Scandinavian Collectors Club


Danish Øre Bicolor Issues: A Primer by Peter Bergh. 90 pages, 8 ½ by 11 inches, card covers, spiral bound, Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library, Denver CO, 2012. ISBN 978-0-9773578-3-3, $40 postpaid in USA from Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library, 2038 South Pontiac Way, Denver CO 80224.


            This monograph describes in some detail the bicolor stamps of Denmark in the øre values issued from 1875 to 1905 plus their overprints. The stamps of similar design issued for the Danish West Indies are not included. These stamps replaced the former skilling values in the same design as a result of currency reform that went into effect January 1, 1875.

            The introductory pages list the issued denominations and the service rates they were intended to pay. There is also a brief guide to the literature on these stamps, and reference to the bibliography of resources that appears near the end of the book. The first chapter discusses the paper varieties, the printer, the watermarks, and the printing method. Then follows a brief description of perforation.

            A major section is devoted to the five frame types and the plate flaws and plate wear that aid in their identification. The subject of inverted frames is dealt with in some depth and a table identifies their sheet positions by denomination and printing.

            The next section describes the central oval part of the design and its flaws as well as the frame types and printings associated with them. Another chapter focuses on the shades and printings of the bicolor issues. Some values had only a few printings and so are easy to identify with a particular printing. Those values that had a great amount of reprinting are much more difficult to associate with a particular printing. Distinguishing characteristics include frame type, coarse or fine perforations, thick paper, date cancels, and shades.

            A discussion on cancellations found on these stamps is a cursory 2-page listing of types of cancellers. The postal history description includes classes of service, and domestic and foreign rates including special rates to areas of Germany that bordered on Denmark. In addition to the bibliography for further reading, there is an index.

            Bergh’s book is an invitation to beginners who want to find an interesting specialty to occupy their time, and will help intermediate collectors understand and appreciate some of the fine points of this area of specialization. The author frequently refers to the 6-volumne work by Lasse Nielsen that was published in 2001 in both English and Danish, which is the major resource for serious students of Denmark’s bicolor oval issues.


Alan Warren