In 1899, Spain sold the Caroline Islands
to Germany, who quickly incorporated them into the Protectorate of German New Guinea.Link to Google Map of German Post Offices in the Carolines
Germany would maintain a colony in the Carolines until the outbreak of WWI.German ships at Ponape, 1910
On 2 July 1910, the East Asian Cruiser Squadron of the Imperial German Navy unexpectedly arrive at Ponape, remaining there until 7 July 1910. SMS Scharnhorst
-- cruiser, flagshipSMS Leipzig
-- light cruiserSMS Nürnberg
-- light cruiser
Due to the dramatic increase in postal traffic during that 6-day period, Ponape exhausted its supply of 5- and 10-Pfennig stamps. Carolines 5- and 10-Pfennig Issues of 1900
The Postal Administrator at Ponape was Herr Hollborn, a storekeeper who inherited the job in 1908 when the official postal administrator transferred to Truk. Due to the shortage of stamps, Herr Hollborn resorted to alternate measures until new stock could arrive from Germany.
A variety of provisional methods were used, but two stand out from a collector's perspective -- the use of 3 Pf and 20 Pf issues.
(1) Carolines 20-Pfennig issues bisected for use as 10 Pf issuesCarolines Mi 10 H on piece
(2) Carolines 3-Pfennig issues surcharged "5 Pf"Carolines Mi 7Pv K with inverted overprint
The "5 Pf" surcharges and 20-Pfennig bisects were in use for a single day, 12 July 1910. A total of approximately 500 of each were issued. To confirm their validity as postage, the official seal of Ponape was affixed next to the cancel.Post-July 1909 Ponape seal
Though both were issued in roughly equal amounts, the "5 Pf" overprint is preferred by collectors, and generally sells for a about 50% more than the 20-Pfennig bisect. Because 5 Pf was the postcard rate and 10 Pf the letter rate, it's common to find the "5 Pf" on complete postcards, with the 20-Pf bisect more commonly found on piece.