Great Britain, May 6, 1840 First Issues Collectors Club of stamps and philatelic material


Saturday, June 1, 1850.

Imperforate, hand made paper, K.K.H.M in gutter or no watermark, typographed.

Printed by Vienna State Printing Works.


The first issue.
Description Color # printed # used # remainder Scott #
1850 - 1854. Hand made paper.
1 Kreuzer yellow 7.4 million 7.4 million 0 1, 1a, 1b, 1c, 1e
2 Kreuzer black 6.6 million 6.6 million 0 2, 2a, 2b, 2d, 2e
3 Kreuzer red 64.0 million 64.0 million 0 3, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d
6 Kreuzer brown 46.6 million 46.6 million 0 4, 4a, 4c, 4d, 4e
9 Kreuzer blue 53.3 million 53.3 million 0 5, 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d, 5f, 5g
Total: 177.9 million 177.9 million 0  
1854 - 1858. Machine made paper.
1 Kreuzer yellow 14.6 million 11.8 million 2.8 million 1d, 1f, 1g, 1h, 1i, 1j
2 Kreuzer black 12.1 million 9.8 million 2.3 million 2c
3 Kreuzer red 109.3 million 88.5 million 20.8 million 3e, 3f
6 Kreuzer brown 71.9 million 58.9 million 13.0 million 4b, 4f
9 Kreuzer blue 84.5 million 69.4 million 15.1 million 5e, 5g
Total: 292.4 million 238.4 million 54.0 million  
1850 - 1858. Totals for all issues.
1 Kreuzer yellow 22 million 19.2 million 2.8 million 1
2 Kreuzer black 18.7 million 16.4 million 2.3 million 2
3 Kreuzer red 173.3 million 152.5 million 20.8 million 3
6 Kreuzer brown 118.5 million 105.5 million 13 million 4
9 Kreuzer blue 137.8 million 122.7 million 15.1 million 5
Total: 470.3 million 416.3 million 54 million  

All issue quantities are approximate.

Before 1867 the Austrian Empire included Hungary and Lombardy & Venetia. Lombardy & Venetia were acquired by Austria in 1815; Lombardy was lost in 1859, Venetia in 1866. Until 1867 Franz Josef was Emperor of Austria-Hungary. He then became Emperor of Austria and, separately, King of Hungary. A few functions (e.g. the War Department) remained Austria-Hungary.

The Hungarian part of the empire included several well known areas, among those Croatia-Slavonia, Serbia, Transylvania and what is now the Czech Republic.

Separate stamps were issued in 1850 for Lombardy & Venetia, since they had their own currency. These stamps were also valid in the rest of the empire. Austrian stamps were valid in all of the empire, except for Lombardy & Venetia!

In 1867 the establishment of a separate Hungarian Monarchy was agreed, and a separate stamp issue but with a common design (Scott #27-33) was used from June 1, 1867. Hungary began issuing their own design of stamps in 1871.

Detailed statistics for 1853 tells us that Austria, with 53.5% of the population, used 65% of the stamps; Hungary with 29% of the population used only 17.5% of the stamps. Lombardy & Venetia had both a population share and stamp usage of 17.5%. These differences can be attributed to the fact that litteracy rates varied in this large empire. When we remember that Lombardy & Venetia issued their own stamps, we see that approximately 27% of the common issue were used in Hungary. It is not unusual to find the first issue cancelled in Pesth, for example.

The stamps were printed in sheets of 240, with the addition of 16 so-called 'St. Andreas Kreutz', or St. Andrews crosses, arranged as 4 panes of 64 clichés. The four 'dummy' crosses in each pane ensured that a pane of stamps cost a multiple of Gulden, since there was 60 Kreuzer to a Gulden.

One million stamps in the value of 12 Kreuzer were also printed before the issue date. However, the postal rates were changed before March 26, 1850, rendering these stamps useless, and virtually all were destroyed. The new rate called for the hurried production of the blue 9 Kreuzer stamps.

The remainder of the first issue is assumed to consist almost entirely of the last printings. As a general rule stamps printed first were used first. These remainders were mostly burned in 1859.

The long validity and the different printings gave rise to great differences in color. When the yellow for the l Kreuzer stamp was too light, the printers turned the sheets and printed better stamps on the back. Thus the double-sided prints that are listed in the catalogs.

When the currency changed on November 1, 1858 new stamps were needed. Instead of 60 Kreuzer, one Gulden now equalled 100 Neu-Kreuzer.

Stamps of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy were issued in 1867.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Andy Taylor of the Austrian Philatelic Society for his generous help in providing the data for this page. The data presented here are based on an article in the APS magazine 'Austria' #20: 'Statistics as an Aid to Plating the 1850 Issue' by Dr. P. F. von Stritzl.

Any errors in this presentation are solely the responsibility of the webmaster.

This page was last modified on Sunday, 09-Nov-2003 07:18:27 GMT