Postage Stamps used in the German Marshall Islands
Postal Stationery -- Card P 4
by Dirk H.R. Spennemann

History Description Examples of Cancelled Items Modern Reprints and Forgeries





The initial tests considered various types of overprints over the standard Eagle series definitive post cards. Reply cards were not made. [1]


Berne Issue

To comply with the regulations of the World Postal Union, in February 1897 the German government printed 800 sets of all postcards. 760 of the sets were delivered to Berne (Switzerland) while the remaining 40 sets went to the Imperial Post Museum. These sets were to be distributed to the member states as samples. While such samples were commonly overprinted 'Specimen, ' this was not feasible, if the overprint 'Marschall-Inseln' should not be obscured. Thus the cards sent were actual and valid cards. Some of these found their way into the stamp trade and were acquired by collectors.

Produced were 10Pf + 10Pf reply cards with the printing codes 596f and 1295f.[2]


Berlin Issue

Just as stamps of the first issue of the Eagle series were reprinted by the Imperial printery, so were postcards. The cards carry the mark 698f.[3]



P 4
Registration date 596 f

The cards have a number combination at the bottom right corner and a gap in the address line of the fourth line. The number combination is comprised of the year (last two digits) and the month (remaining digits). The following printing dates have been ascertained [6] .

Frame types 2 and 4
1295 f 1 30 (framewidth 126.5 mm)
596 f 1 30
897 f 1 30
Frame types2 and 3
596 f 1 30
698 f 1 30 (most likely Kossak Reprint ['Berlin Issue'])

P 4
Reply Side


Angle of Overprint

As the postcards were not overprinted while they were still part of complete and uncut sheets of 25 post cards, but were overprinted as already cut, single cards. The cards were printed on a small press, where the overprint cliché was repositioned every time a new colonial stock was to be printed. Between the alignment errors introduced there and the variation caused by the single-feed of the card stock, the angle and position of the overprint can vary. On record (for all colonies) are angle variations between 42 degrees to 58 degrees. In addition double prints as well as missing overprints on one side of the reply card are known.[7]


Quantities sent

No cards of this type were sent to Jaluit.



Like the Eagle series stamps, the Eagle series cards of both the Marschall-Inseln and the Marshall-Inseln issues remained valid until 30 September 1901, after which only Yacht series cards were legal postage.[8]


Examples of Cancelled Items

An example of differently used item can be found here. In this case the Marschall-ISlands reply card originated in Germany, and was sent to Jaluit.


Modern Reprints and Forgeries

Like other post card forgeries were made of this series in the 1970s. These items are printed in better quality, more glossy card stock.. These reprints can also be identified by details in the drawing of the scroll and leaves.

[Contents]    [Eagle Series Stationery]    [Stationery, general]

Bibliographic citation for this document

Spennemann, Dirk H.R. (2002). Postage Stamps used in the German Marshall Islands. Postal Stationery -- Card P 4
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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