Bidding begins at €20,000 for German colony rarity in Auction Galleries Hamburg sale

Feb 18, 2017, 2 PM

By Michael Baadke

A German colonies rarity headlines the March 3-4 public auction by Auction Galleries Hamburg (formerly Schwanke GmbH).

The sale features an artifact of the World War I French occupation of Togo, on the Gulf of Guinea in western Africa.

A German protectorate since 1884, Togo came under military rule by British forces in the colony’s western region and French forces in the east during the hostilities.

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The familiar Togo stamps of 1900 showing the kaiser’s yacht, SMY Hohenzollern II, were overprinted by both of the occupying nations.

The stamps under French occupation issued in 1914 had a serif-type overprint, but in 1915, a few provisionals were overprinted with a sans-serif type by the printing plant at the Lome Catholic mission.

Some 13 major varieties of these stamps with the sans-serif overprint are listed in the Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940 as Togo Scott 164-175, with values ranging from a few hundred dollars to many thousands.

The top four denominations, from 1 mark to 5 marks, have no values listed, presumably because there is limited information available on which to base a figure.

The upcoming Auction Galleries Hamburg sale offers a used example of the overprinted 2-mark blue stamp (Scott 173), of which just seven examples were issued, according to the 2016 Michel Germany Specialized catalog.

Michel values the used 2m stamp at €24,000 (roughly $25,450).

This example is on piece with a complete and clear circular Feb. 13, 1915, postmark from the coastal town of Anecho. 

The stamp was part of a cover sent by the German postmaster of Togo to a friend in Freiburg, Germany, according to the auction house, and carries a BPA photo certificate.

The bidding for this item begins at €20,000 ($21,200).

A second used stamp from the same sans-serif overprint set also is being offered in this auction: the smaller 40-pfennig stamp (Scott 170), which is valued used in the Scott Classic Specialized catalog at $7,000.

This example is also on piece, with an Anecho postmark dated Jan. 11, 1915.

The 40pf stamp is still a rarity, with just 36 stamps overprinted. It is offered with a starting bid of €6,000 ($6,350).

The auction offers worldwide stamps and postal history, with significant representation in Germany and related areas.

The selection of United States stamps includes a complete set of three plate blocks of the 1930 Graf Zeppelin airmail issue (Scott C13-C15), described as mint never hinged.

The never-hinged plate block values in the Scott catalog are $2,450 for the 65¢ green, $5,750 for the $1.30 brown, and $8,750 for the $2.60 blue. The set is offered by Auction Galleries Hamburg with an opening bid of €7,200 ($7,620).

Details of the auction lots are posted online, with online bidding options available.

For additional information, contact Auction Galleries Hamburg vormals Schwanke GmbH, Kleine Reichenstrasse 1, 20457 Hamburg, Germany.