The Republic of Austria

The "Österreich" Inflation Issue of 1922-24

None of the designs submitted to the competition were selected, however. Instead, Professor Wilhelm Dachauer designed an ‘ear of corn’ for agriculture (it looks like barley); metal-working hammer-and-tongs being swallowed by a fleshy plant (industry and commerce); and an allegorical female head with an owl perched on her hair (arts and science). This allegorical head probably depicts the actress and singer Erika von Wagner, and is usually referred to by the German Frauenkopf (= female head). The agriculture/industry stamps were printed by typography but the arts stamps were engraved by F. Schirnböck and recess printed.

The denominations issued can best be viewed in terms of the inflation which descended upon Austria in the years of their use. The exchange rate of Kronen to the £1 sterling is tabulated here:

1914 23.1.1920 11.11.1920 25.10.1921 1.1.1922 31.4.1922 15.6.1922
24Kr 1,000Kr 2,000Kr 8,000Kr 45,000Kr 93,000Kr 84,000Kr

Also relevant is the progressive increase in the postal rates. New higher face values were steadily introduced, and old smaller or unuseable values withdrawn, sometimes with a brief period when they could be exchanged. After February 1921 all Fahrpost (parcels etc) charges had to be paid in cash, not by applying adhesives: the opportunities for genuine use of high-value stamps were greatly diminished!

1 December 192110255151025
1 May 192220257512½454075
21 Aug 19228010030050180160300
18 September 1922160200600100360320600
1 November 192232040015002009006401500
1 August 1922--6002000300120010002000
1 December 1923--10003000500180020003000
1 December 1924--15004000700240030004000

LL, IL, FL = local, inland, foreign letter, at lowest weight step (ignoring any reduced-rate eg for Hungary); IPC, FPC = inland, foreign postcard (ditto); and IRg, FRg = inland, foreign registration fee.

The type of paper used for the copper recess printed stamps (the Frauenkopf) also produce the usual variations of up to 1mm in the linear dimensions of the design of the stamps; and depending on how it was inserted in the printing press one finds ‘tall’ stamps (25 x 29.5mm) and ‘wide’ stamps (26 x 29mm).

All of these stamps were perforated 12½, the “agriculture/industry” stamps on a comb machine and the “arts” stamps on a line machine. For the “arts” stamps, the 20, 25, 50, 100, 200 and 1000Kr values were also issued with a line perforation 11½; the 50Kr stamp is known as a rarity with a line perforation 11½:12½; and the 50, 200, 1000 and 2000 Kronen values are found in pairs imperforate between.

The catalogues remark that many varieties of shades, paper, perforation oddities and so forth are found; indeed, the author’s solitary copy of the 10,000Kr is on ‘granite’ paper which is mentioned in old copies of ‘Austria’ but not in the modern catalogues. There are several well-known plate errors in this issue; each catalogue lists several but none lists all! Stamps are also found in unissued colours, as blackprints, as minisheets, and similar productions of questionable authenticity.

The tables that follow give details for the agriculture/industry stamps and then the “Frauenkopf” stamps. The dates of issue and validity come from Kroiss; those in the Postverordnungsblatt (the Post Office bulletin sent mainly to its staff) often have issue dates a month or so earlier. Numbers are either those delivered to the central warehouse or those actually sold; the catalogues that contain them have the numbers but no explanation!

All face values are in Kronen. “CV” = colour variants if more than 1. “S.F.” = last date for use as supplementary franking on inland postal stationery, but only valid if applied by post office at point-of-sale.

Des = Design: ‘1’ = hammer&tongs (the wider design); ‘2’ = ear-of-corn (the narrower).

The agriculture/industry stamps

agriculture/industry stamps

ANKFaceColourIssuedValid tillS.F.CVDesNumber
360½ochreJan 192231.7.192330.9.1923212,756,000
3611brownFeb 192231.7.192330.9.1923111,750,000
3622greenish blueFeb 192231.7.192330.9.19232114,640,000
363chestnutFeb 192231.7.192330.9.192329,329,000
3644purple Feb 192231.7.192330.9.192314,880,000
3655olive-green Jan 192231.7.192330.9.19232139,455,000
366slate-violet Jan 192231.7.192330.9.1923217,340,000
36710claret Jan 192231.12.192331.12.1923163,187,000
36812½olive-green Jan 192231.7.192330.9.19232228,632,000
36915blue-greenMay 192231.7.192330.9.192329,507,000
37020blueMay 192230.9.192331.12.1923266,663,000
37125claretMay 192230.9.192331.12.1923227,756,000
37230pearl-greyMay 192230.9.192331.12.1923117,115,000
37345redMay 192230.9.192331.12.1923112,400,000
37450chestnutAug 192230.9.192331.12.19232129,520,000
37560sage-greenAug 192230.9.192331.12.192317,700,000
37675ultramarineMay 192230.9.192331.12.1923119,132,000
37780yellowAug 192230.9.192331.12.1923148,000,000
378100drabAug 192230.6.192530.9.19252173,952,000
379120chocolateAug 192230.9.192331.12.192329,342,000
380150orangeAug 192230.9.192331.12.1923214,060,000
381160apple-greenSep 192230.9.192331.12.1923230,016,000
382180scarletAug 192230.9.192331.12.192329,393,000
383200pinkAug 192230.6.192530.9.19252149,760,000
384240bright violetAug 192230.9.192331.12.19232217,520,000
385300light blueAug 192230.6.192530.9.1925276,128,000
386400bright greenNov 192230.6.192530.9.19253285,500,000
387500yellowSep 192230.6.192530.9.19252161,164,000
388600slateSep 192230.6.192530.9.1925269,540,000
389700chocolateDec 192430.6.192530.9.1925241,361,000
390800violetDec 192430.6.192530.9.192527,089,000
3911000mauveAug 192330.6.192530.9.19251160,000,000
3931500orangeDec 192430.6.192530.9.1925154,600,000
3941600slateAug 192330.6.192530.9.192515,407,000
3952000blueAug 192330.6.192530.9.19252121,850,000
3963000light blueJan 192430.6.192530.9.19252125,560,000
3974000blue on azureDec 192430.6.192530.9.192514,842,000

The Frauenkopf issue


39820sepiaFeb 192231.7.192330.9.1923YY4,900,000
39925blueJan 192231.7.192330.9.19232YY12,337,000
40050lakeFeb 192230.9.192331.12.19233YYYY9,630,000
401100greenMar 192230.9.192331.12.19233YYYY6,360,000
402200purpleMar 192230.9.192331.12.1923YYY5,700,000
403500orangeMay 192230.9.192331.12.1923YY6,912,000
4041,000deep violet on yellow paperAug 192230.6.192530.9.1925YYY12,672,000
4052,000green on yellow paperNov 192230.6.192530.9.19253Y10,265,000
4063,000lakeAug 192330.6.192530.9.1925Y2,512,000
4075,000grey-blackAug 192330.6.192530.9.19252Y3,030,000
40810,000chestnutJan 192430.6.192530.9.1925Y1,892,000


5kr imprinted card uprated with 10kr adhesive. 22-11-1922

50kr imprinted card uprated with another 50kr imprint and a 100kr adhesive. 14-12-1922

200kr imprinted card uprated with a 300kr adhesive. 14-8-1924

500kr imprinted card. 13-4-1924