BIOGRAPHY: Karl Seizinger

Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Seizinger was born in Hildburghausen, Germany, on 23 March 1889. The town had a rich history in book printing and engraving and this fascinated the young Karl to such an extent that he went to the Metzeroth Graphic Institute where he learned to engrave himself.

Seizinger’s career started in Berlin, where he worked for the Cartographic Institute until World War One broke out, and Seizinger had to join the army. After the war, he found that most printing houses in Germany had switched to typography, and so Seizinger eventually moved to Finland to work for the Finnish National Bank.

In 1924, Seizinger got a job offer from the Czechoslovak National Bank which he duly accepted. Moving to Czechoslovakia and once again engraving banknotes, Seizinger went on to study under the famous graphic artist Professor Max Svabinsky. He soon got the opportunity to engrave postage stamps as well, for which he gained instant recognition and praise.

In 1938, Seizinger moved to Belgrade, where he soon started working for the post office. But once again, a world war was pursuing Seizinger and he moved to Croatia soon after it had declared its independence.

During the remainder of the war, Seizinger lived in Zagreb where he engraved stamps for Croatia. In 1943, Seizinger engraved what is now thought to be the most beautiful stamp of Croatia: an engraving after Vladimir Kirin's painting of St Mary's Church. Seizinger included his secret trademark, an S, on the sheet stamp in position 22 (of panes of 40). It can be found in the lower right window pane of the house on the right. The stamp on the miniature sheet has the same secret trademark, in position 5 of a printing sheet of six. However, on the miniature sheets it can be found on the sign hanging to the left of the door of the house on the right.

After the war, Seizinger had to leave once again, because of his German nationality. This time, he ended up in the Netherlands. From 1947, he was employed by Enschedé. He was mainly employed to engrave banknotes though he did also engrave the odd postage stamp.

When the issue of the 1952 Dutch State Mines was in preparation, the name of Seizinger was mentioned as the ideal engraver. However, this was vetoed on the grounds that there were plenty of capable Dutch engravers around, to whom the assignment could be given to.  

Seizinger always regretted not being able to engrave more stamps when at Enschedé. In 1961, he retired at the age of 72. Karl Seizinger passed away in Haarlem, the Netherlands, on 4 May 1978. 

You will find Karl Seizinger's database HERE.