The first stamps of the Austrian Empire to feature the portrait of the emperor appeared between 1858 and 1859. Emperor Franz Josef I had ascended to the imperial throne in 1848, at the age of 18, so when the postage stamp series of 1858-1859 was first produced, the Austrian Emperor was only 28 years old. Thus, the portrait appearing on the stamps is that of a very young man.
These newly designed definitive postage stamps were also the first ones
that were perforated, enabling the easy separation of the individual
stamps in a pane.
As with the Arms definitive stamps of 1850 to 1854, these new stamps were valid at post offices throughout the Austrian Empire, with the exception of the states of Lombardy and Venetia. Similar stamps were issued for use in Lombardy and Venetia, but they were denominated in Italian SOLDI, instead of the Austrian KREUZER.
The six major-type definitive Austrian Empire stamps shown above were issued between 1858 and 1859. The stamps are embossed on unwatermarked paper, and they are perforated 14 1/2.
The common design features colored frames of various types, along with the colorless left-facing profile of Emperor Franz Josef I.
These new stamps were produced in two types. The attributes of the loops of the bow at the back of the head are illustrated by the two images directly above.
The simplified Michel / Scott catalog attributes, for stamps that are Type I, are as follows. The shades used below are from the Michel catalog.
The simplified Michel / Scott catalog attributes, for stamps that are Type II, are as follows. The shades used below are from the Michel catalog.
Government reprints of these issues
were made for collectors, between 1866 and 1894. These mint condition
reprints exist in five different printings, and most of them are very
inexpensive. The reprints are all Type II, and they are
perforated 10 1/2, 11, 12, 12 1/2, and 13.
Multiples with the stamp and the adjacent St. Andrew's Cross label are extremely expensive. The labels themselves are collectible, and the denominations can be ascertained by the color. Off-centered stamps showing part of the St. Andrew's Cross label can be found, and they are relatively affordable.
Other collectible varieties are stamps with red
cancellations, blue cancellations, Lombardy-Venetia cancellations, and
even first-day-of-issue cancellations (November 1, 1858). The 5
K., and 15 K. denominations in used condition are inexpensive, and
these can also provide the basis for a very attractive Austrian Empire
postmark collection. For postmark collecting, one must consider
that, at this time, there were around 11,000 post offices in the
Austrian Empire, with many of them using different types of canceling
The two Austrian Empire newspaper stamps shown above were issued between 1858 and 1859. These newspaper stamps are embossed on unwatermarked paper, and they are imperforate.
The Michel / Scott catalog attributes are as follows. The shades used below are from the Michel catalog.
These two newspaper stamps
are not really as scarce as the catalog prices would lead one to
believe. Many moderately-priced used examples are available on the internet.
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