The 1914 and 1915 War Charity Stamps


<-- First issue valid from 4 Oct 1914 to 30 June 1915 -->


Overlap period:

<-- mixed frankings possible -->

 <-- Second issue valid from 1 May 1915 to 30 Sept 1916 -->

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"Charity" is defined as "postal value less than purchase price and/or face value".

ANK 178-179 are the War charity (widows & orphans) stamps, issued 4.10.1914, valid "for internal use only" until 30.6.1915. Values 5 and 10 Heller were sold at 7 & 12 ie at a 2H surcharge. Complete sheets of 80 received a discount of 20H for 5H, 25H for 10H; in addition the postal officials received 5H for each sheet sold. The result was that instead of paying 80 x (5H + 2H) = 5Kr60 for a sheet of the 5H and 9Kr60 for the 10H, the post office remitted to Head Office only 5Kr35 and 9Kr30. Although the Decree authorising this issue stated "for internal use only", covers without postage dues or invalid marks are known used to Sweden, Switzerland, Holland and the USA. The design was basically the 1908 definitive made taller, with '1914' and a filling of laurel twigs inserted between the portrait and the value. It was done by Prof Koloman Moser; printed on ordinary paper by typography in sheets of 80; comb perf 12.5 Quantities printed: 5H 17,599,968; 10H 17,440,500. About 3 million 5H and 2 million 10H remained unsold on withdrawal; a few were sold via the Collectors' Counter in Vienna but the rest remained when the war ended. A variety of proofs and colour trials exist.

ANK 180-184 are the War charity (widows & orphans) stamps, issued April 1915, valid until 30.9.1916. Face values 3+1, 5+2, 10+2, 20+3, 35+5 Heller; the surcharge is in the bottom centre of the design. The same validity-abroad question arises as for the 1914 issue. Design by Prof Koloman Moser; engraving Prof Ferdinand Schirnböck; printed in typography by the State Printing Works. A detailed description of the designs, sales and discount arrangements etc was issued as Law 104 of 1916! Quantities printed: 3H 7,881,250; 5H 35,427,500; 10H 40,367,500; 20H 3,225,000; 35H 2,602,300. The top two values were printed from flat plates, but because of the much greater demand the lower three were printed from roll plates on the Ganderburg Rotary Press. Also they had row sums in the margins, and a small x above the top right stamp. A variety of partial and complete proofs, colour trials etc exist. There are four "plate errors" on the 5H; they are actually not constant but rare, and are caused by dirt adhering to the plate.

Valid mixed frankings are possible during the overlap period of May and June 1915; examples used outside the ‘correct’ area are scarce. These appear to be all censored - as they should be. All illustrations have been photoshopped into the same width, retaining their original proportions.

1. 5 heller card to Switzerland with the 5 heller 1914 as additional franking for a foreign postcard. Marked as unacceptable, but the T is then crossed out and the Swiss did accept it. So the change in rules must have come before 24 April 1915, the date of this card. The Swiss would certainly have collected postage due if they had an excuse to do so. This will be shown on item 2:

2. 5 heller card to Switzerland with the 5 heller 1914 as additional franking. Purple T, pencil 10 for postage due, which was collected by a 10 centimes Swiss postage due stamp. Mailed 29.12.1914, postage due cancelled 2.1.1915.

3. Mixed franking of the two issues from the two months of overlap, dated 12.VI.1915. Overfranked - should be 50 heller, to Holland.

4. Cover to Denmark from 31.Oct.1914, to the Red Cross. Correct postage. Has censor label on the reverse. This one, two months earlier than number 2 above, did go through. So either the Danes didn't care, or it slipped through, as Müller says.

5. Card with correct 10 heller to the USA, 4 July 1915. Went through fine, but it is 4 days too late for official validity.

6. TPO cancel, Seidenberg-Reichenberg 409, to Sweden dated 25.III.1915. Correctly franked.

7. Registered cover to Holland franked with 17 of the 3 heller second issue, ie 51 heller instead of the required 50, from November 1915.

8. Cover to Switzerland with 50 heller correct postage, 6 December 1915. No thought of postage due on this one.

9. Block of 6 of the 20 heller, rare on cover even singly. Express cover from Domzale (now in Slovenia just north of Ljubljana) to Switzerland; certainly overfranked but by how much cannot be determined as the weight is unknown. Date 7 Feb. 1916. The blue "treble clef" is according to Majörg the 'Paraphe' (monogrammed initials) of the censor in Feldkirch.

10. Not overfranked! 75 Heller to the USA, registered with return receipt ("Rüuckschein" handwritten on cover, twice), so 75 is the correct rate. The blue 18238 is the USA's serial number for the item.

11. Mixed franking of the two issues from August 1915 to Sweden. But it's not a late use of the first war issue, it is overfranked by 5 heller, and the 5 from the first issue just went along for the ride. It wasn't required for the postage. Express cover.

12. Registered cover to the USA from December 1914. Again NOT a genuine mixed franking, because the 10 was not needed for the correct postage, which was 50 heller.

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