The Austrian Newspaper Post

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Austria issued special stamps for over 70 years, from 1 January 1851 to 28 February 1922, for the inland postage of officially-registered newspapers. They were sold only to registered (and approved) newspaper publishers, to prepay a discounted postage rate. The exhibit shows these stamps, including shade variations, cancellations, perforations, official & private imprints, and type differences; with examples of them in use.

The system was evolved to facilitate postal subscriptions via the Post Office. The reduced-rate newspaper stamps were supplied only to designated post offices, where newspaper publishers could buy them, in whole sheets only, for cash. The special rate was per-copy, including (without weight limits until 1920) all the supplements so beloved by Austrian newspapers. Where several copies were addressed to a specific delivery post office, they had to be address-labelled and franked, then posted in one bundle addressed to that post office. The cancellation of their stamps was done at the delivery post office. If there was only one addressee at that office, its wrapper had its stamp cancelled by the originating post office. Many of the cancellers were not used on ordinary mail. From 1900, publishers could commission private wrappers for one or more copies, imprinted with the same design as the loose stamps but often in different colours. Separate Newspaper Sections existed in the larger post offices, to handle newspapers, to accept subscriptions, and to sell the discounted stamps.

An overview and the 1851 issues are covered in Frame 1; the 1858, 1861 and 1863 issues occupy Frame 2; the long-lasting 1867 issue begins in Frame 3 and continues into Frame 4 which concludes with the 1880 issues; the 1899 issue is shown in Frame 5 and the 1908 issue in frame 6; the 1916 and the post-war 1919 issues are in frame 7; and the 1920 and 1922 issues are dealt with in frame 8.

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©Andy Taylor. Last updated 14 June 2022