Asterisks aka stars on post-WWII Austrian airmails

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II: Air Mail Rates to the USA, 1951 to 1989

by Andy Taylor

The surface rates can be found in any of the usual references which has thrown up an anomaly! There was a major rate change on 1 July 1971; some books show this in error as being in 1972. Surface foreign letter unreduced rates were:

From:1 9 19511 2 19601 1 1967From:1 7 19711 1 19761 3 19821 2 19861 1 1990
up to 20 gram240300350up to 20 gram400600700800900
20+ to 40 gram38548055020+ to 50 gram7001000110012001200

Notes (1) max weight changed in 1971 (2) all the rates are shown in groschen (3) The significance of the surface rates is that the air mail rates are always stated as a surcharge, to be added to the surface rates.

Using Kainbacher.

1. Ascertain the date of cancelling and the destination country; look for registration, express, special conditions (eg printed matter, braille, special rates). Re-check your reading of the cancellation date; one common error is to misread the month of February as 11 ie November instead of a roman II

2. From tables such as the above, work out the surface rate for the cancel date. In general you won't know the weight. Note that surface rates and airmail surcharges often changed on different dates, as well as having different weight steps.

3. Place Kainbacher vol IV part I on a strong table. Open it at page 7, the index of contents, and locate on pp 7-10 the entry dated on, or before but closest to, your item's cancel date.

Example 1: a letter to USA cancelled 28 September 1966; you need "1. Berichtigung FPBV (mit Gebührentafeln) ab 1. Juli 1966" which is on page 9 and directs you to page 253.

Example 2: a letter to USA cancelled 1 Dec 1952; you need "China und Nord-Rhodesia, Berichtigung ab 21. September 1952" (because of the date, not the content!) which is on page 8 and directs you to page 189.

4. Turn to that page. Does the referred-to section include a table? If so, does that table include your destination? Note that a Kainbacher-typo needs correcting! On page 25, the headings for columns 5 and 6 under "To European countries" are correct: "Postcards" for column 5, "all other letter mail per 20g" for column 6. In all the "To European countries" tables on pages 28 to 73, make the same change wherever possible. Leave all non-European tables alone.

5. If yes and yes, read off the rate - noting carefully the table headings: do you have a postcard (flat rate irrespective of weight), a letter (rate is per 5 grams), or something else (eg printed matter; rate is per 5 grams).

Example 1: that USA letter cancelled 28 September 1966 is on the first line of Rate Table III on page 255, and the air mail surcharge is 150 groschen per 5 grams or part thereof.

6. If there isn't a table containing your destination, work backwards until you come to one that does.

Example 2: the USA letter cancelled 1 Dec 1952 is unsurprisingly not dealt with on page 189. Working backwards you come to USA at the bottom of page 188 where the air mail surcharge is 190 groschen per 5 grams or part thereof.

7. Finally, seek a combination of surface rate and air mail surcharge that adds up to the franking on your item. Note: it is unlikely that an item is underfranked, especially if it has the 'checking star'; it is more likely that you have read the wrong table, or the wrong column of the right table, or similar error-prone operations. Overfranking, especially philatelic, is less rare. Meter mark frankings are usually correct.

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©APS. Last updated 26 Jul 2015