Collecting machine franking stamps
After stams machine franking is rather easy to find. But searching for these marks is different, because they are not catalogued like stamps. So you cannot make a similar wants list as you would for stamps.
There are collectors of machine franking stamps, but they sort for machine name and -number. That is no use to a topical collector. Anyhow it is important to know what can be found. Because - just like the stamps - you are not allowed to use lots of franking stamps in an exhibit: the Variation of postal issues have to be as wide as possible. Therefore it's important to look for the right meters.
A stamp catalogue gives for every stamp a valuation. That's not possible in case of meter marks. Knowing what one collector has paid, is not a good indication. When you want an indication two dates are significant. The first year is 1921. In this year the first standard machines came on the market. Meters of the starting years are expensive. The second year is 1965. Around this year the idea arose that collecting could be a good investment. So everything was saved.
These young marks mostly cost no more than a stamp series. Rarity is another valuation. When a firm used one or two years a meter mark for one of hs products, the meters are rare. Typical collectors items are the first "specimen" prints of a franking machine. Very difficult to find. (Example found in the exhibit of Margaret Stanchfield).
The first machine was developed by the German telegraph engineer Josef Baumann. He was working for the head post office of Regensburg. In March 1889 he presented his machine for the Bavarian Post Administration. The machine was not accepted. Baumann has to wait till January 5, 1900 before he got a patent for his machine.
In 1911 C.H. Buchenau developed a machine that could print five values in two colours. World War I stopped all development.
It was not until 1919 before new ideas were tried. Ultimately it was 1921 when by a degree of the German Royal Mail the franking machine was accepted
by Jan de Crom
taken from the special booklet "Machine Franking stamps
of "The Postal Bee"
Contact Group Bee Philately