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2003 14:10 Uhr Seite 1


Stamp Catalogue
An Introduction for English-speaking readers

Schwaneberger Verlag · München

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3 Introduction

3 The MICHEL Stamp Catalogues

4 Basic German

5 Typical Set Listing

6 The Catalogue Listings

8 The Front and Back of the Catalogue

8 Glossary of Colours

10 Glossary of Country Names

11 Glossary of Philatelic Terms,

Symbols and Abbreviations

Compiled: Martyn Yeo, Printed in Germany

© 2003, Schwaneberger Verlag GmbH, Muthmannstr. 4, 80939 München
Phone (0 89) 3 23 93-02, Fax (0 89) 3 23 24-02
E-mail sales department:
editorial department:

The use of the MICHEL numbering system in catalogues, albums and other systematic listings of postage
stamps is only allowed with the express permission of the publishing company.
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Introduction States, colonies, mandated territories, protectorates,

post offices abroad, occupation issues, Danzig, Saar,
Hugo Michel’s first stamp catalogue was published in and the former postal adminstrations of West Berlin
Apolda, a town some 10 miles north-east of Weimar, and East Germany. Published with colour illustrations
in 1910. By today’s standards it was a slim volume – throughout.
its 112 pages listed the stamps of European countries
and their post offices abroad. WEST- AND CENTRAL EUROPE (MICHEL-Europa-
Katalog, Band 1) contains Austria, Liechtenstein,
The MICHEL catalogue rapidly became a standard Switzerland, France, Monaco, countries of the Iberian
work of reference, used by dealers to identify their Peninsula and UNO Geneva and Vienna .
stock, by philatelists to check their collections and as
a reference for buying and exchanging stamps. Hugo
Band 2) contains Italy with San Marino and Vatican,
Michel subsequently sold the rights to his catalogue
the countries of the Balcan Peninsula, Bulgaria,
to the stamp album publishers Schwaneberger Ver-
Turkey and Cyprus.
lag, who still retain them.
The basic catalogue now occupies 13 volumes cover- NORTH AN NORTHWEST EUROPE (MICHEL-
ing the stamps of all countries – despite its vast Europa-Katalog, Band 3) contains Scandinavia, the
increase in size its basic structure has never been Baltic States, Great Britain, Ireland and the Benelux
altered. Over the years it has won more than 200 States.
medals at national and international stamp exhibi- EASTERN EUROPE (MICHEL-Europa-Katalog,
tions, including 20 gold medals. More than 400,000 Band 4) contains Moldavia, Poland, Rumania, Rus-
MICHEL catalogues are printed every year, and they sia, Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Czech Republic,
find their way to collectors all over the world. Slovakia, Ukraine, Hungary and Belarus.
MICHEL catalogue numbers are used by most col- NORTH AND CENTRAL AMERICA (MICHEL-Über-
lectors in German-speaking countries and in eastern see-Katalog Band 1, Nord- und Mittelamerika)
Europe, and they are the standard reference numbers covering continental countries from Panama north-
for stamps of these countries. Because of the clear wards.
and authoritative listings which they provide, MICHEL CARIBBEAN ISLANDS (MICHEL-Übersee-Katalog
catalogues are gaining in popularity in many other Band 2, Karibische Inseln) covering the islands
countries too. New editions appear regularly, and round the Caribbean Sea as well as the Bahamas and
each one includes detailed editorial changes, em- the Bermudas.
bracing new philatelic research, newly listed errors
and varieties, revised catalogue prices and new SOUTH AMERICA (MICHEL-Übersee-Katalog
issues. Band 3, Südamerika) does not include the Falkland
Islands and antarctic territories.
The MICHEL catalogue is published in German by
Schwaneberger Verlag GmbH, whose offices are at NORTH AND EAST AFRICA (MICHEL-Übersee-Ka-
Muthmannstraße 4, D-80939 München, Germany. talog Band 4, Nord- und Ostafrika) covering Africa
All the volumes and other MICHEL products are north of the Sahara and the east coast countries from
available from good stamp dealers or, in case of Egypt to Tansania.
difficulty, directly by mail order from the following WEST AFRICA (MICHEL-Übersee-Katalog Band 5,
MICHEL agents: Westafrika) covering Africa south of the Sahara from
Cape Verde to the former French Congo.
United Kingdom Safe Albums (UK) Ltd, 16 Falcon
Business Park, Ivanhoe Road, Hogwood Lane, SOUTHERN AFRICA (MICHEL-Übersee-Katalog
Finchampstead, Berkshire. Band 6, Südliches Afrika). The remaining countries
of Africa as well as the islands in the Atlantic and In-
United States Lighthouse Publications Inc., 274 dian Ocean and the Gulf of Guinea.
Washington Avenue, Hackensack, NJ 07601.
The MICHEL catalogue is supplemented by the (MICHEL-Übersee-Katalog Band 7, Australien,
monthly publication MICHEL-Rundschau. It con- Ozeanien, Antarktis).
tains useful articles on collecting, but for English-
speaking catalogue users the more important part is SOUTH AND SOUTHEAST ASIA (MICHEL-Übersee-
its listing of new issues, presented in a matching style. Katalog Band 8 Süd- und Südost-Asien) additio-
nally covering Indonesia and the Philippines.
Katalog Band 9, Mittel- und Ostasien) covering
The 15 volumes of the main MICHEL stamp cata- Asia north of the Himalaya, also including Iran, Af-
logue are as follows: ghanistan and Japan.
GERMANY (MICHEL-Deutschland-Katalog) cover- MIDDLE EAST (MICHEL-Übersee-Katalog Band
ing all German stamp issues. These include German 10, Naher Osten).
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Other MICHEL Catalogues collectors use the catalogue to the fullest extent, even
those who have no knowledge of the German lan-
Apart from the main catalogue, MICHEL publishes guage.
almost thirty other philatelic titles. There is a range of
specialized catalogues and other books covering lf you do not read and understand German fluently,
specific subjects, ranging from postal stationery to you will of course not be able to decipher every last
miniature sheets. They include the following collect- piece of information presented in the MICHEL cata-
ing areas: logues, which are the result of decades of editorial
work and philatelic research. Yet they are much easier
Austria Specialized
to understand than most German publications, be-
cause of their clear layout, the widespread use of
United Nations Specialized
symbols and the frequent repetition of many common
Germany Junior Catalogue (simplified and in colour)
words, phrases and philatelic terms. Much of the text
Germany Specialized
is devoted to stamp listings in a standard format.
Great Britain Specialized
Croatia Specialized Persevere – do not be put off! Look up unfamiliar
Postal Stationery – Germany words as you find them, and you will soon build up a
Postal Stationery – Western Europe/Eastern Europe useful vocabulary. Look first of all in the glossaries at
Scandinavia/The Baltic States the end of this booklet, then in a German/English dic-
Switzerland and Liechtenstein Specialized tionary (just a pocket sized one will do).
United States Specialized
A dictionary is necessary if, for example, you need to
A full colour brochure showing the complete range translate the description of a stamp design. Use it for
of MICHEL publications is available from your local ordinary German words and phrases not included in
dealer or MICHEL agent. the glossaries. Use a notebook to record those which
often occur, to save you looking them up each time.
How to Find the Country You Want You will be surprised how quickly you begin to make
As you see from the list above, the arrangement of the sense of the German text. lf you collect German or
volumes is on a straightforward geographical basis. Austrian stamps the words and phrases you learn will
Thus you will find Belgium in the North and Northwest also be a great aid to deciphering stamp inscriptions.
Europe volume, Chile in the South America volume,
Japan in the East Asia volume and so on. You should, The following clues will also help you:
however, keep the following in mind:
1) All German nouns (not just proper names) start
1 ) German spellings of country names result in an al- with a capital letter. Other parts of speech – ad-
phabetical order which differs from the English or- jectives, pronouns, verbs and so on – start with a
der, so for example in the Eastern Europe volume small letter unless they begin a sentence. Words
you will find Czechoslovakia under T (for Tsche- ending in -ich or -ig are most likely adjectives.
choslowakei) and Hungary under U (for Ungarn).
For more German country names look in the glos- 2) Many words are inflected, that is they change their
sary. ending or add an ending depending on their
context within a sentence. For example you may
2) Greece, Turkey and Yugoslavia are in the
see the word braun (brown) printed as braunen or
Southern Europe volume.
braunes, but the meaning is the same. Plurals are
3) The Azores, Canary Islands and Madeira are re- usually formed by adding -e or -en and some-
garded as part of Western Europe and grouped times with the addition of an accent: the plural of
after Portugal or Spain as appropriate. Satz (set) is Sätze (sets).
4) German colonies (for example Cameroon) and is- 3) Ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th ... ) are indi-
sues for territories occupied by Germany (such as cated merely by a full stop (or period) after the
Bohemia and Moravia) are in the Germany vol- number, so 1. means “1st”. In sentences contain-
ume, irrespective of their geographical location. ing a lot of punctuation this is quite easy to miss.
5) Issues for “post offices abroad” follow the coun- 4) Remember that long words are often made up
try which ran the post offices, so that the section from combinations of shorter words that you will
for Spanish Post Offices in Morocco follows Spain recognize more easily, for example Briefmarken-
in the Western Europe volume. ausstellung (stamp exhibition), or Fußballwelt-
meisterschaft (World Cup). Watch for abbrevia-
tions, which in German are always punctuated.
Basic German Commonly used abbreviations are MiNr. (MICHEL
This introductory guide has been specially written for catalogue number), usw. (and so on) and z. B. (for
MICHEL and is designed to help English-speaking example).
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Typical Set Listing

Designer Description of the issue Printing methods

Dates of issue

1979, 14. Nov./1987. Freimarke: Burgen und Schlös-

ser (III). \ Schillinger; I = Bdr., II = Ldr.; Bogen (B)
Stamp illustration (10}10), Markenheftchen (MH) und Rollen (R); A = Perforation
vierseitig, C und D = dreiseitig gez. K 14.
Currency unit
alc) Schloß Rheydt
Illustration code letters Colour
and descriptions ; H Illustration code letters
1028 60 (Pf) dunkelrosakarmin a . . . . alc
A vierseitig gezähnt Mint price
MICHEL catalogue I Bdr. (14. 11. 1979) (B) (R) . . . . –,80 –,20
number II Ldr. (1987) (R). . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,20 –,30 Used price
CI oben geschnitten,
Basic stamp Bdr. (Okt. 1980) (MH) . . . . . . . 4,50 4,50 Date of issue
DI unten geschnitten,
Varieties of printing Bdr. (Okt. 1980) (MH) . . . . . . . 4,50 4,50 FDC price
process FDC (A I) 1,80
ETB 23/1979 (mit MiNr. 1028 A I) –,50 ETB price
Varieties from Unterscheidungsmerkmale Bdr. und Ldr. siehe bei MiNr. 913–920!
(partly imperf) Waagerechtes Paar (aus Bogen):
; H
1028 A I/1028 A I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,80 1,80
Face value
Einzelmarke mit anhängendem Bogenrand 50% vorstehender Paarpreise

Prices for pairs Senkrechtes Paar (C/D) siehe bei MH 23

Rollenmarken (R):
Cross-reference to Marke mit Nr. 兩 Marke mit Nr.
vertical Pair ; H 兩 ; H
1028 A I R . . . . 2,— –,30 兩 1028 A II R . . . . 2,50 –,50
Auflagen: MiNr. 1028 A II = 89 500 000 Stück, ETB = 427 000 Stück
Numbers issued
Weitere Werte siehe Zusammenfassung nach Blockaufstellung
Cross-reference to
Cross-reference to other Bildgleiche Marke mit zusätzlicher Inschrift „BERLIN“ siehe Berlin
West Berlin
stamps in the same set (West) MiNr. 611
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5) Always keep an eye open for Latin words (such as finitive set (Freimarken) or an indication of the event
bird names) or other non-German words (like or anniversary commemorated; and the printing proc-
foreign placenames) in the text. Your dictionary ess, paper, watermark and perforation.
will not be of much help here!
Below this heading the stamp designs are illustrated.
lf you wish to go further, the German-English Phila- You will notice that these illustrations have code let-
telic Dictionary is published by the Germany Philatel- ters which start at the beginning of each country with
ic Society Inc. and is available at the GPS Service a), b), c), and so on. When the letters reach z) they
Center, PO Box 779, Arnold, MD 21012, USA. This start again with aa), ab). In some cases they reach
would be invaluable for collectors researching into three letters: aaa), aab), aac).
German philately in some detail, and is particularly Once you get used to this code system you will find
helpful on abbreviations and technical terms used by it very helpful, because you will not confuse the codes
the military and the postal services. with the catalogue numbers. Also, you will find that
many more stamps are illustrated than in most other
catalogues, and generally every design in a set is
The Catalogue Listings shown, together with any accompanying printed label
(Zierfeld) and the whole of each miniature sheet or
The Start of Each Country sheetlet. lf you collect by theme or topic you will find
Each country section starts with certain general in- this invaluable.
formation: the country name in German; its location,
Next in the set listing comes the classification of
historical and political divisions, currency and date of
the stamps: from left to right each has the unique MI-
membership of the Universal Postal Union (Welt-
CHEL catalogue number, the face value with the cur-
postverein); an index showing where to find each
rency unit (in brackets if not actually shown on the
miniature sheet or sheetlet (Block); clarification of
stamp), the colour or colours, the illustration code,
how mounted (:) and unmounted (::) mint prices
the mint price and the used price.
apply; and illustrations of all relevant watermarks,
which are shown as seen when the stamp is face The classification usually ends with prices for com-
down. plete sets and, for modern issues, a first day cover
(FDC). Footnotes may follow, giving additional infor-
mation such as quantities issued (Auflagen), prices
The End of Each Country for stamps with printed labels attached, for imper-
forate stamps or errors, and cross-references to other
At the end of a country come price lists for se-tenant stamps in similar designs (in ähnlichen Zeichnun-
combinations (Zusammendrucke), booklets (Heft- gen . . . ).
chen) and booklet panes (Heftchenblätter).
lf the issue is accompanied by miniature sheets or
Then, as in most catalogues, there will be listings of sheetlets the listing of these follows, under the sub-
subsidiary groups such as official stamps (Dienst- heading Blockausgabe.
marken), parcel post stamps (Paketmarken), post-
age due labels (Portomarken); also some local
issues (Lokalausgaben) and occupation issues (Be-
setzungsausgaben). These are each listed in chron-
Catalogue Numbers
ological order and have their own sequences of cata- Each stamp listed has a MICHEL catalogue number
logue numbers and illustration code letters. You may assigned to it. This number is unique and is univer-
find that the text refers you back to the main stamp sally recognised.
section (in the case of overprints, for example).
Major shade varieties are coded by adding letters to
the number, for example: 79a, 79b, 79c and so on.
Varieties of paper usually start at “x”, thus: 23x, 23y,
Stamp Listings 23z. Perforation varieties have capitel letters: 406A,
Within each country stamps are arranged in sets and 406B, 406C would denote the same stamp with three
the sets are arranged in chronological order. Included different gauges of perforation. Different types (of
in this sequence are express letter stamps (Eilmar- print, design, etc) have roman numerals: 8 I, 8 II, 8 III.
ken), airmail stamps (look for the f symbol), regis- Sometimes these variety code letters are used as
tration stamps (Einschreibemarken) and newspaper headings where there are multiple price columns.
stamps (Zeitungsmarken).
In the few cases where new stamps have been in-
A typical set listing is shown in the illustration on the serted into the numercial sequence a capital letter
page opposite, where its structure is labelled in precedes the number, so the order might be: 305,
English. It starts with a bold heading, giving the date A305, B305, 306, 307. The MICHEL catalogue avoids
of issue; the purpose, for example the phrase for de- this practice wherever possible.
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Miniature sheets and sheetlets have their own se- Descriptions of older issues may include the use of
quences of numbers, beginning at 1. They are in- silk-fibre paper, glossy paper, hand-made paper,
dexed in a checklist at the start or the end of each tinted paper, and so on.
country, where the phrase siehe nach Nr. refers you
Today there are also kinds of paper in use with a fluo-
to the catalogue number of the stamp each one
rescent or phosphorescent additive which flashes un-
der ultraviolet radiation (fluorescent) or which glows
Irregular items, such as stamps prepared for use but for a short period after the end of the radiation. Both
not issued, have their own sequences of Roman kinds of paper can easily be detected by use of an
numbers: I, II, III, IV and so on. UV-Iamp.
Face Value Indication A hint for the kind of paper normally is only given if
one stamp issue exists in different papers.
The face value of a stamp is always given in numer-
als. Currency designations are abbreviated within the
listing of one collecting field/country in a unified mat-
ter regardless how they are written on the stamps Perforations
themselves. lf a currency designation is given in
Perforations are given to the nearest quarter.
brackets there is no indication on the stamp.
Examples of the forms in which they are expressed
are as follows:
Colours gez. 13 Perf 13
gez. 14:13 Perf 14x13
See the special glossary. gez. K 141/2 Comb perf 141/2
gez. L 121/4 Line perf 121/4
gez. 10-12 Perf 10 to 12
Note also the use of Durchstich (4) for roulette and
Misprintings, flaws, etc. are inevitable also in the the â symbol for cut stamps.
stamp printing process. All these varieties are listed
in accordance with the MICHEL-Abartenführer in the
specialized catalogues.
Catalogue Prices
These varieties must not be confused with flaws by
chance which appear only on parts of the whole issue Prices in the left-hand column are for mint stamps,
and cannot be listed. and those in the right-hand column are for used
Major errors and varieties are included in the MICHEL
catalogue. They fall into various categories. Printing Watch the column headings to check whether the
errors, cover errors of colour, missing colours, errors mint prices are for unmounted (;) or mounted (:)
in overprints and surcharges, missing values, errors in stamps. Remember that the prices are quoted
control numbers and watermark errors. You will also throughout in Euro.
find plate flaws and other printing imperfections, off-
There may be multiple price columns – for example in
sets and set-offs, double impressions and blurred
the early issues of Austria where various gauges of
printings and printer’s waste.
perforation exist for each stamp – but the column
headings will make these clear. The symbol –,– is
used to denote an item for which a catalogue price
Forgeries cannot be assessed. Italics indicate a fluctuating
Two warning Symbols indicate the existence of for- price; a blank indicates that an item does not exist (in
geries: Y indicates forgeries or fakes intended to the “mint” column against a first day cover, for
deceive collectors, whereas [ refers to forgeries in- example).
tended to deceive the postal authorities.

Paper Used for Stamp Printing Methods of Printing

Normally for the stamp fabrication kinds of paper are Indications are given for each stamp or set. The vast
chosen, which meet special requirements and which majority of modern stamps listed in the catalogue will
are often prepared against counterfeiting (e.g. by silk have been printed by one of three processes – RaTdr.
thread or watermark). (photogravure), Odr. (offset litho) or StTdr. (intaglio) –
or perhaps by two of these in combination. Other
Provisional or wartime issues may be printed on sub- processes which have been used for printing stamps
standard paper, and this is indicated in the listings. are covered in the glossary.
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The different methods of printing should be looked You will find that you soon recognize most of the
after in special manuals. commonly used colour descriptions. As all colour
names are adjectives, they always start with a small
Compound colour names are formed in much the
Most modern stamps are unwatermarked, though same way as they are in English, but without hy-
some countries still use watermarked paper for se- phens. Simple compounds are formed like this: grau-
curity reasons. Watermarks are illustrated at the be- blau = grey-blue, olivgelb = olive-yellow.
ginning of each country, and numbered Wz. 1, Wz. 2
and so on. They are always depicted as seen from the To save space in the catalogue listings, colours are
back of the stamp. often abbreviated. These abbreviations will include a
full stop or an apostrophe. Abbreviations are also
used for the colours of overprints and surcharges, but
note that these are always assumed to be black if no
The Front and Back of the Catalogue colour is specified.
At the front of each catalogue, after the title-page,
comes a section headed Preisnotierungen, which
indicates which years unmounted or mounted mint
prices apply to, and how to calculate prices for
stamps on cover. Next is the Vorwort (foreword) writ- The MICHEL Colour Guide
ten by the editor and the Einführung (introduction). The MICHEL Colour Guide (MICHEL-Farbenführer)
All the important points dealt with in the introduction has been published for many years, and is an essen-
are also covered in this booklet. Following the intro- tial accessory to the MICHEL catalogues. The 1992
duction is a page of Abkürzungen und Zeichen- (36th) edition is a much improved and expanded ver-
erklärungen (abbreviations and symbols). Again, the sion. This glossary and all references to stamp col-
most important of these are covered in this booklet. ours in this booklet are based on this 1992 edition.
The other item usually appearing at the front of the
catalogue is headed Bitte der Redaktion and tells The MICHEL Colour Guide is available from good
you how to contact the catalogue’s editor. stamp dealers or directly from your MICHEL agent. It
contains more than 570 square patches of colour,
At the back of the catalogue you will find a section similar in style to a paint chart. Each patch is caption-
headed Prüfordnung, which explains in some detail ed with the colour name in German and has a circu-
the system of authentication or expertization used in lar hole in it, through which you can view the stamp
Germany and gives names and addresses for the to get a good match.
recognized experts in different fields. There is also an
index (Inhalts- und Stichwortverzeichnis) to help The main list in this appendix shows the basic colours
you to find countries in the catalogue you have or in included in the Colour Guide. In addition, over 370
other volumes. You will need to check the beginning further colours are shown, and these are formed by
of the index for abbreviations used in it, such as DK adding one of the following four prefixes to a basic
for Deutschland-Katalog (a reference to the Ger- colour:
many volume). Some of the specialized catalogues
contain a stamp design index (Alphabetisches hell- pale
Register) as well. mittel- mid
lebhaft- bright
dunkel- dark
So, for example, based on olivbraun (olive brown),
Glossary of Colours we have the following five colours, ranging from the
palest to the deepest:
Every basic catalogue entry gives the colour or col-
ours of the stamp, immediately following its face hellolivbraun pale olive brown
value (and currency). mittelolivbraun mid olive brown
lebhaftolivbraun bright olive brown
Stamps printed in more than one colour have the olivbraun olive brown
colours separated by an oblique stroke, for example dunkelolivbraun dark olive brown
3 Sch. schwarz/blau. Note that this means “black
and blue”, not “black on blue paper” as it might in Note that hyphens are not used in these compound
some catalogues; the German for the latter would be colour names. These five colours will be arranged
schwarz a. blau. Stamps printed in three or more in a single horizontal row on the Colour Guide (the
colours may simply be described as mehrfarbig palest at the left) so that you can compare them
(multicoloured). easily.
Englisch 05.05.2003 14:10 Uhr Seite 9


List of Colours K Carmine overprint or surcharge

kar. Carmine (abbreviation of karmin)
The following alphabetical list includes the basic karmin Carmine
colours shown in the MICHEL Colour Guide, the ab- kobalt Cobalt
breviations used for colour names, and the abbrevia- Ku Copper overprint or surcharge
tions used for the colours of overprints and sur- kupfer Copper (used for an overprint or
charges. All other colour names given in the MICHEL surcharge and usually shown as
colour guide may be derived by combination of the Ku)
respective colour designations given below. L Lilac overprint or surcharge
Bl Blue overprint or surcharge lebhaft Bright (used in combination with
Bl. Blue (abbreviation of blau) colour names)
blau Blue lil. Lilac (abbreviation of lila)
bläulich Bluish (used in combination with lila Lilac
other colours) magenta Magenta
Br Brown overprint or surcharge matt Dull (used in combination with
Br. Brown (abbreviation of braun) colour names)
br’n Brown (abbreviation of braun) mehrfarbig Multicoloured (printed in three or
braun Brown more colours)
bräunlich Brownish (used in combination with mfg. Multicoloured (abbreviation of
other colours) mehrfarbig)
bronze Bronze (used for an overprint or sur- mittel Mid (used in combination with
charge and usually shown as Bz) colour names)
Bz Bronze overprint or surcharge

chrom Chrome (used in combination with ocker Ochre

other colours) ol. Olive (abbreviation of oliv)
cyanblau Cyan oliv Olive
opalgrün Opal-green
Or Orange overprint or surcharge
d’ Dark/deep (abbreviation of dunkel) or. Orange (abbreviation of orange)
dkl’ Dark/deep (abbreviation of dunkel) orange Orange
dunkelgrau Dark/deep grey

G Gold overprint or surcharge preußischblau Prussian blue

Gb Yellow overprint or surcharge purpur Purple
gelb Yellow
gelblich Yellowish (used in combination with
other colours)
glb. Yellow (abbreviation of gelb) R Red overprint or surcharge
gold Gold (used for an overprint or sur- ros. Pink (abbreviation of rosa)
charge and usually shown rosa Pink
as G) rot Red
Gr Green overprint or surcharge rötlich Reddish (used in combination with
gr. Grey (abbreviation of grau) other colours)
gr’n Green (abbreviation of grün)
Gra Grey overprint or surcharge
grau Grey
S Black overprint or surcharge
grün Green
schw. Black or deep (abbreviation of
grünlich Greenish (used in combination with
other colours)
schwärzlich Blackish (used in combination with
other colours)
h’ Pale/light (abbreviation of hell) schwarz Black
hell Pale/light (used in combination with Si Silver overprint or surcharge
other colours) siena Sienna
silber Silver (used for an overprint or sur-
charge and usually shown as Si)
indigo Indigo smaragdgrün Emerald-green
Englisch 05.05.2003 14:10 Uhr Seite 10


türkis Turquoise East Germany Deutsche Demokratische

Egypt Ägypten
ultram. Ultramarine (abbreviation of ultra-
Equatorial Guinea Äquatorial-Guinea
Estonia Estland
ultramarin Ultramarine
Ethiopia Äthiopien

V Violet overprint or surcharge Fiji Fidschi-Inseln

vio. Violet (abbreviation of violett) France Frankreich
violett Violet French Polynesia Französisch-Polynesien
French Southern and Französische Gebiete in
weiß White Antarctic Territories der Antarktis

weißgrau White-grey Germany Deutschland

Great Britain Großbritannien
zinnober Vermilion Greece Griechenland

Hungary Ungarn

Glossary of Country Names Ivory Coast Elfenbeinküste

The majority of country names in German are very
similar to the English equivalents, for example Liba- Kenya, Uganda Ostafrikanische Gemein-
non (Lebanon), Mexiko (Mexico) and Schweden and Tanganyika schaft
(Sweden). Because of this, they are easy to find in the
catalogues. First, find the correct geographical vol-
ume, then look up the page number using the Latvia Lettland
contents list on the outside back cover. Lithuania Litauen

There are, however, a few common country names

where the German and English names are signifi- New Zealand Neuseeland
cantly different or where they start with a different let- Nova Scotia Neuschottland
ter of the alphabet. These are given below. Unlike the
other glossaries, the English names are shown first. Russia Rußland

Aegean Islands Ägäische Inseln Soviet Union Sowjetunion

Austria Österreich Switzerland Schweiz

Cambodia Kambodscha
Cameroon Kamerun United States Vereinigte Staaten von
Canada Kanada Amerika
Cayman Islands Kaiman-Inseln United Arab Emirates Vereinigte Arabische
Cent. African Zentralafrikanische Emirate
Republic Republik United Nations Vereinte Nationen
Chad Tschad Upper Volta Obervolta
Channel Islands Kanalinseln
Christmas Island Weihnachts-Insel Virgin Islands Jungferninseln
Cocos Islands Kokos-Inseln
Colombia Kolumbien
Comoro Islands Komoren West Germany Bundesrepublik Deutsch-
Confederate States Konföderierte Staaten land
von Amerika
Congo Kongo Yemen Jemen
Crete Kreta Yugoslavia Jugoslawien
Cuba Kuba
Croatia Kroatien
Cyprus Zypern Zambia Sambia
Czechoslovakia Tschechoslowakei Zimbabwe Simbabwe
Englisch 05.05.2003 14:10 Uhr Seite 11


Glossary of Philatelic Terms, \ Designer

] Engraver
Symbols and Abbreviations _ Official reprint
A few abbreviations and symbols which occur very in- d Block of four
frequently have been omitted from this list, but these –.– No catalogue price quotation
do all appear in the introduction to each catalogue. possible

The English translations given are appropriate to the

philatelic usage of the German terms – some of the
words may have different meanings when used in a a. On (abbreviation of auf)
non-philatelic context. Abart Variety
abgenutzt Worn
Abstimmung Plebiscite
Symbols and Abbreviations used with MICHEL-Cata- Ah.-Ausg. Provisional issue
logue ähnlich Similar
allgemein General
allseitig On all sides
s Colour which appears by use of a alphabetisches Design index
UV-Iamp Register
a the stamp picture is used identically Amt Office
on postal stationary amtlich Official
J Revenue cancellation Anhängsel Attached label
L Cancellation by punching Aufdruck Overprint or surcharge (sometimes
t Cancellation by pen stroke Wertaufdruck is used specifi-
M other cancellation cally to indicate “surcharge”)
N Cancellation on occasion of a Aufdruckfarbe Colour of overprint (overprints and
special event surcharges are understood to be
O Cancellation with datestamp in black unless otherwise
(regular cancellation) indicated)
â Cut Aufdrucktype Type of overprint
f Airmail Auflage Issue or edition (used in the sense
! Tête-bêche of “quantity issued”)
@ Normal overprint or surcharge (if Ausführung Style
this symbol is doubled, inverted Ausgabe Issue (set or single)
or sideways it refers to a double, Aushilfsaus- Provisional issue
inverted or sideways overprint gabe
or surcharge) Aushilfsmarke Provisional stamp
: Mounted mint Ausland Overseas, abroad
:: Unmounted mint Ausschnitt Cut square or cut out
(:) Mint with only part of the original Ausstellung Exhibition
gum intact Automaten- Variable rate stamp (“Frama” labels)
H Postally used marken
K Cancelled to order
P On cover
R On piece
S Bisect (the symbol is appropriately B Sheet (abbreviation of Bogen)
altered for vertical or horizontal Bahnpost Railway post
bisects) Balken Bar
Y Forgery balkenförmiger Phosphor bars
[ Postal forgery Phosphor-
Z Forged postmark/cancellation aufdruck
t “The other way around” (for Balkenstempel Bar cancellation
example, after a stamp descri- Band A volume of the MICHEL-catalogue
bed as gez. 14:13 (perf 14x13) Bdr. Letterpress (typography or surface-
then if the next is given as t it is printing)
perf 13x14 – this may occur berichtigt Corrected
where some stamps in a set are beschnitten Close cut (margins)
in a horizontal format and others Besetzung Occupation (as in military occupa-
are vertical) tion)
Englisch 05.05.2003 14:10 Uhr Seite 12


Besetzungs- Occupation issue Doppeldruck Double print

ausgabe doppelt Double or doubled
besondere Special Title or designation Druck Printing
Bezeichnung Druckabart Printing variety
Bild Image (used to denote the printed Druckerei Printing works
area of a stamp) Druckprobe Proof
Bildgröße Image size Druckvermerk Printer’s imprint
billigst Cheapest DSK The Germany Specialized volume
bl. Blue (abbreviation of blau) MICHEL catalogue (MICHEL-
Bl Blue overprint or surcharge Deutschland-Spezial-Katalog)
Block This has two separate meanings, dunkel Dark
which will usually be clear from dünn Thin
the context. The more usual durchsichtig Transparent
meaning is miniature sheet, sou- Durchstich Roulette
venir sheet or sheetlet. However, durchstochen Rouletted
it sometimes means block (a
group of stamps joined together)
Blockform Miniature sheet format
Blockausgabe Issue in a miniature sheet or echt Genuine
sheetlet Eckbuchstabe Corner letter
Bogenplatz Sheet position Eckrandstück Corner stamp with sheet margins
Bogen Sheet attached
Bogenrand Sheet margin EGK The European Postal Stationery
Bogenwasser- Sheet watermark volumes of the MICHEL cata-
zeichen logue (MICHEL-Europa-Ganz-
br. or br’n Brown (abbreviation of braun) sachen-Katalog)
breit Wide Eilmarke Express letter or special delivery
Brief Letter, cover stamp
Briefmarke Postage stamp (adhesive) einfarbig In one colour (also zweifarbig,
Briefstück Piece (as in “on piece”) dreifarbig)
Briefumschlag Envelope / Cover Einheits- Omnibus design
Buchdruck Letterpress (typography or surface- zeichnung
printing) Einschreib- Registered letter stamp (also used
Buchstabe Letter (of the alphabet) marke for a registration label)
bzw. Respectively or Einschr.-
einseitig â Imperf / cut on one side (also zwei-
seitig â, dreiseitig â )
d’ or dkl’ Dark (abbreviation of dunkel) einzeilig In one line (also zweizeilig, drei-
Datum Date zeilig and so on)
Datumsstempel Datestamp Einzelmarke Single (stamp)
DD Double Print (used as a suffix to Eisenbahnmarke Railway postage stamp
a catalogue number) Eisenbahn- Railway parcel stamp
Deckel Cover (as in booklet cover). Not as paketmarke
in envelope. EK The Europe volumes of the
dick Thick MICHEL catalogue (MICHEL-
Dienstmarke Official stamp Europa-Katalog)
DGK The German Postal Stationery Entwerfer Designer
volume of the MICHEL catalogue entwertet Cancelled
(MICHEL-Deutschland-Ganz- Entwertung Cancellation
sachen-Katalog) Entwurf Design
DK This abbreviation has two uses. Erg. or Additional value (a new stamp
As a suffix to a catalogue num- Ergänzungs- added to a set)
ber it indicates printed twice, wert
one impression inverted. Used Ersttag First day
on its own it stands for the Ger- Ersttagsbrief First day cover (usually abbreviated
many volume of the MICHEL ca- to FDC, which avoids confusion
talogue (MICHEL-Deutschland- with ETB)
Katalog) ETB First day sheet or first day card
DM Deutschmark (abbreviation of Ersttagsblatt)
Englisch 05.05.2003 14:10 Uhr Seite 13


F Printing or colour error (used as a gefälligkeits- Cancelled to order

suffix to a catalogue number) gestempelt
Fabrikwasser- Papermaker’s watermark gefärbt Tinted
zeichen Gemälde Painting
falsch Forged Geschenk- Presentation pack
Falschstempel Forged postmark päckchen
Fälschung Forgery geschnitten Cut
Falz Stamp hinge gestempelt Postmarked
falzlos Hingeless gestreift Laid
Farbampeln Traffic lights gestreiftes Laid paper
Farbänderung Change of colour Papier
Farbe Colour gestrichen Coated
Farbenabart Colour variety gestrichenes Coated paper
farbig Coloured Papier
Farbwechsel Change of colour getönt Toned
Faserpapier Paper with silk fibres (“granite gezähnt or gez. Perforated
paper”) gez. K Comb perforated
FDC First day cover gez. Ks Harrow perforated
Federstrich- Pen cancellation Glanzpapier Glossy paper
entwertung glatt Smooth, shiny
Fehldruck Printing error glb. Yellow (abbreviation of gelb)
fehlend Missing or omitted gleich Same (in gleicher Zeichnung =
Fehlfarbe Error of colour in the same design)
Feldpost- Military post stamp gr. Grey (abbreviation of grau)
marke Gr Green overprint or surcharge
fiskalisch Fiscal (adjective) graviert Engraved
Flp.-Ausg. Airmail issue gr’n Green (abbreviation of grün)
Flp.-So.-Ausg. Commemorative airmail issue Großformat Large size or format
Flugpost Airmail Grund Background
Flugpostbrief Airmail letter GSK The Great Britain Specialized
Flugpost- Airmail stamp volume of the MICHEL
marke catalogue (MICHEL-Groß-
fluoreszierend Fluorescent britannien-Spezial-Katalog)
Format Size or format gültig Valid
frankatur- Valid for postage gültig bis Valid until
gültig Gummi Gum
Frankierung Franking Gummi- Ribbed gum
Freim.-Ah.-Ausg. Provisional issue riffelung
Freim.-Erg.- Additional definitive value
Freimarke Postage stamp (usually denotes h’ Light (abbreviation of hell)
a definitive) Halb Half
Freim.-Ausg. Definitive issue halbiert Bisected
halbamtlich Semi-official
Handpapier Hand-made paper
G Gold overprint or surcharge; if used Handstempel Handstamp
as a suffix to a catalogue num- H-Blatt (Hbl.) Booklet pane
ber it indicates a variety printed Heftchen Stamp booklet
on the gummed side Heftchenblatt Booklet pane
ganzflächiger All-over phosphor hell Light or pale
Phosphor- Hochformat Vertical format
Ganzsache Postal stationery Inschrift Inscription
geänderte Changed colours
Gebiet Subject Jahr Year (also used for anniversary:
Geburtstag Birthday (100. Geburtstag = birth 25 Jahre = 25th anniversary)
centenary) Jahrestag Anniversary (100. Jahrestag =
gebraucht Used centenary)
gedruckt Printed Jahreszahl Date (the year only)
Englisch 05.05.2003 14:10 Uhr Seite 14


Jahrgangs- List of year sets Maximumkarte Maximum card

werttabelle mehrfach Multiple
mehrfarbig or Multicoloured (three or more
mfg. colours)
K Comb (perforation); if used as a MH Stamp booklet
suffix to a catalogue number it MHB Booklet sheet (abbreviation for
indicates a tête-bêche variety Markenheftchenbogen)
Kammzähnung Comb perforation Militärpost- Military postage stamp
karm. Carmine (abbreviation of karmin) marke
Kartonpapier Thick paper (“carton” paper) MiR The monthly MICHEL magazine,
Kasten- Harrow perforation MICHEL-Rundschau
zähnung Mischzähnung Compound perforation
Katalog- Catalogue number MK Maximum card
nummer Muster Specimen
Kehrdruck Tête-bêche (one stamp inverted in
relation to an adjacent one)
Kenn-Nr. Identification number NA New printing, reissue
Kleinbogen Small sheet or sheetlet Nachdruck Reprint
Kleinbogen- Set of sheetlets nachgraviert Retouched or re-engraved
satz nachgummiert Regummed
Kleinformat Small size or format Naphthadag- Graphite line
komb. Combined (not comb perforated) Leiste
Kontroll- Control mark Netz Network (burélage)
zeichen Neuauflage New printing, reissue
kopfstehend Inverted Neudruck Reprint
Kopftype Head type neugraviert Retouched or re-engraved
Kreidepapier Chalk-surfaced paper Neuheiten New issues
Kriegsdruck Wartime printing Nominale Face value (of a stamp)
Kriegsmarke War stamp Notausgabe Emergency issue
Kriegssteuer- War tax stamp Nr. Number or numbers
marke Nr. xxx fallen aus Catalogue Nos. xxx are vacant
Kreisstempel Circular cancellation Nr. xxx stammen Catalogue Nos. xxx come from . . .
Ks Harrow (perforation) aus . . .
Nr. xxx stammt Catalogue No. xxx comes from . . .
aus . . .
L Line perforation; if used as a suffix numeriert Numbered
to a catalogue number it
indicates a blank label
Landesname Country name Oberfläche Surface (the face of a stamp)
Ldr. Offset letterpress printing Odr. or Offset litho
liegend Horizontal or sideways Offsetdruck
Iil. Lilac (abbreviation of lila) o.G. Unused, issued without gum
Linie Line or stroke (abbreviation of ohne Gummi)
Linienzähnung Line perforation ol. Olive (appreviation of oliv)
Lokalaufdruck Local overprint or surcharge or. Orange (abbreviation of orange)
Lokalausgabe Local issue Originalgummi Original gum
Luftpost Airmail ÖSK The Austria Specialized volume
of the MICHEL catalogue
Makulatur Printer’s waste Katalog)
mangelhaft Defective oWz. No watermark (abbreviation of
Marken- Stamp booklet ohne Wasserzeichen). lf no
heftchen watermark is specified, an issue
Markenheftchen- specially printed sheet, from which is always assumed to be
bogen booklet panes are produced unwatermarked
Markenrand Stamp margin
Markenrolle Stamp roll or coil
Maschinen- Machine-made paper Paar Pair
papier Paketmarke Parcel post stamp
matt Dull Papier Paper
Englisch 05.05.2003 14:10 Uhr Seite 15


Papier fl. Fluorescent paper S. Page

Papier Ordinary paper s. See
normal Satz Set
Papier ph. Phosphor paper Satzpreis Price for a complete set. The
Papiersorte Type of paper number of stamps in the set is
Pf. Pfennig usually shown:
Phosphor Phosphor (noun) Satzpreis (6 W.) = set of 6
Phosphor- Phosphor bar schwz. Black (abbreviation of schwarz)
balken Seite Page
phosphor-be- Phosphorised paper senkrecht Vertical
schichtetes Si Silver overprint or surcharge
Papier siehe nach See after catalogue No. xxx
phosphores- Phosphor (adjective) Nr. xxx
zierend So.-Ausg. or Commemorative or special issue
Phosphor- Phosphor band Sonderaus-
streifen gabe
Pl. or Platte Plate Sorte Type, kind of (typical usage: ver-
Plattennummer Plate number schiedene Papiersorten =
or PI.-Nr. various types of paper)
Portofreiheits- Free frank stamp Spezial Specialized
marke SSK The Switzerland and Liechtenstein
Portomarke Postage due stamp Specialized volume of the
postalisch Postal MICHEL catalogue (MICHEL-
Postamt Post office Schweiz/Liechtenstein-
postfrisch Unmounted mint Spezial-Katalog)
Postkarte Postcard Staat State
Postpreis Franking value Staats- State Printing Works
PP Presentation pack druckerei
Prägedruck Embossing Stdr. Lithography (direct, not offset)
Preis Catalogue price or Steindruck
Probedruck Proof stehend Upright
Propaganda- Propaganda forgery Stempel Cancellation
fälschung Steuermarke Tax or fiscal stamp
Prüfung Expertization Stich Engraving
Stichtiefdruck Intaglio (recess printing)
Querformat Horizontal format or StTdr.
Streifen Strip
Stück Item, copy, example or piece
R Red overprint or surcharge. Also (as in “on piece”)
used as an abbreviation of Rolle
Rabattmarke Stamp sold at a discount T Type (abbreviation of Type)
Rand Border or margin Tabelle List or table
Randbe- Printed border teilgezähnt Partly perforated
druckung Telegrafen- Telegraph stamp
Rastertiefdruck Photogravure marke
or RaTdr. Telegrafen- Telegraph cancellation
Reihe Row stempel
repariert Repaired Todestag Death anniversary
retuschiert Retouched (100. Todestag = death
Rolle Coil centenary)
Rollen- Coil perforation Ton Shade
zähnung Type Type (variety or printer’s type)
ros. Pink (abbreviation of rosa)
rückseitig On the back/reverse U Imperforate variety (used as a
suffix to a catalogue number)
S Black overprint or surcharge (but Übersichts- Checklist summarizing the stamps
note that if no colour is specified tabelle in a series
an overprint or surcharge is Udr Imperf on three sides
assumed to be in black) Umschlag Envelope/cover
Englisch 05.05.2003 14:10 Uhr Seite 16


ungebraucht Mint Wertangabe Face value

ungestempelt Unused Wertziffer Figure of value
ungezähnt Not perforated Wertaufdruck Surcharge
ungummiert Without gum Wohltätigkeits- Charity issue
unregelmäßig Irregular ausgabe,
Unterdruck Underprint (burélage) Wohlt.-
USK The United States Specialized Ausg. or
volume of the MICHEL catalogue Wohlt.-
(MICHEL-USA-Spezial- So.Ausg.
Katalog) Wz. Watermark (if this abbreviation is
ÜK The Overseas volumes of the printed upside down or on its
MICHEL-catalogue (MICHEL- side it refers to an inverted or
Übersee-Katalog) sideways watermark)

V Printing Essay
V Violet overprint or surcharge Zahl Number, figure
verfälscht Forged Zähnung Perforation
verfärbt Discoloured Zeichnung Design
vergrößert Enlarged Zeitungs- Newspaper stamp
verkehrt Inverted marke
versch. Various or variously (abbreviation of zentriert Centred
verschieden) Zentrierung Centering (of a stamp picture)
Verzeichnis Checklist Zierfeld Printed label
Viererblock Block of four Ziffer Number or numeral
Viertel Quarter Zufälligkeit Error
viol. Violet (abbreviation of violett) Zusammen- Se-tenant printing
Voraus- Precancellation druck
entwertung zusammen- Se-tenant
Vorläufer Precursor, forerunner hängend
Zuschlags- Stamp with a charity or other
marke premium
W. Value or values Zw. Gutter pair (used as a suffix to a
waagerecht Horizontal catalogue number)
Währung Currency (monetary unit) Zwangs- Compulsory tax stamp
Wappen Coat of arms zuschlags-
Wasserzeichen Watermark marke
Wasser- Watermark variety zweifarbig Bi-coloured
zeichenabart Zwischensteg Gutter
Weitere Werte Other similar values Zwischensteg- Gutter pair
Wellenlinien Wavy lines paar
Weltpostverein Universal Postal Union Zf. Printed label (used as a suffix to a
Wert Value catalogue number)