A stamp is a means of payment. With that
littlc piece of paper you pay the Post Office for rendered services. For
that reason around 1900 it was possible to give back the stamps and to
get back your money. Clerical employers saw nice extra earnings by
stealing the stamps of their bosses.
The reaction of the bosses was
perforating the stamps with their initials. The stamps no longer could
changed at a post office.
- Fold a stamps sheet zigzag till you
have one strip. You put this strip in a machine, which perforates
Characteristic here: the perforation is normal readable on the first
series; on the second series the perforation is in reverse.
This perforation is called 'perfin' (from PERForated INitials).
- To use a German perforation machine
the sheet must be splitted into strips. The selvedges joined making
one long strip.
The long strip of stamps is then rolled up and is put in the machine.
When you use a stamp from the strip, the machine counts and
perforates the stamp. The perforations are always readable on the
obverse of the stamp
These perforations are named after the German machine "Porto
Kontroll Kasse" (port check cash), abbreviated POKO.
A direct consequence of the POKO machine is the introduction of coil
stamps. Coil stamps usually have no perforation on the sides, so using in a machine is
Working with the perforation machines was rather time absorbing. That is
the reason thcefranking machine is devcloped around 1912. But even in these days
perforation machines are in
and topical philately
It is undeniable, perfins are not
produced by post offices. That can give problems for the topical
collector. Because according to the topical rules an item or a piece of
an item is postal, when:
- it is obtained from a postal
- it is attached by a postal service;
- it is permitted by a postal service.
Perfins are permitted by a postal
service !! At the end of the 19th century in several countries perfins
were used with the permission of local Post Administrations. A problem
for firms with international correspondence. Therefore in 1906 the U.P.U.
(Universal Post Union) decided in Rome:
is allowed to give stamps a special mark by means of perforation
conditions of the Administration which issued the stamps."
This U.P.U. decision makes the way
free for a topical collector to use perforated stamps and other
perforated issues in his/her collection. What's more: when you use a
postal item because of the cancellation, it is not permitted to use the
rest of the envelope. The rest is not philatelicaly interesting. In case
of a perfin you can use the rest of the envelope to prove the user of
the perforation. So the topical advice is: try to find a perfin on a
have l found ?
From the 941 known Dutch perforations
there is one firm, that can be used in a topical collection. It is the perforation
S.P.G.: the initials of S.P. Goudsmid, the founder of
Magazijn 'De Dijenkorf (warehouse The Beehive).
Note: at least in Holland the beehive
is a symbol for a noisy pleasant stir. Compare schools with the name
The S.P.G perfins are used between 1910 and 1958 in Amsterdam,
Rotterdam and 's Gravenhage. So there are lots of S.P.G. perfins:
not difficult to find.
The devotees of plants can find a clover leaf of 9 different firms:
two in Germany, one in Ireland and six in England (according to
the World Catalogue Topical Perfin.)
The devotee of hexagons can look for two German and one Swiss
Nearer to our bees are two German beehives. The first one contains
the character "T". It is the poko of "Girokasse des
Using is known for the period 1922-1927.
The second perfin has the character "G". The only fact
known about this perfin is: the stamps were cancelled in Berlin.
For many perfins their origin is unclear. This problem is typical
for perfins and poko's. In former days lots of the stamps were
thrown away by collectors, because the stamps were 'damaged'. It
makes topical research very difficult. I have suggested looking for
big firms like Dadant in U.S.A., Thorne in England, Graze and Herzog
in Germany. This means looking in catalogues (how to find these
books ??). It means for example looking in a German catalogue with
over 10.000 perfins. The Perfin Club, Holland, thinks it is looking
for a pin in a hay stack.
Maybe I am born for luck, because
my first effort (ok, via a German auction catalogue) was directly a
The perfin is in reflection and
upside down. To read is "W.B." and under it "V".
The firm is Wilhelm Böhling in Visselhövede. Indeed: Visselhövede
is a place on the Lüneburger Heide, Germany. Böhling is busy with
"Großfabrikation praktischer Bienenwohnungen und Bienengerate"
(large fabrication of practical beehives and bee tools),
"Naturhonig und Bienenwachs en gros" (natural honey and
beeswax wholesale), "Neuzeitlicher Großimkereibetrieb"
(modern large beekeeper enterprise).
All these items make the card
multi-functionally. The stamp is cancelled on 12.09.1941. Period of