German Smiley Face?

Looking through some German commercial covers, I felt this Hausding & Bermann cover smile back at me. The designer, who arranged the images of some H & B products on the cover, surely had a sense of humor and created a predecessor to our own ubiquitous round yellow smiley face.

Illustrated German commercial covers of the late 1920s were far outnumbered by covers simply listing a company’s name and address. There was a reticence toward progressive advertising practices in early 20th century Germany. This company, however, opted for a bit of whimsy, though I wonder if the Smiley Face actually registered with the owners.

Hausding & Bergmann, Pirna Perfin

Hausding & Bergmann, founded in 1919, was a supplier of furs and other products for the hat industry, both manufacturing and retailing. Though I haven’t been able to discover much about the company, evidence on the cover suggests that it was not small and probably was an active mailer. Of course, the illustrated cover itself and the company’s description on the cover point to this conclusion, but the stamps on the cover also provide evidence. Note that each stamp has the company and city initials punched into the stamp. This kind of punched stamp is called a Perfin (perforated initials) and was employed by organizations that used large numbers of stamps to control possible stamp pilfering.

The cover is franked with one 15 and two 5 pfennig stamps paying the 25 pfennig rate for a letter under 20 grams mailed to a foreign country (in this case to Switzerland) on February 28, 1929. And it probably brought a smile to the face of the recipient!

One thought on “German Smiley Face?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *