Catalog Numbering for Michel, Scott et al.
Julius Goldner was a stamp dealer in Hamburg. But he was much more than that! He did some things between 1875 and 1895 which caused Heligoland stamp collecting perhaps more problems than are found in any other area of philately. One must observe the faces of stamp dealers when one mentions Heligoland!
No one knew exactly what he did at the time he did it. But he had a Belgian friend, also a stamp dealer, named Möens. Either Goldner had a guilty conscience or Möens persuaded him that he owed it to philately not to die with his secrets untold. So Goldner confided in his Belgian friend and Möens wrote a book about the Helgoland stamps.
The following account is subject to correction and enlargement, but this is the basic story as I understand it up to now, in part from reading Arthur Wülbern and in part from reading Hellmuth Lemberger's Helgoland Philatelie.
In 1875 Herr Goldner persuaded the Postmaster of Heligoland to order reprints of the earlier schilling issues which had been superceded on February 15, 1875 as a result of the currency change in the newly unified Germany (The Hamburg Schilling being replaced by the German Pfennig.). These reprints were run off in Berlin by the Reichdruckerei, the same government printing office that had run off the original stamps, and naturally, the original printing plates were used. And they were run off in the many thousands.
When the stamps reached Heligoland, the Postmaster [FN] turned them over to Herr Goldner who put them in shops to be sold to the growing numbers of summer tourists who were fond of buying the stamps as souvenirs. After all, the stamps were both pretty and showed the profile of Victoria, the popular Queen of England.
In the Winter of 1878-1879 the island suffered severe flooding. The local government was hard pressed for funds to deal with the reconstruction and repair and Herr Goldner offered to buy the plates of the superceded issues. He also bought all leftover superceded stamps still on hand, including Mi 6yg-h, 7yc-d, 8F, 8b-c, 9, and 10 (See Table of Printings, Remainders, and Scarcity .). He continued, through the good offices of the Postmaster, to have reprints of the withdrawn issues run off by the government printing office in Berlin. These are the so-called "Berlin reprints." They are considered "semi-official" reprints. BUT ONLY BECAUSE THEY WERE ORDERED BY THE POSTMASTER! [May I say that I lived for years in a summer resort district and a lot of fiddling went on with rules and regulations! People are trying to earn a year's living in four or five months so the rules for year-around businesses may not fit too well!]
Herr Goldner also managed to have reprints run of Michel 11, 12, and 17 after they were withdrawn from use. He must have also bought the plates for these three stamps at some point.
In 1886 a new British Governor General named Sir Arthur S. C. Barkly was appointed and took office. When he found out what was going on he demanded that the Berlin Reichsdruckerei cease running off reprints for Herr Goldner. So following his ten year run in Berlin (1875-1885), Herr Goldner was forced to take his plates elsewhere.
He then went to a Leipzig printing company named Giesecke & Devrient which ran off a number of printings for him in the year 1888. Finally he took the plates to his home town of Hamburg and turned them over to a printer named F. Schlottke & Co. This produced the numerous Hamburg reprints which are easily distinguished because they have 14x14 perforations per 20mm of length, instead of the 13½x14¼ used for all genuine perforated Heligoland stamps. Of course he also ran off rouletted reprints of Michel 1 II to 4 and identification of those can cause problems for the casual collector.
There were four editions of reprints in Hamburg between 1891 and 1895. Not long ago I acquired from the estate of a German collector several pages from his reprint collection. One part covers the Half-Schilling reprints, which include the Michel 1 and Michel 6. You can see here the challenge of trying to sort out reprints.
To make it more interesting for the collector, apparently the first postoffice cancel machine left the Heligoland post office and may have ended up in a Heligoland tourist shop, because Herr Goldner bought it probably in the 1880's. So when a happy tourist went in and decided to buy a set of the pretty Queen Victoria stamps, the clerk in the store would say (or might have said!), "You know, these stamps are even more collectible if they are cancelled. Here is the official cancel machine if you would like to cancel your new stamps!" So the tourist goes bang! bang! and more backdated cancels with a genuine cancel machine are produced! This creates major authentication problems in addition to sorting out genuine stamps from reprints. For a rogues gallery of forged cancels, SEE.
To add a little extra spice to our collecting, Herr Goldner knew that people liked to collect oddities, so he directed the printers to run off sheets with the heads upside down, a few all blacks and all greens, (reds and golds, too, I am told) and various other oddities. It is important to keep this in mind when deciding whether to buy "printing errors." They were actually "printing deliberates!"(I will try to show some in the future.)
How many reprints were run off? Only Berlin kept records. The estimates vary, but five million is one estimate.
The collector can be comforted by the knowledge that not all stamps were reprinted. The reprints included: Michel 1 II, 2-12 and 17 (Michel 1 I was not reprinted!). In Scott numbers they are 1 A, 2-15 and 20. (I find the Scott system confusing because Scott gives seperate numbers to printing varieties of the same stamp design. For instance: in the Scott system, one variety of Scott 7 (Michel 8) is called Scott 13 (Michel 8c).another reason I prefer to use Michel when collecting Heligoland.) See the table comparing the numbering used by the four main stamp catalogs.
Footnote. The postmasters and their dates of service were: Paul Volckers (1796-1866), Peter Volckers (1866-1873), Robert Pilger (1873-1879), and Detlev J. Hornsmann (1879-1890). BACK TO TEXT
This is a continuing project.
Catalog Numbering for Michel, Scott et al.