An Introduction to Danzig Perfins
by Dr. John D. Neefus
Presently Vice President of the Germany Philatelic Society, John Neefus has been a member of GPS for over 25 years. His memberships include the APS, the Polonius Philatelic Society, the Lithuanian Philatelic Society of Chicago, the ArGe Lochungen, the ArGe Ostgebiete, and the GPS Danzig, Bavaria and Inflation Study Groups. John was one of the founders of the Plebiscite-Meme!Saar Study Group, and he is currently working with a Polish franslator to bring us an English version of Morawski’s book of Port Gdansk postmarks, 1920-1939.
Part I -- An Introduction to Danzig Perfins
The Arbeitsgemeinschaft Lochungen im BDPh e.V. is the study group in Germany concerned with Perfins. The study group is in the process of creating a handbook of all known German Perfins. The official title is “Katalog der deutschen Firmenlochungen.” The authors are Dr. Hans Hiliman, Alfred Wirth and Willem Smetsers. The most current information from this classic work will be extracted for Danzig and combined with inform ation published by the study group primarily concerned with Danzig, Arbeitsgemeins chaft Danzig. There does not appear to be total agreement between the two study groups and it will be so stated when disagreement occurs. Information, although not as extensive, from the Perfin Society (USA) is also referenced.
Once before, for the Germany Philatelic Society’s 40th Anniversary Anthology, I wrote an article concerning perfins and explained the ArGe Lochungen’s method of describing perfins. There has been some “fine tuning” to their system since 1989 and this article presents an opportunity to redefine the ArGe Lochungen system more correctly than in the past. When an important philatelic word is used, it will be followed by the German transl ation. An example is perfin (Lochungen).
The word perfin is the contraction and combination of the words perforated and initials. Perfins are stamps which contain small holes organized to form initials, or symbols. Monograms are considered fancy initials.
The history of German Perfins is not very clear, but it is believed that they were used before the unification of Germany in 1871. The earliest date which can be documented is June 2, 1876. (M. Kinkel) In an 1892 issue of Ailgemeinen Dienstanweisung(General Instruction for Postal Employees) Part V, Section 1, Executive Order 49 (II) is a document known as Circular 59 which is entitled “Postordnung mit Ausfiihrungsbestimmungen. The alphabetic publication is concerned with stamps purchased from the post office by firms and individuals who wish to identify their property by perforating the stamps in the form of letters. The post office administration states that the altered stamps can be used in regular postage traffic as long as they can be easily recognized as’genuine and unused.
Danzig Report Vol. 1 - Nr. 92 - July - August - September - 1996, Page 19.
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