The Republic of German Austria: The 1919 overprinted issues

For the first issue of the new Deutschösterreich state, Deutschösterreich was overprinted diagonally in typography on the then current Imperial issues. This overprint was not however applied to the remainders as happened in the successor states: since the State Printing Works in Vienna still possessed the original printing plates the original stamps continued to be produced and used, initially without overprints.

1918 PTVOB067

Post Office Decree PTVOB 67 dated 2 Dec 1918 (reproduced in its entirety above!) states that new deliveries of previously-valid letter, express, newspaper and dues stamps will have the overprint “Deutschösterreich” applied; existing stock may be used up as it is. The orientation of the imprint is not specified in the decree.

Trial horizontal overprint
(at the top)
Diagonal: 140% bigger and much more readableInverted overprint

The 1919 overprinted definitives

Kroiss (see refs) quotes "Die Postmarke, Nov 1919" where it is written that there was considerable philatelic speculation in these overprints; and that the 4Kr and 10Kr, reportedly issued in April & May respectively, had sold out. He gives no dates for their first known usage. Another journal, the D-Ö Briefmarkenzeitung, stated that the perforators in the State Printing Works were fully booked to produce the Renner series (named after their designer; see later) so could not produce enough of the high value overprints.

The normal perforation for all values is 12½ comb for the typographed values up to 1Kr, 12½ line for the recess-printed higher values. The 2 Kronen stamp exists in both vertical and horizontal pairs with the centre imperf. The 80h and 1Kr values are known with an inverted overprint, but the main variety (on the 35th and also on the 100th stamp in the sheet) is the broken 's' in Österreich which occurs on all the heller values with the exception of the 25 and 40 heller. Rarely, missing-, double-, and inverted-overprints are found. Trial horizontal overprints were produced on the 3h & 15h, but these were unsatisfactory.

The original 2, 3, 4 & 10 Kronen stamps were printed both in 'wide' and 'tall' formats, 25x30mm and 26x29mm respectively – it depended on which way the pre-dampened sheet was placed into the printing press.

The overprints were applied only to Kronen stamps on granite paper, all bar the 10Kr being only on the 'tall’ stamps. There are three sub-varieties of the 2 Kronen value: greyish blue perf 12½; dark blue perf 12½; and greyish blue perf 11½. There are two sub-varieties of the 4 Kronen value: yellow-green perf 12½ and perf 11½. And there are two sub-varieties of the 10 Kronen value: both are violet perf 12½ but as well as the 'tall' stamp it is found on the 'wide' stamp.

ANKFaceColour (s)IssuedNumber
2283hVioletJanuary 191940,012,000
2295hyellow-greenJanuary 191935,995,000
2306hOrangeFebruary 19191,017,500
23110hClaretJanuary 191978,030,000
23212hgreenish-blue; dark greenish-blueFebruary 19191,217,500
23315hRedMarch 19191,188,400
23420hblue-greenDec 191857,840,000
23525hBlueMarch 19194,045,000
23630hVioletFebruary 19194,871,000
23740hOliveFebruary 19195,242,000
23850hdark green; black-greenFebruary 19191,272,000
23960hdark blueMarch 19195,342,000
24080hred-brownMarch 191927,520,000
24190hclaret (also on thick paper)February 19194,475,000
2421Krred on yellow paperFebruary 19195,050,000
2432Krblue March 19193,876,800
2443Krcarmine March 19191,124,000
2454Kryellow-green April 1919?442,500
24610Krviolet May 1919?298,000

The 3, 6 & 12h stamps were valid until 15 Jan 1920 (albeit of little use by then!), the rest until 31 October 1920.


Deutschösterreich overprints uprating a KK postcard to Czechoslovakia.

Three Deutschösterreich overprints on a letter from Vienna to Paris. Cancelled 6 May 1919; Paris arrival on back for 4 June. Censored.