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Germany

Heinrich von Stephan, postmaster general and innovator of the German Post Office, had already correctly recognised at that time that the German Empire had to fulfil essential state tasks with the postal system, while liberal circles held the view that the monopoly for the transport of goods, letters and money made the state a -privileged carter-.

According to the Prussian postal law of 5th June 1852, the private city letter carrier did not fall under the postal compulsion. Enterprising businessmen, but also commercial associations, saw the establishment of private city post offices as a way of competing with the state post office through cheaper transport and still making a profit. Hamburg's merchants established such a local post office for the first time in 1861, which quickly enjoyed great resonance and popularity. Its success did not let other cities rest, and in the course of the years well over one hundred private post offices were opened, although a number of them soon had to close again because the hoped-for profit did not materialise.

The coexistence of the state postal service and private postal service, which existed in our country from 1861 to 1900, raised a lot of dust during this period. A writer at the time coined the apt expression for it by speaking of a - postal anarchy.

In addition to well-established and strictly real local postal enterprises, there were also owners of private posts who had stamps printed and sold, but then forgot about opening a business. Others circumvented the legal regulations by collecting mail for foreign cities, forwarding it there with the state post office and having it delivered by the private local post office.

On 1st April 1900, private postal operations were discontinued throughout Germany and the facilities and a large part of the staff were taken over by the German Reichspost. The extent of some of these local posts can be seen from the fact that the Berlin Packetfahrt-Gesellschaft, whose facilities are rightly praised, had an annual traffic of 70 million letters alone.

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