The Story of the Austrian Post up to 1850

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This important new work describes the development of the post in the Austrian Empire up to the introduction of postage stamps. It is the most comprehensive book on the subject to date, and includes for the first time many of the original postal decrees translated into English. A summary of the contents is here. The book has been created to mark the tercentenary of the 1722 Postal Decree by which Emperor Karl VI took back control of the postal system from the Paar and Thurn & Taxis families.

It is 380 pages long, written in the English language, in full colour throughout and in a hard cover. It is published by the Austrian Philatelic Society (U.K.). The authors are Andy Taylor FRPSL, current President of the Austrian Philatelic Society; Roger Morrell, former Chairman of the Hungarian Philatelic Society; and Keith Brandon, former President of the Austrian Philatelic Society.

The book's front cover

PREFACE

On 15 June 1722, a Postal Decree was issued by Kaiser Karl VI when he decided to take back control of the postal system from the Taxis and Paar families: so 2022 is its Third Centenary. This book has been created to mark that anniversary. To keep it within sensible bounds, it is limited to pre-stamp philately (and the accompanying history) of the European lands ruled by Kaiser Karl VI and his successors, so it stops at 1850 when Austria issued its first adhesive postage stamp. It also meets the need for a book in English on this collecting area. The book has been edited by Keith Brandon, Roger Morrell and Andy Taylor FRPSL and mainly written by them. Some parts are based upon articles which previously appeared in the Austrian Philatelic Society’s journal ‘AUSTRIA’, but the vast majority of the content has been freshly written.

Following this preface, contents list, and introduction, the book is divided into four parts.

INTRODUCTION

The story of the Austrian Posts, in the period between the time when the Crown assumed the postal administration and the issue of adhesive prepaid postage stamps, is less confusing if each aspect is dealt with separately instead of in a strictly chronological order. The postal arrangements in the many parts of Europe ruled by a Habsburg were often different. The bulk of this book concerns itself with the Erblände, the Habsburg hereditary lands; they will be referred to as Crown Lands. Several of the other areas, eg the Austrian Netherlands and what is now Italy, are considered separately.

This book includes a considerable amount of history and geography and a little economics. The authors believe that it’s necessary to know, or to have ready access to, this information – otherwise it’s perplexing to explain, say, why a letter from Salzburg to Vienna is charged as foreign mail and has postal markings in French. The "Timeline" in the appendices may help. The term Crown Lands describes those territories ruled by the Habsburgs for which the House of Austria provided the hereditary ruler and which had been in the possession of the dynasty for a long time. By 1438 the Crown Lands included large parts of the German-speaking area, partly in the territories of today’s Switzerland, Germany, France and Austria, as well as more land in today’s Hungary, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. The Kingdom of Bohemia and its neighbouring countries Moravia and Silesia were declared hereditary Crown Lands in 1627. In 1713, the Pragmatic Sanction added the Kingdom of Hungary to the Crown Lands. However, the Burgundian territories (possessions in the Rhine area, especially the Netherlands) were never included in the Habsburg Crown Lands; they eventually became part of the dominions of the Spanish Habsburgs. The term was also not used for the territories later incorporated into the monarchy, eg Galicia, Bukovina and Dalmatia.

ORDERING DETAILS

The book costs £39 (or €45) plus postage and packaging. P&p to U.K. addresses is £4. APS member’s price: £32. To place an order or to enquire about the postage cost to your country, please contact Andy Taylor (email: andy@kitzbuhel.co.uk).

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©APS. Last updated 4 July 2021