The 1919-1920 Definitive Issue: the lower values

In 1919, the Republic of German Austria had just been proclaimed. Its first postage stamp issue consisted of Austrian Empire stamps diagonally overprinted with Deutschösterreich. The young Republic believed that its future lay in uniting with Germany, and the Allies didn't finalise the Treaty of St Germain until 10 Sept 1919. Article 88 of the Treaty effectively forbade any such union and resulted in the dropping of Deutschösterreich on 1 Jan 1922.

So, a new issue of stamps (and postal stationery) was required, depicting the new country's German-Austrian aspirations. On 12 July 1919, the Postal Gazette PTVOB030 appeared, consisting almost entirely of Decree Nr 85 dated 11 July and entitled Ausgabe neuer Postwertzeichen (Issue of new postage stamps). The lower values, 3 heller to 1 krone, had designs (described in detail) of a Posthorn, an Allegory, or the State Arms; the designation Deutschösterreich was in an arc at the top in German writing in gothic characters. The Decree carefully added that unnecessary values could be withdrawn and new ones added as required. The new stamps would become available at counters etc as the old ones ran out. Mixed Franking was thus allowed, and is indeed found; the valuation depends on the mixture! Consult Kroiss pp 59-61.

The designs chosen for this first issue also had obvious Republican connotations. The currency was still stable enough for heller values to have some validity and the low values, up to and including 1 Krone, were in three designs, all produced by Josef Franz Renner, a professor at the Academy of Graphic Art in Vienna. They depicted variously a post horn, the single headed eagle of republican Austria, and a worker planting a tree as a symbol of the New Republic. Professor Renner also included the words "Deutschösterreich" in the design. The higher values (2 to 50 Kronen) are the "Parliament" stamps, described separately.

The stamps were printed by typography. The heller values were issued comb perf 12½; values 5, 10, 15, 25, 30, 40 & 60 heller were also issued imperforate. Because of the economic conditions of the times, some of the heller values perforated 12½ were also printed on a thick grey paper (10, 15, 20 and 50 heller values only) as well as on normal white paper. The red 1 Krone value was printed on yellow paper as standard. Some of the imperforate values were perforated privately, but these are relatively scarce and well worth keeping a sharp look-out for. Untrimmed part-sheets can be found; the specimen illustrated shows the plate edge bars and a nail-head mark. Numerous plate faults can be found in the catalogues (eg 92 in the 2022/23 Netto!) The issue was valid until 31 July 1922; it could be used as official supplementary franking till 30 September 1922.


ANKFaceColour (s)IssuedNumber
2553hlight grey; grey; dark grey; black-grey; grey-blackJuly 191925,251,000
2565hgreenJuly 191928,913,000
2575hlight grey; dark grey; black-grey</TD>Jan 19209,933,000
2586horange; reddish-orangeJuly 19192,747,000
25910hdark roseJuly 1919??
26010hred; also on grey paperJan 192022,737,000
26112hgreen-blue; dark-green-blueJuly 19192,481,000
26215hkhaki; also on grey paperJan 192023,550,000
26320hdark-greenJuly 1919118,687,000
26420hgreen; also light-green on grey paperJan 192082,788,000
26525hdark-blue; light-blue; deep-blueJuly 19192,344,000
26625hvioletJan 192048,231,000
26730hbrown; red-brownJuly 19193,126,000
26840hvioletJuly 19193,721,000
26940hdark-roseJan 192097,008,000
27045holiveJuly 19192,323,000
27150hdark-blue; steel-blue; also dark-blue & black-blue on grey paperJuly 19196,900,000
27260holive; dark-brown-oliveJan 192017,256,000
2731KrredJuly 191915,295,000
2741Krlight-blue; dark-blue; deep-blueJan 192017,802,000

Notes: the colours in italics are rare (hence expensive). Issue dates from Kroiss.



The imperforate stamps are tabulated next; some of the colours are different from the same-face-value perf stamps. All imperfs were issued on 20 January 1920, to match a postage rates rise. They were printed on white paper (although when that was unobtainable a variety of other papers were used!).

ANKFaceColour(s)Number
2755hGreen3,240,000
2765hGrey10,200,000
27710hCarmine6,600,000
27810hRed21,120,000
27915hKhaki7,680,000
28025hViolet9,200,000
28130hdark-brown; light-brown14,313,000
28240hViolet7,320,000
28360hOlive7,700,000




Examples


Mixed overprinted and 1919 issues on a faintly-censored registered letter
from Vienna to the Daily Telegraph in London.



A similar mixture uprating a postcard to Finland.