INTRODUCTION

In January of 1919, the newly created government of Poland decreed that the then current Austrian postage stamps, which were valid for postal usage in the southern half of the country, would become invalid on the 21st of January. The available supplies of Austrian stamps were overprinted with a Poczta Polska overprint and these overprinted stamps became the only valid postage on the 21st of January. The quantities of the Austrian postage stamps that were overprinted were small in number and variable. Within months, forgeries of varying degree of competency became readily available in the philatelic market. By 1927 - within 8 years - one expert expressed the opinion that probably at least 60% of the common overprints and at least 90% of the rarer overprints were forgeries.

In 1933 Stanislaus Mikstein wrote the definitive treatise on the background of this issue and the methods of authenticating the overprints. To my knowledge, his methods are still the current accepted means of authenticating these overprints. The overprints were done either by a typographic or a lithographic process. The typographic overprint consists of 3 parts, the word POCZTA, a rhombus, and the word POLSKA, and the typographic assembly was used for the overprinting of sheets of 100 stamps (10 x 10). The lithographic overprint consists of 3 parts, the word POCZTA, an ornament, and the word POLSKA, and the lithographic assembly was used for the overprinting of sheets of 100 stamps (10 x 10) or blocks of 25 stamps (5 x 5). The overprint forms are illustrated below:

Quantities Overprinted
Regular Issue
Postage Due
Newspaper
Value
Amount
Value
Amount
Value
Amount
3h
2350
5h
34000
2h
23150
5h
2050
10h
150
4h
56350
6h
28800
15h
76000
6h
71950
10h
2250
15/36h
700
10h
11350
12h
15640
20h
450
30h
34950
15h
62750
25h
7760
20h
5340
30h
270
25h
1300
40h
1000
25/80h
100000
50/42h
6020
30h
3740
1Kr
80
40h
22390
5Kr
80
50h
58230
10Kr
55
60h
67020
80h
74190
90h
1300
1Kr
50860
2Kr
90275
3Kr
8005
4Kr
5508
10Kr
550

In 1990, I had written a 42 page monograph detailing the Krakow Issues. This monograph is available from Bieniecki Int'l Inc. . However I have updated this information by incorporating a supplement to these web pages. With the appropriate equipment and software, the necessary overprint component measurements can easily be determined.

Michael E. Melnichak
mikemelni@verizon .net
06/15/2001 Revised 09/11/2005