zaterdag 30 mei 2015

Notopfer 2 Berlin Steuermarke

A huge post for a small small stamp, 
I found the info on a forum for stamp collectors

The origins of this stamp are in the June 21, 1948 Currency reform by the western zones of Germany, which caught the Soviet with their pants down and lead to a rushed currency reform in the Soviet (and Berlin) on June 24th (June 25th in West Berlin). Emergency stamps were over- printed in many post offices (the so-called "District Handoverprints") every night to meet the next day's demand, until machine-overprinted stamps became available on July 3rd.

This immediately lead to the Soviet Blockade of West Berlin and the Berlin Airlift (Operation Vittles). The population of West Berlin suffered greatly during the time of the blockade, which was not lifted until May 12, 1949. (The Airlift continued until Sept. 30.)

As a means to defray the costs of this massive resupply operation and to provide continuing assistance to the people of Berlin, the German parliament (with military government approval) passed a law requiring a 2 Pfennig tax on various classes of mail. (Covers franked contrary to this law exist, e.g. Notopers used to pay postage and ordinary stamps used to pay the tax.)

The tax was to be paid ONLY by the "blue flea" stamp, first issued on Dec. 1, 1948 and inscribed "NOTOPFER / 2 BERLIN / STEUERMARKE". This translates to "Emergency Victims / 2 Berlin / Tax Stamp". Although this is technically a tax stamp, it was in fact sold by the post office and it had no use other than on mail.

Covers franked contrary to this law exist, e.g. Notopers used to pay postage and ordinary stamps used to pay the tax.

The Notopfer was not required on all pieces of mail. Initially, the Notopfer was required only in the Bizone (combined American and British zones). It was later used in the French Zone. It was never used in Berlin itself. It was not required on mail to Berlin, on mail to the Soviet Zone and on mail to foreign destinations. Examples used inadvertently to the Soviet Zone or Berlin were often defaced and returned by the Soviet Zone authorities (and are very collectable).

For mail that was not exempt per the above, initially every class of mail required the Notopfer. This represented a 10% tax for letter mail, but was a whopping 50% for printed matter. Businesses complained loudly about this and printed matter was later made exempt.

Even official mail that was otherwise free required a Notopfer!

The period of use for the Notopfer was Dec. 1, 1948 to March 31, 1956, thus surviving the transition from occupied Germany to Federal Republic. Overall, more than 10 billion of the "fleas" were printed. 

woensdag 27 mei 2015


This colorful swap was called 
"A little letter of home" 
We had to send our partner:
a letter with information about our city/area
a postcard about our area
something flat that represents our area
and the smallest (in value) coin from our country
My partner was so kind to include tea as well.   

maandag 25 mei 2015

Stamps, what else?


top right:
75th anniversary of statehood
top left:
National capital sesquicentennial
"the White House"
(set of 4, 1950)
centre right:
Issued to honor John Wesley Powell
centre left:
"the United States pavilion"

donderdag 21 mei 2015

Unwanted cards

These were all unwanted cards from a fellow Postcrosser!
I can't say they are all amazing, but I couldn't resist them either.
Some I am going to keep, some I am going to send out,
I just have to find a way to alter them to my liking.

They smell so nice too! Old paper!

woensdag 20 mei 2015

Good mail coming in

A Swap-bot swap from Germany with tea!
The sender wrote her message in German, and I understood everything,
so I am pretty pleased. 

A facebook swap, sent from Belgium but a great card from
the Humor Monastery in Romania

on the envelope there was this 
cute stamp from Belgium
(set of 5)

This card fell in my mailbox thanks to Swap-bot too.
The sender of this card liked one of my "Chunk O Cardboard" pieces a lot
so I sent him a message, offering to send a similar one. 
I got this card in return, he took the picture himself.  

Great stamps from the US

Chinese Lunar New Year
(set of 12, 2005)
top right:
Year of the Ram
bottom right:
(set of 5, 2011)
"The flax plant's stems can be transformed into linen, and its seeds into oil"

maandag 18 mei 2015

Chunk O Cardboard incoming and a nice letter

In one of my previous posts I mentioned 
I participated in a "Chunk O Cardboard" swap
and showed you what I sent out (two received so far).
I received two chunks today, so waiting for one more.

I love this, I mean,... cake! 
The sender wrote she made it last weekend
and that it was so good, she's going to make one again.

I love the stamps she used, so colorful!
Would like to know more about the hands one though.

This chunk comes from the US,
The sender writes she loves to collect these figures. 

And last but not least, I got a letter from a pen-friend, 
she used the Year of the Ram stamp on her black(!) envelope

 and such cute washi tape, I am in love! 

maandag 11 mei 2015

Bookmarks and a letter

I participated in a bookmark swap again
and I got these three bookmarks from Spain

At the left you see the Palacio de la Magdalena
The top bookmark shows Sardinero beach
The bottom one shows "Cabo mayor" lighthouse

 A letter from a pen-friend with lots of goodies! 
(and a late birthday card, so cute)

woensdag 6 mei 2015

Finally a happy mailbox!

I finally received a Lia Selina postcard!
I love her art work so much.

“Babr, a Siberian tiger with a sable in his mouth"
Irkutsk coat of arms
(set of 2, 2011)
Birds of Prey. Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Joint issue of Russia and North Korea
(set of 2, 2014)

The pretty origami paper and the used stamps
came with a sweet letter from a Japanese pen-friend.
The stamps are for another post of course. 

dinsdag 5 mei 2015

Chunk O Cardboard swap

I discovered a swap called "Chunk O Cardboard" on Swap-Bot
and decided to give it a try. 
I cut up several food boxes and used a lot of space while doing so
as you can see...

And this is the result, three pieces of mail art (?) for three swap partners.
 Hope they are well received. 

It is a bit out of my comfort zone, to be honest.
Would you participate in a swap like this? 

zondag 3 mei 2015

Mail from Spain and arts & crafts

This letter arrived in my mailbox a while ago,
I love the postcard and the tea is long gone. 
My mailbox has been quiet, but I have been messing around with 
mail art and greeting cards.

What do you think? 

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