Germany has been one of the most prolific users of official seals in the world. There have been hundreds of different labels issued both nationally and locally by cities such as Berlin, Hamburg, Mannheim, and dozens of others. Many were used by Railroads, Sea Posts, Dead Letter Offices, Customs, and Telgraph Offices.

Catalog: Drummond Sea Post OS1

Date issued: Unknown, EKU June 5, 1894

Printing: Black

Perforation: Imperforate

Inscription: "SEEPOST" in double circular frame with "Bremen- / New-York." in center

Control Number: none

Description: 1894 cover from Vienna, Austria to Cincinnati, OH carried on the North Atlantic route between Bremen and New York and repaired with a rare German sea post seal. A somewhat similar US seal was also used by American ships on the same route.

One of two recorded covers showing this seal.

Courtesy of Jim Kotanchik by permission.

Catalog: Drummond Local OS6.120

Date issued: Unknown, EKU January 29, 1910

Printing: Dark blue on white embossed paper

Perforation: Die-cut

Inscription: German "KAISERL.(ICH) DEUTSCHES POSTAMT" ("Imperial German Post Office") in arc with coat of arms in center and "TIENTSIN" in rectangular frame at bottom

Control Number: none

Description: Registered 1910 business letter from Fleurier, Switzerland to Tientsin, China repaired along three sides with nine German Post Office in Tientsin official seals. Back with "Mit beschadigter / Umhullung einge- / gangen. Verschlossen / Tientsin P.O. / Zeuge:" ("Envelope received damaged. Closed by Post Office. Witness: signature") annotation. The contents were likely stolen during transmission.

This is the only known example of these seals on cover.

Britain, France, Germany, Indo-China, Italy, Japan, Russia, and the United States all had "Treaty Port" offices in China at one time or another. The British started the earliest consular post offices in 1844. All foreign offices were closed by the end of 1922. Post office seals from any of the foreign offices in China are very scarce. The German Post Office at Tientsin was open from October, 1889 to March 17, 1917.

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© Copyright 2003-2007
by T. Hirn

Updated November 11, 2007