News item:  Bild am Sonntag (Germany) 49/1995, 3rd December 1995, pages 8 and 9

Bild am Sonntag - back

Translation: Bild am Sonntag, 3rd December 1995:

GDR Stamps, which should never have existed.

Today they are worth a fortune.

By Karl-Heinz Patzer.
They are probably the most valuable stamps ever to have been produced by the German Democratic Republic: 3 Olympic stamps from 1984 are now going to change hands for approx. on DM 20.000 at a London auction. The remarkable thing about these 5‑, 20‑ and 25‑Pfennig stamps is that they shouldn't really exist.

„When the East block decided to boycott the Los Angeles Olympics, the GDR post officials had already printed 3 of the 6 stamps“ said Claudia Herrgen of Sotheby’s Auctio­neers. „They had to be withdrawn from circulation“ yet a few sets mistakedly remained at the post offices. Herrgen „Chance had it that exactly 4 years later a West German visitor of the Leipzig Exhibition bought just these 3 stamps at a post counter.

The motives were carried over on to the issues for the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, but the officials didn't notice the difference between the old and the new stamps.

The whole story had a judicial thereafter: In 1991 the German Federal Post claimed ownership as legal successor of the German Post of the GDR and wanted all stamps to be confiscated. But one collector sued and won his case in both courts of justice. Since then the existing 50 sets of stamps officially belong to their private owners.

By the way: whoever finds such a stamp on an envelope could become rich overnight.

„It would be a philatelist costliness of the first degree“ said Herrgen „a postmarked stamp has to this day never surfaced“.

Sub title:

Estimated value: DM 20.000

15th December is the day of reckoning. Then the GDR Olympic Stamps are going to come under the hammer at Sotheby's in London.