New Stamps from Austria

Johann Strauß Monument

austria johnn stampIssue Date:16.09.2017

Postage Stamps From 1867

austria postage stampsThe year 1867 was a significant interlude in the history of the Hapsburg monarchy. The Austro-Hungarian Compromise converted the Austrian Empire into the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary, and that, of course, had an impact upon the postal service. The postage stamp issue of 1867 reflects this circumstance.

Thanks to the constitutional real union, Hungary was now an independent state with equal rights, while the same monarch, Franz Joseph I, reigned as the Emperor of Austria and the Apostolic King of Hungary. As a result, from 1st May 1867 onwards, Hungary had its own independent postal administration. However, the postage stamp issue of 1867 is an identical issue which was used by both postal administrations. The denomination “Kr” for Kreuzer or Krajcczar was appropriate for both countries. This postal series was issued on 1st June 1867 in denominations of 2, 3, 5, 10 and 15 “Kr.” for Hungary (which also included Transylvania). In the Austrian Empire it only became available once all of the previous postage stamp series had been used up. The 25 and 50 Kr. denominations were issued on 1st September 1867. The stamps were valid in Hungary (“Transleithanien”) until 31st July 1871 and in the Austrian “Cisleithanien” until 31st October 1884.As for the 1860 issue, the postage stamps issued in 1867 once again showed the Emperor’s head turned to the right, but now with clearly distinguishable facial features. The depiction of the imperial bust is framed by a beaded circle, which is surrounded by curved ornaments. The denomination is printed below the design. The design for the 50 Kreuzer stamp differs significantly from the other denominations.

The current block of stamps from the “Classic Editions” series, a joint issue with Hungary, shows a brown 50 Kreuzer stamp and a type I coarse printed 5 Kreuzer stamp in a reddish colour.

Issue Date:16.09.2017 Designer:Anita Kern Printer:Joh. Enschedé Stamps B.V Process:Offset

Maria Kirchental

austria church stampThis stamp from the series “Churches in Austria” is dedicated to one of the most popular pilgrimage churches in the province of Salzburg: the church of Maria Kirchental “Zu unserer Lieben Frau Geburt” (On the birth of Our Lady) in Sankt Martin bei Lofer.

For more than 300 years believers have journeyed to this place of pilgrimage, which has been protected as a monument since 2000.The church was built starting in 1694 to plans by the famous Baroque architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and was consecrated in 1701. The external appearance is characterised by the two-storey eastern façade with its two towers and their small domes. Between the towers the image of the Mother of God with the infant Jesus is depicted. The pilgrimage church underwent extensive renovation a few years ago, upon completion of which in 2001, Archbishop Emeritus Eder described it as a “quartz among pilgrimage destinations”.

The interior of the Baroque church impresses with its spaciousness and brightness. The high altar in its current form dates from the time when the church was first renovated in around 1858. It is made from marbled wood. An altar piece in the form of a triumphal arch showing an image attributed with miraculous powers rises above the altar table. This image shows the infant Jesus in his mother’s arms, holding a small bird, namely a goldfinch, also known as a distelfink, in his left hand. The child is pointing to the bird with the finger of his right hand. The distelfink is considered a symbol of Christ’s sacrificial death, with the red feathers on its head symbolising the blood of Christ shed for man.

The wooden statue of Mary and the child was the work of an unknown artist in around 1400. In around 1689 the farmer Rupert Schmuck brought the statue to the remote high valley, and soon afterwards the first pilgrims came to visit the little forest chapel with the Mother of Grace. Just a short time later, the then Prince Archbishop Johannes Graf von Thun decided to have a pilgrimage church built there. Under the supervision of the local master builder Stefan Millinger, the church, which is also referred to as “Pinzgau Cathedral”, was built within a few years.

Maria Kirchental is famous for its countless votive images, which were donated by grateful pilgrims. Since 2004 these small tablets and numerous wax, wooden, silver and stone offerings have been housed in the Kirchental Pilgrimage Museum, thus documenting the more than 300-year-long history of the pilgrimage church. In addition to the church, the ensemble also includes the former sacristan house and the former rectory. Today the “Haus der Besinnung” (House of Reflection) is home to sisters of the Missionarinnen Christi and to the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who are responsible for the pastoral care of pilgrimages and shrines as well as putting on various courses and providing spiritual support.

Many people come to Maria Kirchental, which is located at around 900 metres above sea level in a high valley at the foot of the Lofer Mountains, as pilgrims, but hikers are also impressed by the oneness of nature and culture that prevails here and enjoy the peace of the remote location.

Issue Date:16.09.2017 Designer:Kirsten LubachPrinter:Joh. Enschedé Stamps B.V Process:Offset

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