1200 dpi in the Epson scanner to try to get a good image.

    That 75pf chocolate is nice!

  3. It's interesting how the ballot box is shaped like a casket...perhaps subtly implying that the vote is merely making funeral arrangements for the deceased?

  4. Haha ;-)

    Actually, considering the overwhelming count of Germans in the plebiscite, the vote was a foregone conclusion.

  5. The town name shown on your cancelled stamp is Christburg, now known by the Polish name of Dzierzgon.


    An easy way to figure out these old German exonyms is to go to Wikipedia, pick German from the list of languages shown on the left sidebar, and then search for Christburg. Once found, go to the language sidebar on the left to choose the English version of that page.

  6. Thanks Ryan!
    And thanks for the advice.
    I noticed the town plebiscite vote was 2571 to 13 for the German side. ;-)

  7. Marienwerder was an important town in the 19th century, but now it's just a small town. The vote is remembered in northeastern Poland, especially as there was an anniversary.

    1. Pole - thanks for the current historical update.