BackwardVirtual Stamp CollectionForward

Upper Silesia
Inverted Overprint on Issue of 1920-1921

Inverted Overprint on Issue of 1920-1921
Regular and Inverted C.G.H.S. overprints on official issues of Germany

The region of Upper Silesia on the southern frontier between Germany and Poland was intially awarded to Poland at the end of World War I because 65 percent of its population was Polish-speaking. Germany protested that the loss of the coal and industrial resources of this region would leave it unable to pay war reparations. It was decided that a plebiscite would be held with the voting supervised by allied troops who would ensure that the entrenched German administration would not intimidate the Polish majority. In the wealthiest central part of the region the results were inconclusive despite the fact that former German residents had been permitted to participate in the vote. In 1922 Belgium, China, Spain and Brazil, acting as impartial judges on behalf of the League of Nations, awarded 70 percent of the territory to Germany while leaving most of the mines and industry in Polish control. A treaty provided for the protection of minority populations in both areas. German resentment of this arrangement persisted until the area was annexed after the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939 (Macmillan 219-221). The overprint "C.G.H.S." on the German official issues of 1920-1921 stands for Commission de Gouvernement Haute Silésie. Many different errors in this overprint exist.

1921 newspaper article about Upper Silesia
Schenectedy Gazette article about Upper Silesia from April 21, 1921.


Macmillan, Margaret. Paris 1919. New York: Random House, 2002.

Rossiter, Stuart and John Flower. The Stamp Atlas. London: Macdonald and Co., 1986.

"Upper Silesia." Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue. 1997.

"Upper Silesia Bone of Contention." Schenectedy Gazette. 21 Apr. 1921: 7. Print.

Direct comments, questions and corrections to:


Virtual Stamp Collection Index


© Grose Educational Media, 2002-2018