Austria stamps are postage stamps issued in the country of Austria.
In 1850 the first adhesive stamps were issued in Austria. These were common to all districts of except for Lombardy and Venetia which retained the Italian currency. Austria has a complicated political and cultural history and elements of this can be seen in its stamps. One significant example of this was in 1866 when Austria became a dual monarchy country with Hungary.
The Austrian Emperor became the Hungarian King and a new issue of stamps portrayed him which were used in both countries until Hungary began to issue it's own stamps in 1871. 1899 saw an Austrian currency change from kreuzer to heller. In 1943, following the Moscow declaration Austria became independent although it failed to reach full independence until 1955.
As such, stamps issued within this time frame were heavily influenced by the impact of the War, some depicting concentration camps and carrying Anti-Nazi messages. Austria also holds the title of being the first country ever to issue 'Newspaper stamps' which allowed for a reduction in postage if sending newspapers and magazines; a practice which stopped in the mid 20th Century.
Information for Collectors
Some important things for anyone interested in Austrian philately to consider:
- Early issue Austrian stamps do not contain the country name although some did contain the wording 'KK Post' referring to the Imperial Royal Postal System that operated at that time.
- Stamps from 1850-1918 (i.e. when the country had Hungarian influence) were only issued in three designs; the coat of Arms, the image of the Emperor and the Mercury.
- Austria has seen several changes in currency with stamps initially issued in kreuzer and golden and then, (after 1899) in Heller's and Krone. Stamps were also issued by foreign post offices operating in Austria so could be in a variety of other currencies including Centimes, Paras and Piastres.
- The Austrian Philatelic Society is a UK-based society and holds regular meetings for like-minded collectors. The society were responsible for a large display at the Spring Stampex Exhibition 2008; details of which can be found on their website.
- A guide to Commemorative and Special issue stamps can be found at InternationalStampNews.com
- A comprehensive list of current stamp auctions online can be found at the Stamp Auction Network.
Austria was the first country to issue a stamp made with real crystals. It was produced by Swarovski in 2004 and featured a crystal swan with a run of 800,000 copies. It is highly valued by collectors today and can be purchased for around $50.
The rarest Austrian newspaper stamp is the Red Mercury. Initially printed in 1856 there are now very few around. Their retail value is thought to be around $40,000 for a used copy. The last auction result for a Red Mercury was in Vienna in 2008 when an unused copy realised 26,000EUR (approx. $36,000)
Austria also holds two world records for its Andi Herzog Lenticular Stamp. This is both the most expensive stamp in print and the largest, measuring in at 6.5 by 4.7cm. It has a massive purchase price of $8.42 million and contains lenticular footage of footballer Andi Herzog and the goal that earnt Austria its place in the 1998 World Championships.
Some auction results from a July, 2005 Sale held by Grosvenor Philatelic Auctions Ltd.:
- Newspaper stamps from 1851 (S.G. N2, Michel 7) price realised - £850. (In GBP)
- An album collection from 1883. Included a 1904 set mint, 1908 to 10k. (used and unused). Birthday set from 1910. Also, mint sets from 1925-30 and 1935 and a mint Rotarian set from 1931. Price Realised £450
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