250th! Celebrate Beethoven’s birthday with stamps

250th! Celebrate Beethoven’s birthday with stamps

I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer up stamps for Beethoven’s birthday. As expected, Germany and Austria both issued special stamps commemorating the event.

Germany’s 250th Beethoven birthday stamp

Beethoven was born in Bonn 250 years ago so it’s not surprising Germany issued more than a stamp to celebrate the day.

Stamp issued for Beethoven's birthday - Germany's stamp showing Beethoven's face, with a blue background

Happy Birthday Beethoven

Wer kennt sie nicht, die Mondscheinsonate, das Klavierstück Für Elise, die 5. Sinfonie, die auch Schicksalssinfonie genannt wird, und die 9. Sinfonie, deren letzter Satz die Grundlage der Europahymne bildet. Alle vier Musikstücke stammen von Ludwig van Beethoven, der als einer der berühmtesten und meistgespielten Komponisten aller Zeiten gilt. Mit seinem Werk hat er die Wiener Klassik zur höchsten Entwicklung geführt und der Musik der Romantik den Weg bereitet. Seine Schöpfungen zählen zum kulturellen Erbe der Menschheit und seine handschriftliche Aufzeichnung der 9. Sinfonie ist Bestandteil des Weltdokumentenerbes der UNESCO.

Ludwig van Beethoven (getauft 1770, gestorben 1827) war der Spross einer musikalischen Familie und ein klavierspielendes Wunderkind. Er lebte und wirkte zunächst in Bonn, danach bis zu seinem Lebensende in Wien. Er hat, trotz seiner Ertaubung, ein umfangreiches musikalisches Werk hinterlassen. Aus dem beeindruckenden Gesamtwerk ragen vor allem die neun Sinfonien, die fünf Klavierkonzerte und 32 Klaviersonaten sowie eine Vielzahl kammermusikalischer Werke heraus.

Who doesn’t know the Moonlight Sonata, piano piece For Elise, the 5th Symphony, also called the Symphony of Destiny, and the 9th Symphony, the last movement of which forms the basis for the European anthem? All four pieces of music are by Ludwig van Beethoven, who is considered one of the most famous and most played composers of all time. With his works, he led Viennese classical music to the highest development and paved the way for the music of Romanticism. His creations are part of the cultural heritage of mankind and his handwritten 9th Symphony is part of UNESCO’s World Documentary Heritage.

Ludwig van Beethoven (baptized 1770, died 1827) was born to a musical family and was piano prodigy. He lived and worked first in Bonn, then, until the end of his life, in Vienna. Despite his deafness, he left behind an extensive musical work. The nine symphonies, five piano concertos and 32 piano sonatas as well as a variety of chamber music works are stand outs in his impressive complete works. 250. Geburtstag Ludwig van Beethoven, Briefmarke zu 0,80 €, 10er-Bogen | Shop Deutsche Post

Deutsche Post offers several products, including the expected single stamp, souvenir sheet, maxicard and coins. Check them out at their online shop, Shop der Deutschen Post | Porto online kaufen (deutschepost.de), and use “Beethoven” in the search box if you want to see all items.

The souvenir sheet is attractive and displays the design better than the single stamp. It hides a mildly irritating design element. The top of the stamp spills off the edge, creating a bit of an unbalanced look by making it appear improperly cropped. it’s a jarring feature that doesn’t sit well with the stamp collector in me. The lack of top margin works on the full sheet though. I haven’t quite figured out why, but I suspect the stamp was designed with a sheet in mind. The lack of white margin on the top helps the eye run down the full sheet. Without the top margin, the stamps space out better.
Souvenin sheet of 10 stamps from German post office

Souvenir sheet for Beethoven’s 250th birthday

Maxi card celebrating Beethoven’s birthday

Photo of a First Day Cover showing stamps, special cancel mark and photo of Beethoven's bust

Beethoven’s 250th on a postcard

Austria’s Beethoven birthday offerings

Not to be outdone, Österreichische Post also issued a stamp for the occasion.
Austrian Post office stamp commemorating Beethoven's birthday. Stamp shows Beethoven's profile

Austrian Post’s offering


Die Österreichische Post ehrt den 250. Geburtstag des großen Komponisten mit einer mit Folienprägung veredelten Sondermarke, die sein bekanntes Porträt von Joseph Karl Stieler zeigt.
During his entire life, Ludwig van Beethoven had close ties to Vienna, the city of music, even though he was originally from Bonn. 2020 marks the 250th anniversary of his birthday. Österreichische Post celebrates this occasion by issuing a commemorative stamp dedicated to this genius of music. This stamp features a detail from the well-known portrait of the artist by Joseph Karl Stieler from 1820 along with Beethoven’s signature in silver foil embossing. Post AG
Of the two, I prefer this one. The colours stand out and with the addition of the foil embossing, the overall design has a stronger visual appeal. Combined with balanced margins, this is stamp with a better overall look. Designer Karin Klier did an outstanding job on this issue.  Klier is with the design firm Bureau Cooper. I know Cooper has designed several stamps for Austria Post since 2010, but unfortunately, their website isn’t the most informative. You can take a look at previous stamps here Bureau Cooper | Österreichische Post.
Envelope showing the Austrian Beethoven birthday stamp with special cancel mark

Austrian cover by Cooper Design

Österreichische Post |Austrian Post Maxi-card

Maxi Card by Austrian post

Impressive post card

The maxi-card (aka post card) would be a nice souvenir to send to a Beethoven lover. You can buy all items at Post AG. Use the search menu to see all Beethoven related stamps and/or coins. As of today (Dec 16th, 2020) all are still available for sale at their respective post office online stores.

If you are a collector of world-wide stamps, check out my growing spreadsheet of post offices around the world. It’s ever changing as I acquire more details. It has links to post offices and (if available) online stores. If you spot an error, pop me a comment.  It’s easy to edit someone else’s work, but a royal pain editing my own. Post Offices Around World | Bitter Grounds Magazine


Banner reading "Big List of Post Offices from around the world"
Delightful Deutsche Post Christmas stamp

Delightful Deutsche Post Christmas stamp

The 2020 Deutsche Post Christmas stamp is now available!  This release includes single self-adhesives, booklets, souvenir sheets, and greeting cards.

Markenset “Frohes Fest” / “Happy Feast” – festive decorations

Das festliche Dekorieren des Hauses oder der Wohnung in den Farben Grün, Rot und Weiß, Silber und Gold ist Teil des weihnachtlichen Brauchtums. Beliebter Weihnachtsschmuck sind der Adventskranz und der Adventskalender sowie die ursprünglich aus dem Erzgebirge stammenden Schwibbögen und die Weihnachtspyramiden, die mit ihrem Licht für Behaglichkeit sorgen. Den Mittelpunkt der Weihnachtsstimmung bilden die mit bunten Glaskugeln, Kerzen oder elektrischen Lichterketten, aus Holz oder Metall gefertigten Formen und Figuren, Strohsternen und Lametta geschmückten Tannenbäume und die kunstvoll gestalteten Weihnachtskrippen.
Deutsche Post 

Deutsche Post Christmas Stamp - decorations including a prancing deer

Stamp designed by Thomas Steinacker

The stamp highlights popular Christmas decorations like bulbs, Advent calendars, fir branches, and stars. Designer Thomas Steinacker also created the Jan 2020 stamp issued to commemorate Beethoven’s 250th birthday.

Deutsche Post Christmas stamp – booklets & s/s

Deutsche Post Christmas Stamp - decorations full booklet

Christmas decorations available in 10 stamp booklet

Souvenir sheet of German Christmas stamps

Souvenir sheets

The Christmas motif self-adhesive is also available in booklets of 10 stamps and a souvenir sheet.

Grußkarten-Set “Weihnachten 2020” / Christmas stamps Greeting Card Set

Photo of a Christmas set of greeting cards

5 different greeting cards and 10 stamps

If you enjoy sending traditional Christmas cards, the Germany Post Office sells a set of 10 greeting cards, with 5 unique designs, plus envelopes and 10 self-adhesive stamps. The German post office does Christmas up with panache.

Don’t forget to follow Bitter Grounds via any of the links just below this article.

Amazing German FDC – Tag der Briefmarke 2020

Amazing German FDC – Tag der Briefmarke 2020

I acquired an impressive German FDC recently, courtesy of a fellow collector in Germany. He posted a message on a stamp collecting forum about a special Deutsche Post commemorative cancel honouring the Canadian army. He kindly sent 3 covers/postcards that had the cancel. What I didn’t expect was the FDC displayed below. It has 3 elements that make it one of the more attractive FDCs I’ve seen in years.

German FDC honouring the Canadian Army – Deutsche Post

Photo of a German FDC showing 2 Canadian soldiers in front of the Leer, Rathaus in 1945

2 Canadian soldiers in front of the Rathaus (townhall) in Leer, Germany

Deutsche post issued the First Day Cover (FDC) with a special cancel commemorating both the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and Canada’s role in liberating Leer, Germany. The cancel displays both the Leer Rathaus and the Canadian army badge. It’s a touching design.

Canadian army badge showing crossed swords and three maple leafs

Emblem of the Canadian army

It took some detective work to find details about both the cancel and the photo used on the FDC. I started with a (very) rough translation from the German FDC.

Original German:
Tag der Briefmarke  202075 Jahre Ende des 2 Weltkriegs1945 befreien kanadische Truppen die
Stadt und den Landkreis Leer
Verein der Briefmarkenfreunde
Leer E.V.
Rough translation:
Stamp Day 202075 years end of World War II

In 1945, Canadian troops liberated the
City and the district of Leer
Association of Stamp Friends
Leer E.V.

Leer is in the Northwest of Germany, across the river from Groningen province, Netherlands. When Canadian troops swept across the northern parts of Europe, they crossed the bridge from Groningen to Leer and liberated the city.

The cancel was created for the annual German-Dutch exchange day. Apologies for the following bad translation from the original German.

The traditional German-Dutch Exchange Day 2020 will take place on 26 September in Hesel.

The hall, which philatelists know from the Northwest German Collectors Exchange, held in 2019, is large enough, with an area of around 600 square metres, to allow all visitors to maintain the necessary safety distance.

Exchange and day of the stamp.
The village community house in Jemgum, (Germany) on the other hand, measures only 300 square meters. Therefore, the event had to move from Jemgum to Hesel. On September 26, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Leer stamp society will not only be inviting you to the Big Exchange Day, but also to the release of a cover, which this year is dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the city by Canadian troops.

An “Experience Stamps” team will be there with the new “75 years of AM Post” stamp as well. The association will have available the cover containing both an historic photo and the AM stamp.

Contact: Oswald Janssen, Am Helling 11, 26802 Moormerland, Tel. 04954 / 6346, Oswald.Janssen (at) t-online.de, www: briefmarkenfreunde-leer.de.
From: https://www.briefmarkenspiegel.de/2020/09/23/tipp-zum-wochenende-deutsch-niederlaendischer-tauschtag/

Closeup of the special cancel

Scan of the special Leer/Hesel stamp cancel honouring the liberation of Leer

Excellent cancel showing the badge of the Canadian army


AM – Allied Military stamp on the German FDC

There was a pleasant surprise on the FDC – the commemorative AM stamp. It has been released for the upcoming 75-year anniversary of the original AM (Allied Military) post war stamps. AM stamps were issued after the fall of the Nazis, under the US and Great Britain forces. These general issues were in use from Feb. 1946 to June of 1948.

Reproduction of Allied Military stamp issued in Germany 1946

Modern stamp showing Allied Military stamp issued in Germany 1946

The originals are an interesting grouping to collect. Aside from the basic set, avid collectors can hunt for varieties in colours, types of paper, cancels, perforations, and plate numbers. They are mostly inexpensive and easy to find.

The Allies had set up a temporary postal service in the occupied German Reich, which could also be used for civil mail from March 1945. The “AM-POST” stamps (“Allied Military”) were the first stamps of the Allies on German soil at that time. They initially came from the USA (MiNr.: 1-9), later they were printed in England (MiNr.: 10-15) and Germany (MiNr.: 16-35). – Duetsche Post website

The “75 years of AM-POST-Brands” stamp came out Sept. 3, 2020, just prior to the release on Sept. 26, 2020 of the German FDC with the Canadian soldiers’ photo.

Canadian soldiers stand in the Leer city harbour

Photo of 2 Canadian soldiers standing near riverside in Leer, Germany, with Rathaus in background

Two Canadian soldiers stand in the city’s harbour after the conquest. Images: Dieter Simon, The End of the War 1945 in Leer, Verlag Schuster 1995

It was difficult to find any reference to the photo used in this German FDC. I found only one in an online newspaper from Germany. Beyond this one link, I couldn’t find anything else. I searched Canadian archives too, but nothing popped up.

This is a good find for any Canadian militaria collector as well as stamp fans, both German and Canadian.