Yacht issue
The Yacht issue was a series of postage stamp
Postage stamp
A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

s, bearing the image of the German
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

Kaiser is the German title meaning "Emperor", with Kaiserin being the female equivalent, "Empress". Like the Russian Czar it is directly derived from the Latin Emperors' title of Caesar, which in turn is derived from the personal name of a branch of the gens Julia, to which Gaius Julius Caesar,...

's yacht, SMY Hohenzollern II
SMY Hohenzollern
SMY Hohenzollern was the name of several Yachts used by the German Emperors between 1878 and 1918, named after their House of Hohenzollern.- SMY Hohenzollern I :...

, that were used in all of Germany's overseas colonies. Millions of the stamps were produced and they were the principal means of postage for all German imperial overseas possessions in the years 1900-1915. German colonies at that time were Samoa
Samoa , officially the Independent State of Samoa, formerly known as Western Samoa is a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It became independent from New Zealand in 1962. The two main islands of Samoa are Upolu and one of the biggest islands in...

, Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands
The Republic of the Marshall Islands , , is a Micronesian nation of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator. As of July 2011 the population was 67,182...

, Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
The Mariana Islands are an arc-shaped archipelago made up by the summits of 15 volcanic mountains in the north-western Pacific Ocean between the 12th and 21st parallels north and along the 145th meridian east...

, Caroline Islands
Caroline Islands
The Caroline Islands are a widely scattered archipelago of tiny islands in the western Pacific Ocean, to the north of New Guinea. Politically they are divided between the Federated States of Micronesia in the eastern part of the group, and Palau at the extreme western end...

, Kiautschou, Togo
Togo, officially the Togolese Republic , is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, on which the capital Lomé is located. Togo covers an area of approximately with a population of approximately...

, Kamerun
German Cameroon was a West African colony of the German Empire from 1884 to 1916 in the region of today's Republic of Cameroon.-History:-1800s:...

, German New Guinea
German New Guinea
German New Guinea was the first part of the German colonial empire. It was a protectorate from 1884 until 1914 when it fell to Australia following the outbreak of the First World War. It consisted of the northeastern part of New Guinea and several nearby island groups...

, German South West Africa, and German East Africa
German East Africa
German East Africa was a German colony in East Africa, which included what are now :Burundi, :Rwanda and Tanganyika . Its area was , nearly three times the size of Germany today....



The German colonies were all acquired between 1884 and 1899. They belonged to the Universal Postal Union
Universal Postal Union
The Universal Postal Union is an international organization that coordinates postal policies among member nations, in addition to the worldwide postal system. The UPU contains four bodies consisting of the Congress, the Council of Administration , the Postal Operations Council and the...

 and used the same postage rates as the mainland German Empire. Initially, regular Imperial stamps from the mainland were used, and only their cancellation marks would reveal their colonial usage; later, the names of the individual colonies were printed over the regular stamps before sale. In 1900, a new stamp design was released for universal use in all the colonies.

Redolent of the imperial grandeur of the Kaiser, the yacht was used as a symbol of German power and prestige. The seafaring nature of the design also underscored the new hopes of the German Empire under Wilhelm II. The Kaiser had embarked on a quest to expand worldwide and by 1898 was rapidly building his navy to compete with other world powers, particularly Great Britain.

The "Yachts" were first released in 1900 and remained the standard postal design for all German colonial mail until shortly after the outbreak of the First World War. By mid-1915 all the German colonies had surrendered to Allied forces, and with them came their postal administrations. The confiscated German stamps, virtually all of them Yachts, were stamped with new names and prices for Allied wartime use. The Yachts thus continued in service throughout the war years, unlike the Kaiser's yacht itself which was decommissioned in June 1914.

Two designs

Two separate designs of the Yacht stamps were published. They were issued to each of the colonies in a standardized set of colors and denominations. The less expensive varieties (3–20 pf. and 1–2 marks) were printed in monotone shades of red, orange, green, indigo and brown. The more expensive versions (25-50 pf. and 3-5 marks) were printed differently for aesthetic appeal: the small design had its ship and text printed with extra heavy black outlines, while the larger design was printed with contrasting colors like red and green.

Most of the stamps were denominated in German currency
German gold mark
The Goldmark was the currency used in the German Empire from 1873 to 1914.-History:Before unification, the different German states issued a variety of different currencies, though most were linked to the Vereinsthaler, a silver coin containing 16⅔ grams of pure silver...

 (1 Mark = 100 Pfennig), although German East Africa used its own currency, the Rupie (1 Rupie = 64 Pesa and, from 1905, 1 Rupie = 100 Heller). The leased port of Kiatschou used the Chinese Dollar ($1 = 100 Cents) as its currency after 1905.

Large design Yacht

The larger, more broadside, and more expensive version was printed in values of 1,2 3,or 5 mark
Mark may refer to:* Mark , a male given name* Mark -Business:* Service mark, trademark used to identify a service rather than a product...

s. The large Yacht issues were panoramic and were designed in two subtly distinct versions, one with a long unfurled scroll and another with a shorter, double-folded scroll. Together they provided the large Yachts with a visual uniformity across colonies because the font
In typography, a font is traditionally defined as a quantity of sorts composing a complete character set of a single size and style of a particular typeface...

 size would always be roughly the same, in contrast to the small design.

Small design Yacht

The smaller, forward-facing design was more common, and was printed in values of 3, 5, 10, 20, 25, 30, and 50 pfennig
The Pfennig , plural Pfennige, is an old German coin or note, which existed from the 9th century until the introduction of the euro in 2002....

s. The small Yacht issues all have exactly the same design with differences only in the text. Because the size of the blank scrolls could not be altered, significant changes to font size and structure were necessary to accommodate colony names of varying length: German Southwest Africa stood out from other issues for its tightly cramped letters, while Togo and Samoa required decorative emblems to fill in the yawning blank spaces around their names.


Individual Yacht issues were printed from master printing plates which were blank in the "scrolls" surrounding the design. These "key plate stamps" could be engraved with names and prices as needed. Sometimes blank stamps were printed and stored, and the text would be overprint
An overprint is an additional layer of text or graphics added to the face of a postage stamp or banknote after it has been printed. Post offices most often use overprints for internal administrative purposes such as accounting but they are also employed in public mail...

ed later. On fully engraved plates, the text color matches the design color, while overprinted blanks have their text in rich black ink.

The printing was done by the intaglio
Intaglio (printmaking)
Intaglio is a family of printmaking techniques in which the image is incised into a surface, known as the matrix or plate, and the incised line or area holds the ink. Normally, copper or zinc plates are used as a surface, and the incisions are created by etching, engraving, drypoint, aquatint or...

 method, which required moistening of the paper before printing. After the drying process was complete, the irregular contraction of the paper would sometimes cause the finished stamps to have designs of slightly different size. Early printings were not watermark
A watermark is a recognizable image or pattern in paper that appears as various shades of lightness/darkness when viewed by transmitted light , caused by thickness or density variations in the paper...

ed, but from 1905 onwards, the classic "lozenges" watermark was applied to the back of the paper.

Allied overprint versions

Following Allied occupation in the First World War, the German colonies had their stamps seized, but most were rereleased within a few days. The stamps were overprinted with the occupiers' postal codes and redenominated to the appropriate new currency. This breach of postal etiquette was taken quite poorly in Germany, and at least one provincial governor, in Belgium, decreed heavy penalties for any stamp collectors or dealers possessing Allied stamps.

Issues of German New Guinea and Marshall Islands were, like Samoa, surcharged by the British with "G.R.I." for Georgius Rex Imperator. In Kamerun, issues were overprinted "C.E.F." for the Cameroon Expeditionary Force. The stamps of Togo were surcharged "TOGO Anglo French Occupation" and "TOGO Occupation france-anglais" by British
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 and French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 authorities respectively. Many of these Allied overprints are now exceedingly rare and there are numerous known forgeries.

See also

  • Michel stamp catalogue
    Michel catalog
    The Michel catalog is the largest and best-known stamp catalog in the German-speaking world. First published in 1910, it has become an important reference work for philately, with information not available in the English-language Scott catalog.The catalog started out as a price list for the dealer...

    , the standard reference for German stamps
  • Postage stamps and postal history of the German colonies
    Postage stamps and postal history of the German colonies
    This is a survey of postage stamps and postal history of the German colonies and part of the postage stamps and postal history of Germany, as well as those of the individual countries and territories concerned.- Overview :...

  • Postage stamps and postal history of Togo
    Postage stamps and postal history of Togo
    This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of Togo.Togo is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, on which the capital Lomé is located...

  • Postage stamps and postal history of German South-West Africa
    Postage stamps and postal history of German South-West Africa
    German South-West Africa was a German colony in Africa, established in 1884 with the protection of the area around Lüderitz and abandoned during World War I, when the area was taken over by the British....

  • Postage stamps and postal history of German East Africa
    Postage stamps and postal history of German East Africa
    This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of German East Africa.German East Africa was a German colony in East Africa, including what is now Burundi, Rwanda and Tanganyika...

  • German post offices abroad
    German post offices abroad
    The German post offices abroad were a network of post offices in foreign countries established by Germany to provide mail service where the local services were deemed unsafe or unreliable. They were generally set up in cities with some sort of German commercial interest...

  • SMY Hohenzollern
    SMY Hohenzollern
    SMY Hohenzollern was the name of several Yachts used by the German Emperors between 1878 and 1918, named after their House of Hohenzollern.- SMY Hohenzollern I :...

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.