The "Renner" Newspaper Issue of 1920

The letter postage rates were increased on 15 Jan 1920, and new values were required. This gave the opportunity to get away from the newspaper stamps of the monarchy, even though the newspaper rates initially remained the same, and to adjust the newspaper stamps to the style of the other stamps. The design showed Mercury full-face surmounted with the inscription "Deutschösterreich". [They are named after the designer Profesor J F Renner, not the politician Karl!]

Decree 1920 PVOB001 nr 2 dated 31/12/1919 includes the beginning of the issue of the "Renner" newspaper stamps, values 2h, 4h, 8h, 12h, 20h, and 60h. They probably became available on 15 Jan 1920. Imprints were permitted with face values 2h, 4h and 8h in the same colours as the corresponding adhesives. The "Renner" newspaper stamps series eventually included 19 values, catalogued as ANK 293-311.

A given value was only released from the warehouse to the post offices when the previous version (mainly the D-Íst overprinted 1919) had run out or been invalidated and when there was a need for them. Kroiss (see refs) tabulates the earliest known usage dates of each value: for example the 2h, notionally issued in mid-Jan 1920, isn't found used before March since the 2h from 1919 was available. The 5h however was issued in June 1920 and recorded in use from July; no combination of the 1919 values 2, 4, 6 and 10 makes 15h, the rate for a rolled newspaper from 1 July.

This may be clearer in a table of the entire 1920 issue (below), or in a bar chart (below it). In the table's second column, the date is that of issue, from the PVOBs. The fourth column, from Kroiss, gives the date of first recorded usage. There was never a time when all 19 values of the Renner issue were simultaneously available at the post office counters, since the low values were withdrawn or exhausted.

As often happens, reality was more complex than theory, because of a practice often called obsoleting. When a particular value of a stamp issue is officially obsoleted, this means that no more are to be printed, but any residue in the hands of publishers (the only authorised users) can either be used for postage, or exchanged for current values. Items can be found overfranked, eg a 20h stamp to pay an 18h rate; since the publisher had already bought and paid for the stamp, the cheapest thing to do with it would be to use it.

The Renner issue of 1920-21
FaceIssued[source]1st useObsoleted[source]
215.1.1920 [1920 PVOB001 Nr 2] 3.19201 July 1920[1920 PVOB030 Nr 87]
415.1.1920 [1920 PVOB001 Nr 2] 3.19201 July 1920[1920 PVOB030 Nr 87]
51.7.1920 [1920 PVOB030 Nr 87] 7.19201 Oct 1921[1921 PVOB047 Nr 144]
61.7.1920 [1920 PVOB030 Nr 87] 7.19201 Apr 1921[1921 PVOB017 Nr 52]
815.1.1920 [1920 PVOB001 Nr 2] 3.19201 July 1920[1920 PVOB030 Nr 87]
91.4.1921 [1921 PVOB017 Nr 52] 4.19211 Oct 1921[1921 PVOB047 Nr 144]
101.7.1920 [1920 PVOB030 Nr 87] 7.19201 Oct 1921[1921 PVOB047 Nr 144]
1215.1.1920 [1920 PVOB001 Nr 2] 4.19201 July 1920[1920 PVOB030 Nr 87]
151.4.1921 [1921 PVOB017 Nr 52] 4.19211 Oct 1921[1921 PVOB047 Nr 144]
181.10.1921 [1921 PVOB047 Nr 144] 10.1921  
2015.1.1920 [1920 PVOB001 Nr 2] 4.19201 Oct 1921[1921 PVOB047 Nr 144]
301.4.1921 [1921 PVOB017 Nr 52] 4.1921  
451.4.1921 [1921 PVOB017 Nr 52] 4.19211 Oct 1921[1921 PVOB047 Nr 144]
6015.1.1920[1920 PVOB001 Nr 2] 4.1920  
721.10.1921[1921 PVOB047 Nr 144] 19.10.1921  
901.10.1921[1921 PVOB047 Nr 144]10.1921  
1201.10.1921 [1921 PVOB047 Nr 144] 10.1921  
2401.10.1921 [1921 PVOB047 Nr 144] 19.10.1921  
3001.10.1921[1921 PVOB047 Nr 144] 19.10.1921  

The values not officially obsoleted seem never to have been formally withdrawn, but to have become useless when franking-by-adhesives was abolished on 1 March 1922. (For a limited period they could be exchanged for letter-post stamps.)

This chart tries to show at the top the dates when each newspaper inflation period began, and the dates for the passing of the corresponding law and the introduction of the requisite new stamps.
Underneath are the dates of issue and withdrawal for each value of the 1920 and 1922 series.


Cancelled 3 July 1920; cancel of 2+2+2=6h correct for 1 copy. Unusual mixed franking of overprinted and Renner issues.

Franking of 6+6+6=18h on 11 Oct 1920 for 3 copies of a paper. Wrapper made from a maternity ward status report!