Frame/Center Types of German Colonial Issues

Resources

The larger-value Colonial issues were printed in two parts, the frame and the center.  Across the colonies, there were three different frame designs and three different center designs.  Below is a brief overview of the types:

Type I

kol_type_i_border

Type I Frame

Type I Center

Type I Center

Type II

kol_type_ii_border

Type II Frame

Type II Center

Type II Center

The Type II frames and centers are easily identifiable by the ribbon folds on the top frame, and the corresponding indentations in the center to accommodate the folds.

Type II Frame Folds

Type II Frame Folds

Type II Center Indentations

Type II Center Indentations

Type III

Type III Frame

Type III Frame

Type III Center

Type III Center

The Type III can be difficult to distinguish from the Type I.  The difference is in the size of the value areas of the frame — slightly larger on the Type III — and the corresponding indentation in the Type III center to accommodate the larger frame.

Type III / Type I Frame Comparison

Type III / Type I Frame Comparison

Note the larger Type III value area (overlaid in red).

Type III / Type I Center Comparison

Type III / Type I Center Comparison

Note the smaller indentation in the Type I center (overlaid in red).

Across the Colonies

As a general rule, certain colonies used certain standard types. However, due to errors at the printers, several varieties exist with mixed types (example, Type I frame with Type II center). A summary is as follows:

German New Guinea

Standard design:

  • Type I

Exceptions:

  • MiNr 23 I A II (Frame Type I, Center Type II)
  • MiNr 23 II B I (Frame Type I, Center Type II)
  • MiNr 23 II B II (Frame Type I, Center Type III)

German East Africa

Standard design:

  • Type III

Exceptions:

  • MiNr 21 I (Frame Type III, Center Type I)
  • MiNr 39 II A II a (Frame Type III, Center Type II)
  • MiNr 39 II A II b (Frame Type III, Center Type II)
  • MiNr 39 II B II (Frame Type III, Center Type II)

German Southwest Africa

Standard design:

  • Type I

Exceptions:

  • MiNr 32 B (Frame Type I, Center Type II)

Cameroon

Standard design:

  • Type II

Carolines

Standard design:

  • None

Exceptions:

  • MiNr 15 (Frame Type I, Center Type I)
  • MiNr 16 (Frame Type I, Center Type I)
  • MiNr 17 (Frame Type I, Center Type I)
  • MiNr 18 (Frame Type I, Center Type I)
  • MiNr 19 (Frame Type I, Center Type II)
  • MiNr 22 I A (Frame Type II, Center Type I)
  • MiNr 22 II A (Frame Type II, Center Type I)
  • MiNr 22 II B (Frame Type II, Center Type I)

Kiautschou

Standard design:

  • Type II

Exceptions:

  • MiNr 17 (Frame Type II, Center Type I)

Marshalls

Standard design:

  • Type I

Exceptions:

  • MiNr 27 A I (Frame Type I, Center Type II)
  • MiNr 27 B I (Frame Type I, Center Type II)

Samoa

Standard design:

  • Type II

Togo

Standard design:

  • Type II

Demos

Using scans of actual stamps to illustrate, here’s a comparison showing the top of a Type I/Type III frame with a normal Type I/Type III center, and with a Type II center.

kol_type_i_iiAdditionally, here is a comparison of Type I and Type III frames. Note the different distances between the bow/stern of the yacht and the edge of the center printing.

kol_type_i_iii