Korea Chapter of “Senf Weltkatalog, 1915 issue”

Catalogues and books

Senf Brothers
The Brothers Senf (Gebr. Senf) of Leipzig/Germany operated a famous stamp shop from 1874 and had an “all world stationery service”. From 1892, they issued the Senf stamp catalogs. They also used a small guarantee mark “Gebr. Senf” on the reverse of postage stamps they offered.

The brothers were Louis Senf (1853–1940) and Richard Senf (1856–1941), but operated as common business for only 9 years. The shop was opened in 1874 by Louis, in 1881 Richard joined, 1890 Louis left.

In 1874 they started to publish the bimonthly “Illustriertes Briefmarken-Journal”. This was the largest German stamp magazine by circulation until its suspension in the 1940s.

The first Senf stamp catalog, starting 1892, included “Whole world”. Entitled Gebrüder Senfs Illustrierter Postwertzeichenkatalog,

Fig. 1:
Fig. 2:

Later on, the number of new issues became to much, so while the hefty “Whole World” issue continued, they also issued part-catalogs:

  • Europe including Germany (full text)
  • All World (full text, and alternatively a size- and text reduced pocket issue)
  • Specialized catalogs: air mail stamps, German colony stamps, souvenir sheets etc.

WWI saw almost all Senf employees called to arms and the business practically ended until the war was over. 1915 was the last stamp catalog issue until the early 1920s.

After WWII, Senf co., now in the Sovjet Occupation Zone with restrictions and missing raw materials of all sorts, tried to revive their catalogs by a 1948 “Germany 1920-26”, but afterwards suspended catalog publishing.

Michel takes over after 1950
A “Michel” was first published in 1898 by Georg Paul Hugo Michel (1866-1944) who had opened a stamp shop in Apolda in 1892. He contributed catalog prices to the Senf-catalog from 1898. In 1908 Hugo Michel moved to Weimar. In 1910 he published the first complete “Michel” covering Europe. This was largely a pocket-book size pricelist (12.5x19cm) of 108 pp., using Senf-catalog numbers and prices mostly by the Berlin stamp dealer Kosack. This was not seen as a concurrence by Senf, who had 50+ employees and was by far the No. 1 stamp dealer in Germany pre-WWI.
Michel succeeded in continuing his stamp catalogs during WWI, while Senf had to stop it for the time being.
In 1919 Michel sold his rights to the Schwaneberger-Verlag of Leipzig, owned by Eugen Berlin, but still worked as the companies face and editor until 1928. The first catalogs appeared in 1923 after the inflations end. Schwaneberger had been founded by Hugo Schwaneberger (1853-1934), mainly known as a publisher of stamp albums. The company had various owners after Schwanebeger, but kept the well established name of the “Schwaneberger Album and Michel as editor. The company finally was bought by Emil Berlin, who wisely kept the established name and let Hugo Michel continue his expert work. WWII saw the burning down of Schwaneberger and Senf publisher shops and stores and equipment.

The once small concurrent, the “Schwaneberger Verlag” issuing the “Michel” catalogs, escaped communism to Bavaria finally in 1950. Already in 1945, owner Eugen Berlin wisely had moved his “retirement seat” to Franconia/US-zone, secretly taking with him paper stocks ec. all the equipment for catalog printing and publishing. Most important, he took the standing (printing) types of the last catalog edition with him. They publish the MICHEL catalogs until today.

Fig. 3: Ca. 2008 picture from Wikipedia.

The historic Senf stamp shop in Leipzig was operated by other owners, still using the famous established name until 2008. Then “Gebr. Senf” finally closed.

Literature used

Florian Eichhorn
Collects Japan, Korea Kingdom/Empire (covers/postmarks only) and ROK (covers only), China postmarks to 1949 and Dutch East Indies covers/postmarks as sideline.

3 thoughts on “Korea Chapter of “Senf Weltkatalog, 1915 issue”

  1. It is great! It could come out only by you. I appreciate it very much. Please, be healthy! We all need your top knowledge of the Korea stamps further more.

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