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The Austrian Empire issued its first stamps in June 1950, the same year the Austro-German Postal Union was formed to unify postal rates between the Austrian Empire and Prussia – the German states would follow two years later. This Union would be a first step towards the creation of the Universal Postal Union of 1874.
The Empire was actually comprised where today several countries lay, (the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro and the north of Italy), and several languages were spoken across its territory. For this reason, the first issues did not contain the name of the country, but rather the Habsburg (or ‘imperial’) coat of arms and “KK Post-Stempel” (abbreviation to Kaiserliche Königliche Post, or ‘imperial-royal postal stamp’) followed by the value in Kreuzer [it is important to note here that later issues shall present the values in Heller or Krone].
Most issues are believed to have been used in the Austrian side of the Empire. The stamps were valid throughout the whole empire with the exception of Lombardy & Venetia, which had its own currency and issues. The first Post-Stempels of 1850 were thought to be provisory at first, but ended up lasting until 1858, due to a currency change to Krones.
The first set issue comprised the denominations 1,2,3,6, and 9, and were imperforated and typographed. First printed on rough hand-made paper, varying in thickness and carrying a watermark, from 1854 watermarks were no longer present and the paper changed to be machine-made.The watermark used was the inscription K.K.H.M. (short for Kaiserlich Königliches Handels-Ministerium , or Imperial-Royal Ministry of Commerce), written in cursive and positioned vertically between the panels on the sheet – meaning the greater the margin of the stamp, the better one may view the watermark. The 1 Krone is printed in yellow on white paper. While cancelled specimens are quite common, unused pieces are higher valued – and even more so if printed in orange-yellow ink.
Catalogue Value: Unused *****, Used ***
* 0.1 - 49 USD
** 50 - 99 USD
*** 100 - 499 USD
**** 500 - 999 USD
***** 1'000 - 9'999 USD
****** + 10'0000 USD
The First Issues Blog is a place to discuss about the stamp number 1 of each country, territory, district, etc. Each additional item to my new collection shall receive a small description about the item, its history and curiosities.
Note that I may add more than 1 'number one' stamp to a place. This happens as I judge that in the case of independence or any other political issue that changed the postal history or when I deemed interesting to do so. This will be noted on the posts when it happens.