President Lord Victor Denovan used his special night to show a fascinating collecting field: the 1923 hyper-inflation period in Germany.
With the totally ridiculous war reparations imposed by the allies at the end of the First World War, it can be said that the inflation period actually began in 1919 and continued to spiral, culminating in hyper-inflation. A loaf of bread in 1919 cost one mark 63 pfennigs, by November 1923 it was two billion marks!
Due to ever-increasing postal tariffs, old stocks of stamps were overprinted by each district of the country and it was these issues that were the basis for the display.
With overprinting having to be done on a daily basis as inflation spiralled out of control, many stamps were issued and because of the necessary speed of production, this resulted in many varieties, errors and plate damage – all of which were shown in great detail. Overprinting rates were staggering such as five-pfennig stamps uprated to 800,000 marks and 200million stamps increased to two million marks. Included was thought to be one of only a few remaining full sheets from an original printing of just 200.
Part two of Lord Denovan’s display included cards sent by the German railway post 1900-1922, and German patriotic and romance postcards from the First World War depicting images of soldiers, their sweethearts and families.