Austria's Personal Stamps

by Joyce Boyer

I was surprised to read the article from Scott Stamp Monthly of May 2007 regarding what they refer to as 'frame stamps' but which are generally known as 'personal marke or stamp' since it contains a number of errors.

The first point to be made is that personal stamps are in no way connected to the commemorative program of Austria Post except for the three mentioned in the article which were issued to inform the public that such stamps were valid to pay postage on mail posted within the country. The blue one was to show a change in that whilst the yellow frame was only used, at that time for 55 cent stamps the blue frame stamps could be printed with any value from 55 cents to Euro 99.99. Nor do the stamps belong to Austria Post so they cannot, in general, be sold through them. As always there are exceptions the main one being the personal stamps for Christkindt which are available from the philatelic bureau, shops and some other outlets.

In the July 2005 issue of the AUSPS Journal (Vol V, Nr. 3 pages 20-22) an article I had written on Personal stamps explaining the birth of these stamps and the position at that time was published and reading this will clarify some of the points made in the Scott article.

At the time of both my and the Scott articles, and in most circumstances today personal stamps could/can only be obtained by order through the Austria Post website. The person ordering the stamps up-loads their picture into the frame they require, fix the value, pay and wait for them to be received through the post. The option to have Austria rather than Osterreich for the country name was introduced in May 2006.- You do not need to live in Austria to order these stamps but they can only be used for postage it that country. The Austrian Philatelic Society based in Great Britain obtained two stamps, values 55 cent yellow and 65 cent blue, to mark its 60th anniversary which were used to mail an anniversary card to all members but these had to be sent to a contact in Innsbruck for posting. As stated by Scott the cost of the stamps is more than their face value - the higher the print run the lower the per-stamp cost. My personal stamps are ordered by organizations as a way of publicizing and raising funds to help finance events. Following I competition by local schoolchildren four personal stamps will be obtained in connection with the 100th anniversary of the Mittenwald railway later this year to help finance the competition and other celebration events taking place during the summer.

There have been changes over the years some of which are mentioned below. The minimum value of a stamp following the increase in postage charges in the summer of 2011 is 62 cents. At first all stamps in a sheet had to be of the same design but as early as 2004 sheets of 20 stamps with different designs were being obtained.

Having seen how popular personal stamps were Austria Post has, over the years, issued a number of their own. The first of these was a sheet of 20 different designs of Snowflakes was available to order from their philatelic bureau or could be bought at events where there was a special post office - I bought my sheet at Numiphil in Vienna.


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