Stamps and seals

Most of the German documents are adorned with various stamps and seals. Since these seals fall into a few distinct categories and tend to appear on more than one document, this section will examine each of the types, along with examples and whatever we can glean about their origin and purpose.

Types of stamps and seals

Kipfenberg Bayern Land GerichtKipfenberg Bayern Land GerichtKipfenberg Bayern Land Gericht

Kipfenberg, Bavaria, Regional Court Stamp

The words “Land Gericht” found from top around to lower right on these examples refer to a Bavarian regional court. The same term is still in use, however it is now spelled Landgericht or Landesgericht. The rest of the text specifies that this is the regional court of Kipfenberg, a town in the district of Eichstatt, the same district where Alois’ home village of Enkering is located (now part of the municipality of Kinding).

Kreutzer 3KFunezehen Kreutzer 15KFunezehen Kreutzer 15K

Bavarian Revenue Stamps

These stamps are known as revenue stamps, and probably indicate that a fee was paid in connection with the issuing of the document. The denomination is the Kreutzer, or Kreuzer, according to Wikipedia a “medieval silver coin and unit of currency in Southern Germany.” Two of the stamps represent fees of 15 (funfzehen) kreuzer, and one is for 3 (drei) kreuzer.

Royal Bavarian SealRoyal Bavarian SealRoyal Bavarian Seal

Embossed Royal Seal

Several of the documents are embossed with this same seal. The words “Konigreich Bayern” mean “Kingdom of Bavaria.” Note that these images have been manipulated to enhance the contrast and make the embossing legible.

Middle Franconia official seal

Government of Middle Franconia seal

The words “Koenigl Bayer Regierung von Mittel Franken” mean roughly “Royal Bavarian Government of Middle Franconia.” See Middle Franconia.

Canton Aargau SealCanton Aargau SealCanton Aargau Seal

Official Seals of Canton Aargau, Switzerland

These seals all appear on document #9, which seems to be a marriage license issued in Canton Aargau, County Baden, Switzerland. Note that the images of the embossed stamps have been manipulated to enhance the contrast and make the embossing legible.

All stamps and seals

Not all of these seals have proven decipherable. If you think you can help you can find 640 x 480 images of each of the stamps or seals found on the scanned German documents in the gallery below. These images were cropped from the 300 DPI scans of each document. More detail can be found by locating the seal in the higher (600, 1200) DPI scans. The image file names here point to the scanned image from which the crop was made. Note that the images of embossed seals have been manipulated to enhance the contrast.

Looking for Louis


4 thoughts on “Stamps and seals

  1. Thank you, John. That makes perfect sense. On a side note, I deleted a friend request from you on Facebook before I saw this comment. Apologies for that. I appreciate your interest in the blog, and your addition to what I know about these very interesting seals, but as far as Facebook is concerned I try to keep it limited to close friends and family. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!


  2. Hi Mark is there any way I can send u some pictures of a letter with the stamps that I saw on your website. I just want to know if this is valuable. It was given to me by my German Uncle 1839 and original handwriting with stamp and seals

  3. Hi, Caroline. I am not an expert on the value of old letters and seals, so I would encourage you to find someone who is and ask them. Speaking strictly from an amateur standpoint I doubt the letter has much value unless it is written and signed by a notable person, but I could very well be wrong. Good luck!

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