The Dollfuss stamps

The Dollfuss 10S Stamp of 1936 is listed by ANK as ANK588 and placed between the definitives just discussed and the other two Dollfuss stamps that follow, in spite of their earlier issue dates. Some authors and catalogues treat it as the top value of the 1934 'costumes' series. The stamp is 10S slate blue; 31 x 38mm; recess printed; perf 12. This magnificent stamp, portraying the murdered Chancellor against the flag of the "Fatherland Front" was issued on 25 July 1936. It was designed by Professor W. Dachauer and engraved by Professor F. Lorber. Numerous colour trials exist. The impression consisted of 100,000 pieces; although the catalogue value is high copies abound - as do forgeries.

Genuine use for a 10-S franking is somewhat rarer; however in 2008 Schlegel, the Berliner Auktionshaus für Philatelie GmbH, sold a most unusual airmail which with their permission is illustrated above. The total price was 11,500 Euro, somewhat startling for an item posted on 23 July 1937. The franking consists of four 10 schilling Dollfuss stamps, three on the front and one on the back, plus a 3 schilling and a 25 groschen costume on a 40-groschen-imprint air envelope. These total 43.65 schilling. The cover says 70 on the front, which means 70 grams. The surface weight scale was 60 groschen for the first 20 grams + 35 groschen for each additional 20 grams (rounded up) so it should be 60 + 3 x 35 = 165gr. The air surcharge for Brazil, according to Kohl, is 300 groschen times 14 steps of 5 grams, which is 42 schilling. Total 43.65 shilling, as franked.

The Dollfuss Mourning Stamps of 1934 and 1935

1935The 24g black-green stamp (ANK589) was issued on 21st October 1934 as a mourning stamp, whilst the 24g slate blue (ANK590) was issued on 25th July 1935 for the first anniversary of the assassination. The design was the same for both issues and simply depicted Dr Engelbert Dollfuss. This was the last design done by Dr Rudolf Junk, whilst the stamps were engraved by Arthur Schuricht who also engraved the "Austrian Writers" set. The stamps were printed in recess by the Austrian State Printing Works, with plate numbers in the upper sheet margin. They were line perforated 12½ but pairs may be found imperf between the stamps. The numbers printed were 3 million of the 1934 stamp, but only 1 million of the 1935 stamp. Colour trials exist, and special cancels from the Länder capitals.

As is common, because of the printing techniques used the stamps exist as "tall-thin" and "short-fat" sizes. For these stamps, tall-thin is 30mmx24mm while short-fat is 29x25mm. The 1934 stamp shown happens to be a short-fat while the 1935 is a tall-thin. In the sketch below, drawn to scale, the red outline is the tall-thin and the green is the short-fat.

Politically incorrected?

A postal decree published in Vienna on the 13th April 1938 records a decision of the 6th April: "The Dollfuss stamps of 24g and 10S were withdrawn with effect from 15th March 1938 and have lost their validity for franking both inland and foreign mail". This announcement was made retroactively; in theory mixed frankings with Dollfuss and Hindenberg stamps are possible, though also very improbable! However the 31st March 1938 issue of "Die Postmarke" states that the immediate withdrawal was communicated to all post offices by telegram on 15th March. I suspect that the Vienna 'decision' was recognition of a fait accompli. Die Postmarke adds that the Vienna Collectors Counter was besieged on 12th March by collectors who had postponed buying a 10S Dollfuss: they were soon sold out, so that the trade price rose to several times face value. (The 24g stamps had sold out some time previously.) The 10S could be exchanged at all Post Offices for 'acceptable' stamps, although this was not publicised. The three 'Dollfuss' stamps were later declared by Germany to be "deleted from the German collection".