The first stamps of Austria were issued on 1 June 1850, an imperforate issue of 5 different values which has proved popular amongst philatelists for the different types, shades and in 1854 the introduction of a different paper, the postmarks found on these imperf stamps are also of great interest. It is an issue which has fascinated generations of stamp collectors. We have seen entire stamp albums devoted to a single value from this issue.
Some stamps issues from 1867 to 1871 were for the entire Austro- Hungarian Empire and collections of both countries can include the same stamps. During the 19th and early 20th Centuries the main area for philatelists can be the wide range of perforation gauges and paper types.
At the end of WWI the Empire was broken up and the Austrian Republic issued her first stamps in July 1919. This remaining German-speaking area was closely linked with Germany but the new republic remained independent despite an attempted Nazi uprising in 1934. On 13 March 1938 Austria was absorbed into the German Reich and German stamps were issued there on 4 April 1938 with Austrian stamps remaining valid until 31 October.
The stamps of the Second Republic were issued in November 1945, the Austrian government having taken the responsibility for the postal service from 1 October. Just after the war the Russian zone had utilized German stamps and overprinted them. The British, French & American occupied areas had a special issue of stamps which they issued on 28 June 1945.
Many beautiful stamps have been printed since, the occupation forces left in 1955 and Austria joined the European Union on 1 January 1995.
We can recommend the stamp listings in the Stanley Gibbons Part 2 “Austria and Hungary” catalogue, also the excellent “Osterreich – Spezial” catalogue by Michel.