This month we have some more examples of stamps that at a quick glance appear to be the same but given a closer inspection are actually very different as briefly outlined in our resource section. Sometimes this is due to currency changes as in the Australian issues either side of the swap to decimal currency in 1966. It can also be due to other factors such as a different printer or printing method being used as in the Recess and Surface printings of New Zealand for King George V, paper type changes, ink changes, flourescent tagging to facilitate automatic sorting - and the list goes on.
Whatever the reason it can sometimes get almost forensic in nature to distinguish some of the difference and it is an interesting aspect of a hobby. It is also reason to get involved with your local club as someone there can help with identifying or alerting you to a varieties existence as not all catalogues will differentiate on some of the subleties.
So out with the magnifyer and scrutinise those stamps! As with everything its obvious if you know what you are looking for.
France Mercury issue
1942 on the left and 1938 on the right.
Since Germany had conquered France it was no longer a Republic but a dominion of Germany so the "Republique Francaise" at top left was changed to "Postes Francaise". More noticible is the omission of the word "Postes" at the base. This affects several values and colours
France again but depicting a change in currency. Like many European countries post war the currency was devalued to a large extentr. France reformed its currency in 1960 whent one "old Franc" became the equivalent of one centime so one hundred "old francs' became one "new franc". Stamp issues either side of the change show the same design but different values.
Italy and Greece are 2 more examples of this sort of currency reform occuring but I am uncertain if it was reflected in thier postage stamps
Germany 1875 issues has the currency name spelt as "Pfennige" where the latter 1880 issue retained the design and colours bt spelt it as "Pfennig" dropping the "e" at the end.
This is mostly due to Germany unifying from several independent soverign kingdoms to the German Reich (Realm).
Look out for early German stamps inscribed "Deuches Post" and "Deutches Reich" in the Germania series as this text can be the only difference.
The German stamps above are an example from their period of hyperinflation in 1923 resulting partly from the war reparations imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. Whilst the stamps have the same overprint thet are different values behind it. The first 4 are normal postage and the last 2 are "officials", These exist in many colours and values
Germany in 1938 annexed Austria and this stamp was issued to celebrate the event. The text reads "one people, one realm , one leader".
The stamp at left is the Berlin printing and the right one is the Vienna version distinguishable by it being smaller in the printed area with wider margins
Post WW2 germany was divided and the part of Berlin not under Soviet control lay totally within the new "German Democratic Republic" or "East Germany".
West German stamp designs are often used for West Berlin with the only difference being the addition of the cities name - cleary seen here in this example from the "Famous Germans" series of 1960. This continued thru to the colapse of the soviet era and the reunification of Germany in 1990 although it was not done on all West German issues and there were many issues unique to Berlin.
These East German 1953 "5 Year Plan" stamps all feature the same design colour and value. The one at far left is printed using minute dots to form the design and the other 2 using lines. The central one has printers inscriptions at its base where the ones either side lack this. Most of this series is printed in at least 2 of these types. This also shows up on the "official" stamps from the same period
Italy "Coin of Syracuse" issues 1952 at left and 1968 at right. The same designs and colours were used but the latter printings were 1mm smaller all round in the printed area.