The Design of the german "Maja"-stamp
Before a stamp is a stamp many things have to be done. The Post Administration first selects a subject. Then one or more artists are asked to make designs. All the designs must be judged before a definitive selection is made.
For the German stamp "Für die Jugend" 1998 - 110+50 Maja the bee, eight artists submitted designs.
Is it possible to use those designs in a topical collection ? Van den Bold says YES without doubt in his "Handboek voor de Thematische Filatelie" (manual for topical philatery). «The Marking Cords (for topical philatery, ed.) mention as usable items: "materials ment for issueing or made for the preparation of an issue, like draughts, proofs, etc.".
As long as it is not clear which interpretation is right, the advice is: "use the last category moderately".»Under the subtitle "Proofs" van den Bold writes: «Proofs, made by the Post, belong without any doubt to the philatelic items. It doesn't matter if these proofs yes or no have led to a final issue. It is a dogged misunderstanding that the topical collector can not use proofs. A proof, which pictures topically the same as the corresponding stamp, will be in many cases of more importance than the common stamp.»
The Marking Cords dictate reserve in regard to exhibiting variations. Because a long expatiation of variations can disturb the topical development. The Marking Cords especially mention this, because some ehibitors filled lots of pages with easy obtainable proofs. But it is clear that a single proof is ok. For there is no annoying interruption.
There are not just proofs of stamps but for example, also of cards. Here too the proof is often rare. But when the definitive card is simple, it is no use to show the proof.
All illustrated designs are found in the collection of Jan de Crom. The designs were accompanied by a copy of a letter of "Bundesminister für das Post- und Fernmeldewesen" (German PTT minister). It is stated that 1000 proofs were printed at Bundesdruckerei Berlin. The booklets are ment for publicity aims. So subscription is not possible.
by Jan de Crom
taken from "The Postal Bee" 1/2003
Contact Group Bee Philately