Postage Stamps used in the German Marshall Islands
by Dirk H.R. Spennemann

Albert Friedemann produced a seminal study of German colonial stamps in 1908, with a second edition in 1921, and a posthumous third edition in 1967. Little new of substance has been discovered since then. While his work is out of print, it has been reprinted and is widely circulated. So why, then this web site? Where is the new material, and what is the justification for its development?

The development of the World Wide Web has permitted to create publications of a very different kind. This WWW publication attempts to be more than just a study of the stamps, but aims to present the historical context, the history and nature of the postal service to Micronesia in general and the Marshall Islands in particular, as well as to describe the various stamps and their forgeries. It is clear from the outset that especially as far as the forgeries is concerned, this publication can never aspire to be complete. Forgeries are created continuously and need to be documented. In keeping with academic standards, this study is fully referenced, so that others can assess the validity of claims and observations made.

Why publish on the WWW and not purse a more traditional, commercial paper publication? There are a few reasons. For one, a publication for commercial gain would not enjoy the level of support others have given me in hours of free advice and comment, and making scans of items in their collection available. Further, any financial advantage a commercial publication might offer is far outweighed by the administrative bother posed by the limited number of sales. And finally, and most importantly from my academic background and other work on WWW publishing, the main advantage of the WWW is that it allows to construct an electronic book in such a fashion to structure the information presented at various levels of detail and pictorial elaboration. Furthermore, it allows the 'reader' to peruse its contents through a number of pathways which may suit that particular reader's train of thought at that particular point in time. The study is meant as an electronic resource that can be perused many times over. The subject matter is complex, and the requirements of each user will be different. The structure is designed to allow a truly personalised perusal of the material. In the first instance, the information presented in this study can either be accessed through the table of contents or through an index, which will direct the reader to the relevant sections. From then on it is up to the 'reader.'

A caveat. The assertions made in the text of this website are made to the best ability of the author. The author is not an accredited stamp expertiser. The author will not be held responsible for any conclusions a reader may reach regarding the genuineness of a stamp. Any questions regarding expertising should be directed to the appropriate philatelic societies.



A work such as this could not have been put together without the support and assistance by many individuals. I am indebted to a large number of individuals who are listed here.

Most of the illustrations were sourced from items auctioned on the internet, mainly e-bay.

Albury, NSW, Australia
June 2002
Dirk H.R. Spennemann


Bibliographic citation for this document

Spennemann, Dirk H.R. (2002). Stamps and Postal History of the German Marshall Islands. Preface
URL: http:/

Dirk H.R. Spennemann, Institute of Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University, P.O.Box 789, Albury NSW 2640, Australia.

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