Coffee Hag albums

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Coffee Hag albums



In the early 20th century the Kaffee Handelsgesellschaft AG (Kaffee HAG) in Bremen, Germany, started with the publication of heraldic stamps and collector's albums.

The stamps and books were published as a result of the initiative of the Brücke association. This was an initiative of Emperor Wilhelm II to make an archive of published material. At the same time the association developed standard sizes for publishing material. To promote their activities and their new standards, they encouraged companies to publish material in their standards. The Kaffee Hag company was one of the companies that agreed to do so. Hence the stamps are published in the so-called Weltformat V der Brücke (or 4 x 5,66 cm), which is also printed on the back of the stamps. The albums were published in the Weltformat IX (16 x 22.6 cm). The association went bankrupt in 1913 and abolished in 1914, but the size of the stamps remained the same for all the albums.

Only on the German and Swiss stamps there was the reference to the Weltformat.

The company hired the famous artist Otto Hupp to design the stamps. Otto Hupp already published several well known volumes on German civic heraldry since the 1890s.

The albums became a success in Germany and the company exported the idea to the other European countries in which the company operated.

Arms (crest) of Coffee Hag albums

Advertising for the Dutch and Swiss albums (1927)
Arms (crest) of Coffee Hag albums

Advertising for the Dutch and Swiss albums (1928)

Two series, Germany and Switzerland, were started before World War I and were never finished. In the 1920s and 1930s the second series of these countries as well as the other countries were launched. In each country different heraldic artists were used to write the albums and draw the images.

In total around 125 different albums were published between 1914-1955. Albums for the Baltic states, Italy as well as a second album for Poland and an 11th for Germany were planned, but never issued. The French series stopped after 6 albums of the planned 40.

Albums issued

Below a list and some characteristics of the albums.

Country Date of issue Official number of albums Albums incl. Reprints Official number of images variations Total number civic arms other arms additional texts
Brandenburg.hag.jpg Germany old series 1913-1918 6 11 518 yes 600 yes no yes
Hag-new2.hag.jpg Germany new series 1925-1939 101 11 2811 many 3000e yes no no
Ch-o-01-front.jpgSwitzerland, old series 1911-1922 4 10 336 many 500e yes no no
Ch-12-front.jpgSwitzerland, new series 1922-1965 19 66 1900 many 7000e yes yes yes
Hag-at1.jpg Austria 1931 1 2 450 yes 900 yes no yes
Hag-pl-front.jpg Poland 1930s 1 1 284 no 288 yes no yes
Hag-dk-front.jpg Denmark 1930s 1 1 86 yes 175 yes no yes
Hag-se-front.jpgSweden 1930s 1 1 138 no 138 yes no yes
Hagno2.jpg Norway 1930s 1 2 81 no 81 yes yes yes
Hagnl.jpg Netherlands 1930s 2 2 2 1872 yes 1890 yes yes yes
Hag-be-front.jpg Belgium/Luxemburg 1930s 6 3 6 782 yes 902 yes no yes
Hag-fr.jpg France 1930s 6 9 1500 yes 2000 yes no yes
Hag-cs1.jpg Czechoslovakia 1930s 1 2 181 yes 285 yes no yes
Hag-dz-front.jpg Danzig 1930s 1 2 90 no 90 yes yes yes
Hag-yu1.jpg Yugoslavia 1930s 1 1 256 no 256 yes no yes
Hag-uk1.jpg United Kingdom/Ireland 1930s 1 1 240 no 241 yes no yes
Total 62 128 11525 18342
1 Loose issues that could be bound in 10 smaller or 4 larger albums. Index based on 10 albums
2 Loose issues, could be stored in a box, softcover or small hardcover albums (4-6 were needed) or 2 large hardcover albums
3 Loose issues, but normally bound in 3 small albums per language
e = number of variations is very large and number given is estimate
Other arms : for Switzerland : arms of monasteries and dioceses; for Norway personal arms; for Netherlands personal arms, arms of water boards; for Danzig, flags, seals and personal arms

For more information on the different albums per country click on the links in the table above. The total number of albums and arms displayed makes it the largest published volume of civic heraldry ever. Due to political changes the arms represented in the albums are now in 28 different countries. This includes Indonesia and Surinam, which were represented in the Dutch albums.

Present country album
Andorra France
Belarus Poland
Belgium Belgium/Luxemburg
Bosnia Yugoslavia
Croatia Yugoslavia
Czech Republic Czechoslovakia
Denmark Denmark
France France
Germany Germany
Indonesia Netherlands
Ireland British Isles (UK and Ireland)
Italy Yugoslavia, Switzerland (religious arms)
Lithuania Poland, Germany
Luxemburg Belgium/Luxemburg
Montenegro Yugoslavia
Monaco France
Netherlands Netherlands
Norway Norway
Poland Germany, Poland, Danzig, Czechoslovakia
Russia Poland, Germany
Serbia Yugoslavia
Slovak Republic Czechoslovakia
Slovenia Yugoslavia
Surinam Netherlands
Sweden Sweden
Switzerland Switzerland
Ukraine Czechoslovakia, Poland
United Kingdom British Isles (UK and Ireland)