German stamps are among the world’s most beautiful country stamps and Germans are among the most devoted stamp collectors. Although many German items, including stamps, were destroyed during the early and middle 20th century, many still have been preserved throughout the decades. Collectible Germany stamps depict the history, culture, political figures, and other topics which reflect the beauty of this European country. Read more here for the postal history of Germany.

9 Rare German Stamps

Below, we’ll talk about nine of the most notable rare German stamps. These stamps were issued between the mid-1850’s, to more recent in the early 2000’s. We’ll start from least expensive to most expensive:

9.) $22,460 – Olympic Games semipostal stamp, 1980

The Olympic Games semipostal stamp, printed in 1980, was printed but immediately removed before the issuance day. This occurred because there was a boycott that happened during the Summer Games in Moscow to protest Soviet military activity in Afghanistan.A few of these un-issued stamps were in the possession of a German postal official. They were accidentally used on mail and stamp collectors later recovered the stamp. The last known sold Olympic Games semipostal stamp from 1980 was offered for $22,460 by Gaertner in 2017.
Olympic Games, 1980 Stamp

Sachsen Dreier Stamp

8.) $30,300 – Sachen 3 pfennige red stamp, 1850

Issued all the way back in 1850, this is regarded as one of the most impressive classical European stamps from the mid 19th century. Only a few copies of this stamp were issued for use in the mail, and most of those were destroyed. This is a commonly forged classical European stamp.The Sachen 3 pfennige red German stamp from 1850 was sold in the year 2015 for $30,300.

7.) $44,957 – One kreuzer black stamp, 1849

The One kreuzer black, or Schwarzer Einser was the very first stamp to be issued in the Kingdom of Bavaria, in the year 1849. The stamp was designed by Johann Peter Haseney and issued on November 1st of that year. Approximately 832,500 copies of the stamp were printed, however nearly all of them were removed from the postal circle in October of 1851.This rare German stamp features a black design. This Kreuzer black stamp was last sold in excellent condition with a faint corner in May 2015. It was sold for about $44,957.
One Kreuzer Black Stamp

5m Kaiser Wilhelm II Invert Error Stamp, 1905

6.) $60,790 – 5m Kaiser Wilhelm II invert error stamp, 1905

This error stamp was last sold at the Felzmann auction in March 2016 for $60,790. The stamp features a scarce inverted-center error with the face value of 5-mark issued during the time of the first World War, depicting Kaiser Wilhelm II speaking to a crowd.Today, only 27 known inverted stamps are thought to exist in the town of Stralsund, and two from Hamburg also survived. To date, the 5m Kaiser Wilhelm II invert error stamp from 1905, in fine condition, is regarded as one of the greatest rarities in German philately.

5.) $65,500 – 2-mark Germania stamp with quatrefoil watermark, 1920

This rare German stamp, issued with a quatrefoil watermark, is a rare variety that was first printed in 1920. Philatelists believe that only three of these specimens with the quatrefoil watermark still exist.It is a rarity since it was printed on paper with a watermark of repeating quatrefoils (little diamond-shapes).In November 2015, the 2-mark Germania stamp with quatrefoil watermark from 1920 was sold for $65,500.
2-mark Germania Stamp with Quatrefoil Watermark, 1920

Kerstfest Error Stamp, 2016

4.) $112,394 – “Kerstfest” error stamp, 2016

The German 2016 “Kerstfest” error stamp was printed in error due to a misspelling of the word: “Kerstfeest.” Due to the spelling error, the entire printing run was rejected and the stamps were reprinted with the correct spelling.However, the “Kerstfest” error stamp would become a sought after collector’s item. A mint sheet of 10 of these stamps was sold for $37,090 by the Felzmann auction house in 2017. Later, another sheet of 10 was sold for $112, 394 to a dealer at the show in November 2019.

3.) $176,000 – Audrey Hepburn stamp, 2001

This 2001 issue of the German Audrey Hepburn stamp had more than 14 million copies initially, however only two sheets of 30 specimens have survived to-date. The other items were destroyed since Hepburn’s son refused to grant copyright to publish the stamp – doing so since the photo of his mother had been altered.An unknown employee of the Deutsche Post pocketed the 30 copies and used them to send letters postmarked from Berlin. These stamps sold for $176,000 during the June Christoph Gaertner sale in Stuttgart, Germany in 2017.
Audrey Hepburn Single Mint Stamp 2001

Oldenburg Green Black on Green Paper, 1859

2.) $389,183 – Oldenburg 1/3 Gr. black on a green paper stamp, 1859

This very rare German stamp was issued in 1859. It is unique, being imperforated and lithographed on colored green paper. The stamp depicts a crown over the Arms of Oldenburg in the middle, with the name of the duchy and the denominations are inscribed at the top and bottom.Philatelists today suggest that only one block of four of 1/3 stamps and a few pairs were kept in unused condition. It is today regarded as one of the greatest rarities in the philately today.The green and black 1859 Oldenburg stamp was last sold for $389,183.

1.) $1,545,000 – Baden 9 Kreuzer error stamp, 1851

This extremely rare German stamp is the most expensive stamp ever issued by the German Postal Service. Philatelists suggest that only four copies of this stamp still exist on the market. They were printed in the wrong color, (green instead of pink).The German Post explained that the error likely occurred when the plates for 6 and 9 were switched, and the plate for the green paper was used for the Baden 9 Kreuzer stamps.A fine copy of this famous rare stamp was sold in April 2008 for $1,545,000.
Baden 9 Kreuzer Error Stamp, 1851

Germany Postal History

The European culture of Germany has a rich postal history, with beautiful philatelic items depicting its culture, important figures in its history, the Olympics, and more. Rare German stamps may be hard to come by, but are still fun to collect. Collect rare German stamps by topic, German colonies, and more. Shop all collectible German stamps on Mesa Stamps today.