With the internet stamp the customer has the possibility to purchase stamps comfortably and independently of the opening hours of the post offices - also on Sundays or in the night hours. The Deutsche Post offers internet stamps since 2008.
The ordering process runs on the homepage of Deutsche Post as follows:
- Choose the postage value
- Number of stamps and decision whether with or without motif
- In the category "Sport" there are 3 different bicycle motifs to choose from
- Definition of the print format
- Payment is possible by credit card:
After downloading a pdf file the stamps can be printed either in black/white or in color.
The purchase month and year are mentioned on the stamps. The stamps are valid only 3 years. After this period no refund of the purchase price is possible. The following happened to me in August 2019 when I used a 2-Cent Internetstamp bought in April 2015 for franking a standard letter within Germany (postage: 80 Cent):
The letter was returned with a yellow sticker with the following text: “Dear customer. You are receiving your shipment back because the validity of the internet stamp used to frank the shipment has expired. Please use a different envelope and a valid Internet stamp for re-delivery. …. Thanks a lot! Your mail center Göttingen”. This is DEUTSCHE POST: privatized and business-minded.
Internet stamps are cancelled digitally in the mail center - not in the post office by stamp. For this reason a postage mix with conventional stamps is not allowed. Example of an incorrect cancellation:
The devaluation of the serial number in the lower digit row is similar to that of a TAN list. The upper digit row specifies the number of the “Portokasse” - so it is directly assigned to the customer. That is why the Deutsche Post has declared the internet stamp an electronic voucher for a particular postage rate (data protection reasons) - it is officially not a stamp. If you still want to include such a "voucher" in your collection, you as a registered user of this website can request a letter mailed to your address free of charge. Please use the contact form below.
Post offices of France, Switzerland, Poland, ...... also offer internet stamps - some with the option of using own motifs:
There are a few points to keep in mind when collecting these labels. The labels are not printed by the post, but by the customer after purchase. This however means, that he can print any number of copies - in color or in black and white.
Since the label is devalued electronically, it is impossible for us collectors to detect whether it is an used or unused label or even the 1000th copy.
If you find offers like the following one on online auction platforms for little money, you should renounce from buying them.
The rearranged labels show that they all come from a single sheet of paper:
And indeed: this is what you get when buying it:
The labels are cancelled courtesy and all have the same code pattern on the right edge. The code probably says "Specimen". € 2.00 plus € 3.50 for worldwide shipping are far too much for a worthless sheet of printed paper.
It is advisable to collect these labels only on genuine used envelopes.
The two labels on the left are only decoration - the code pattern is crossed out. Only the bicycle label “Enfin les Vacances” was used for franking. The neon-colored address bar code below the address confirms the postal use. It is used by countries such as France, Germany, USA and many more.
The following cover also shows an address bar code:
The label above the envelope was the one I bought. The cover is franked with exactly the same label! It is possible that you have another copy in your collection. Go and check – and let me know.
More information: wikipedia.de (German)
Collecting German Internet Stamps a science in itself - Dr. Michael Mallien
PhilaSeiten.de German blog "Internet stamps: are they postage stamps or metermarks?"
Inspired by Nico Helling