The stamp issuing authorities from around the world, all do their best to make their stamps interesting to collectors. There are different ways to do this, such as choosing a popular topic for the issue, or by making stamps of different shapes and sizes. However, one issuer is just a little bit ahead, when it comes to issuing unique, interesting stamps. The Austrian Postal Authorities have earned a reputation for being one of the most innovative, when it comes to stamp design. They utilize all possible techniques, to capture the eyes of collectors.
What is it that makes them special?
The Austrian postal service goes one step further than most other issuers of stamps. On top of considering the topic, shape, and size of the new stamp, they also consider the fabric of the stamp. Most other postal authorities don't consider this, as paper is the preferred method, but Austria has a tradition of experimenting with the fabric as well. As an example, look at this stamp issued on March 20th 2014.
This stamp is made from porcelain, and is the first ever of its kind. The stamp features the Viennese Rose, and both the flower, which is the theme, as well as the porcelain, has strong ties with the Austrian history. High quality porcelain has always been a pride for Austria. Porcelain has been used as a status symbols, and was used for both high class living, and as official gifts. The production of the stamps, handled by Neue Wiener Augarten Porcelain Manufactory GmbH, was also extraordinary. The individual stamps were pressed into shape, and baked for more than 24 hours. After the initial baking, the stamps were printed, after which they were baked once again, to ensure that the paint stuck to the stamps. You can find the stamp in the Stampworld Catalogue, and it can be purchased through Nordfrim.
Sparkly leather pants
The porcelain stamp was extraordinary, but the Austrians keep working on their stamps, and on September 24th 2015, they issued another spectacular stamp.
In cooperation with Swarowski, the crystal maker from Austria, the Austrian postal authorities issued a stamp which resembles the authentic Austrian clothing - Lederhosen. These leather pants are often seen in Tyrol, a province in Austria, and the clothing has had strong bearing on the Austrian culture.
The stamp is made out of the kind of leather that is used for the Alpine Lederhosen, and it is decorated with six actual Swarowski crystals. As with the prior stamp, the design has Strong relations to the culture and history of Austria, which is what makes these stamps so interesting.
Swarowski is a world famous company, but they started their operations in Austria more than 120 years ago. Their history is tied closely to Austria, which makes the cooperation a natural fit. You can find the stamp in our catalogue, or with Nordfrim.
Small-scale Glass Painting
As you might have noticed from the prior examples, the Austrian postal authorities are not afraid of taking on a challenge. So they took it a step further, and on June 10th 2016, Austria issued the first ever official postage stamp printed directly on glass. The stamp depicts Virgin Mary mourning over her son.
The stamp was made using reverse glass painting. This means that the image is painted on the backside of the glass, making it much easier to clean the glass. This type of glass painting is typical for certain rural areas of Austria, where there was a large number of glass works, making glass easily available. The glass paintings were an additional source of income for many peasant families over the winter, where the whole family would work together on the artworks. As the work was often performed by a group of people rather than an individual, the artists are often unknown.
This is a typical specialty stamp, as it ties traditional national culture, with state of the art production and printing techniques, making the production of the stamps possible. The stamps are mostly hand made, with help from modern technology, to ensure the quality of the stamps. The stamp can be found at Stampworld, and can be purchased at Nordfrim.
The most recent stamp in this series of spectacular Austrian stamps, was issued on September 22nd 2016. This stamp is a follow-up to the Lederhosen stamp issued a year prior. This stamp features the female version of the local Austrian outfit - the Dirndl.
This stamp is actually not printed, but rather embroidered. The stamp is produced by Hämmerle & Vogel, which has been providing embroidery for large international customers for decades.
The stamp is made from more than 40 meters of thread, and made with three colours - white, red, and green, which are traditional for the dirndl in Austria. The dirndl used for the stamp is a traditional one, featuring simple cuts and traditional colours, while there has been a shift towards a more daring expression in the design of dirndl's, as they are used for Oktoberfest-themed situations. These new dirndl's often come with low-cut necklines and short skirts, giving them a sexier profile.
As we have seen here, the combination of national culture and daring innovation, can provide us with stamps unlike anything we have ever seen before. It is always interesting to see what the Austrian postal authorities comes up with for the next set of spectacular items, and we will be watching this closely as we get closer to the issue dates.