In anticipation of the football World Cup due to be held in Germany in 1974, a series of stamps featuring famous players from that period was issued in Paraguay on October 8, 1973. However one stamp, the value of 0.30 Guarani, contained a mistake.
It was 11 years later, in 1984, that the mistake was discovered at a stamp fair in Sindelfingen, Germany. In 1984 seven values from this series were overprinted – including the 0.30 Guarani – to commemorate VfB Stuttgart becoming German champion football team that year. On the 0.30 stamp the artist had made a mistake with one of the footballer’s names, and neither the printer nor the postal administration had noticed the mistake when both sets were issued.
In addition to the FIFA World Cup, the 0.30 stamp shows two players fighting for the ball – the inscriptions on the stamp also name the players: McNab, Arsenal – London, and Hier Erler, Borussia Dortmund. The mistake is in the Dortmund footballer’s name. His christian name is ‘Dietmar’ not ‘Hier’. I can only assume that as ‘hier’ is the German word for the English ‘here’, and the artist possibly knew very little about football, that when he made his original design proofs ‘Hier’ was probably just an indication of where the Borussia Dortmund player should be positioned on the stamp.
Dietmar Erler, born on April 7, 1947, by profession an elementary school teacher, was transferred from Borussia Dortmund to Eintracht Braunschweig in 1970 having previously played for Arminia Bielefeld and ‘Fichte’ Bielefeld. He retired from playing in 1982. On the stamp he is the footballer the yellow and black kit of Borussia Dortmund. Incidentally, this error was first mentioned in print by the Bild newspaper on October 18, 1984 in a report on the stamp exhibition and fair in Sindelfingen.
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