Olympic Games 1936 Berlin

11th Olympiad


Sports: 24

Events: 150

National Teams: 49

Participants: 4,484

Postage Stamps

8 special stamps were published + 2 Souvenir sheets
First Day: 8. May 1936
Engraver: ?
Designer: M. Eschle
Value Colour / Discription Stanley
Gibbons No
Michel No Edition
3 + 2 Pfg. brown
 606 609 ?
4 + 3 Pfg. blue
 607 610 ?
6 + 4 Pfg green
 608 611 ?
8 + 4 Pfg  red
Javelin thrower
 609 612 ?
12 + 6 Pfg  red
 610 613 ?
15 + 10 Pfg  blue
 611 614 ?
25 + 15 Pfg  blue
Double scullers
 612 615 ?
40 + 35 Pfg  violet
Show jumper
 613 616 ?

Valid to:   30.06.1937

Value / Size Colour / Discription Stanley
Gibbons No
Michel No Edition
Souvenir sheet 5
147 x 104
 MS 613 a  606/608
and 613
 Block 5
624 - 627
Souvenir sheet 6
147 x 104
 MS 613 b  609/612  Block 6
628 - 631

In accordance with the world-wide importance of the Olympic ideals, special Olympic postage stamps and postcards were issued, these including eight denominations of postage stamps and two postcards for the Games in Berlin, and two special postcards for the Olympic yachting competition at Kiel. In addition, booklets of stamps were also prepared, some of which gave the postal tariff in four languages. There were also two blocks of four stamps each on special water-marked paper, these comprising all of the eight denominations. A fixed supplement, printed on the postage stamps and postcards, was added to their price, this being used to further German athletics. For this reason, the German Sport Assistance was especially active in selling these stamps. During the period of the Games, from August 1st to 16th, special Olympic cancellation machines were used to cancel the postage stamps at the special post offices in Berlin and Kiel, as well as at the stamp mailing depot. These were as follows:

There was a total of 16 different cancellation stamps with varying inscriptions. As it was necessary to make several machines with identical inscriptions, these were provided with distinguishing letters. The total number of special Olympic cancellation machines was 193. The special post offices accepted everything except large packages. Telegrams could be sent and telephone calls made. These post offices also maintained a general delivery service and cashed travellers’ cheques. Packages were received and given out at the Olympic Village, at the post office for the general public in the Olympic Stadium, and at certain storage post offices. Due to the measures which had been taken well in advance, the organization functioned smoothly and extraordinary rushes of business on certain days were handled without difficulty. In general, there was only a limited increase in the number of postal money orders, consignments of valuables and packages sent.


On the other hand, great numbers of registered letters and even more air mail letters were sent. The registered letters were mostly for the purpose of sending and cancelling postage stamps for stamp collectors. Due to the advantageous air connections from Berlin in every direction, the press representatives in particular welcomed the opportunity to send fairly long articles and pictures by air rather than by means of the more expensive telegraph or wireless. The great crowds who filled the special post offices on all contest sites wished for the most part to buy Olympic postage stamps and have them cancelled. At times, especially before and after the competition, there was an extraordinary rush at certain special post offices, which could only be handled through pre-arranged auxiliary measures. 

The most important of these measures was the employment of about 100 itinerant stamp salesmen (usually 40 at one time in the Olympic Stadium), from whom the public could make the desired purchases without entering the post offices. The same purpose was served by 10 recently developed mobile counters, which were used on this occasion for the first time. At these counters Olympic postage stamps were sold and could also be cancelled at once if desired. The selling was also expedited through the sale of souvenir sheets, on which a complete set of the 8 Olympic stamps had been pasted. These were very much sought after by philatelists and souvenir collectors. Over 200,000 of these sheets were sold during the 16 days. 85,000 such stamp sets were cancelled for the German Sport Assistance alone. Among these were 25,000 sheets on which each individual stamp received a different cancellation. A special stamp sending and cancellation desk was created in the Olympic Postal Bureau of the Charlottenburg 9 Post Office. This desk was intended to relieve some of the burden on the special post offices caused by the collectors’ requirements for stamps. All the requests by letter, which came in from all parts of the world, for the sending and cancellation of Olympic stamps, were dealt with at this desk. 

Up to 4,000 orders were received daily, these including entire baskets full of ordinary letters, registered and insured letters. Over 100 employees were kept busy day and night, sorting and dealing with these letters. Thousands of requests, written in all the languages of the world, had to be filled. There were often requests for certain of the Olympic cancellations, or for all 193 with the different distinguishing letters of the alphabet. An especially large number of letters and postcards were sent to North America on the “Hindenburg” on August 5th and 16th. Three thousand registered letters were delivered by one firm alone for the voyage on August 5th. Four thousand five hundred picture postcards with Olympic stamps were cancelled and sent to foreign countries for one large German firm and another concern sent 34,000 postcards. A total of more than 50,000 orders were filled, requiring the cancellation of about 1,200,000 letters and postcards and the sending of over 1,400,000 stamps either loose or pasted on. In addition to the ordinary letters, it was necessary to prepare and send over 66,000 registered letters.

Aside from the business at the special post office, there was naturally a considerable increase in business at the post offices in the busiest parts of the city, and particularly in the West End. Therefore, in the period from July 20th to August 20th, 66 additional offices for the sale of stamps were opened in different parts of the city, and the number of salesmen was increased, especially near the Reich Sport Field and at the Municipal Railway and Underground Railway stations. Postal employees were also stationed in the municipal traffic kiosks, where they sold stamps and gave information concerning all postal matters. This measure proved very helpful. In Potsdam, which was visited by great numbers of the Olympic guests, a corresponding information desk was also created in the post office. Linguistically qualified employees were placed behind the counters in the busiest post offices. Thus the numerous foreigners who came to the post offices could also be accommodated without difficulty.

There was a considerable increase especially in the number of letters sent, due to the crowds of visitors from outside Berlin. In order to assure prompt despatch of this mail, numerous letter boxes were installed at the Reich Sport Field, its entrances, and at the other competition sites, in addition to the letter boxes at the special post offices. The intervals of time between the collections from these additional letter boxes varied according to requirements. The mail collected from these letter boxes was given the appropriate cancellation and taken to the competent Berlin letter sorting offices. Supplementary and additional night collections were made from all street letter boxes in Greater Berlin. The total number of outgoing letters in the period from August 1st to 16th was 102,000,000, or 17,000,000 more than the normal number. The measures taken (the establishment of special cancellation offices, the increase in personnel at the letter sorting offices, increased night service and extension of the office dealing with foreign post) resulted in the smooth functioning of the task of handling the mail, even though this work was made considerably more difficult on account of the greatly increased number of letters addressed to foreign countries.

(Source document:   Official Report 1936, Vol. I, page 390)

Advertise:  Heiko Volk, Olympia-Philatelie


Other Olympic Games Stamps: