Postage Stamps used in the German Marshall Islands
7 –Yacht Issues
by Dirk H.R. Spennemann

Introduction -- The Stamps as issued 1901 (no watermark) -- The Stamps as issued 1916 (with watermark) -- Specimens -- Sheets and Selvedges -- Forgeries -- Covers



The overprints of the Eagle issues were always meant as a temporary measure, eventually to be replaced by a universal German colonial design. The 'Yacht' Series, depicting the German Emperor Wilhelm II's yacht Hohenzollern came into circulation in 1901. The image projects the Emperor's yacht 'full steam ahead', signifying that the Emperor himself would come to the help of the people of the colonies if needed.

A number of essays were issued. The final design was publicised by the philatelic press in April 1900. The press commented favourably on the Mark values, but criticised the design of the Pfennig values because the sea lacked perspective and the ship seemed to be pulled across a stage. [2]

The last run of Eagle series stamps was printed on 10 August 1900 (a supply of 3 Pfg Karolinen stamps). The printing of the new Yacht series stamps commenced on 13 August 1900.[3]

Like the colonial Eagle issues before, the Yacht Issues were available for sale both in Jaluit (and Nauru) as well as over the counter of the Post Office nº 19 in Berlin. The stamps were available in Berlin from 7 December 1900 onwards. The Jaluit Post Office had the Pfennig values from January 1901 and the Mark values from Mach 1901.[4] Even after the loss of the colonies the stamps remained available for sale in Berlin. The German Reichspost even continued to print and issue stamps with watermarks well after the colonies had been occupied by eneny forces. The surplus stock remaining after the loss of the colonies following the Paris ('Versailles') Peace Conference in 1919 was eventually disposed off to collectors and stamp dealers.


The Stamps as issued 1901 (no watermark)

The stamps were issued in small size (the Pfennig values) and large format (the Mark values), whereby the 5 to 20 Pf and 1 to 3 Marks were single colour, and 25 to 80Pf and the 5 Mark were composite colour. (see here for catalog).

The Stamps as issued 1916 (with watermark)

The German postal service commenced in 1914 to produce German colonial stamps of the Marshall Islands on watermarked paper. This was in keeping with the use of watermarked paper for the domestic Germania-type issues which had commenced in 1905.[6] The first stamps to be produced on watermarked paper were the 3Pfg, the 5Pfg and the 5 Mark. The outbreak of World War I interrupted the production and delivery of such stamps to the colonies. Delivered were these values to German New Guinea as well as the 5Mk to Samoa. None of the watermarked stamps of the German Marshalls issue were produced before the outbreak of the war.

Even in 1916, when the colonies had been well and truly lost to occupying forces, the German Reichpost decided to continue its programme of stamp production for the colonies. It printed the 3Pfg, the 5Pfg and the 5 Mark, the latter in two varieties with 26:17 and with 25:17 perforations. (see here for catalog).


Yacht Issue (Specimens)

The World Postal Union required that member countries be supplied with examples of the other countries' stamps. This was done by submitting original stamps, usually made invalid by stamping or overprinting them with 'Specimen.' Specimen stamps are known but rare. Illustrated below are two examples from the Caroline Islands.
Sheets and Selvedges

The Pfennig stamps were set out in sheets of 10 x 10, while the Mark stamps were set out in sheets of 4 by 5. These are discussed on a seperate page.


Soon after the Yacht issues went out of circulation These are discussed on a seperate page.


Demand covers exist for Jaluit and Nauru. Philatelic covers are discussed on a seperate page.

[Home Page]    [Contents]

Bibliographic citation for this document

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

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

select from the following...

Marshall Islands Kosrae CNMI Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Guam Wake Pohnpei FSM Federated States of Micronesia Yap Chuuk Marshall Islands politics public health environment culture WWII history literature XXX Cultural Heritage Management Micronesian Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences CNMI German Colonial Sources Mariana Islands Historic Preservation Spennemann Dirk Spennemann Dirk HR Spennemann Murray Time Louis Becke Jane Downing Downing