August Stukenbrok Einbeck - private added imprint
This German Empire stamp was auctioned in June 2018 by Christoph Gärtner / Bietigheim-Bissingen (Germany) as a contiguous pair - described as follows: "1912, approx. ...... rare, backside protective overprint ...... in this kind not seen on German stamps yet ". The print on the backside of the stamp „Eigentum der Deutschland-Fahrradwerke August Stukenbrok Einbeck - Größtes Fahrradhaus Deutschlands“ reads: "Property of German Bicycle Manufacturing Company August Stukenbrok Einbeck - largest bicycle house in Germany". During the years 1888 to 1932 the company Stukenbrok produced bicycles in the city of Einbeck in Lower Saxony and sold them via mail order business directly to the end customer:
(Catalog of 1912 with 237 pages)
The imprint on the stamp should probably prevent employees from stealing these stamps and using them to pay for other goods - similar to perfins. A postal use could not have been prevented, because the imprint was hidden on the back. It can be assumed that the primitive imprint was applied after stamp production – a so called “underprint”. It disappeared together with the gum when the stamp was removed from the envelope. This would be an explanation why no used stamps are known.
With the additional text "largest bicycle house in Germany" the company probably wanted to make advertising - similar to the 1890s issues from New Zealand:
But this was certainly not a great success when the imprint disappeared in the moment the stamp was removed from the envelope.
The imprint on both stamps seems to be identical. For example, the word "Einbeck" has the same letter offset for the letters "Einb" and "eck":
The imprints are not placed in the same place on the two stamps. Since there is no background information about this stamp and it previously was completely unknown a fake could also be considered.
Nevertheless the Stukenbrok stamp is unique in its kind and certainly enriches every collection. Since this is a private, unauthorized imprint it is classified as Cinderella in the online catalog of this website. Unfortunately there is no category "stamps, private".
In any case - the bicycle museum RADHAUS in Einbeck is well worth a visit:
Fahrrad-Fabrik August Stukenbrok Einbeck - Die Geschichte eines Versandhauses (German) by E. Heege, E. Plümer; published by Städtisches Museum Einbeck/Einbecker Geschichtsverein (Kleine Schriften, Heft 4, 1996)
Stukenbrok, Einbeck - Die Deutschland-Fahrradwerke, August Stukenbrok, Einbeck – ein Überblick (German) by Walter Euhus (Burgdorf) published by Der Knochenschüttler (1/2010, Heft 48, pages 4 – 8, ISSN 1430-2543)
Zum 150. Geburtstag August Stukenbroks (German) by wk published by Einbecker Morgenpost, 26.5.2017
August Stukenbrok und sein Versandgeschäft (German) by Erich Plümer, 1972
Firmengeschichte Stukenbrok, August - Einbeck (German) by Bernhard J. Schwarz on website „Zinnfiguren–Bleifiguren“, patents listed
Die Rückseite der Briefmarke - ein schöner Rücken kann auch entzücken (German) - Philaseiten
August Stukenbrok - Sein Werk - Aufstieg und Ende (German) by August Haupt published by Verlag Heinrich Rüttgerodt, 1986 (brochure, 48 pages, ASIN: B00CIVDDNK)
Auction House Christoph-Gärtner - Catalog Archive: All catalogs since the first auction in PDF format